The so-called “Buddy Cop” film has resulted in some of Hollywood’s biggest action hits (just think Rush Hour, Bad Boys or Lethal Weapon), and usually provides the opportunity for larger-than-life action coupled with plenty of humor.
Wikipedia sums it up nicely by describing these films as having plots “involving two people of very different and conflicting personalities who are forced to work together to solve a crime and/or defeat criminals, sometimes learning from each other in the process.”
One of the earliest examples of this type of film—though far more serious than these things usually are—is In The Heat Of The Night, which went on to win the 1967 Academy Award for Best Picture Of The Year. It stars Sidney Poitier as a black police officer from Philadelphia whose murder investigation leads him to the extremely racist town Mississippi, and focuses on his dealings with the sheriff played by Rod Steiger. Flash-forward seven years to Freebie And The Bean, which is much closer to the formula audiences would eventually become familiar with. James Caan is Freebie and Alan Arkin is Bean, a pair of San Francisco cops who are out to take down a crime boss—if they don’t kill each other in the process.
What follows is a look at what we feel to be 10 of the best examples of the Buddy Cop film.
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