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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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
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Seven Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman

3
+ - 4,053 1,011
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Fight Club Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter

4
+ - 3,833 1,102
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The Sixth Sense Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

5
+ - 3,365 1,127
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
+ - 2,654 675
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Psycho Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

7
+ - 4,720 975
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Shutter Island Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo

8
+ - 3,147 644
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
+ - 2,726 697
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
+ - 3,215 844
Inception is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Inception Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

11
+ - 2,222 469
Misery is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Misery Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan

12
+ - 1,492 585
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Rear Window Grace Kelly, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock

13
+ - 2,025 790
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American Psycho Reese Witherspoon, Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe

14
+ - 1,222 535
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Vertigo James Stewart, Kim Novak, Alfred Hitchcock

15
+ - 1,799 618
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
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Black Swan is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Black Swan Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder

17
+ - 1,306 563
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Taxi Driver Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese

18
+ - 1,679 403
Gone Girl is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Gone Girl Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry

19
+ - 1,511 546
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The Machinist Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside

20
+ - 1,077 328
Primal Fear is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Primal Fear Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laura Linney

21
+ - 995 496
Fatal Attraction is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Fatal Attraction Glenn Close, Michael Douglas, Jane Krakowski

22
+ - 1,154 461
Mystic River is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Mystic River Emmy Rossum, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon

23
+ - 1,473 569
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Zodiac Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo

24
+ - 1,052 324
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
+ - 928 323
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
+ - 852 210
The Others is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Others Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Michelle Fairley

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

28
+ - 936 485
The Talented Mr. Ripley is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Talented Mr. Ripley Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon

29
+ - 1,577 511
The Butterfly Effect is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Butterfly Effect Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Logan Lerman

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30
+ - 625 315
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
+ - 1,070 331
Identity is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Identity Amanda Peet, John Cusack, Alfred Molina

32
+ - 824 506
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Mulholland Drive Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George

33
+ - 725 368
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
+ - 947 283
Red Dragon is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Red Dragon Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton

35
+ - 567 360
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The Manchurian Candidate Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

36
+ - 723 360
Insomnia is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Insomnia Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank

37
+ - 846 223
Prisoners is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Prisoners Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello

38
+ - 644 146
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Exorcist Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

39
+ - 418 339
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Rebecca Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Fontaine

40
+ - 510 146
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
12 Monkeys Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer

41
+ - 834 248
Hannibal is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Hannibal Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins

42
+ - 595 247
Stir of Echoes is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Stir of Echoes Jennifer Morrison, Kevin Bacon, Illeana Douglas

43
+ - 812 256
Requiem for a Dream is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Requiem for a Dream Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn

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+ - 827 580
Signs is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Signs Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin

45
+ - 668 327
Secret Window is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Secret Window Johnny Depp, Maria Bello, John Turturro

46
+ - 464 263
Mr. Brooks is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Mr. Brooks Demi Moore, Kevin Costner, Danielle Panabaker

47
+ - 548 288
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Frailty Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe

48
+ - 392 288
Moon is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Moon Kevin Spacey, Mary Tyler Moore, Kaya Scodelario

49
+ - 375 285
Play Misty for Me is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Play Misty for Me Clint Eastwood, Donna Mills, Jessica Walter

50
+ - 701 305
Orphan is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Orphan Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Margo Martindale