The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time Films
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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
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  1. 1
    Up 1062
    Down 152

    the people's #1
    The Silence of the Lambs

    1991 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 829
    Down 152
    1995 More
    97
  3. 3
    Up 644
    Down 179

    most listed
    Memento

    2000 More
    97
  4. 4
    Up 649
    Down 175
    1999 More
    94
  5. 5
    Up 444
    Down 116
    1960 More
    90
  6. 6
    Up 491
    Down 122
    1994 More
    89
  7. 7
    Up 419
    Down 75
    1980 More
    87
  8. 8
    Up 672
    Down 166
    1999 More
    87
  9. 9
    Up 729
    Down 195
    2010 More
    86
  10. 10
    Up 370
    Down 164
    2000 More
    83
  11. 11
    Up 323
    Down 111
    1954 More
    82
  12. 12
    Up 286
    Down 103
    1958 More
    80
  13. 13
    Up 328
    Down 69

    ranked low on reranks
    Misery

    80
  14. 14
    Up 332
    Down 165
    2010 More
    76
  15. 15
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    2004 More
    75
  16. 16
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    2006 More
    75
    added by: wiabux
  17. 17
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    1997 More
    74
  18. 18
    Up 263
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    1976 More
    74
  19. 19
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    ranked low on reranks
    Inception

    2010 More
    71
  20. 20
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    1987 More
    70
  21. 21
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    2001 More
    69
  22. 22
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    2003 More
    65
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  23. 23
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    2007 More
    64
  24. 24
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    1954 More
    64
  25. 25
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    1999 More
    62
  26. 26
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    1993 More
    59
  27. 27
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    1962 More
    59
  28. 28
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    2001 More
    57
  29. 29
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    2003 More
    57
  30. 30
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    ranked low on reranks
    A Beautiful Mind

    2001 More
    56
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  31. 31
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    The Conversation

    1974 More
    53
  32. 32
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    1971 More
    53
  33. 33
    Up 135
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    1991 More
    53
  34. 34
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    Down 41
    1996 More
    52
  35. 35
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    2002 More
    51
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  36. 36
    Up 96
    Down 57
    1999 More
    51
  37. 37
    Up 124
    Down 37

    ranked low on reranks
    The Butterfly Effect

    2004 More
    51
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  38. 38
    Up 81
    Down 46

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Insomnia

    2002 More
    51
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  39. 39
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    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Moon

    2009 More
    50
  40. 40
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    1940 More
    50
  41. 41
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    ranked low on reranks
    Identity

    2003 More
    49
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  42. 42
    Up 139
    Down 35

    ranked low on reranks
    Red Dragon

    2002 More
    48
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  43. 43
    Up 106
    Down 91
    1998 More
    48
  44. 44
    Up 122
    Down 87
    2001 More
    47
  45. 45
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    Down 65
    2007 More
    46
  46. 46
    Up 51
    Down 30
    2007 More
    46
  47. 47
    Up 84
    Down 22

    ranked low on reranks
    A Clockwork Orange

    1971 More
    46
    added by: ShaundaPetty
  48. 48
    Up 67
    Down 53
    1999 More
    45
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  49. 49
    Up 64
    Down 15

    ranked low on reranks
    Full Metal Jacket

    1987 More
    44
    added by: ShaundaPetty
  50. 50
    Up 64
    Down 43
    2009 More
    43
    added by: Mavsc79
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