FREE e-Newsletter
Important News - Hot Topics
Get them Now!
Doug  Wyllie

Doug Wyllie

Doug Wyllie has authored more than 1,000 articles and tactical tips aimed at ensuring that police officers are safer and more successful on the streets. Doug is a Western Publishing Association “Maggie Award” winner for Best Regularly Featured Digital Edition Column. He is a member of International Law Enforcement Educators and Trainers Association (ILEETA), an Associate Member of the California Peace Officers’ Association (CPOA), and a member of the Public Safety Writers Association (PSWA).
November 2018 (3)
October 2018 (4)
September 2018 (3)
August 2018 (6)
July 2018 (4)
June 2018 (3)
April 2018 (1)
March 2018 (2)
January 2018 (1)
September 2017 (1)
August 2017 (1)
May 2017 (1)
April 2017 (1)
January 2017 (1)
November 2016 (1)
September 2016 (1)
June 2016 (2)
May 2016 (3)
April 2016 (2)
March 2016 (1)
February 2016 (3)
January 2016 (1)
December 2015 (1)
November 2015 (5)
October 2015 (1)
September 2015 (3)
August 2015 (3)
July 2015 (6)
June 2015 (3)
May 2015 (2)
April 2015 (3)
March 2015 (5)
February 2015 (1)
January 2015 (1)
December 2014 (9)
October 2014 (2)
September 2014 (2)
August 2014 (2)
July 2014 (1)
June 2014 (2)
May 2014 (2)
April 2014 (4)
March 2014 (2)
February 2014 (3)
January 2014 (3)
December 2013 (2)
November 2013 (2)
October 2013 (3)
September 2013 (5)
August 2013 (3)
July 2013 (3)
June 2013 (3)
May 2013 (4)
April 2013 (3)
March 2013 (5)
February 2013 (3)
January 2013 (3)
December 2012 (5)
November 2012 (2)
October 2012 (4)
September 2012 (2)
August 2012 (5)
July 2012 (4)
June 2012 (3)
May 2012 (5)
April 2012 (6)
March 2012 (5)
February 2012 (3)
January 2012 (5)
December 2011 (5)
November 2011 (3)
October 2011 (3)
September 2011 (3)
August 2011 (2)
July 2011 (2)
June 2011 (3)
May 2011 (4)
April 2011 (3)
March 2011 (5)
February 2011 (3)
January 2011 (3)
December 2010 (2)
November 2010 (4)
October 2010 (4)
September 2010 (5)
August 2010 (4)
July 2010 (4)
June 2010 (4)
May 2010 (4)
April 2010 (3)
March 2010 (3)
February 2010 (1)
January 2010 (3)
December 2009 (4)
November 2009 (4)
October 2009 (2)
September 2009 (3)
August 2009 (4)
July 2009 (5)
June 2009 (3)
May 2009 (5)
April 2009 (4)
March 2009 (4)
February 2009 (3)
January 2009 (2)
December 2008 (4)
November 2008 (3)
October 2008 (3)
September 2008 (3)
August 2008 (2)
July 2008 (3)
June 2008 (4)
May 2008 (5)
April 2008 (5)
March 2008 (4)
February 2008 (5)
January 2008 (3)
December 2007 (2)
November 2007 (5)
October 2007 (4)
September 2007 (4)
August 2007 (5)
July 2007 (4)
June 2007 (4)
May 2007 (5)

Non-Cop Films With Serious Cop Lessons

Some of the best movies for cops are not directly about law enforcement.

May 20, 2011  |  by - Also by this author

Photo: Flickr (mark lorch).
Photo: Flickr (mark lorch).

One thing I came away with from the Supervisory Leadership Institute here on the left coast was an appreciation that some non-cop films could prove of particular benefit to law enforcement.

While the films chosen by the SLI staff weren't necessarily those I would have chosen - indeed, I had reservations about some of the course's basic philosophical primers - they at least touched on pertinent areas of concern.

For an eight-month period, concepts such as loyalty, principles, ethics, and morality were viewed through the Hollywood prisms of "Billy Budd," "Patton," "Twelve O'Clock High," and "The Caine Mutiny."

Now here are a few less obvious double bills that I might suggest for the lessons they communicate:

"All About Eve." There is no shortage of opportunistic Eve Harringtons within law enforcement, or shameless Svengalis like Addison DeWitt. If the egocentric and defensive posturing doesn't ring a bell, I can only hope that you work for a smaller PD. There's no fistfights, no shootouts, but some pretty vicious backstabbing. No wonder there's a helluva lot of emotional body bags by film's end.

"Good Will Hunting." More great word play. Watch the verbal evisceration that Matt Damon's Will lays on a collegiate know-it-all and ask yourself: Whose shoes would I prefer to be in? Don't think it is applicable? Got news for you: You will have your character assailed far more often than your body. Enable yourself to set straight any impertinent SOB so that he'll think twice before becoming a repeat offender.

"Spartacus." We've all heard the parable of the first day they came and took Sam and I didn't say anything. Then they came and took Joe, and again I didn't say anything. Then they took me and nobody was left to say anything. When all those slaves stand up and identify themselves as Spartacus, ask yourself if there hasn't been a time or two when one of your fellow coppers couldn't have benefited from such solidarity?

"12 Angry Men." While a courtroom drama doesn't make an obvious double bill with a period piece, it does illustrate the importance of speaking up when you're sure you're right, even when the numbers are against you. All it takes for evil to conquer is for good men to do nothing.

"Cool Hand Luke." Going with the guy on the other side of the law? Yeah, because whatever Luke's failings as an upstanding citizen, his non-conformist agenda is something admirable.

"Full Metal Jacket." Strother Martin's character in "Cool Hand Luke" is right: "Some men you just can't reach" - they can't be broken down and re-molded. But others like PFC Gomer Pyle, USMC, who is played so chillingly by Vincent D'Onofrio, can only be broken down. Know the difference, especially since there's, shall I say, a greater "array" of personalities getting hired these days.

"John Carpenter's The Thing." I don't know about you, but I sometimes found myself wondering if some of the guys that dressed and acted like me weren't actually aliens hellbent on supplanting our police culture.

"A Few Good Men." Yeah, Jack Nicholson's the bad guy. But he's the also the one with the most memorable lines. Why? Because of the truth resonating within them. While his actions are reprehensible, his basic paradigm about being in the trenches is straight-on. There's a lot of men in "white uniforms" within our ranks who'll pass judgment on actions that wouldn't ever put themselves in a position of having to make a true command decision in the first place.

"The Godfather." Boy, talk about themes of loyalty, betrayal, and the corruption of one's soul, "The Godfather" and "The Godfather Part II" have it all. And like the Mafia, many a law enforcement organization is an organic entity, fully capable of expelling what it deems foreign bodies. "I knew it was you, Fredo."

"Southern Comfort." A guilty pleasure whose presence herein is justified in the "never say die" attitude of protagonists Keith Carradine and Powers Booth. And it's their teamwork and loyalty to one another that keeps them in the game. Besides, next to James Earl Jones, I can't think of anyone whose voice I wish I had more than Booth's. Well, maybe that 17-year-old on "American Idol"...

Do you have your own nominations for less obvious films that speak to cops? Let's hear 'em...

Comments (1)

Displaying 1 - 1 of 1

AusFOST1 @ 5/23/2011 6:50 PM

Great article. My picks are (1) " Terminator II: Judgement Day": Arnie may be a robot, but his unswerving loyalty to his crew, and his self sacrifice, in the name of saving the rest of us badly-behaved humans, pretty much sums up a cop's role. Plus he kicks OMCG butt and that can't ever be a bad thing!

(2) The Untouchables. "Carry a badge, carry a gun". And Sean Connery's immortal line "What are you prepared to do". Enough said. And if every cop shot as well as Stone, I reckon the world would be a much safer place! Legend.

(3) Tombstone: for the character assessments that Wyatt performed brilliantly every time, for the loyalty of Doc Holiday, and for the lesson that sometimes family has to come second to the job, cause you all know it does.

Join the Discussion

POLICE Magazine does not tolerate comments that include profanity, personal attacks or antisocial behavior (such as "spamming" or "trolling"). This and other inappropriate content or material will be removed. We reserve the right to block any user who violates this, including removing all content posted by that user.

Other Recent Blog Posts

Recharging Your Batteries: The Benefits of "Unplugging"
There is certainly benefit to being current on events involving the people you consider...
Speaking on the Unspeakable: Ending the Pandemic of Police Officer Suicide
I've talked with officers who have lost a colleague to suicide—as well as many widows of...

Police Magazine