269 voters

The Best Classic Thriller Movies, Ranked

Updated February 18, 2021 2.2k votes 269 voters 26.5k views117 items

List RulesVote up your favorite old thrillers that were released before 1980.

This list contains information on the best classic thriller movies, ranked from best to worst by user votes. The best classic thriller films come in many forms. Some good old thrillers follow detectives with a hot lead while other good classic thrillers feature spouses with murderous intents. Many of the best classic thrillers were directed by the Master of Suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock.

What films will you find on this top classic thrillers released before 1980 list? Psycho has to be near the top. After a young woman goes missing, her boyfriend and sister join forces to find out what happened. The mystery unfolds with white-knuckle suspense until the twist of an ending surprises all involved. The Manchurian Candidate is anther great old thriller film.

Revenge is at the heart of the thrilling plot of Cape Fear starring a terrifying Robert Mitchum. Other great classic thriller films featured on this list include Rear Window, The Thin Man, and Murder on the Orient Express.

How will we ever determine which thriller deserves the top spot on this list? Help us decide by giving your favorite films a thumbs up and please add any good movies we may have missed. And if you're a fan of these flicks, be sure to check out our list of the most suspenseful movies.

  • 1

    Rear Window

    Grace Kelly, James Stewart
    Rear Window is a 1954 American mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written...  more

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  • 2


    Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh
    Psycho is a 1960 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film centers on an...  more

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  • 3


    James Stewart, Kim Novak
    Vertigo is a 1958 American psychological thriller film directed and produced by Alfred...  more

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  • 4

    North by Northwest

    Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock
    North by Northwest is a 1959 American spy thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and...  more

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  • 5


    Steven Spielberg, Richard Dreyfuss
    Jaws is a 1975 American thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and based on Peter...  more

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  • 6

    What Ever Happened to Baby Jane?

    Bette Davis, Joan Crawford
    What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a 1962 American psychological thriller film produced and...  more

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  • 7


    Jamie Lee Curtis, Kyle Richards
    Halloween is a 1978 American independent slasher horror film directed and scored by John...  more

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  • 8

    Dial M for Murder

    Grace Kelly, Alfred Hitchcock
    This film is a 1954 3-D American thriller film in Warnercolor directed by Alfred Hitchcock,...  more

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  • 9

    Murder on the Orient Express

    Sean Connery, Ingrid Bergman
    This film is a 1974 British Technicolor mystery film directed by Sidney Lumet, starring Albert...  more

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  • 10


    Ingrid Bergman, Angela Lansbury
    Gaslight is an American 1944 mystery-thriller film adapted from Patrick Hamilton's 1938 play...  more

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  • 11


    John Travolta, Sissy Spacek
    Carrie is a 1976 American supernatural horror film based on Stephen King's first major 1974...  more

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  • 12


    Cary Grant, Alfred Hitchcock
    Suspicion is a romantic psychological thriller directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and starring Cary...  more

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  • 13

    Wait Until Dark

    Audrey Hepburn, Alan Arkin
    Wait Until Dark is a suspense-thriller film directed by Terence Young and produced by Mel...  more

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  • 14

    Double Indemnity

    Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck
    Double Indemnity is a 1944 film noir crime drama directed by Billy Wilder, co-written by...  more

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  • 15

    Cape Fear

    Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum
    Cape Fear is a 1962 American psychological thriller film starring Robert Mitchum, Gregory...  more

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  • 16


    Audrey Hepburn, Cary Grant
    Charade is a 1963 Technicolor American romantic comedy/mystery film directed by Stanley Donen,...  more

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  • 17

    The Omen

    Gregory Peck, Lee Remick
    The Omen is a 1976 British/American supernatural horror film directed by Richard Donner. The...  more

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  • 18

    Strangers on a Train

    Alfred Hitchcock, Farley Granger
    Strangers on a Train is a 1951 American psychological thriller film noir produced and directed...  more

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  • 19

    Play Misty for Me

    Clint Eastwood, Donna Mills
    Play Misty for Me is a 1971 American psychological thriller film, directed by and starring...  more

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  • 20

    When a Stranger Calls

    Carol Kane, Charles Durning
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  • 21


    Laurence Olivier, Alfred Hitchcock
    Rebecca is a 1940 American psychological thriller-drama film. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock, it...  more

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  • 22

    The Manchurian Candidate

    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury
    The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American Cold War suspense thriller directed by John...  more

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  • 23


    Ingrid Bergman, Cary Grant
    Notorious is a 1946 American spy thriller film directed and produced by Alfred Hitchcock,...  more

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  • 24

    The Stepford Wives

    Tina Louise, Mary Stuart Masterson
    The Stepford Wives is a 1975 science fiction–thriller film based on the 1972 Ira Levin novel...  more

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  • 25

    The French Connection

    Gene Hackman, Roy Scheider
    The French Connection is a 1971 American dramatic thriller film directed by William Friedkin...  more

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