The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time Films
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22  reranks 20,050 votes 2,393 voters 417,542 views more info

The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

List of the best psychological thrillers and mystery films ever made. 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 very best films from the psychological thriller genre. 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.
List is ranked by a combination of each item's votes & positioning in reranks
  • 22 ReRanks
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Score
  1. 1
    Up 940
    Down 137

    the people's #1
    The Silence of the Lambs

    1991 More
    100
  2. 2
    Up 726
    Down 143

    most listed
    Seven

    1995 More
    97
  3. 3
    Up 580
    Down 157
    1999 More
    93
  4. 4
    Up 549
    Down 158
    2000 More
    92
  5. 5
    Up 397
    Down 108
    1960 More
    90
  6. 6
    Up 447
    Down 113
    1994 More
    89
  7. 7
    Up 360
    Down 65
    1980 More
    87
  8. 8
    Up 607
    Down 157
    1999 More
    87
  9. 9
    Up 639
    Down 181
    2010 More
    86
  10. 10
    Up 326
    Down 147
    2000 More
    83
  11. 11
    Up 300
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    1954 More
    82
  12. 12
    Up 266
    Down 94
    1958 More
    81
  13. 13
    Up 285
    Down 61

    ranked low on reranks
    Misery

    80
  14. 14
    Up 287
    Down 147

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Black Swan

    2010 More
    75
  15. 15
    Up 279
    Down 96
    2004 More
    75
  16. 16
    Up 239
    Down 97
    1976 More
    74
  17. 17
    Up 248
    Down 55
    2006 More
    70
    added by: wiabux
  18. 18
    Up 292
    Down 60

    ranked low on reranks
    Inception

    2010 More
    70
  19. 19
    Up 300
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    1997 More
    70
  20. 20
    Up 173
    Down 98
    1987 More
    69
  21. 21
    Up 324
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    2001 More
    68
  22. 22
    Up 161
    Down 64
    2003 More
    65
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  23. 23
    Up 109
    Down 59
    1954 More
    64
  24. 24
    Up 228
    Down 111
    2007 More
    64
  25. 25
    Up 162
    Down 84
    1999 More
    62
  26. 26
    Up 120
    Down 94
    1962 More
    59
  27. 27
    Up 134
    Down 71
    1993 More
    59
  28. 28
    Up 169
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    2001 More
    57
  29. 29
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    2003 More
    56
  30. 30
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    ranked low on reranks
    A Beautiful Mind

    2001 More
    55
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  31. 31
    Up 179
    Down 53

    ranked low on reranks
    The Game (1997)

    55
  32. 32
    Up 67
    Down 86

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    The Conversation

    1974 More
    53
  33. 33
    Up 80
    Down 76

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Play Misty for Me

    1971 More
    53
  34. 34
    Up 117
    Down 40
    1991 More
    52
  35. 35
    Up 80
    Down 36
    1996 More
    51
  36. 36
    Up 87
    Down 51
    1999 More
    51
  37. 37
    Up 88
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    1940 More
    50
  38. 38
    Up 110
    Down 98
    2002 More
    50
    added by: AndrewW.Curley
  39. 39
    Up 64
    Down 74

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Moon

    2009 More
    50
  40. 40
    Up 65
    Down 40

    often listed &ranked high on reranks
    Insomnia

    2002 More
    50
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  41. 41
    Up 105
    Down 32

    ranked low on reranks
    Memento (2000)

    49
  42. 42
    Up 122
    Down 46

    ranked low on reranks
    Identity

    2003 More
    49
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  43. 43
    Up 88
    Down 30

    ranked low on reranks
    The Butterfly Effect

    2004 More
    48
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  44. 44
    Up 98
    Down 84
    1998 More
    48
  45. 45
    Up 118
    Down 32
    2002 More
    47
    added by: KeshanHareshu
  46. 46
    Up 80
    Down 57
    2007 More
    47
  47. 47
    Up 111
    Down 82
    2001 More
    47
  48. 48
    Up 38
    Down 23
    2007 More
    45
  49. 49
    Up 56
    Down 46
    1999 More
    44
    added by: ChangesDownClub
  50. 50
    Up 55
    Down 14

    Clockwork Orange

    44
    added by: ShaundaPetty
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