Entertainment

The Best Dark Films of All Time 

Dbo878
Updated June 14, 2019 17.3k votes 2k voters 109.2k views 231 items

List Rules At 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.
list ordered by
1
The Silence of the Lambs... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Jonathan Demme

Actors: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak, George A. Romero, Roger Corman, + more

Released: 1991

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
2
Seven is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
David Fincher

Actors: Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman, Kevin Spacey, R. Lee Ermey, + more

Released: 1995

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
3
Donnie Darko is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Richard Kelly

Actors: Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Seth Rogen, + more

Released: 2001

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 ...more
4
Requiem for a Dream is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Darren Aronofsky

Actors: Jennifer Connelly, Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn, Marlon Wayans, Keith David, + more

Released: 2000

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 ...more
5
Fight Club is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
David Fincher

Actors: Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf, + more

Released: 1999

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
6
A Clockwork Orange is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Stanley Kubrick

Actors: Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff, David Prowse, Adrienne Corri, + more

Released: 1971

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 ...more
7
The Dark Knight is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Christopher Nolan

Actors: Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, + more

Released: 2008

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
8
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Stanley Kubrick

Actors: Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers, Barry Dennen, Barry Nelson, + more

Released: 1980

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, ...more
9
No Country for Old Men ... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Actors: Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson, Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald, + more

Released: 2007

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) ...more
10
Shutter Island is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Martin Scorsese

Actors: Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Emily Mortimer, + more

Released: 2010

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. ...more
11
American History X is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Tony Kaye

Actors: Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly DAngelo, Elliott Gould, Fairuza Balk, + more

Released: 1998

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 ...more
12
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Mary Harron

Actors: Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto, Josh Lucas, Chloë Sevigny, + more

Released: 2000

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
13
Black Swan is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Darren Aronofsky

Actors: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder, Ksenia Solo, Barbara Hershey, + more

Released: 2010

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 ...more
14
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Martin Scorsese

Actors: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese, Cybill Shepherd, Harvey Keitel, + more

Released: 1976

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
15
Pan's Labyrinth is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Guillermo del Toro

Actors: Sergi López, Maribel Verdú, Ivana Baquero

Released: 2006

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
16
Oldboy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Park Chan-wook

Actors: Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Oh Dal-su, Kang Hye-jung, Ji Dae-han, + more

Released: 2003

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
17
The Exorcist is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
William Friedkin

Actors: Max von Sydow, Ellen Burstyn, Linda Blair, Lee J. Cobb, William Peter Blatty, + more

Released: 1973

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 ...more
18
Fargo is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Actors: Steve Buscemi, William H. Macy, Frances McDormand, Bruce Campbell, Peter Stormare, + more

Released: 1996

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
19
Zodiac is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
David Fincher

Actors: Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, Chloë Sevigny, Brian Cox, + more

Released: 2007

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
20
Alien is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Ridley Scott

Actors: Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt, Ian Holm, Yaphet Kotto, Harry Dean Stanton, + more

Released: 1979

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 ...more
21
Prisoners is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Denis Villeneuve

Actors: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello, Viola Davis, Terrence Howard, + more

Released: 2013

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 ...more
22
Memento is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Christopher Nolan

Actors: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Jorja Fox, Stephen Tobolowsky, + more

Released: 2000

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 ...more
23
American Beauty is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Sam Mendes

Actors: Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Mena Suvari, Allison Janney, Chris Cooper, + more

Released: 1999

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 ...more
24
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
Alfred Hitchcock

Actors: Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, Martin Balsam, + more

Released: 1960

Psycho is a 1960 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film centers on an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane, who ends up at a secluded motel after taking money from ...more
25
The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Dark Films of All Time
M. Night Shyamalan

Actors: Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment, Toni Collette, M. Night Shyamalan, + more

Released: 1999

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