Entertainment
2.5k voters

The Best Dark Films of All Time

Updated June 14, 2019 19.5k votes 2.5k voters 129.8k views231 items

List RulesAt the very least, the film must have dark or bleak undertones. This list is more than just a "goth" list, or a "horror" list, or a "film noir" list.

This list is for any movie that makes you feel terrible after seeing it or makes you feel good about feeling terrible after seeing it. Or lastly, makes you feel just plain weird.

This list focuses on dark, bleak, tragic, gritty, weird, disturbing and/or sinister subject matters. thillers, horror, suspense, action, drama, sci-fi, docu-drama, gothic, mystery, crime, mob, drug, psychological, and even some comedy films are considered here. This might be the most complete list of multi-genre dark films ever created. So vote on your favorite or find a new one to watch. Also, let me know your suggestions for any others to add to the list in the comments section. Thanks for checking out my list.

Go easy with the Tim Burton stuff. A little goes a long way. The only way Tim can surprise us anymore is to make a feel good romantic comedy.

Notable writers and directors: Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, Stephen King, Tim Burton, Martin Scorsese, Sam Raimi, M Night Shyamalan, Joel Cohen, Ridley Scott, Oliver Stone, Roman Polanski, George A Romero, John Carpenter, Orson Welles, and Wes Craven.
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  • 1
    David Fincher
    566
    161

    ActorsBrad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, R. Lee Ermey

    Released1995

    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 Spacey in...  more
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  • 2
    506
    143

    ActorsJodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak, George A. Romero, Roger Corman

    Released1991

    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 Glenn,...  more
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  • 3
    Darren Aronofsky
    413
    108

    ActorsJennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn, Marlon Wayans, Keith David

    Released2000

    Requiem for a Dream is a 2000 American psychological drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans. The film is based on the...  more
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  • 4
    David Fincher
    450
    129

    ActorsBrad Pitt, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf

    Released1999

    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
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  • 5
    Stanley Kubrick
    344
    87

    ActorsMalcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff, David Prowse, Adrienne Corri

    Released1971

    A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 dystopian crime film adapted, produced, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on Anthony Burgess's 1962 novella A Clockwork Orange. It employs disturbing, violent images...  more
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  • 6
    Richard Kelly
    453
    138

    ActorsDrew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Seth Rogen

    Released2001

    Donnie Darko is a 2001 American supernatural drama film written and directed by Richard Kelly and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Noah Wyle, Jena Malone,...  more
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  • 7
    Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
    319
    86

    ActorsJavier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald

    Released2007

    No Country for Old Men is a 2007 American neo-western neo-noir thriller film directed by Joel and Ethan Coen, based on the novel by Cormac McCarthy. Mayhem ensue after a hunter (Josh Brolin) stumbles...  more
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  • 8
    Martin Scorsese
    319
    95

    ActorsLeonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer

    Released2010

    Shutter Island is a 2010 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese. The film is based on Dennis Lehane's 2003 novel of the same name. Production started in March 2008. Leonardo...  more
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  • 9
    Stanley Kubrick
    332
    102

    ActorsJack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Barry Dennen, Barry Nelson

    Released1980

    The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Danny...  more
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  • 10
    Martin Scorsese
    239
    62

    ActorsRobert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel

    Released1976

    Taxi Driver is a 1976 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. Set in New York City soon after the end of the Vietnam War, the film...  more
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  • 11
    Denis Villeneuve
    175
    35

    ActorsHugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard

    Released2013

    Prisoners is a 2013 American drama thriller film directed by Denis Villeneuve. Two young girls in Pennsylvania are kidnapped and the father of one of the girls, Keller Dover (Hugh Jackman), must take...  more
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  • 12
    250
    80

    ActorsEdward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly DAngelo, Elliott Gould, Fairuza Balk

    Released1998

    American History X is a 1998 American drama film directed by Tony Kaye and written by David McKenna. It stars Edward Norton and Edward Furlong, and co-stars Fairuza Balk, Stacy Keach, Elliott Gould,...  more
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  • 13
    Christopher Nolan
    390
    157

    ActorsChristian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart

    Released2008

    The Dark Knight is a 2008 superhero film directed by Christopher Nolan, based on the DC Comics character, Batman. Bruce Wayne (Christian Bale), Police Lieutenant James Gordon (Gary Oldman) and...  more
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  • 14
    Guillermo del Toro
    213
    64

    ActorsSergi López, Maribel Verdú, Ivana Baquero

    Released2006

    Pan's Labyrinth is a 2006 Spanish-Mexican dark fantasy film directed by Guillermo del Toro. It was produced and distributed by Esperanto Films. In the Falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young...  more
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  • 15
    Darren Aronofsky
    245
    82

    ActorsNatalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Ksenia Solo, Barbara Hershey

    Released2010

    Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller-horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis. The plot revolves around a production of...  more
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  • 16
    Mary Harron
    244
    88

    ActorsChristian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Chloë Sevigny

    Released2000

    American Psycho is a 2000 American neo-noir satirical psychological horror film directed by Mary Harron, based on the 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Wealthy New York City investment banking...  more
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  • 17
    Christopher Nolan
    163
    41

    ActorsGuy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Jorja Fox, Stephen Tobolowsky

    Released2000

    Memento is a 2000 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan. The screenplay was written by Nolan based on his younger brother Jonathan Nolan's short story "Memento...  more
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  • 18
    Park Chan-wook
    179
    53

    ActorsChoi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Oh Dal-su, Kang Hye-jung, Ji Dae-han

    Released2003

    Oldboy is a 2003 South Korean mystery thriller neo-noir film directed by Park Chan-wook, based on the Japanese manga by Garon Tsuchiya. After being kidnapped and imprisoned for fifteen years, Oh...  more
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  • 19
    David Fincher
    176
    62

    ActorsRobert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Chloë Sevigny, Brian Cox

    Released2007

    Zodiac is a 2007 American mystery thriller film directed by David Fincher, based on the 1986 non-fiction book by Robert Graysmith. In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist (Jake...  more
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  • 20
    Sam Mendes
    150
    51

    ActorsKevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Mena Suvari, Allison Janney, Chris Cooper

    Released1999

    American Beauty is a 1999 American drama film directed by Sam Mendes. An advertising executive (Kevin Spacey) has a midlife crisis when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter's best friend...  more
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  • 21
    Ridley Scott
    164
    65

    ActorsSigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto, Harry Dean Stanton

    Released1979

    Alien is a 1979 science fiction horror film directed by Ridley Scott. The crew of the commercial space tug Nostromo encounter the eponymous Alien, a deadly and aggressive extraterrestrial set loose...  more
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  • 22
    Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
    146
    53

    ActorsSteve Buscemi, William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Bruce Campbell, Peter Stormare

    Released1996

    Fargo is a 1996 American neo-noir dark comedy crime film written, produced, edited, and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It stars Frances McDormand as a pregnant Minnesota police chief who...  more
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  • 23
    Alex Proyas
    138
    49

    ActorsBai Ling, Brandon Lee, Tony Todd, Ernie Hudson, Jon Polito

    Released1994

    The Crow is a 1994 American fantasy action film directed by Alex Proyas, written by David J. Schow and John Shirley, and starring Brandon Lee in his final film appearance. Based on James O'Barr's...  more
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  • 24
    Rob Reiner
    120
    37

    ActorsLauren Bacall, Kathy Bates, James Caan, Rob Reiner, Richard Farnsworth

    Released1990

    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
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  • 25
    William Friedkin
    163
    68

    ActorsMax von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb, William Peter Blatty

    Released1973

    The Exorcist is a 1973 American supernatural horror film directed by William Friedkin, adapted by William Peter Blatty from his 1971 novel of the same name. The book, inspired by the 1949 exorcism...  more
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