The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time Films
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23  reranks 21,525 votes 2,656 voters 503,689 views more info

The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

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.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 23 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 1041
    Down 148

    the people's #1
    The Silence of the Lambs

    1991 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 811
    Down 149
    1995 More
    97
  3. 3
    Up 631
    Down 174

    most listed
    Memento

    2000 More
    97
  4. 4
    Up 635
    Down 175
    1999 More
    94
  5. 5
    Up 435
    Down 115
    1960 More
    90
  6. 6
    Up 485
    Down 121
    1994 More
    89
  7. 7
    Up 409
    Down 73
    1980 More
    87
  8. 8
    Up 661
    Down 165
    1999 More
    87
  9. 9
    Up 717
    Down 192
    2010 More
    86
  10. 10
    Up 362
    Down 163
    2000 More
    82
  11. 11
    Up 318
    Down 110
    1954 More
    82
  12. 12
    Up 280
    Down 103
    1958 More
    80
  13. 13
    Up 320
    Down 69

    ranked low on reranks
    Misery

    80
  14. 14
    Up 323
    Down 162
    2010 More
    76
  15. 15
    Up 305
    Down 106
    2004 More
    75
  16. 16
    Up 282
    Down 61
    2006 More
    75
    added by: wiabux
  17. 17
    Up 259
    Down 103
    1976 More
    74
  18. 18
    Up 361
    Down 136
    1997 More
    74
  19. 19
    Up 346
    Down 69

    ranked low on reranks
    Inception

    2010 More
    71
  20. 20
    Up 189
    Down 103
    1987 More
    70
  21. 21
    Up 358
    Down 142
    2001 More
    69
  22. 22
    Up 173
    Down 73
    2003 More
    64
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  23. 23
    Up 246
    Down 118
    2007 More
    64
  24. 24
    Up 117
    Down 63
    1954 More
    64
  25. 25
    Up 176
    Down 89
    1999 More
    62
  26. 26
    Up 126
    Down 98
    1962 More
    59
  27. 27
    Up 144
    Down 76
    1993 More
    59
  28. 28
    Up 177
    Down 121
    2001 More
    57
  29. 29
    Up 187
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    2003 More
    56
  30. 30
    Up 199
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    ranked low on reranks
    A Beautiful Mind

    2001 More
    56
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  31. 31
    Up 74
    Down 90

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    The Conversation

    1974 More
    53
  32. 32
    Up 88
    Down 81
    1971 More
    53
  33. 33
    Up 130
    Down 42
    1991 More
    53
  34. 34
    Up 93
    Down 41
    1996 More
    52
  35. 35
    Up 130
    Down 106
    2002 More
    51
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  36. 36
    Up 94
    Down 57
    1999 More
    51
  37. 37
    Up 118
    Down 36

    ranked low on reranks
    The Butterfly Effect

    2004 More
    50
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  38. 38
    Up 77
    Down 45

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Insomnia

    2002 More
    50
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  39. 39
    Up 70
    Down 79

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Moon

    2009 More
    50
  40. 40
    Up 91
    Down 92
    1940 More
    50
  41. 41
    Up 131
    Down 53

    ranked low on reranks
    Identity

    2003 More
    49
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  42. 42
    Up 135
    Down 34

    ranked low on reranks
    Red Dragon

    2002 More
    48
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  43. 43
    Up 103
    Down 91
    1998 More
    47
  44. 44
    Up 120
    Down 87
    2001 More
    47
  45. 45
    Up 82
    Down 64
    2007 More
    46
  46. 46
    Up 47
    Down 28
    2007 More
    46
  47. 47
    Up 81
    Down 20

    ranked low on reranks
    A Clockwork Orange

    1971 More
    46
    added by: ShaundaPetty
  48. 48
    Up 67
    Down 52
    1999 More
    45
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  49. 49
    Up 61
    Down 14
    1987 More
    44
    added by: ShaundaPetty
  50. 50
    Up 62
    Down 43
    2009 More
    43
    added by: Mavsc79
  51. 113 +

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