best movie genres The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time  

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List Rules 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!
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1
6,697 1,175
The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Silence of the Lambs Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak

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2
5,986 965
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Seven Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman

3
4,306 1,235
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The Sixth Sense Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

4
4,544 1,167
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Fight Club Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter

5
2,965 778
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Psycho Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

6
3,727 1,280
Memento is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Memento Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

7
5,347 1,120
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Shutter Island Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo

8
3,514 757
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Shining Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

9
3,060 783
The Usual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Usual Suspects Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Gabriel Byrne

10
3,652 971
Inception is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Inception Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

11
1,661 637
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Rear Window Grace Kelly, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock

12
2,481 543
Misery is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Misery Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan

13
2,220 884
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American Psycho Reese Witherspoon, Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe

14
1,346 588
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Vertigo James Stewart, Kim Novak, Alfred Hitchcock

15
1,991 701
The Game is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Game Sean Penn, Michael Douglas, Spike Jonze

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16
1,434 628
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Taxi Driver Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese

17
2,240 1,032
Black Swan is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Black Swan Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder

18
2,002 504
Gone Girl is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
ryanmcw added Gone Girl Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry

19
1,684 632
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Zodiac Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo

20
1,219 374
Primal Fear is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Primal Fear Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laura Linney

21
1,666 605
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The Machinist Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside

22
1,115 554
Fatal Attraction is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Fatal Attraction Glenn Close, Michael Douglas, Jane Krakowski

23
1,299 520
Mystic River is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
AndrewW.Curley added Mystic River Emmy Rossum, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon

24
1,284 378
No Country for Old Men is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
No Country for Old Men Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson

25
1,049 261
The Others is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
drkaramaniac added The Others Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Michelle Fairley

26
1,031 365
Cape Fear is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Cape Fear Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange

27
1,039 537
The Talented Mr. Ripley is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Talented Mr. Ripley Gwyneth Paltrow, Cate Blanchett, Matt Damon

28
692 340
Dial M for Murder is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Dial M for Murder Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Ray Milland

29
1,761 590
The Butterfly Effect is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added The Butterfly Effect Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart, Logan Lerman

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30
1,208 371
Identity is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Identity Amanda Peet, John Cusack, Alfred Molina

31
1,092 507
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Oldboy Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Oh Dal-su

32
912 551
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Mulholland Drive Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George

33
821 409
Falling Down is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Falling Down Robert Duvall, Michael Douglas, Tuesday Weld

34
801 400
Insomnia is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
ChangesDownClub added Insomnia Al Pacino, Robin Williams, Hilary Swank

35
616 398
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The Manchurian Candidate Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

36
1,041 334
Red Dragon is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
KeshanHareshu added Red Dragon Anthony Hopkins, Ralph Fiennes, Edward Norton

37
768 193
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
The Exorcist Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair

38
1,013 254
Prisoners is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Prisoners Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello

39
473 366
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Rebecca Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock, Joan Fontaine

40
663 282
Stir of Echoes is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Stir of Echoes Jennifer Morrison, Kevin Bacon, Illeana Douglas

41
639 189
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
jared-telsa added 12 Monkeys Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer

42
959 292
Hannibal is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Hannibal Julianne Moore, Gary Oldman, Anthony Hopkins

43
460 79
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nes... is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
DonnyCillianoMcCarthyMcCarth added One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd

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44
929 301
Requiem for a Dream is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Requiem for a Dream Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn

45
936 651
Signs is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
AndrewW.Curley added Signs Mel Gibson, Joaquin Phoenix, Abigail Breslin

46
770 381
Secret Window is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Secret Window Johnny Depp, Maria Bello, John Turturro

47
538 296
Mr. Brooks is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Mr. Brooks Demi Moore, Kevin Costner, Danielle Panabaker

48
624 316
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Frailty Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe

49
432 318
Moon is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Moon Kevin Spacey, Mary Tyler Moore, Kaya Scodelario

50
607 161
Reservoir Dogs is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time
Reservoir Dogs Quentin Tarantino, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth