Thrillers The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time  

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Ranker Video The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time

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. With that in mind, what do you think are the best psychological thriller movies? Could some even be considered the best thriller movies ever?

Many of the top 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 best thriller movies of all time. It is open and vote ranked, so be sure to vote for your favorites and add any other movies that may be missing at the bottom of the page. Got an opinion on great thriller movies? Vote for your favorite psychological suspense movies ever! And, if you love scary material, check out this list of the best current crime shows as well. 

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51
959 466
Fracture is listed (or ranked) 51 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Ryan Gosling, Anthony Hopkins, Rosamund Pike Fracture is a 2007 American-German crime-mystery thriller film, directed by Gregory Hoblit and starring Anthony Hopkins and Ryan Gosling. It tells the story of a man accused of attempted murder ...more

52
821 397
Jacob's Ladder is listed (or ranked) 52 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Macaulay Culkin, Tim Robbins, Jason Alexander Jacob's Ladder is a 1990 American psychological horror film directed by Adrian Lyne, written and produced by Bruce Joel Rubin and starring Tim Robbins, Elizabeth Peña and Danny Aiello. ...more

53
1,126 325
Jaws is listed (or ranked) 53 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss, Roy Scheider Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter Benchley's novel of the same name. The prototypical summer blockbuster, its release is regarded as a ...more

54
1,267 550
Orphan is listed (or ranked) 54 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Mavsc79 added Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard, Margo Martindale Orphan is a 2009 American psychological thriller film directed by Jaume Collet-Serra. It stars Vera Farmiga, Peter Sarsgaard and Isabelle Fuhrman. The film centers on a couple who adopt a ...more

55
1,463 428
Pulp Fiction is listed (or ranked) 55 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
carolyn-branan added John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American black comedy thriller film written and directed by Quentin Tarantino, from a story by Tarantino and Roger Avary. The film is known for its eclectic dialogue, ...more

56
599 506
Play Misty for Me is listed (or ranked) 56 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Clint Eastwood, Donna Mills, Jessica Walter Play Misty for Me is a 1971 American psychological thriller film, directed by and starring Clint Eastwood, in his directorial debut. Jessica Walter and Donna Mills co-star. The original music ...more

57
895 330
The Skeleton Key is listed (or ranked) 57 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
harleyquinn3381 added Kate Hudson, John Hurt, Joy Bryant The Skeleton Key is a 2005 American supernatural horror film starring Kate Hudson, Gena Rowlands, John Hurt, Peter Sarsgaard, and Joy Bryant. The film centers on a young hospice nurse who ...more

58
1,029 304
Halloween is listed (or ranked) 58 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
drkaramaniac added Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards, Donald Pleasence Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher horror film directed and scored by John Carpenter, co-written with producer Debra Hill, and starring Donald Pleasence and Jamie Lee Curtis in her ...more

59
1,116 346
Reservoir Dogs is listed (or ranked) 59 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Quentin Tarantino, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth Reservoir Dogs is a 1992 American ensemble crime film that depicts the events before and after a botched diamond heist. The film was the debut of director and writer Quentin Tarantino, and stars ...more

60
442 504
The Conversation is listed (or ranked) 60 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Harrison Ford, Robert Duvall, Gene Hackman The Conversation is a 1974 American psychological thriller film written, produced and directed by Francis Ford Coppola and starring Gene Hackman with supporting roles by John Cazale, Allen ...more

61
670 536
Moon is listed (or ranked) 61 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Kevin Spacey, Mary Tyler Moore, Kaya Scodelario Moon is a 2009 British science fiction drama film co-written and directed by Duncan Jones. The film follows Sam Bell, a man who experiences a personal crisis as he nears the end of a three-year ...more

62
1,165 585
Panic Room is listed (or ranked) 62 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Kristen Stewart, Nicole Kidman, Jodie Foster Panic Room is a 2002 American thriller film directed by David Fincher and written by David Koepp. The film stars Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart as a mother and daughter whose new home is ...more

63
1,040 506
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotle... is listed (or ranked) 63 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science-fiction comedy-drama film about an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories, written by Charlie ...more

64
513 69
The Shawshank Redemption is listed (or ranked) 64 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
AshrafulKaderMahin added Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth, Tim Robbins The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 American drama film written and directed by Frank Darabont and starring Tim Robbins and Morgan Freeman. Adapted from the Stephen King novella Rita Hayworth and ...more

65
723 306
Law Abiding Citizen is listed (or ranked) 65 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
JulianAndresBeltran added Gerard Butler, Jamie Foxx, Viola Davis Law Abiding Citizen is a 2009 American thriller film directed by F. Gary Gray from a screenplay written by Kurt Wimmer and stars Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler. Law Abiding Citizen was released ...more

66
684 486
The Cell is listed (or ranked) 66 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn, Vincent D'Onofrio The Cell is a 2000 horror film directed by Tarsem Singh, and starring Jennifer Lopez, Vince Vaughn and Vincent D'Onofrio.

67
734 491
Stigmata is listed (or ranked) 67 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Portia de Rossi, Patricia Arquette, Nia Long Stigmata is a 1999 supernatural horror film directed by Rupert Wainwright and starring Patricia Arquette as an atheist hairdresser from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, who is afflicted with the ...more

68
730 331
Gone Baby Gone is listed (or ranked) 68 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
ryanmcw added Morgan Freeman, Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris Gone Baby Gone is a 2007 American neo-noir mystery film directed by Ben Affleck and starring his brother Casey Affleck. The screenplay by Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard is based on the novel of ...more

69
757 288
The Illusionist is listed (or ranked) 69 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
looksharp added Jessica Biel, Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti The Illusionist is a 2006 American period drama film written and directed by Neil Burger and starring Edward Norton, Paul Giamatti, and Jessica Biel. It is based loosely on Steven Millhauser's ...more

70
717 227
The Girl with the Dragon Tatto... is listed (or ranked) 70 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
carolyn-branan added Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Robin Wright The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a 2011 Swedish-American mystery thriller film based on the novel of the same name by Stieg Larsson. This film adaptation was directed by David Fincher and ...more

71
695 675
Eyes Wide Shut is listed (or ranked) 71 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Tom Cruise, Nicole Kidman, Stanley Kubrick Eyes Wide Shut is a 1999 American thriller film loosely based upon Arthur Schnitzler's 1926 novella Dream Story. The film was directed, produced, and co-written by Stanley Kubrick. It was his ...more

72
657 415
Gothika is listed (or ranked) 72 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
harleyquinn3381 added Halle Berry, Robert Downey Jr., Penélope Cruz Gothika is a 2003 supernatural horror film directed by Mathieu Kassovitz and written by Sebastian Gutierrez. Halle Berry plays a psychiatrist in a women's mental hospital who wakes up one day to ...more

73
526 244
North by Northwest is listed (or ranked) 73 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock, Eva Marie Saint North by Northwest is a 1959 American spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and starring Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint and James Mason. The screenplay was written by Ernest Lehman, who ...more

74
552 212
1408 is listed (or ranked) 74 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
MeganGrothem added Samuel L. Jackson, John Cusack, Kate Walsh 1408 is a 2007 American psychological horror film based on the Stephen King 1999 short story of the same name directed by Swedish director Mikael Håfström. The movie stars John ...more

75
569 249
Basic Instinct is listed (or ranked) 75 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Richard Dumas added Sharon Stone, Michael Douglas, Jeanne Tripplehorn Basic Instinct is a 1992 French-American neo-noir erotic thriller film directed by Paul Verhoeven and written by Joe Eszterhas, and starring Michael Douglas and Sharon Stone. The film is about a ...more

76
731 298
Ex Machina is listed (or ranked) 76 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
puddin added Ex Machina is a 2015 independent science fiction psychological thriller film directed by Alex Garland. A young programmer (Domhnall Gleeson) is selected to participate in a ground-breaking ...more

77
793 453
The Village is listed (or ranked) 77 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
looksharp added Bryce Dallas Howard, Sigourney Weaver, Joaquin Phoenix The Village is a 2004 American psychological thriller film, written, produced, and directed by M. Night Shyamalan, and starring Bryce Dallas Howard, Joaquin Phoenix, Adrien Brody, William Hurt ...more

78
733 435
Hard Candy is listed (or ranked) 78 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Ellen Page, Sandra Oh, Patrick Wilson Hard Candy is a 2005 vigilante thriller film focusing on the a 14-year-old female vigilante. The film was directed by David Slade, written by Brian Nelson, and starred Ellen Page and Patrick ...more

79
637 248
Pet Sematary is listed (or ranked) 79 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Stephen King, Fred Gwynne, Denise Crosby Pet Sematary is a 1989 American horror film adaptation of Stephen King's novel of the same name. Directed by Mary Lambert and written by King. Andrew Hubatsek was cast for Zelda's role. Author ...more

80
955 384
Interstellar is listed (or ranked) 80 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
harleyquinn3381 added Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey, Matt Damon Interstellar is a British-American 2014 science fiction epic film directed by Christopher Nolan, starring Matthew McConaughey, Anne Hathaway, Jessica Chastain and Michael Caine. The film ...more

81
715 426
Hide and Seek is listed (or ranked) 81 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
ShaundaPetty added Robert De Niro, Dakota Fanning, Famke Janssen Hide and Seek is a 2005 American horror film starring Robert De Niro and Dakota Fanning. It was directed by John Polson. The film opened in the United States on January 28, 2005 and was a ...more

82
556 227
Cape Fear is listed (or ranked) 82 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Telly Savalas Cape Fear is a 1962 American psychological thriller film starring Robert Mitchum, Gregory Peck, Martin Balsam and Polly Bergen. It was adapted by James R. Webb from the novel The Executioners by ...more

83
503 226
Flatliners is listed (or ranked) 83 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
carolyn-branan added Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, Kiefer Sutherland Flatliners is a 1990 American sci-fi horror thriller film directed by Joel Schumacher, starring Kiefer Sutherland, Julia Roberts, Kevin Bacon, William Baldwin and Oliver Platt. Five medical ...more

84
541 513
Pi is listed (or ranked) 84 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Mark Margolis, Ajay Naidu, Clint Mansell Pi, also titled π, is a 1998 American surrealist psychological thriller film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky in his directorial debut. The film earned Aronofsky the Directing Award at ...more

85
700 340
The Good Son is listed (or ranked) 85 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Macaulay Culkin, Elijah Wood, David Morse The Good Son is a 1993 American psychological thriller film directed by Joseph Ruben and written by English novelist Ian McEwan. The film stars Macaulay Culkin and Elijah Wood.

86
615 346
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 86 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter, Ed Bishop 2001: A Space Odyssey is a 1968 epic science fiction film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick. The screenplay was written by Kubrick and Arthur C. Clarke, and was partially inspired by ...more

87
572 426
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is listed (or ranked) 87 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Johnny Depp, Cameron Diaz, Christina Ricci Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a 1998 American dark comedy film co-written and directed by Terry Gilliam, starring Johnny Depp as Raoul Duke and Benicio del Toro as Dr. Gonzo. It was adapted ...more

88
529 277
The Mothman Prophecies is listed (or ranked) 88 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
looksharp added Richard Gere, Debra Messing, Laura Linney The Mothman Prophecies is a 2002 supernatural thriller film directed by Mark Pellington, based on the 1975 book of the same name by parapsychologist and Fortean author John Keel. The screenplay ...more

89
624 294
Limitless is listed (or ranked) 89 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
looksharp added Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Bruce Lee Limitless is a 2011 American thriller film directed by Neil Burger and starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, and Robert De Niro. It is based on the novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn.

90
560 436
Side Effects is listed (or ranked) 90 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
KeshanHareshu added Catherine Zeta-Jones, Jude Law, Channing Tatum Side Effects is a 2013 American psychological thriller film directed by Steven Soderbergh from a screenplay written by Scott Z. Burns. The film stars Jude Law, Rooney Mara, Catherine Zeta-Jones, ...more

91
722 484
Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber... is listed (or ranked) 91 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Johnny Depp, Helena Bonham Carter, Alan Rickman Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street is a 2007 musical slasher film directed by Tim Burton. It is an adaptation of Stephen Sondheim and Hugh Wheeler's Tony Award-winning 1979 musical ...more

92
353 318
Straw Dogs is listed (or ranked) 92 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Dustin Hoffman, David Warner, Peter Vaughan Straw Dogs is a 1971 psychological thriller directed by Sam Peckinpah and starring Dustin Hoffman and Susan George. The screenplay by Peckinpah and David Zelag Goodman is based upon Gordon M. ...more

93
386 237
Chinatown is listed (or ranked) 93 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, Roman Polanski Chinatown is a 1974 American neo-noir mystery film, directed by Roman Polanski from a screenplay by Robert Towne, starring Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway. The film was inspired by the ...more

94
304 160
A Perfect Murder is listed (or ranked) 94 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
carolyn-branan added Gwyneth Paltrow, Viggo Mortensen, Michael Douglas A Perfect Murder is a 1998 American thriller film directed by Andrew Davis and starring Michael Douglas, Gwyneth Paltrow and Viggo Mortensen. It is a modern remake of Alfred Hitchcock's 1954 ...more

95
422 195
Natural Born Killers is listed (or ranked) 95 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
DonnyCillianoMcCarthyMcCarth added Robert Downey Jr., Ashley Judd, Tommy Lee Jones Natural Born Killers is a 1994 American film directed by Oliver Stone starring Woody Harrelson, Juliette Lewis, Robert Downey, Jr., Tom Sizemore and Tommy Lee Jones. The film was released in the ...more

96
457 240
The Gift is listed (or ranked) 96 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
LanaYoshii added Jason Bateman, Rebecca Hall, Joel Edgerton The Gift is a 2015 American-Australian psychological horror-thriller film written, co-produced, and directed by Joel Edgerton in his directorial debut. The film stars Jason Bateman and Rebecca ...more

97
393 277
Blue Velvet is listed (or ranked) 97 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
but chickens double d added Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper, Laura Dern Blue Velvet is a 1986 American mystery thriller flm, written and directed by David Lynch. The film stars Kyle MacLachlan, Isabella Rossellini, Dennis Hopper and Laura Dern. The title is taken ...more

98
277 360
Les Diaboliques is listed (or ranked) 98 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Simone Signoret, Michel Serrault, Paul Meurisse Les Diaboliques, released as Diabolique in the United States and variously translated as The Devils or The Fiends, is a 1955 French black-and-white psychological thriller feature film directed ...more

99
356 188
Unfaithful is listed (or ranked) 99 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Diane Lane, Richard Gere, Michelle Monaghan Unfaithful is a 2002 American thriller drama film directed by Adrian Lyne and starring Richard Gere, Diane Lane, Chad Lowe, Dominic Chianese and Olivier Martinez. It was adapted by Alvin Sargent ...more

100
423 236
Cube is listed (or ranked) 100 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
CarlosPepin added Nicole de Boer, Julian Richings, David Hewlett Cube is a 1997 Canadian science fiction psychological horror film, directed and co-written by Vincenzo Natali. The film was a successful product of the Canadian Film Centre's First Feature