The Best '60s Thriller Movies  

Ranker Film
913 votes 248 voters 7.9k views 44 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite suspense films that were released in the 1960s

The best ‘60s thriller movies feature suspenseful action, political intrigue, and racial tension. Although many of these films were quite realistic, some of them depicted a more surrealist side to terror, as seen in Roman Polanski's Repulsion, or Ray Bradbury's Fahrenheit 451. 

What are your favorite ‘60s thriller movies? On this list, you’ll find one of the most talked about thrillers ever, Alfred Hitchcock’s
Psycho. Norman Bates, the film’s murderous protagonist, has gone down in the annals of pop culture history, and the shower scene has been parodied and referenced countless time since the film’s 1960 release. Another top ‘60s thriller movie, The Manchurian Candidate tapped into U.S. Cold War fears. Starring Old Blue Eyes himself, Frank Sinatra, the film tells the story of a brainwashed soldier manipulated by the Chinese into becoming a weapon against America. The film was later remade starring Denzel Washington.  

American filmmakers weren’t the only ones churning out great ‘60s thrillers. Several foreign films made this list, as well, including Eyes Without a Face, a chilling thriller about a mad surgeon and his disfigured daughter. Here, you’ll also find the first appearance of James Bond on film, in Dr. No. The 007 franchise has given us several intense thrillers every decade for years. Vote up the best '60s thriller movies, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 

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The Time Machine is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
RobLein added Yvette Mimieux, Rod Taylor, Alan Young
The Time Machine – also known promotionally as H.G. Wells' The Time Machine – is a 1960 Metrocolor time travel science fiction film based on the 1895 novel of the same name by H. G. Wells in ...more
The Spy Who Came in from the C... is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, Robert Hardy
The Spy Who Came in from the Cold is a 1965 British Cold War spy film directed by Martin Ritt and starring Richard Burton, Claire Bloom, and Oskar Werner. Based on the 1963 novel of the same ...more
The Professionals is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Claudia Cardinale, Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin
The Professionals is a 1966 American western starring Burt Lancaster, Lee Marvin, Claudia Cardinale, Robert Ryan, and Woody Strode. The supporting cast includes Jack Palance and Ralph Bellamy ...more
Fail Safe is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Henry Fonda, Walter Matthau, Larry Hagman
Fail-Safe is a 1964 Cold thriller film directed by Sidney Lumet, based on the 1962 novel of the same name by Eugene Burdick and Harvey Wheeler. The film features performances by veteran actors ...more
Knife in the Water is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Roman Polanski, Leon Niemczyk, Zygmunt Malanowicz
Knife in the Water is a 1962 Polish drama film co-written and directed by Roman Polański, which was nominated for Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film. It is Polanski's first feature ...more
The Train is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Burt Lancaster, Jeanne Moreau, Paul Scofield
The Train is a 1964 black-and-white film directed by John Frankenheimer from a story and screenplay by Franklin Coen and Frank Davis, based on the non-fiction book Le front de l'art by Rose ...more
Torn Curtain is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Paul Newman, Julie Andrews, Alfred Hitchcock
Torn Curtain is a 1966 American political thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, starring Paul Newman and Julie Andrews. Written by Brian Moore, the film is about an American scientist who ...more
The Italian Job is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Michael Caine, Benny Hill, Noël Coward
The Italian Job is a 1969 British caper film, written by Troy Kennedy Martin, produced by Michael Deeley and directed by Peter Collinson. Subsequent television showings and releases on video ...more
Eyes Without a Face is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Alida Valli, Pierre Brasseur, Édith Scob
Eyes Without a Face is a 1960 French-Italian horror film adaptation of Jean Redon's novel, directed by Georges Franju, and starring Pierre Brasseur and Alida Valli. During the film's production, ...more
Fahrenheit 451 is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Julie Christie, Cyril Cusack, Oskar Werner
Fahrenheit 451 is a 1966 British Dystopian science fiction drama film directed by François Truffaut and starring Oskar Werner, Julie Christie, and Cyril Cusack. Based on the 1953 novel of ...more
The Naked Kiss is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
stubb added Patsy Kelly, Virginia Grey, Edy Williams
The Naked Kiss is a 1964 neo-noir film written and directed by Samuel Fuller, starring Constance Towers as Kelly, Anthony Eisley as Captain Griff and Michael Dante as J.L. Grant.
Targets is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Randy Quaid, Boris Karloff, Peter Bogdanovich
Targets is a 1968 American thriller, written, produced and directed by Peter Bogdanovich and filmed in color by László Kovács.
Z is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Jean-Louis Trintignant, Yves Montand, Jacques Perrin
Z is a 1969 Algerian French language political thriller directed by Costa-Gavras, with a screenplay by Gavras and Jorge Semprún, based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Vassilis ...more
Spider Baby is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Lon Chaney, Jr., Sid Haig
Spider Baby is a 1968 black comedy horror film, written and directed by Jack Hill. It stars Lon Chaney, Jr. as Bruno, the chauffeur and caretaker of three orphaned siblings who suffer from ...more
Purple Noon is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Romy Schneider, Marie Laforêt, Ave Ninchi
Purple Noon is a 1960 film directed by René Clément, based on the 1955 novel The Talented Mr. Ripley by Patricia Highsmith. The film stars Alain Delon in his first major film, ...more
Cul-de-sac is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Jacqueline Bissett, Donald Pleasence, Lionel Stander
Cul-de-sac is a 1966 British psychological thriller directed by the Franco-Polish director Roman Polanski. It was his second film in English, written by himself and Gérard Brach. The cast ...more
Shock Corridor is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
James Best, Peter Breck, Constance Towers
Shock Corridor is a 1963 film, directed and written by Samuel Fuller. The film tells the story of a journalist who gets himself committed to a mental hospital in order to track an unsolved
Alphaville is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
stubb added Anna Karina, Jean Piere Leaud, Akim Tamiroff
Alphaville: une étrange aventure de Lemmy Caution is a 1965 black-and-white French science fiction film noir directed by Jean-Luc Godard. It stars Eddie Constantine, Anna Karina, Howard ...more
Branded to Kill is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best '60s Thriller Movies
Kōji Nanbara, Annu Mari, Isao Tamagawa
Branded to Kill is a 1967 Japanese yakuza film directed by Seijun Suzuki and starring Joe Shishido, Koji Nanbara, Annu Mari and Mariko Ogawa. It was a low budget, production line number for the ...more