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.

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 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 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. 1
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    most listed
    Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak

    ) open
  2. 2
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    Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman

    ) open
  3. 3
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    Bruce Willis, Haley Joel Osment, Mischa Barton

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  4. 4
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    Carrie-Anne Moss, Guy Pearce, Jorja Fox

    ) open
  5. 5
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    the people's #1
    Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Jared Leto

    ) open
  6. 6
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    Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Gabriel Byrne

    ) open
  7. 7
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    Alfred Hitchcock, Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh

    ) open
  8. 8
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    Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo

    ) open
  9. 9
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    Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

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  10. 10
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Grace Kelly, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock

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  11. 11
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    Leonardo DiCaprio, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

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  12. 12
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    often listed
    Reese Witherspoon, Christian Bale, Jared Leto

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  13. 13
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    added by wiabux
    Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Hugh Jackman

    ) open
  14. 14
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    Misery

  15. 15
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    James Stewart, Kim Novak, Alfred Hitchcock

    ) open
  16. 16
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    Sean Penn, Michael Douglas, Spike Jonze

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  17. 17
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    Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder

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  18. 18
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    Jodie Foster, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese

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  19. 19
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    Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside

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  20. 20
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    Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale, Jake Gyllenhaal

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  21. 21
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    Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Ron Howard

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  22. 22
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    Michael Douglas, Glenn Close, Jane Krakowski

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  23. 23
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    Emmy Rossum, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon

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  24. 24
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    Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon

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  25. 25
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    Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo

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  26. 26
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    Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Ray Milland

    ) open
  27. 27
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    Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laura Linney

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  28. 28
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    Kang Hye-jung, Choi Min-sik, Oh Dal-su

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  29. 29
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    Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Logan Lerman

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  30. 30
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    Michael Douglas, Robert Duvall, Tuesday Weld

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  31. 31
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    Malcolm McDowell, Steven Berkoff, Warren Clarke

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  32. 32
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

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  33. 33
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    Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George

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  34. 34
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    Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange

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  35. 35
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    added by ChangesDownClub
    Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank

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  36. 36
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Fontaine

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  37. 37
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    often listed & added by AndrewW.Curley
    Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin

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  38. 38
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    ranked low on reranks & added by KeshanHareshu
    Edward Norton, Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes

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  39. 39
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    ranked low on reranks & added by ChangesDownClub
    Amanda Peet, John Cusack, Ray Liotta

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  40. 40
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman

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  41. 41
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    added by Mavsc79
    Vera Farmiga, Margo Martindale, Peter Sarsgaard

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  42. 42
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    added by ChangesDownClub
    Nicole Kidman, Kristen Stewart, Jodie Foster

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  43. 43
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    added by ShaundaPetty
    Stanley Kubrick, Adam Baldwin, Vincent D'Onofrio

    ) open
  44. 44
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    often listed & ranked high on reranks
    Mary Tyler Moore, Kevin Spacey, Kaya Scodelario

    ) open
  45. 45
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    Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello

    ) open
  46. 46
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    Jim Carrey, Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney

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  47. 47
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    Clint Eastwood, Donna Mills, Jessica Walter

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  48. 48
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    ranked low on reranks & added by april.macaulay
    Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn

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  49. 49
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    Jennifer Morrison, Kevin Bacon, Illeana Douglas

    ) open
  50. 50
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    Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe

    ) open
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