Watchworthy

The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s 

Ranker Film
Originally by
Updated April 29, 2020 9k votes 1.2k voters 76.8k views 66 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite suspense films that were released in the 1990s

The best ‘90s thriller movies are a diverse collection of crime, suspense, sex, betrayal, violence, and insanity. Do we have your attention, yet? Fans of the suspense film genre will tell you that the 1990s gave us some of the greatest thrillers ever. The best '90s thriller movies that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.


What are the greatest ‘90s thriller movies? We cannot begin our conversation of ‘90s thrillers without paying respects to Quentin Tarantino. Tarantino released some of his most popular and iconic pictures in the 1990s. Known for their intricate and non-chronological plots, as well as their graphic violence, films like
Pulp Fiction and Reservoir Dogs took audiences on unpredictable and often terrifying journeys through L.A.’s seedy underbelly. In addition, there are also some great psychological thrillers on this list. Films like The Sixth Sense, an iconic picture featuring one of the most legendary twists in cinema history, will make you question everything.


Other top ‘90s thriller movies on this list include
The Silence of the Lambs and The Usual Suspects. We wish we could give you more details about one of the most popular thrillers of the '90s, starring Brad Pitt and Edward Norton, but unfortunately, the first rule of Fight Club is that you do not talk about Fight Club. Vote up the best '90s thrillers, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section!
Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Seven is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman

Released: 1995

Directed by: David Fincher

Seven is a 1995 American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher. The film stars Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman, with Gwyneth Paltrow, R. Lee Ermey, John C. McGinley, and Kevin ...more

More Seven 

#1 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #64 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #93 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

2
Jurassic Park is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the first installment of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is based on the 1990 novel of the ...more

More Jurassic Park 

Here's Just How Wrong Jurassic Park Is About Dinosaurs #9 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
Misery is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Lauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan

Released: 1990

Directed by: Rob Reiner

Misery is a 1990 American psychological thriller film based on Stephen King's 1987 novel of the same name and starring James Caan, Kathy Bates, Lauren Bacall, Richard Farnsworth, and Frances ...more

More Misery 

Behind The Scenes Of Annie Wilkes Hobbling Paul Sheldon In 'Misery' #6 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
The Silence of the Lambs... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak

Released: 1991

Directed by: Jonathan Demme

The Silence of the Lambs is a 1991 American thriller film that blends elements of the crime and horror genres. Directed by Jonathan Demme and starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, and Scott ...more

More The Silence of the Lambs 

You've Been Watching Silence Of The Lambs Wrong For Years: It's A Comedy #2 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

Released: 1999

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

The Sixth Sense is a 1999 American supernatural thriller film written and directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The film tells the story of Cole Sear (Haley Joel Osment), a troubled, isolated boy who ...more

More The Sixth Sense 

#4 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #101 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

6
The Fugitive is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Julianne Moore, Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones

Released: 1993

Directed by: Andrew Davis

This film is a 1993 American action film based on the 1960s television series of the same name created by Roy Huggins. The film was directed by Andrew Davis and stars Harrison Ford and Tommy Lee ...more

More The Fugitive 

#91 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #48 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
The Usual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Gabriel Byrne

Released: 1994

Directed by: Bryan Singer

The Usual Suspects is a 1995 German-American neo-noir crime thriller film directed by Bryan Singer and written by Christopher McQuarrie. It stars Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del ...more

More The Usual Suspects 

#10 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #116 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
Fight Club is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter

Released: 1999

Directed by: David Fincher

Fight Club is a 1999 film based on the 1996 novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. The film was directed by David Fincher, and stars Brad Pitt, Edward Norton and Helena Bonham Carter. Norton ...more

More Fight Club 

20 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About Fight Club #7 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #28 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books

9
Pulp Fiction is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
John Travolta, Bruce Willis, Uma Thurman

Released: 1994

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Pulp Fiction is a 1994 American crime film directed by Quentin Tarantino. The lives of two mob hitmen (Samuel L. Jackson and John Travolta), a boxer (Bruce Willis), a gangster's wife (Uma ...more

More Pulp Fiction 

Genius Fan Theories About What's In The Briefcase In 'Pulp Fiction' #84 of 864 The Best Albums of the 1990slisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

10
Heat is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Natalie Portman, Al Pacino, Robert De Niro

Released: 1995

Directed by: Michael Mann

Heat is a 1995 American crime thriller film written, produced and directed by Michael Mann, and starring Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Val Kilmer. The film was released in the United States on ...more

More Heat 

#130 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #47 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #609 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

11
Cape Fear is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange

Released: 1991

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Cape Fear is a 1991 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and a remake of the 1962 film of the same name. It stars Robert De Niro, Nick Nolte, Jessica Lange and ...more

More Cape Fear 

Behind The Scenes Of 'Cape Fear,' Robert De Niro's Most Unsettling Role #23 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #122 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books

12
Speed is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper

Released: 1994

Directed by: Jan de Bont

Speed is a 1994 American action film directed by Jan de Bont in his feature film directorial debut. The film stars Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper, Sandra Bullock, Joe Morton, and Jeff Daniels. A ...more

More Speed 

Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Making Of 'Speed' #98 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer

Released: 1995

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

12 Monkeys, also known as Twelve Monkeys, is a 1995 American science fiction film directed by Terry Gilliam, inspired by Chris Marker's 1962 short film La Jetée, and starring Bruce ...more

More 12 Monkeys 

Behind-The-Scenes Stories From '12 Monkeys' #27 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #126 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

14
The Hunt for Red October... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Alec Baldwin, Sean Connery, Tim Curry

Released: 1990

Directed by: John McTiernan

The Hunt for Red October is a 1990 American submarine spy-thriller film directed by John McTiernan, based on the 1984 novel by Tom Clancy. In November 1984, the Soviet Union's best submarine ...more

More The Hunt for Red October 

#89 of 377 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #114 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
Reservoir Dogs is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Quentin Tarantino, Steve Buscemi, Tim Roth

Released: 1992

Directed by: Quentin Tarantino

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial 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

More Reservoir Dogs 

#148 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #27 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #910 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

16
Falling Down is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Robert Duvall, Michael Douglas, Tuesday Weld

Released: 1993

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

Falling Down is a 1993 drama film directed by Joel Schumacher and written by Ebbe Roe Smith. The film stars Michael Douglas in the lead role of William Foster, a divorcé and unemployed ...more

More Falling Down 

#43 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #772 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #261 of 457 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

17
True Lies is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Eliza Dushku, Jamie Lee Curtis

Released: 1994

Directed by: James Cameron

True Lies is a 1994 American action-comedy film written and directed by James Cameron, and starring Arnold Schwarzenegger and Jamie Lee Curtis in the lead roles with Tom Arnold, Bill Paxton, ...more

More True Lies 

#337 of 1,137 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #116 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

18
Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside

Released: 1990

Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven. In 2084, a construction worker, Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger), suddenly finds himself embroiled in ...more

More Total Recall 

Every Warning Sci-Fi Writer Philip K. Dick Gave Us About Technology That Is Coming True #137 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #115 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

19
True Romance is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Brad Pitt, Val Kilmer, Samuel L. Jackson

Released: 1993

Directed by: Tony Scott

True Romance is a 1993 American film directed by Tony Scott and written by Quentin Tarantino. The film stars Christian Slater and Patricia Arquette with a supporting cast featuring Dennis ...more

More True Romance 

#202 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #725 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #27 of 108 The Best Mafia Films

20
Enemy of the State is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Will Smith, Jack Black, Gene Hackman

Released: 1998

Directed by: Tony Scott

Enemy of the State is a 1998 American spy-thriller about a group of rogue U.S. National Security Agency agents conspiring to take out a U.S. Congressman and try to cover up. It was written by ...more

More Enemy of the State 

#378 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #814 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on The Very Best Movies About Hackers

21
The Rock is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Nicolas Cage, Sean Connery, Ed Harris

Released: 1996

Directed by: Michael Bay

The Rock is a 1996 action film that primarily takes place on Alcatraz Island and in the San Francisco Bay Area. It was directed by Michael Bay, produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer and ...more

More The Rock 

#249 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #91 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #338 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

22
A Time to Kill is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Sandra Bullock, Matthew McConaughey, Kevin Spacey

Released: 1996

Directed by: Joel Schumacher

This film is a 1996 drama film adaptation of John Grisham's 1989 novel of the same name, directed by Joel Schumacher. Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, and Kevin Spacey ...more

More A Time to Kill 

#230 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #1,377 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #33 of 628 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked

23
Point Break is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Keanu Reeves, Gary Busey, Patrick Swayze

Released: 1991

Directed by: Kathryn Bigelow

Point Break is a 1991 American action film directed by Kathryn Bigelow, starring Patrick Swayze, Keanu Reeves, Lori Petty and Gary Busey. The title refers to the surfing term point break, where ...more

More Point Break 

Things About Point Break That Are Too Weird Not To Address #3 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #201 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

24
Primal Fear is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laura Linney

Released: 1996

Directed by: Gregory Hoblit

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Primal Fear is a 1996 American neo-noir thriller film, based on William Diehl's 1993 novel of the same name and directed by Gregory Hoblit. The film tells the story of Chicago defense attorney ...more

More Primal Fear 

#17 of 239 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #225 of 358 The Best Movies Based On Books #5 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings

25
Con Air is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Thriller Movies of the 1990s
Nicolas Cage, John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi

Released: 1997

Directed by: Simon West

Con Air is a 1997 American action film directed by Simon West and produced by Jerry Bruckheimer, producer of The Rock. It stars Nicolas Cage, John Cusack, and John Malkovich. The film borrows ...more

More Con Air 

#153 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys #21 of 560 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #370 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies