The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time Films
Ultimate List
24  reranks 23,571 votes 2,933 voters 568,567 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
  • 24 ReRanks
    • Women
    • Men
    • Age
    • Region
  • See list ranked by
</> Rerank List
Score
  1. 1
    Up 1134
    Down 158

    the people's #1 1991

    open report item
  2. 2
    Up 894
    Down 158

    1995

    open report item
  3. 3
    Up 682
    Down 188

    most listed 2000

    open report item
  4. 4
    Up 694
    Down 181

    1999

    open report item
  5. 5
    Up 480
    Down 121

    1960

    open report item
  6. 6
    Up 518
    Down 131

    1994

    open report item
  7. 7
    Up 463
    Down 79

    1980

    open report item
  8. 8
    Up 716
    Down 174

    1999

    open report item
  9. 9
    Up 791
    Down 200

    2010

    open report item
  10. 10
    Up 399
    Down 174

    often listed 2000

    open report item
  11. 11
    Up 340
    Down 116

    1954

    open report item
  12. 12
    Up 304
    Down 108

    1958

    open report item
  13. 13
    Up 354
    Down 72

    Misery

    open report item
  14. 14
    Up 325
    Down 66

    added by wiabux 2006

    open report item
  15. 15
    Up 364
    Down 176

    2010

    open report item
  16. 16
    Up 385
    Down 143

    1997

    open report item
  17. 17
    Up 277
    Down 117

    1976

    open report item
  18. 18
    Up 336
    Down 115

    2004

    open report item
  19. 19
    Up 393
    Down 78

    ranked low on reranks 2010

    open report item
  20. 20
    Up 208
    Down 107

    1987

    open report item
  21. 21
    Up 389
    Down 151

    2001

    open report item
  22. 22
    Up 196
    Down 96

    1999

    open report item
  23. 23
    Up 192
    Down 77

    added by AndrewW.Curley 2003

    open report item
  24. 24
    Up 268
    Down 128

    2007

    open report item
  25. 25
    Up 126
    Down 69

    1954

    open report item
  26. 26
    Up 232
    Down 59

    ranked low on reranks & added by KeshanHareshu 2001

    open report item
  27. 27
    Up 134
    Down 103

    1962

    open report item
  28. 28
    Up 158
    Down 83

    1993

    open report item
  29. 29
    Up 194
    Down 128

    2001

    open report item
  30. 30
    Up 202
    Down 115

    2003

    open report item
  31. 31
    Up 82
    Down 97

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1974

    open report item
  32. 32
    Up 100
    Down 98

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1940

    open report item
  33. 33
    Up 93
    Down 85

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1971

    open report item
  34. 34
    Up 145
    Down 50

    ranked low on reranks 1991

    open report item
  35. 35
    Up 103
    Down 44

    ranked low on reranks 1996

    open report item
  36. 36
    Up 148
    Down 39

    ranked low on reranks & added by ChangesDownClub 2004

    open report item
  37. 37
    Up 105
    Down 61

    1999

    open report item
  38. 38
    Up 91
    Down 50

    added by ChangesDownClub 2002

    open report item
  39. 39
    Up 142
    Down 119

    added by AndrewW.Curley 2002

    open report item
  40. 40
    Up 76
    Down 84

    2009

    open report item
  41. 41
    Up 151
    Down 56

    ranked low on reranks & added by ChangesDownClub 2003

    open report item
  42. 42
    Up 61
    Down 33

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 2007

    open report item
  43. 43
    Up 156
    Down 36

    ranked low on reranks & added by KeshanHareshu 2002

    open report item
  44. 44
    Up 113
    Down 96

    often listed & ranked high on reranks 1998

    open report item
  45. 45
    Up 108
    Down 23

    ranked low on reranks & added by ShaundaPetty 1971

    open report item
  46. 46
    Up 127
    Down 92

    2001

    open report item
  47. 47
    Up 90
    Down 69

    2007

    open report item
  48. 48
    Up 76
    Down 17

    added by ShaundaPetty 1987

    open report item
  49. 49
    Up 73
    Down 60

    added by ChangesDownClub 1999

    open report item
  50. 50
    Up 77
    Down 48

    added by Mavsc79 2009

    open report item
  51. 114 +

    Something missing? Add it!

Is this list missing something?
RANKERS WHO ADDED ITEMS + 2 MORE

items 1 - 50 of 113

think you can do better?

Rerank This List
why?

got a blog or website?

embed this list
why?

viewers of this list also saw

more popular lists