10 Great Movies To Watch If You Liked “Better Call Saul”

6. Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Witness for the Prosecution (1957)

Much of the brilliance of ‘Better Call Saul’ lies in how it managed to prove that anything that happens inside a courtroom can be just as exhilarating and thoroughly entertaining as the bloodiest cartel shoot-out. Whether it’s Saul masterfully outmaneuvering his brother Chuck at the New Mexico bar hearing (S3E5), Kim securing an unlikely plea deal for the Kettlemans (S1E7), or Jimmy/Saul representing himself and confessing all his wrongdoings in the series finale — some of the most nerve-racking moments happened in the most unexpected of places; court.

Courtroom thriller dramas have been a staple genre in Hollywood almost since celluloid emerged, so we’re turning the clock all the way back to ’57 to deliver you the absolute cream of the crop in this stone-cold classic directed by Billy Wilder. Bolstered by two commanding performances by heavyweight A-listers Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich, this Agatha Christie-penned whodunit centers around one possibly innocent man who’s being accused of murder, prompting a senior barrister with a heart condition but tenacious willpower to defend him in court. Nothing will prepare you for the barrage of twists and turns that unfold during the film’s climactic ending.


7. A History of Violence (2006)

A History of Violence

One particular aspect that made Jimmy’s downfall even the more disheartening to swallow as a viewer was how he inadvertently brought Kim Wexler into the fold, involving an otherwise good-hearted and hard-working lawyer with a bright future ahead of her in a shady world she didn’t belong in.

‘A History of Violence’ similarly interrogates how a fortuitous event can turn the mundane life of a stand-up citizen and irreversibly set him on a head-on collision course. Tom Stall (Viggo Mortensen), at first glance an average everyman, finds himself embroiled at the center of a national media frenzy following an heroic act of self-defense during an attempted violent robbery in his small-town diner. Much like the AMC drama series, this classic Cronenberg thriller dissolves the boundary between facile terms like ‘good’ and ‘evil’, revealing a more nuanced conflict with more moral pickles than first meets the eye and slowly pulling back the curtain on the seedy underbelly of Midwestern suburbia. As long as you have the stomach for it, ‘A History of Violence’ will give you plenty of food for thought to dwell on once the credits roll.


8. The Sting (1973)

The Sting

Throughout the entirety of ‘Better Call Saul’, Jimmy McGill pulled all sorts of elaborate scams, from the fake Rolex scam he ran with his pal Marco back in Cicero, mailing hundreds of postcards to the District Attorney’s office and acting as a Louisiana church to get Huell out of legal trouble, or impersonating Howard Hamlin to tarnish his reputation.

While ‘Slipping Jimmy’ certainly set the bar high, when it comes to the art of the con, ‘The Sting’ still remains undefeated. Widely championed, endlessly imitated and never duplicated, this 1973 Best Picture-winning caper follows the exploits of two professional grifters in Depression-era Chicago who come up with a carefully orchestrated ruse to get even with a rival local mob boss who whacked one of their friends. The film essentially keeps throwing curveballs at every turn before sliding towards an exhilarating climax full of twists and double-crosses galore that would even make Saul Goodman blush.

Robert Redford and Paul Newman, who joined forces once again after the runaway success of the 1969 ‘Butch Cassidy’, effortlessly play off each other’s presence and bring all the chutzpah, wit and charm that the lead roles required. Watching them trade banters and execute the ultimate heist to perfection remains one of cinema’s greatest viewing pleasures.


9. The Long Goodbye (1973)

The Long Goodbye (1973)

We turn the clock back once again to the year of 1973 to dive into one of the ultimate neo-noir films of the New Hollywood Wave. Directed by legendary filmmaker Robert Altman and anchored by an indelible performance by Elliot Gould, this Raymond Carver adaptation gifted us with the greatest on-screen Philip Marlowe interpretation — a wisecracking, laid-back LA private detective who this time around finds himself in the middle of a convoluted conspiracy involving murdered wives, beach house parties, and hungry cats.

Any reader who has already navigated through ‘The Long Goodbye’ will surely agree that trying to come up with a semi-coherent synopsis is something of a fool’s errand. When it comes to this film, following too hard its misleading narrative breadcrumbs is a sure way to miss all of the fun in between. The film essentially plays out like a 100-minute-long hard-boiled mystery that never goes anywhere, like a sort of proto-‘Big Lebowski’ zany crime spoof blended into a Pynchonesque paranoid conspiracy. ‘Better Call Saul’ aficionados will surely appreciate the use of misdirection, thinly-veiled satire and mise-en-scène, not to mention Gould’s effortlessly charming outing.


10. Nebraska (2013)

Nebraska (2013)

We bookend the present list with a modern film that, though perhaps not his defining work as an actor or his most lucrative payday, will arguably go down as the best film Bob Odenkirk has ever been a part of yet. Sharing the spotlight with the ‘Better Call Saul’ alum are Bruce Dern and Will Forte as an aging, alcoholic Korean vet and his estranged adult son, who embark on a journey together from Nebraska to Montana to claim a million dollar sweepstakes prize.

This unlikely road trip through the American frontier serves as the baseline for the film’s bittersweet meditation of old age, familial bonds, holding grudges and confronting death. Odenkirk makes the most out of his limited runtime, stealing virtually every scene he’s in as Ross, a callous news anchor who’s almost as shamelessly self-centered as Saul. From the frosty Nebraska setting, black-and-white cinematography, melancholic mood and Odenkirk’s vivid presence, it’s hard not to think of Gene’s scenes as a mustachioed Cinnabon manager in Omaha while you watch Alexander Payne’s late-career opus.