10 More Intense Crime Dramas
Ever in the mood for a dark, gritty crime thriller that keeps you on the edge of your seat? If Quentin Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs left you wanting more, you’re in luck. There are plenty of intense, fast-paced crime dramas out there to satisfy your craving for clever heists, plot twists, and razor-sharp dialogue. We scoured the film archives and found 10 movies that deliver the same adrenaline rush and intrigue as Reservoir Dogs.
Clear your schedule, dim the lights, and get ready for a wild ride into the seedy criminal underworld. From violent shootouts to cunning betrayals, these stylish films have it all. Once you start watching, you won’t be able to look away. Consider this your all-access pass into the dangerous lives of thieves, mobsters, and murderers. But enter at your own risk—these aren’t your typical action flicks.
Pulp Fiction is Quentin Tarantino’s highly entertaining crime caper that redefined the genre. This crazy, clever, and darkly comedic film features multiple interlocking storylines of criminals, lowlifes, and gangsters in LA.
Like Reservoir Dogs, Pulp Fiction has a nonlinear narrative and witty dialogue, with references to pop culture that make you feel like an insider. The twisting, turning plot will keep you guessing, and the unforgettable characters – hitmen Vincent Vega and Jules Winnfield; gangster’s wife Mia Wallace; boxer Butch Coolidge – are as fascinating as they are flawed.
Memento is a mind-bending thriller that will have you questioning everything. This cult classic from Christopher Nolan is told in reverse chronological order to mimic the mental state of the main character, Leonard Shelby, who suffers from anterograde amnesia.
Leonard is trying to find his wife’s murderer, but he can’t form new memories. So he tattoos clues onto his body and takes Polaroids to help him remember the few details he can retain. As the story unfolds in reverse, you start to realize that Leonard may not be the most reliable narrator.
Heat is a tense 1995 crime thriller directed by Michael Mann, starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro. This cat-and-mouse story pits a dedicated detective, Vincent Hanna (Al Pacino), against a cunning criminal, Neil McCauley (Robert De Niro), in a battle of wits.
Vincent Hanna leads the LAPD Robbery Homicide Division as they try to take down McCauley’s crew after a botched bank robbery. Hanna starts to become obsessed with catching McCauley, whose strict professional code and dedication to his work mirrors Hanna’s own. The two leads deliver powerful performances, with a memorable scene where they share coffee and trade insights without realizing who the other is..
Oldboy is a dark and twisted South Korean thriller from 2003 that will keep you guessing until the very end. This gritty crime film directed by Park Chan-wook follows the story of Oh Dae-Su, a man imprisoned in a small room for 15 years without knowing why. When he is suddenly released, Dae-Su embarks on a quest for vengeance to find his captor and uncover the reason for his imprisonment.
This cult classic is a wild ride full of violence and mystery. The plot takes many unexpected turns that shock and disturb. Oldboy is not for the faint of heart, but if you enjoy sinister crime thrillers with mind-bending twists, this film will captivate you. The protagonist is complex and deeply flawed, and you can’t help but root for him as he seeks the truth behind his unjust punishment.
Sin City (2005)
Sin City is a stylish adaptation of Frank Miller’s neo-noir comic book series. Directed by Robert Rodriguez, this anthology film tells three hardboiled crime stories set in Basin City, a seedy metropolis filled with violence and corruption.
Much like Reservoir Dogs, Sin City has a gritty tone and nonlinear narrative, following a rogue gallery of criminals, cops and femme fatales. The striking black-and-white cinematography, with splashes of colour, mirrors the graphic novels and gives the film a unique look. Strong, clever dialogue and over-the-top violence round out the pulpy, hardboiled style.
American Animals (2018)
If you enjoyed the clever heist and gritty tone of Reservoir Dogs, American Animals should be next on your list. This film is based on the true story of four college students who attempt to pull off one of the most audacious art heists in US history.
In 2003, Spencer Reinhard, Warren Lipka, Eric Borsuk and Chas Allen hatch a plan to steal four of the rarest and most valuable books from Transylvania University’s library, including Audubon’s Birds of America. They plan the heist meticulously, studying the library’s security system and routines. However, their overconfidence and naivety prove to be their downfall.
City On Fire (1987)
City On Fire is a gritty Hong Kong crime thriller from 1987 that will appeal to Reservoir Dogs fans. Like Tarantino’s debut, this film is ultra-violent, darkly comedic, and pays homage to the pulp crime cinema of the 70s.
The plot revolves around Ko Chow, an undercover cop trying to infiltrate a gang of jewel thieves. Chow poses as a getaway driver to gain the trust of the charismatic gang leader, Fu. The heist goes awry, descending into a bloody confrontation with rivals and the police.
Widows, directed by Steve McQueen, is a gritty heist thriller in the same vein as Reservoir Dogs. Set in contemporary Chicago, the story follows a group of women who must come together to finish a dangerous job left unfinished by their deceased criminal husbands.
Much like the eccentric crew in Reservoir Dogs, the cast of Widows is filled with complex and layered characters. Viola Davis stars as Veronica, a woman forced to step up and lead the group after her husband is killed in a botched robbery. She is joined by Elizabeth Debicki, Michelle Rodriguez, and Cynthia Erivo, each bringing their own unique skills and motivations to the team.
Snatch is a fast-paced crime caper from Guy Ritchie, in a similar gritty style to Reservoir Dogs. Set in the London criminal underworld, the plot revolves around stolen diamonds and features quirky characters and witty dialogue.
The plot kicks off when a massive 84-carat diamond is stolen by Franky “Four-Fingers”. Two London gangsters, Turkish and Tommy, are hired to acquire the diamond for a shady jewel dealer. Meanwhile, a boxing promoter named Brick Top is after Franky and the diamond. The story follows the dangerous encounters between these eccentric criminals in London’s seedy underbelly.
New Jack City (1991)
New Jack City is a 1991 crime thriller that captures the gritty side of New York City in the late 80s. Set during the crack epidemic, the story follows a crime lord named Nino Brown who builds a massive drug empire in New York City with his gang. To take Nino down, two determined cops go undercover to infiltrate his dangerous operation.
Stacked with action and suspense, New Jack City is a fast-paced crime epic in a similar vein as Reservoir Dogs. Like Tarantino’s debut, it has a dark tone, violence, and morally ambiguous characters. The film also has a killer retro soundtrack that transports you back to the era.
Wesley Snipes and Ice-T lead a talented cast and deliver compelling performances. For those who enjoy the gangster genre, New Jack City is a must-see – a gritty, unflinching look at the drug underworld of NYC at the height of the crack crisis.
There we have it, our list of 10 movies like Reservoir Dogs. What do you think about our picks? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below: