The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time Films

The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

who else should see this list?

206,481 views 112 items 14,195 votes 1,736 voters 30 followers 18reranks
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.
< >
  • the crowd
  • 18 reranks
  • comments
  • </> embed
Rerank This List
View as a Ranked by
Rank
loading your
votes…
 
  Name
Score
  1. 1
    Up 675
    Down 98

    the people's #1
    The Silence of the Lambs

    1991 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 533
    Down 103
    1995 More
    97
  3. 3
    Up 417
    Down 110

    ranked high on reranks
    Memento

    2000 More
    92
  4. 4
    Up 428
    Down 120

    often listed
    The Sixth Sense

    1999 More
    92
  5. 5
    Up 287
    Down 81

    most listed &ranked high on reranks
    Psycho

    1960 More
    91
  6. 6
    Up 446
    Down 109

    ranked low on reranks
    Fight Club

    1999 More
    90
  7. 7
    Up 337
    Down 78
    1994 More
    90
  8. 8
    Up 453
    Down 137
    2010 More
    85
  9. 9
    Up 255
    Down 105

    often listed
    American Psycho

    2000 More
    84
  10. 10
    Up 228
    Down 75
    1954 More
    84
  11. 11
    Up 211
    Down 35

    ranked low on reranks
    The Shining

    1980 More
    83
  12. 12
    Up 193
    Down 64
    1958 More
    82
  13. 13
    Up 192
    Down 36

    ranked low on reranks
    Misery

    81
  14. 14
    Up 124
    Down 64

    often listed
    Fatal Attraction

    1987 More
    75
  15. 15
    Up 168
    Down 72
    1976 More
    75
  16. 16
    Up 195
    Down 102

    often listed &controversial
    Black Swan

    2010 More
    75
  17. 17
    Up 197
    Down 70
    2004 More
    73
  18. 18
    Up 232
    Down 93

    often listed &ranked low on reranks
    The Game

    1997 More
    73
  19. 19
    Up 109
    Down 38

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Mystic River

    2003 More
    71
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  20. 20
    Up 243
    Down 103
    2001 More
    70
  21. 21
    Up 152
    Down 26

    ranked low on reranks
    The Prestige

    2006 More
    70
    added by: wiabux
  22. 22
    Up 169
    Down 30
    2010 More
    70
  23. 23
    Up 69
    Down 42

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Dial M for Murder

    1954 More
    67
  24. 24
    Up 164
    Down 82
    2007 More
    66
  25. 25
    Up 110
    Down 60
    1999 More
    66
  26. 26
    Up 96
    Down 46

    ranked low on reranks
    Falling Down

    1993 More
    65
  27. 27
    Up 89
    Down 76

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    The Manchurian Candidate

    1962 More
    65
  28. 28
    Up 138
    Down 80

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Oldboy

    2003 More
    64
  29. 29
    Up 125
    Down 29

    ranked low on reranks
    The Game (1997)

    63
  30. 30
    Up 107
    Down 26
    2001 More
    62
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  31. 31
    Up 132
    Down 78
    2001 More
    62
  32. 32
    Up 62
    Down 31

    ranked high on reranks
    Fracture

    2007 More
    59
  33. 33
    Up 57
    Down 59

    often listed &controversial
    Play Misty for Me

    1971 More
    58
  34. 34
    Up 69
    Down 65

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Signs

    2002 More
    58
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  35. 35
    Up 45
    Down 15

    ranked low on reranks &niche appeal
    Primal Fear

    1996 More
    57
  36. 36
    Up 68
    Down 21
    1991 More
    57
  37. 37
    Up 62
    Down 63

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Rebecca

    1940 More
    57
  38. 38
    Up 51
    Down 31

    niche appeal
    Stir of Echoes

    1999 More
    56
  39. 39
    Up 64
    Down 25
    2003 More
    56
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  40. 40
    Up 48
    Down 65

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    The Conversation

    1974 More
    56
  41. 41
    Up 67
    Down 16

    ranked low on reranks
    Red Dragon

    2002 More
    56
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  42. 42
    Up 85
    Down 66

    niche appeal
    Frailty

    2001 More
    55
  43. 43
    Up 34
    Down 20

    niche appeal
    Stigmata

    1999 More
    53
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  44. 44
    Up 74
    Down 63

    often listed &niche appeal
    Pi

    1998 More
    53
  45. 45
    Up 21
    Down 15

    ranked high on reranks
    Manhunter

    1986 More
    53
    added by: deanroloff
  46. 46
    Up 36
    Down 26
    No image
    2005 More
    53
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  47. 47
    Up 31
    Down 19
    2002 More
    52
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  48. 48
    Up 33
    Down 19

    ranked low on reranks
    Orphan

    2009 More
    52
    added by: Mavsc79
  49. 49
    Up 11
    Down 9
    2004 More
    48
  50. 50
    Up 46
    Down 55

    often listed &controversial
    Moon

    2009 More
    48
  51. +Add New Item

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS

items 1 - 50 of 112

think you can do better?

rerank this list
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

    more popular lists