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
  • 22 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 952
    Down 136

    the people's #1
    The Silence of the Lambs

    1991 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 735
    Down 143

    most listed
    Seven

    1995 More
    97
  3. 3
    Up 588
    Down 156
    1999 More
    93
  4. 4
    Up 550
    Down 158
    2000 More
    92
  5. 5
    Up 401
    Down 107
    1960 More
    90
  6. 6
    Up 452
    Down 111
    1994 More
    90
  7. 7
    Up 366
    Down 65
    1980 More
    87
  8. 8
    Up 614
    Down 156
    1999 More
    87
  9. 9
    Up 647
    Down 182
    2010 More
    86
  10. 10
    Up 331
    Down 145
    2000 More
    83
  11. 11
    Up 302
    Down 100
    1954 More
    83
  12. 12
    Up 268
    Down 93
    1958 More
    81
  13. 13
    Up 288
    Down 61

    Misery

    80
  14. 14
    Up 290
    Down 146

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Black Swan

    2010 More
    75
  15. 15
    Up 282
    Down 95
    2004 More
    75
  16. 16
    Up 242
    Down 96
    1976 More
    74
  17. 17
    Up 303
    Down 60

    ranked low on reranks
    Inception

    2010 More
    71
  18. 18
    Up 254
    Down 55
    2006 More
    71
    added by: wiabux
  19. 19
    Up 302
    Down 119
    1997 More
    70
  20. 20
    Up 178
    Down 96
    1987 More
    70
  21. 21
    Up 331
    Down 131
    2001 More
    68
  22. 22
    Up 162
    Down 64
    2003 More
    65
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  23. 23
    Up 232
    Down 109
    2007 More
    64
  24. 24
    Up 110
    Down 58
    1954 More
    64
  25. 25
    Up 163
    Down 84
    1999 More
    62
  26. 26
    Up 121
    Down 93
    1962 More
    59
  27. 27
    Up 136
    Down 70
    1993 More
    59
  28. 28
    Up 169
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    2001 More
    57
  29. 29
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    2003 More
    56
  30. 30
    Up 175
    Down 48

    ranked low on reranks
    A Beautiful Mind

    2001 More
    55
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  31. 31
    Up 180
    Down 54

    ranked low on reranks
    The Game (1997)

    55
  32. 32
    Up 67
    Down 85

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    The Conversation

    1974 More
    53
  33. 33
    Up 81
    Down 75
    1971 More
    53
  34. 34
    Up 118
    Down 40
    1991 More
    52
  35. 35
    Up 81
    Down 36
    1996 More
    51
  36. 36
    Up 88
    Down 51
    1999 More
    51
  37. 37
    Up 114
    Down 99
    2002 More
    50
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  38. 38
    Up 88
    Down 84
    1940 More
    50
  39. 39
    Up 65
    Down 73

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Moon

    2009 More
    50
  40. 40
    Up 66
    Down 40

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Insomnia

    2002 More
    50
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  41. 41
    Up 107
    Down 32

    ranked low on reranks
    Memento (2000)

    49
  42. 42
    Up 123
    Down 46

    ranked low on reranks
    Identity

    2003 More
    49
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  43. 43
    Up 91
    Down 31

    ranked low on reranks
    The Butterfly Effect

    2004 More
    49
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  44. 44
    Up 99
    Down 83
    1998 More
    48
  45. 45
    Up 120
    Down 32
    2002 More
    47
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  46. 46
    Up 80
    Down 57
    2007 More
    47
  47. 47
    Up 112
    Down 81
    2001 More
    47
  48. 48
    Up 39
    Down 23
    2007 More
    45
  49. 49
    Up 57
    Down 46
    1999 More
    44
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  50. 50
    Up 57
    Down 14

    Clockwork Orange

    44
    added by: ShaundaPetty
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