The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time Films

The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

410,549 views 112 items 19,821 votes 2,373 voters 38 followers 21reranks
List of the best psychological thrillers and mystery films ever made. Though a variety of definitions for the "psychological thriller" genre have been offered, there is no universally accepted set of guidelines. In general, psychological thrillers integrate personal character elements into mystery and suspense films, essentially toeing the line between a dramatic character study and the sort of plot structure you'd expect from a detective movie. Many psychological thrillers resemble traditional thrillers or suspense films, only with a personal, internal antagonist rather than a traditional movie villain. (For example, Repulsion or The Conversation, in which the plot is moved forward by the main character's growing paranoia and madness.) In many films of this type, the solution to the main character's conflict comes in the form of altering their perspective or discovering some buried truth about themselves and their past, rather than winning a fight or battling an opponent.

Many psychological thrillers play around with the main character's back story, or make use of an unreliable narrator. Films like Christopher Nolan's Memento present the audience with one perspective on the story, and then generate suspense by showing the ways in which "reality" contrasts to this perspective. (This sometimes, but not always, results in a "twist" or surprise ending based on the difference between the main character's perception and that of outside observers.) Several Alfred Hitchcock films utilize this technique, particularly movies like Spellbound and Marnie, in which the story concerns a character becoming mentally well after years of madness and confusion.

This list contains the very best films from the psychological thriller genre. It is Open and Voteranked, so be sure to vote for your favorites and add any other movies we missed at the bottom of the page.
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    1. 1
      Up 928
      Down 137

      the people's #1
      The Silence of the Lambs

      1991 More
      100
    2. 2
      Up 719
      Down 142
      1995 More
      97
    3. 3
      Up 577
      Down 156

      most listed
      The Sixth Sense

      1999 More
      94
    4. 4
      Up 545
      Down 157
      2000 More
      94
    5. 5
      Up 444
      Down 112
      1994 More
      91
    6. 6
      Up 392
      Down 107
      1960 More
      89
    7. 7
      Up 630
      Down 179
      2010 More
      87
    8. 8
      Up 352
      Down 65
      1980 More
      86
    9. 9
      Up 602
      Down 156
      1999 More
      86
    10. 10
      Up 323
      Down 146
      2000 More
      82
    11. 11
      Up 295
      Down 102
      1954 More
      82
    12. 12
      Up 281
      Down 61

      ranked low on reranks
      Misery

      81
    13. 13
      Up 261
      Down 94
      1958 More
      80
    14. 14
      Up 283
      Down 146

      often listed
      Black Swan

      2010 More
      75
    15. 15
      Up 276
      Down 95
      2004 More
      74
    16. 16
      Up 284
      Down 59
      2010 More
      73
    17. 17
      Up 236
      Down 96
      1976 More
      73
    18. 18
      Up 298
      Down 119
      1997 More
      72
    19. 19
      Up 244
      Down 53

      ranked low on reranks
      The Prestige

      2006 More
      72
      added by: wiabux
    20. 20
      Up 171
      Down 97
      1987 More
      70
    21. 21
      Up 319
      Down 131
      2001 More
      69
    22. 22
      Up 159
      Down 63
      2003 More
      68
      added by: AndrewW.Curley
    23. 23
      Up 108
      Down 58

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Dial M for Murder

      1954 More
      66
    24. 24
      Up 161
      Down 83
      1999 More
      65
    25. 25
      Up 224
      Down 109
      2007 More
      65
    26. 26
      Up 171
      Down 48
      2001 More
      63
      added by: KeshanHareshu
    27. 27
      Up 177
      Down 53

      ranked low on reranks
      The Game (1997)

      62
    28. 28
      Up 120
      Down 93

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      The Manchurian Candidate

      1962 More
      62
    29. 29
      Up 132
      Down 70
      1993 More
      61
    30. 30
      Up 170
      Down 106
      2003 More
      60
    31. 31
      Up 167
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      2001 More
      59
    32. 32
      Up 87
      Down 26
      2004 More
      59
      added by: ChangesDownClub
    33. 33
      Up 108
      Down 98

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Signs

      2002 More
      58
      added by: AndrewW.Curley
    34. 34
      Up 119
      Down 45
      2003 More
      58
      added by: ChangesDownClub
    35. 35
      Up 114
      Down 40

      ranked low on reranks
      Cape Fear

      1991 More
      57
    36. 36
      Up 86
      Down 50

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Stir of Echoes

      1999 More
      57
    37. 37
      Up 79
      Down 76

      often listed &ranked high on reranks
      Play Misty for Me

      1971 More
      57
    38. 38
      Up 102
      Down 32

      ranked low on reranks
      Memento (2000)

      56
    39. 39
      Up 77
      Down 36
      1996 More
      55
    40. 40
      Up 115
      Down 31

      ranked low on reranks
      Red Dragon

      2002 More
      55
      added by: KeshanHareshu
    41. 41
      Up 86
      Down 85
      1940 More
      55
    42. 42
      Up 79
      Down 56
      2007 More
      55
    43. 43
      Up 63
      Down 39
      2002 More
      55
      added by: ChangesDownClub
    44. 44
      Up 66
      Down 86

      often listed
      The Conversation

      1974 More
      54
    45. 45
      Up 110
      Down 82
      2001 More
      54
    46. 46
      Up 53
      Down 14

      Clockwork Orange

      54
      added by: ShaundaPetty
    47. 47
      Up 46
      Down 12
      1987 More
      53
      added by: ShaundaPetty
    48. 48
      Up 37
      Down 22
      2007 More
      52
    49. 49
      Up 96
      Down 84
      1998 More
      51
    50. 50
      Up 40
      Down 35
      1986 More
      51
      added by: deanroloff
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