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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 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!

The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time Films
  • 38 ReRanks
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  1. 1
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    the people's #1 & most listed
    Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak

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  2. 2
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    Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman

    ; watch now
  3. 3
    + 1977
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    Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

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  4. 4
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    Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

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  5. 5
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    Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter

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

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  7. 7
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    Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

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  8. 8
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    Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo

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    Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

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  10. 10
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    often listed
    Grace Kelly, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock

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    added by wiabux
    Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Hugh Jackman

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    Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

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  13. 13
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    Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan

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  14. 14
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    Reese Witherspoon, Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  15. 15
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    James Stewart, Kim Novak, Alfred Hitchcock

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  16. 16
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    Sean Penn, Michael Douglas, Spike Jonze

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    Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale, Jake Gyllenhaal

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    Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside

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    Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder

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    Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese

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    Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Ron Howard

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  22. 22
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    Glenn Close, Michael Douglas, Jane Krakowski

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    Emmy Rossum, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon

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  24. 24
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    Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo

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  25. 25
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    Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laura Linney Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  26. 26
    + 530
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    Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon

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  27. 27
    + 347
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    Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Ray Milland

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  28. 28
    + 354
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    Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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  29. 29
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    Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George

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  30. 30
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    Robert Duvall, Michael Douglas, Tuesday Weld

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    ranked low on reranks & added by ShaundaPetty
    Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff

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

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  33. 33
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    Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange

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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

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    added by ChangesDownClub
    Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Logan Lerman

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    added by ShaundaPetty
    Stanley Kubrick, Vincent D'Onofrio, R. Lee Ermey

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    ranked low on reranks & added by ryanmcw
    Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry

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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Fontaine Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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    added by april.macaulay
    Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson

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  40. 40
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    added by ChangesDownClub
    Amanda Peet, John Cusack, Alfred Molina

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

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    Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial

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    Jim Carrey, Paul Giamatti, Ed Harris

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    Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn

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    Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello

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  46. 46
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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman

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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Kevin Spacey, Mary Tyler Moore, Kaya Scodelario

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    Jennifer Morrison, Kevin Bacon, Illeana Douglas

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    Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Margo Martindale

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    often listed & Ranked High on Reranks
    Clint Eastwood, Donna Mills, Jessica Walter

    ; buy at  
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