The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time Films
Ultimate List
23  reranks 21,082 votes 2,594 voters 486,746 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
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
Score
  1. 1
    Up 1017
    Down 144

    the people's #1
    The Silence of the Lambs

    1991 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 788
    Down 149
    1995 More
    97
  3. 3
    Up 617
    Down 170

    most listed
    Memento

    2000 More
    97
  4. 4
    Up 620
    Down 171
    1999 More
    94
  5. 5
    Up 425
    Down 113
    1960 More
    90
  6. 6
    Up 477
    Down 118
    1994 More
    89
  7. 7
    Up 399
    Down 69
    1980 More
    87
  8. 8
    Up 652
    Down 161
    1999 More
    87
  9. 9
    Up 694
    Down 188
    2010 More
    86
  10. 10
    Up 350
    Down 159
    2000 More
    82
  11. 11
    Up 312
    Down 106
    1954 More
    82
  12. 12
    Up 276
    Down 101
    1958 More
    80
  13. 13
    Up 310
    Down 66

    ranked low on reranks
    Misery

    80
  14. 14
    Up 313
    Down 157
    2010 More
    76
  15. 15
    Up 301
    Down 104
    2004 More
    75
  16. 16
    Up 274
    Down 61
    2006 More
    74
    added by: wiabux
  17. 17
    Up 255
    Down 102
    1976 More
    74
  18. 18
    Up 358
    Down 134
    1997 More
    74
  19. 19
    Up 334
    Down 69

    ranked low on reranks
    Inception

    2010 More
    71
  20. 20
    Up 186
    Down 102
    1987 More
    70
  21. 21
    Up 346
    Down 139
    2001 More
    68
  22. 22
    Up 169
    Down 72
    2003 More
    64
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  23. 23
    Up 116
    Down 62
    1954 More
    64
  24. 24
    Up 242
    Down 118
    2007 More
    64
  25. 25
    Up 172
    Down 88
    1999 More
    62
  26. 26
    Up 125
    Down 97

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    The Manchurian Candidate

    1962 More
    59
  27. 27
    Up 144
    Down 75
    1993 More
    59
  28. 28
    Up 175
    Down 119
    2001 More
    57
  29. 29
    Up 184
    Down 110
    2003 More
    56
  30. 30
    Up 190
    Down 53

    ranked low on reranks
    A Beautiful Mind

    2001 More
    56
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  31. 31
    Up 71
    Down 89

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    The Conversation

    1974 More
    53
  32. 32
    Up 86
    Down 80
    1971 More
    53
  33. 33
    Up 126
    Down 41
    1991 More
    52
  34. 34
    Up 90
    Down 40
    1996 More
    52
  35. 35
    Up 126
    Down 103
    2002 More
    51
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  36. 36
    Up 92
    Down 56
    1999 More
    50
  37. 37
    Up 74
    Down 44
    2002 More
    50
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  38. 38
    Up 91
    Down 91

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Rebecca

    1940 More
    50
  39. 39
    Up 112
    Down 36

    ranked low on reranks
    The Butterfly Effect

    2004 More
    50
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  40. 40
    Up 68
    Down 78

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Moon

    2009 More
    50
  41. 41
    Up 128
    Down 51

    ranked low on reranks
    Identity

    2003 More
    49
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  42. 42
    Up 129
    Down 33

    ranked low on reranks
    Red Dragon

    2002 More
    48
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  43. 43
    Up 102
    Down 89
    1998 More
    48
  44. 44
    Up 120
    Down 86
    2001 More
    47
  45. 45
    Up 82
    Down 63
    2007 More
    47
  46. 46
    Up 74
    Down 16

    ranked low on reranks
    A Clockwork Orange

    1971 More
    46
    added by: ShaundaPetty
  47. 47
    Up 44
    Down 27
    2007 More
    45
  48. 48
    Up 64
    Down 51
    1999 More
    44
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  49. 49
    Up 57
    Down 12

    ranked low on reranks
    Full Metal Jacket

    1987 More
    44
    added by: ShaundaPetty
  50. 50
    Up 63
    Down 48
    No image
    2005 More
    43
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  51. 113 +

    Something missing? Add it!

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?

viewers of this list also saw

more popular lists