best movies The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time  

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A list of the best psychological thrillers of all time, ranked by fans who may or may not be trying to mess with your head! 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 movies 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 top thriller movies of all time. 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. Got an opinion on great thriller movies? We want to hear it! Leave comments below or make your voice heard by voting for your favorite psychological suspense movies ever!
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1
6,545 1,134
The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Silence of the Lambs Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak

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2
5,856 931
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Seven Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman

3
4,196 1,197
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The Sixth Sense Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

4
4,447 1,135
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Fight Club Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter

5
3,637 1,251
Memento is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Memento Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

6
2,894 754
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Psycho Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

7
5,197 1,094
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Shutter Island Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo

8
3,417 734
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Shining Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

9
2,994 764
The Usual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Gabriel Byrne

10
3,561 944
Inception is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Inception Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

11
2,413 524
Misery is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Misery Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan

12
1,625 626
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Rear Window Grace Kelly, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock

13
2,168 861
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American Psycho Reese Witherspoon, Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe

14
1,311 580
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Vertigo James Stewart, Kim Novak, Alfred Hitchcock

15
1,942 683
The Game is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Game Sean Penn, Michael Douglas, Spike Jonze

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16
1,407 615
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Taxi Driver Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese

17
2,188 1,004
Black Swan is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Black Swan Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder

18
1,925 482
Gone Girl is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
ryanmcw added Gone Girl Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry

19
1,630 591
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The Machinist Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside

20
1,636 617
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Zodiac Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo

21
1,188 362
Primal Fear is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Primal Fear Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laura Linney

22
1,097 536
Fatal Attraction is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Fatal Attraction Glenn Close, Michael Douglas, Jane Krakowski

23
1,268 509
Mystic River is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
AndrewW.Curley added Mystic River Emmy Rossum, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon

24
1,231 363
No Country for Old Men is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
No Country for Old Men Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson

25
1,007 357
Cape Fear is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Cape Fear Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange

26
1,000 249
The Others is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
drkaramaniac added The Others Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Michelle Fairley

27
1,061 498
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Oldboy Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Oh Dal-su

28
1,714 566
The Butterfly Effect is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added The Butterfly Effect Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Logan Lerman

29
1,013 525
The Talented Mr. Ripley is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Talented Mr. Ripley Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon

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30
683 333
Dial M for Murder is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Dial M for Murder Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Ray Milland

31
1,173 361
Identity is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Identity Amanda Peet, John Cusack, Alfred Molina

32
888 539
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Mulholland Drive Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George

33
796 394
Falling Down is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Falling Down Robert Duvall, Michael Douglas, Tuesday Weld

34
607 390
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The Manchurian Candidate Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

35
775 392
Insomnia is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Insomnia Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank

36
1,018 323
Red Dragon is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
KeshanHareshu added Red Dragon Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton

37
739 185
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Exorcist Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

38
961 246
Prisoners is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Prisoners Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello

39
463 362
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Rebecca Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Fontaine

40
647 272
Stir of Echoes is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Stir of Echoes Jennifer Morrison, Kevin Bacon, Illeana Douglas

41
613 178
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
jared-telsa added 12 Monkeys Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer

42
931 283
Hannibal is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Hannibal Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins

43
428 72
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
DonnyCillianoMcCarthyMcCarth added One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd

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44
906 287
Requiem for a Dream is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Requiem for a Dream Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn

45
916 632
Signs is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
AndrewW.Curley added Signs Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin

46
748 359
Secret Window is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Secret Window Johnny Depp, Maria Bello, John Turturro

47
521 289
Mr. Brooks is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Mr. Brooks Demi Moore, Kevin Costner, Danielle Panabaker

48
610 307
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Frailty Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe

49
419 312
Moon is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Moon Kevin Spacey, Mary Tyler Moore, Kaya Scodelario

50
591 153
Reservoir Dogs is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Reservoir Dogs Quentin Tarantino, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth