The Greatest Cop Movie Of All Time Is Streaming For Free

Robocop, Paul Verhoeven's dark satire of the late 80's, is now streaming for free on Amazon Freevee.

By Jonathan Klotz | Updated


Some movies are such a product of their time that remaking them will result in all of the original magic disappearing into thin air. Such is the case with Robocop, the 1987 blockbuster directed by Paul Verhoeven that has gone on to be hailed as not only one of the best films of the 80’s, but one of the best sci-fi films of all time. Now streaming for free on Amazon Freevee, the ridiculous over-the-top action and heavy satire has often been duplicated, but never successfully.

Starring Peter Weller as Murphy, a Detroit cop brutally murdered by crime lord Clarence Boddicker (Kurtwood Smith of That 70’s Show), that is then transformed into Robocop. A product of Omni Consumer Products (OCP), Robocop has no memory of his past life and is governed by four directives, three are known and the fourth is a secret but let’s be real, even if you haven’t seen the film, you know what it is. Set loose on the crime-ridden city, Robocop becomes a hero for the brutal way he dispenses justice.

Naturally, the pursuit of justice brings him up against OCP and their own robot enforcer, ED-209. Multiple bloody shootouts ensue, each more wild than the last, which was a very clear artistic choice on the part of Paul Verhoeven. At the end of the day, Robocop is standing tall, having scored a victory for the moral individual in the face of blatant corruption.

That last part isn’t a spoiler, as there were two more Robocop movies following the success of the first. While the blatant satire was lost on parts of the viewing audience, critics recognized the gruesome violence as so brutal it become more funny than terrifying. During the late 80’s, with corporate greed at an all-time high, the film was praised for its smart undercutting of corporate interests and use of a machine to accomplish what humans were unwilling to do.

Making $53 million during its run in the United States, a sequel was quickly greenlit by the studio, written by Frank Miller and re-designed to have a PG rating, the second film actually lost money. Without Paul Verhoeven’s darkly comic touch, even a returning Peter Weller was unable to achieve the lofty heights of the original within the constraints of being PG. Thanks to Robocop being adapted into a Saturday morning cartoon (by Marvel) and the concepts general appeal to kids, the executives thought that would bring in even more money.

Peter Weller in Robocop

What the suits at Orion failed to realize, and what modern audiences love about the film, is that Robocop only works with the extreme violence as a contrast to Murphy slowly regaining his humanity. Making big corporations the blatant enemy is now considered a more accurate view of the future than other sci-fi films of the time, especially today when the real city of Detroit ended up going bankrupt.

Furthermore, the film’s preponderance of quoted lines, from “You have 20 seconds to comply,” to “I’d buy that for a dollar” have stood the test of time and are used today without most people recognizing the source. The amount of media that has cribbed lines from Robocop ranges from Vin Diesel‘s XXX to the BBC sci-fi comedy Red Dwarf.

Paul Verhoeven would go on to direct another cult classic film, Starship Troopers, that again uses violence and lip-service to authority while satirizing the very thing it appears to be promoting. Robocop was the perfect cast, script, director, and time period for the film to be made. The 2014 reboot was a financial success but has not remained in cultural memory the way the original has, nearly 40 years later.

Now that Robocop is available to stream on Amazon Freevee, there’s no excuse against watching the sci-fi classic for the first time, or the tenth time.