Sicario is considered one of the best action/thrillers in recent memory. It is viewed by many as a harsh depiction of what the war between the Mexican drug cartel and FBI is really like.
There’s plenty of violence and corruption to go around. Sicario also features a shocking and thrilling climax that people still talk about to this day. Great movies are often defined by their longevity. Here’s a look at the 12 Best Movies Like Sicario.
Sicario is a modern classic. While fighting an influx of violence at the border between Arizona and Mexico, the Central Intelligence Agency reaches a point where they need extra help.
A high level FBI agent is recommended and agrees to join the task force to help bring down the Sonora drug cartel. The wildcard during the operations is Alejandro Gillick, who is a mysterious figure.
While Gillick is assisting in the operation to bring down the drug cartel, there isn’t a lot of known information regarding his connection to the drug cartel and why he wants to bring them down.
Motives are questioned, and true identities are revealed as the movie heads towards a thrilling final score. Sicario stands out for leaving viewers room to question some of the main character’s moral ambiguity.
Who’s really doing the right thing? Is there a moral justification for the hero’s behavior in a way that could be seen as unjust? Sicario leaves viewers with plenty of questions to think about once the film is over.
12 Movies Like Sicario
1. No Country For Old Men (2007)
English 2h 2m IMDb
Director: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Stars: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin
Few movies are as unsettling as No Country For Old Men. The movie is similar to Sicario in regard to strong violence, a thrilling ending and characters with a flawed moral compass. The plot involves a lucky stranger who finds a fortune while hunting in the desert.
The stranger is the beneficiary of an unfortunate situation and as a result walks away with millions of dollars in cash that he stole from the scene. Brutal hitman Anton Chigurh is tasked with finding the veteran and recovering the money.
Chigurh will stop at nothing to retrieve the money and leaves a large trail of blood in his wake as he pursues the veteran. Local sheriff Ed Tom Bell strives to stop Chigurh and keep the veteran safe.
The veteran, fearing for the safety of his wife, hides the money at a small hotel in El Paso. All roads lead there as the veteran attempts to survive Chigurh and other Mexican mercenaries who want revenge for the drug deal gone bad.
Will Sheriff Bell be able to prevent a disaster from occurring? The final 30 minutes of the film are an emotional rollercoaster that viewers won’t forget.
2. Hell or High Water (2016)
English 1h 42m IMDb
Director: David Mackenzie
Stars: Chris Pine, Ben Foster, Jeff Bridges
Hell or High Water is an action thriller that also compares favorably to Sicario in that the main characters aren’t exactly heroes. Movies that include mortal ambiguity often lead to suspense and unforgettable endings.
The movie centers around two brothers who are trying to find a solution to the emergency situation they find themselves in. Their ranch is in severe debt, and the brothers are running out of time to accumulate funds before the ranch is foreclosed.
Faced with no other options, the brothers start robbing banks to help save their ranch two grizzled Texas Rangers are assigned to the case. They use multiple strategies to figure out future targets as well as possible motives.
The brothers are driven to crime as a way to save the ranch and prevent their children from being engulfed by the cycle of poverty. Will the Texas Rangers track the brothers down before they can secure their families future? Hell of High Water has a lot of tense scenes throughout the movie.
3. Savages (2012)
English 2h 11m IMDb
Director: Oliver Stone
Stars: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Taylor Kitsch, Blake Lively
Savages is another movie that stands out and has similarities to Sicario because the protagonists are not exactly heroes. The plot revolves around two marijuana growers: a philanthropic college graduate and an ex-Navy SEAL.
The two marijuana growers are involved in a relationship with their girlfriend Ophelia. Together, the three have formed a lucrative marijuana business. However, things become complicated when the Mexican drug cartel takes note of the trio’s successful empire.
During the meeting, the terms of a potential business arrangement are not agreed upon. The intensity reaches another level when the drug cartel kidnaps Ophelia. Savages lives up to its name with brutal violence, betrayal, and double crosses.
Like the other movies on this list, there is constant tension throughout the movie until the final score, which includes a shocking ending. Savages provides non-stop excitement.
4. Man on Fire (2004)
English 2h 26m IMDb
Director: Tony Scott
Stars: Denzel Washington, Christopher Walken, Dakota Fanning
Man on Fire is similar to Sicario because it features similar themes: a flawed protagonist and actions influenced by revenge and vengeance. The film finds John Creasy down on his luck. Creasy is a former member of the CIA and U.S. Marine Corps.
Traumatized by some of his experiences throughout his career, Creasy feels that he has no purpose in life and tries to commit suicide.
The suicide attempt proves unsuccessful and Creasy is recruited by his friend to fulfill a special request: serve as the bodyguard for a young girl who is being pursued by kidnapers. Creasy initially declines the offer but reluctantly takes the job.
There’s tension at first between Creasy and the young girl by they start to bond. Creasy and the young girl are ambushed, resulting in a kidnapping. Creasy is committed to leaving a brutal path of destruction in his wake as he works to find the young girl and keep her safe from further harm.
5. Prisoners (2013)
English 2h 33m IMDb
Director: Denis Villeneuve
Stars: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis
Similar to Sicario, the movie Prisoners involves brutal vigilantism. Prisoners takes viewers on a thrill ride. There is plenty of suspense and tension throughout. The plot centers on father Keller Dover, who is horrified to learn that his daughter and her friend have disappeared.
Dover demands immediate action by the police until his daughter and her friend are found. When Dover believes that the police investigation is moving a little too slowly, he decides to take desperate measures. The shocking plot twist will leave you stunned.
6. Wind River (2017)
English 1h 47m IMDb
Director: Taylor Sheridan
Stars: Elizabeth Olsen, Jeremy Renner, Graham Greene
Wind River has a thrilling plot that grips viewers all the way until the climax. The plot brings together an FBI agent and a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Tracker as they seek to solve the rape and mysterious death of a young woman who is found on a trail going through the Wind River Indian Reservation in Wyoming.
The young woman was dating a security guard at the local oil drilling site. The investigation begins to center on other security guards at the site, leading to a shocking conclusion. Similar to Sicario, Wind River has a lot of tense scenes and a surprising ending.
7. Bridge Of Spies (2015)
English 2h 22m IMDb
Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda
Bridge of Spies has a thrilling plot and adds layers of tension as the movie progresses. The plot involves a high level lawyer who is tasked with representing Russian spy Rudolf Abel. Abel is on trial for treason.
The Soviet Union wants to set up a deal where Abel heads back to Russia in exchange for Air Force pilot Francis Gary Powers, who is being held in a Moscow Prison. The attorney, James Donovan, is harassed for defending the Russian spy and accused of not showing Patriotism.
Dialogue between the United States and Soviet Union regarding the potential exchange continues to be tense. There’s a race against the clock for both parties that neither country is in a position to lose.
8. The International (2019)
English 1h 58m IMDb
Director: Tom Tykwer
Stars: Clive Owen, Naomi Watts, Armin Mueller-Stahl
The International is similar to Sicario because it involves multiple parties working together to stop a common enemy. The plot centers around Interpol detective Louis Salinger and Eleanor Whitman, an Assistant District Attorney from America.
Together, the duo is asked to investigate the shady activity involving the International Bank of Business and Credit. The IBBC is reportedly involved in multiple criminal activities, including arms trading and money laundering.
The bank has ties to criminal organizations and corrupt governments all over the World. There’s even stronger evidence that the bank is responsible for several high profile murders. It’s up to Salinger and Whitman to eliminate this global and domestic threat and secure justice.
The thriller includes multiple high level action sequences and a sudden plot twist.
9. Heat (1995)
English 2h 50m IMDb
Director: Michael Mann
Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer
Much like Sicario received universal praise for keeping viewers glued to the screen throughout the entire movie. Heat is considered an all-time classic drama/suspense film. Heat and Sicario are also similar because they showcase just how far the protagonist is willing to go to settle a personal score.
The plot revolves around career criminal Neil McCauley. McCauley is completely dedicated and avoids any long term commitments. McCauley and his crew catch the attention of LAPD Lieutenant Vincent Hanna when their latest heist takes an unexpected turn.
Determined to stop McCauley’s crew, Lieutenant Hanna tries to find out as much information as possible about McCauley. The two men on opposite sides of the law have a meeting and reach a tense understanding.
Heat combines a lot of unique elements; flawed heroes, righteous villains, betrayals, and conflicts of interest. The mix of violence and constant plot twists help Heat reach legendary status.
10. Triple 9 (2016)
English 1h 55m IMDb
Director: John Hillcoat
Stars: Casey Affleck, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Anthony Mackie
Triple 9 is similar to Sicario due to its graphic violence and depictions of corrupt cops. The betrayals and shocking twists continue until the end. The movie centers around a large criminal crew that includes multiple corrupt cops.
They are blackmailed by the wife of a huge Russian Mafia boss to commit multiple heists. The heists become increasingly dangerous to pull off, which causes the crew to develop a plan. One of the corrupt cops in the crew develops a plan to have their partner get killed in a Triple 9 scenario.
The partner unwittingly gets sucked into the plan, with no idea that he is a pawn in a dangerous game with no room for error. The final 20 minutes provide edge of your seat tension.
11. Gone Baby Gone (2007)
English 1h 54m IMDb
Director: Ben Affleck
Stars: Morgan Freeman, Ed Harris, Casey Affleck
Gone Baby Gone is similar to Sicario because the tension and climax of the film will leave you speechless. The movie centers around grieving mother Helene McCready, whose daughter has been kidnaped. McCready’s family hires two private investigators to help find the missing girl.
Soon, the private investigators decide to partner with local law enforcement in a joint search to find McCready’s daughter. What follows next is a web of deception, as many people are revealed to be hiding secrets.
Shocking interior motives are revealed, leading to the heart stopping conclusion. Gone Baby Gone is similar to Sicario because the movie is unpredictable. There are multiple plot twists during the movie.
12. The Way Of The Gun (2000)
English 1h 59m IMDb
Director: Christopher McQuarrie
Stars: Ryan Phillippe, Benicio Del Toro, Juliette Lewis
The Way Of The Gun is similar to Sicario because of the tense scenes of violence and unpredictable nature of the main characters. Sicario also has a couple of brutal scenes that are just unforgettable. The Way of The Gun delivers brutal violence and shocking plot twists in equal amounts.
The plot centers around criminals Parker and Longbaugh. The duo is tired of doing low level crimes to make ends meet. They plan to hit the jackpot by kidnapping the surrogate mother of a wealthy figure and completing a successful extortion attempt.
However, things don’t exactly work as planned, as the wealthy figure is also a fellow criminal with a lot of ammunition. Will Parker and Longbaugh stay alive to see their extortion attempt go through or have they gotten in over their heads?
These 12 best movies like Sicario all share similar traits: unpredictable plot twists, unforgettable endings and unexpected violence. Action films are some of the most popular in the entire industry.
However, other elements are needed in order to become classic films. You need to engage the audience with more than blood. These movies showcase the power of nonstop action mixed with engaging plots.