The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time Films

The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

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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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  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 692
    Down 99

    the people's #1
    The Silence of the Lambs

    1991 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 542
    Down 106
    1995 More
    97
  3. 3
    Up 424
    Down 112
    2000 More
    92
  4. 4
    Up 434
    Down 121
    1999 More
    92
  5. 5
    Up 291
    Down 82

    most listed
    Psycho

    1960 More
    91
  6. 6
    Up 454
    Down 111
    1999 More
    89
  7. 7
    Up 343
    Down 80
    1994 More
    89
  8. 8
    Up 462
    Down 137
    2010 More
    85
  9. 9
    Up 259
    Down 108

    often listed
    American Psycho

    2000 More
    84
  10. 10
    Up 230
    Down 76
    1954 More
    83
  11. 11
    Up 217
    Down 35

    ranked low on reranks
    The Shining

    1980 More
    83
  12. 12
    Up 196
    Down 64
    1958 More
    82
  13. 13
    Up 196
    Down 37

    ranked low on reranks
    Misery

    81
  14. 14
    Up 128
    Down 65

    often listed
    Fatal Attraction

    1987 More
    75
  15. 15
    Up 174
    Down 72
    1976 More
    75
  16. 16
    Up 202
    Down 103
    2010 More
    75
  17. 17
    Up 201
    Down 70
    2004 More
    73
  18. 18
    Up 236
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    1997 More
    73
  19. 19
    Up 111
    Down 40
    2003 More
    71
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  20. 20
    Up 249
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    2001 More
    71
  21. 21
    Up 172
    Down 30
    2010 More
    70
  22. 22
    Up 154
    Down 27

    ranked low on reranks
    The Prestige

    2006 More
    70
    added by: wiabux
  23. 23
    Up 70
    Down 43
    1954 More
    67
  24. 24
    Up 168
    Down 83
    2007 More
    66
  25. 25
    Up 113
    Down 61
    1999 More
    66
  26. 26
    Up 91
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    The Manchurian Candidate

    1962 More
    65
  27. 27
    Up 97
    Down 49
    1993 More
    65
  28. 28
    Up 138
    Down 81
    2003 More
    64
  29. 29
    Up 127
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    ranked low on reranks
    The Game (1997)

    63
  30. 30
    Up 109
    Down 27
    2001 More
    62
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  31. 31
    Up 133
    Down 82
    2001 More
    61
  32. 32
    Up 62
    Down 33
    2007 More
    58
  33. 33
    Up 58
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    often listed
    Play Misty for Me

    1971 More
    58
  34. 34
    Up 70
    Down 66

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Signs

    2002 More
    58
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  35. 35
    Up 47
    Down 16
    1996 More
    57
  36. 36
    Up 71
    Down 21
    1991 More
    57
  37. 37
    Up 63
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Rebecca

    1940 More
    57
  38. 38
    Up 67
    Down 25
    2003 More
    56
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  39. 39
    Up 52
    Down 32
    1999 More
    56
  40. 40
    Up 69
    Down 17

    ranked low on reranks
    Red Dragon

    2002 More
    55
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  41. 41
    Up 48
    Down 66

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    The Conversation

    1974 More
    55
  42. 42
    Up 87
    Down 67
    2001 More
    55
  43. 43
    Up 78
    Down 63
    1998 More
    54
  44. 44
    Up 35
    Down 21
    1999 More
    53
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  45. 45
    Up 38
    Down 28
    No image
    2005 More
    53
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  46. 46
    Up 21
    Down 16
    1986 More
    53
    added by: deanroloff
  47. 47
    Up 31
    Down 21
    2002 More
    52
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  48. 48
    Up 36
    Down 21
    2009 More
    52
    added by: Mavsc79
  49. 49
    Up 12
    Down 11
    2004 More
    48
  50. 50
    Up 47
    Down 56
    2009 More
    48
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