Thrillers The Best '50s Thriller Movies  

Ranker Film
1.4k votes 337 voters 11.6k views 47 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite suspense films that were released in the 1950s

The best '50s thriller movies are an interesting mix of films directed by Alfred Hitchcock, films NOT-directed by Hitchcock, and spy movies. Of course, Hitchcock dominated the genre, especially because he had recently started including technicolor in his films. Besides Hitchcock, many legendary directors made thrillers in the ‘50s, and a number of these films are still watched and discussed today.


What are the greatest ‘50s thriller movies? Once again, Alfred Hitchcock, the British luminary, dominates this list. Classic Hitchcock offerings such as
Vertigo and North by Northwest were two of the top thrillers of the decade, along with lesser known - but still super suspenseful -  titles, such as I Confess.  

Another legendary director, Stanley Kubrick, made some of the top 1950s thrillers. Some of his first features were produced in the ‘50s, like Killer’s Kiss, which chilled and thrilled audiences with its macabre tone and surprising twists. In addition, many of these films could be classified as capers, noir films, and heist movies. Rififi, a classic French crime thriller, was released in 1955, and features a famously-intricate half hour heist, presented in almost total silence, with little to no dialogue and no music.


On this list, you’ll also find plenty of great sci-fi ‘50s thrillers, including
The Day the Earth Stood Still. Vote up the best '50s thriller movies, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.
list ordered by

1
77 5
Rear Window is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Grace Kelly, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock
Rear Window is a 1954 American mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by John Michael Hayes based on Cornell Woolrich's 1942 short story. Originally released by Paramount ...more

2
63 8
Dial M for Murder is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock, Ray Milland
This film is a 1954 3-D American thriller film in Warnercolor directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, and Robert Cummings. The screenplay and the successful stage play ...more

3
62 8
Vertigo is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
James Stewart, Kim Novak, Alfred Hitchcock
Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock. The story was based on the 1954 novel D'entre les morts by Boileau-Narcejac. The screenplay was ...more

4
63 14
North by Northwest is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
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

5
34 7
Strangers on a Train is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Alfred Hitchcock, Farley Granger, Leo G. Carroll
Strangers on a Train is an American psychological thriller film produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and based on the 1950 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. It was shot in the ...more

6
41 13
To Catch a Thief is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock
This film is a 1955 romantic thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, from a screenplay by John Michael Hayes based on the 1952 novel of the same name by David Dodge. The film stars Cary Grant who ...more

7
34 10
The Man Who Knew Too Much is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
James Stewart, Doris Day, Alfred Hitchcock
The Man Who Knew Too Much is a 1956 suspense thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring James Stewart and Doris Day. The film is a somewhat altered remake in widescreen VistaVision and ...more

8
29 9
The Night of the Hunter is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish
The Night of the Hunter is an American thriller film directed by Charles Laughton and starring Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters and Lillian Gish. Based on the 1953 novel of the same name by Davis ...more

9
32 13
Touch of Evil is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Marlene Dietrich
Touch of Evil is a 1958 American thriller film, written, directed by, and co-starring Orson Welles. The screenplay was loosely based on the novel Badge of Evil by Whit Masterson. Along with ...more

10
25 9
Bad Day at Black Rock is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Spencer Tracy, Ernest Borgnine, Lee Marvin
Bad Day at Black Rock is a 1955 thriller film directed by John Sturges and starring Spencer Tracy and Robert Ryan that combines elements of Westerns and film noir. The supporting cast includes ...more

11
22 7
The Big Heat is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Lee Marvin, Glenn Ford, Carolyn Jones
The Big Heat is a 1953 film noir directed by Fritz Lang, starring Glenn Ford, Gloria Grahame and Lee Marvin. The film was written by former reporter Sydney Boehm, based on a serial by William P. ...more

12
31 15
The Day the Earth Stood Still is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Patricia Neal, Michael Rennie, Frances Bavier
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Day the Earth Stood Still is a 1951 American black-and-white science fiction film from 20th Century Fox, produced by Julian Blaustein, directed by Robert Wise, and starring Michael Rennie, ...more

13
28 14
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Dana Wynter, Sam Peckinpah, Carolyn Jones
Invasion of the Body Snatchers is a 1956 American black-and-white science fiction film produced by Walter Wanger, directed by Don Siegel, and starring Kevin McCarthy and Dana Wynter. The film ...more

14
20 8
House on Haunted Hill is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Vincent Price, Richard Long, Elisha Cook
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial House on Haunted Hill is a 1959 American horror film. It was directed by William Castle, written by Robb White and stars Vincent Price as eccentric millionaire Frederick Loren. He and his fourth ...more

15
22 10
The Killing is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Sterling Hayden, Coleen Gray, Vince Edwards
This film is a 1956 film noir produced by James B. Harris and directed by Stanley Kubrick. It was written by Kubrick and Jim Thompson and based on the novel Clean Break by Lionel White. The ...more

16
25 14
H. G. Wells' War of the Worlds is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum
This film is a 1953 American Technicolor science fiction film from Paramount Pictures, produced by George Pal, directed by Byron Haskin, and starring Gene Barry and Ann Robinson. The film is a ...more

17
18 8
Niagara is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Niagara is an American 1953 thriller-film noir, released by Twentieth Century-Fox, directed by Henry Hathaway, and starring Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, Casey Adams, and Marilyn Monroe. Unlike ...more

18
20 10
Suddenly, Last Summer is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift
Suddenly, Last Summer is a 1959 American Southern Gothic mystery film based on the play of the same title by Tennessee Williams. The film was directed by Joseph L. Mankiewicz and produced by Sam ...more

19
11 2
Where the Sidewalk Ends is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Gene Tierney, Karl Malden, Dana Andrews
Where the Sidewalk Ends is a 1950 American film noir directed and produced by Otto Preminger. The screenplay for the film was written by Ben Hecht, and adapted by Robert E. Kent, Frank P. ...more

20
15 6
Stage Fright is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Marlene Dietrich, Alfred Hitchcock, Jane Wyman
Stage Fright is a 1950 British crime film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock starring Jane Wyman, Marlene Dietrich, Michael Wilding and Richard Todd. Others in the cast include Alastair ...more

21
14 6
D.O.A. is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
stubb added Edmond O'Brien, Beverly Garland, Neville Brand
D.O.A., a film noir drama film directed by Rudolph Maté, is considered a classic of the genre. The frantically paced plot revolves around a doomed man's quest to find out who has poisoned ...more

22
14 6
The Asphalt Jungle is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Marilyn Monroe, Jack Warden, James Whitmore
The Asphalt Jungle is a 1950 film noir directed by John Huston. The caper film is based on the 1949 novel of the same name by W. R. Burnett and stars an ensemble cast including Sterling Hayden, ...more

23
14 6
Mr. Arkadin is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Orson Welles, Michael Redgrave, Akim Tamiroff
Mr. Arkadin, known in Britain as Confidential Report, is a French-Spanish-Swiss coproduction film, written and directed by Orson Welles and shot in several Spanish locations, including Costa ...more

24
17 9
The Fly is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Vincent Price, David Hedison, Herbert Marshall
The Fly is a 1958 American science fiction-horror film produced and directed by Kurt Neumann. The screenplay was written by James Clavell, from the short story of the same name by George ...more

25
17 9
The Bad Seed is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best '50s Thriller Movies
Shelley Fabares, Patty McCormack, Eileen Heckart
The Bad Seed is a 1956 American horror-thriller film directed by Mervyn LeRoy and starring Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, and Eileen Heckart The film is based upon a play by Maxwell ...more