The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time Films
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The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

List Criteria: Vote up and add any movies that send chills down your spine leave you on the edge of your seat until the very end.

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.
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 1258
    Down 166

    the people's #1 1991

    open
  2. 2
    Up 986
    Down 165

    1995

    open
  3. 3
    Up 756
    Down 212

    most listed 2000

    open
  4. 4
    Up 768
    Down 205

    1999

    open
  5. 5
    Up 540
    Down 135

    1960

    open
  6. 6
    Up 570
    Down 142

    1994

    open
  7. 7
    Up 799
    Down 192

    1999

    open
  8. 8
    Up 886
    Down 223

    2010

    open
  9. 9
    Up 531
    Down 87

    1980

    open
  10. 10
    Up 367
    Down 124

    1954

    open
  11. 11
    Up 441
    Down 194

    often listed 2000

    open
  12. 12
    Up 336
    Down 116

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1958

    open
  13. 13
    Up 398
    Down 80

    ranked low on reranks Misery

    open
  14. 14
    Up 384
    Down 76

    added by wiabux 2006

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  15. 15
    Up 464
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    2010

    open
  16. 16
    Up 428
    Down 152

    1997

    open
  17. 17
    Up 406
    Down 195

    2010

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  18. 18
    Up 302
    Down 127

    1976

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  19. 19
    Up 367
    Down 126

    2004

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  20. 20
    Up 230
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    1987

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  21. 21
    Up 432
    Down 167

    2001

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  22. 22
    Up 218
    Down 101

    1999

    open
  23. 23
    Up 210
    Down 85

    added by AndrewW.Curley 2003

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  24. 24
    Up 145
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    1954

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  25. 25
    Up 296
    Down 136

    2007

    open
  26. 26
    Up 266
    Down 66

    ranked low on reranks & added by KeshanHareshu 2001

    open
  27. 27
    Up 143
    Down 108

    1962

    open
  28. 28
    Up 171
    Down 91

    1993

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  29. 29
    Up 225
    Down 121

    2003

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  30. 30
    Up 208
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    2001

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  31. 31
    Up 108
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1940

    open
  32. 32
    Up 153
    Down 131

    added by AndrewW.Curley 2002

    open
  33. 33
    Up 185
    Down 46

    ranked low on reranks & added by ChangesDownClub 2004

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  34. 34
    Up 163
    Down 52

    ranked low on reranks 1991

    open
  35. 35
    Up 86
    Down 102

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1974

    open
  36. 36
    Up 99
    Down 89

    1971

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  37. 37
    Up 114
    Down 49

    1996

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  38. 38
    Up 104
    Down 55

    added by ChangesDownClub 2002

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  39. 39
    Up 116
    Down 68

    1999

    open
  40. 40
    Up 92
    Down 89

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 2009

    open
  41. 41
    Up 176
    Down 61

    ranked low on reranks & added by ChangesDownClub 2003

    open
  42. 42
    Up 74
    Down 38

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 2007

    open
  43. 43
    Up 174
    Down 40

    ranked low on reranks & added by KeshanHareshu 2002

    open
  44. 44
    Up 137
    Down 28

    ranked low on reranks & added by ShaundaPetty 1971

    open
  45. 45
    Up 120
    Down 102

    1998

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  46. 46
    Up 105
    Down 76

    2007

    open
  47. 47
    Up 135
    Down 96

    2001

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  48. 48
    Up 68
    Down 41

    added by ChangesDownClub 2002

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  49. 49
    Up 90
    Down 19

    ranked low on reranks & added by ShaundaPetty 1987

    open
  50. 50
    Up 94
    Down 53

    added by Mavsc79 2009

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