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
+ - 5,512 874
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Seven Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman

3
+ - 4,191 1,058
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Fight Club Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter

4
+ - 3,953 1,135
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The Sixth Sense Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

5
+ - 3,461 1,173
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
+ - 2,730 701
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Psycho Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

7
+ - 4,878 1,010
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Shutter Island Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo

8
+ - 2,811 719
The Usual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Gabriel Byrne

9
+ - 3,232 668
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Shining Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

10
+ - 3,340 878
Inception is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Inception Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

11
+ - 2,289 487
Misery is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Misery Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan

12
+ - 1,536 596
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Rear Window Grace Kelly, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock

13
+ - 2,067 816
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American Psycho Reese Witherspoon, Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe

14
+ - 1,256 549
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Vertigo James Stewart, Kim Novak, Alfred Hitchcock

15
+ - 1,843 633
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
+ - 1,340 574
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
+ - 2,070 949
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
+ - 1,765 436
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
+ - 1,547 561
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The Machinist Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside

20
+ - 1,116 338
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
+ - 1,028 511
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
+ - 1,184 482
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
+ - 1,531 584
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Zodiac Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo

24
+ - 1,108 342
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
+ - 957 335
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
+ - 893 223
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
+ - 1,009 481
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Oldboy Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Oh Dal-su

28
+ - 966 499
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
+ - 1,618 527
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
+ - 644 319
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
+ - 1,101 342
Identity is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Identity Amanda Peet, John Cusack, Alfred Molina

32
+ - 845 518
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Mulholland Drive Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George

33
+ - 751 378
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
+ - 972 295
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
+ - 580 370
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The Manchurian Candidate Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

36
+ - 736 371
Insomnia is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Insomnia Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank

37
+ - 876 232
Prisoners is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Prisoners Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello

38
+ - 679 155
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
+ - 433 346
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Rebecca Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Fontaine

40
+ - 541 158
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
+ - 872 258
Hannibal is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Hannibal Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins

42
+ - 611 253
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
+ - 853 270
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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44
+ - 856 595
Signs is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Signs Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin

45
+ - 690 338
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
+ - 481 272
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
+ - 565 293
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Frailty Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe

48
+ - 401 299
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
+ - 369 61
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd

50
+ - 385 292
Play Misty for Me is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Play Misty for Me Clint Eastwood, Donna Mills, Jessica Walter