Unspeakable Crimes The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked  

Ranker Film
621 votes 99 voters 3.2k views 34 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite crime movies that take a little brainpower to fully enjoy.

This list contains information on the best cerebral crime movies, ranked from best to worst by user votes. The best cerebral crime films come in many forms. Some smart crime movies are about solving a mystery while other good cerebral crime films feature deadly surprises at every turn. A few of the best cerebral crime films even took home Academy Awards.

What films will you find on this top smart crime movies list? Zodiac has to be at the top. This 2007 David Fincher film examines the real-life story of the Zodiac Killer from the perspective of the journalists and police officers who were trying to catch him. Haunting and menacing in its production, Zodiac patiently details the madness induced by tracking a serial killer. Fight Club – also by Fincher – is another great cerebral crime movie.

Irreversible is completely unique in its story-telling as it reveals the moments before and after a brutal crime occurs in reverse order. Other top films featured on this best cerebral crime movies list include Seven, The Usual Suspects, and Minority Report.

Which cerebral crime movie do you think deserves the top spot on this list? Give your favorites a thumbs up and please add any good features we may have missed.

1
39 5
The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Chris Isaak 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
32 5
Seven is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Brad Pitt, Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman 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
30 9
Fight Club is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Brad Pitt, Jared Leto, Helena Bonham Carter 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

4
24 6
No Country for Old Men is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Javier Bardem, Tommy Lee Jones, Woody Harrelson 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

5
21 7
The Departed is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Alec Baldwin The Departed is a 2006 American crime drama film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by William Monahan. It is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong film Infernal Affairs. The film takes place in ...more

6
20 8
American History X is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Edward Norton, Edward Furlong, Beverly DAngelo 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

7
16 6
A Clockwork Orange is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff 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

8
13 4
Rear Window is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Grace Kelly, James Stewart, Alfred Hitchcock Rear Window is a 1954 American mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock and written by John Michael Hayes based on Cornell Woolrich's 1942 short story. Originally released by Paramount ...more

9
15 6
The Girl with the Dragon Tatto... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Noomi Rapace, Marika Lagercrantz, Lena Endre The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a 2009 Swedish drama thriller film based on the novel of the same name by Swedish author/journalist Stieg Larsson. It is the first book in the trilogy known as ...more

10
17 8
The Usual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Gabriel Byrne 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

11
14 6
Mystic River is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Emmy Rossum, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon Mystic River is a 2003 American mystery drama film directed and scored by Clint Eastwood. It stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, and Laura Linney. ...more

12
14 6
Gone Girl is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris, Tyler Perry Gone Girl is a 2014 American psychological thriller film directed by David Fincher and adapted by Gillian Flynn from her 2012 novel of the same name. It stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike. Set ...more

13
15 7
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Reese Witherspoon, Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe American Psycho is a 2000 American psychological thriller comedy film co-written and directed by Mary Harron, based on Bret Easton Ellis's 1991 novel of the same name. It stars Christian Bale, ...more

14
9 3
Frailty is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Matthew McConaughey, Bill Paxton, Powers Boothe Frailty is a 2002 psychological thriller film, directed by and starring Bill Paxton, and co-starring Matthew McConaughey. It marks Paxton's directorial debut. The plot focuses on the strange ...more

15
11 5
Gone Baby Gone is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Morgan Freeman, Michelle Monaghan, Ed Harris Gone Baby Gone is a 2007 American neo-noir mystery film directed by Ben Affleck and starring his brother Casey Affleck. The screenplay by Ben Affleck and Aaron Stockard is based on the novel of ...more

16
13 7
Primal Fear is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Edward Norton, Richard Gere, Laura Linney 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

17
15 9
Memento is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano 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

18
12 8
Minority Report is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Cameron Diaz, Tom Cruise, Colin Farrell Minority Report is a 2002 American neo-noir science fiction mystery-thriller film directed by Steven Spielberg and loosely based on the short story of the same name by Philip K. Dick. It is set ...more

19
7 3
Run Lola Run is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Franka Potente, Armin Rohde, Moritz Bleibtreu Run Lola Run is a 1998 German thriller film written and directed by Tom Tykwer and starring Franka Potente as Lola and Moritz Bleibtreu as Manni. The story follows a woman who needs to obtain ...more

20
10 7
Zodiac is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo Zodiac is a 2007 American mystery-thriller film directed by David Fincher and based on Robert Graysmith's non-fiction book of the same name. Zodiac tells the story of the manhunt for a person ...more

21
10 7
Split is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Betty Buckley Split is a 2016 American psychological horror thriller film directed and written by M. Night Shyamalan. After a wholesome teen birthday party, three girls are kidnapped in broad daylight: ...more

22
9 6
The Girl with the Dragon Tatto... is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Daniel Craig, Rooney Mara, Robin Wright The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a 2011 Swedish-American mystery thriller film based on the novel of the same name by Stieg Larsson. This film adaptation was directed by David Fincher and ...more

23
7 5
Prisoners is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Maria Bello Prisoners is a 2013 drama thriller film written by Aaron Guzikowski and directed by Denis Villeneuve.

24
6 4
Oldboy is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Choi Min-sik, Yoo Ji-tae, Oh Dal-su Oldboy is a 2003 South Korean mystery thriller neo-noir film directed by Park Chan-wook. It is based on the Japanese manga of the same name written by Nobuaki Minegishi and Garon Tsuchiya. ...more

25
6 5
Inside Man is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Jodie Foster, Denzel Washington, Willem Dafoe Inside Man is a 2006 American thriller film directed by Spike Lee, and written by Russell Gewirtz. The film centers on an elaborate bank on Wall Street over a 24-hour period. It stars Denzel ...more

26
5 4
Traffic is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Salma Hayek, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Michael Douglas Traffic is a 2000 American drama film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by Stephen Gaghan. It explores the trade from a number of perspectives: a user, an enforcer, a politician and a ...more

27
6 6
All the President's Men is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Richard Nixon, Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford All the President's Men is a 1976 American political thriller film directed by Alan J. Pakula. The screenplay by William Goldman is based on the 1974 non-fiction book of the same name by Carl ...more

28
5 5
Lucky Number Slevin is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Bruce Willis, Lucy Liu, Morgan Freeman Lucky Number Slevin, is a 2006 thriller film written by Jason Smilovic, directed by Paul McGuigan and starring Josh Hartnett, Bruce Willis, Morgan Freeman, Ben Kingsley, Lucy Liu and Stanley ...more

29
4 4
Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Robert Downey Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan Kiss Kiss Bang Bang is a 2005 American neo-noir dark comedy film written and directed by Shane Black, and starring Robert Downey, Jr., Val Kilmer, Michelle Monaghan and Corbin Bernsen. The ...more

30
4 4
Seven Psychopaths is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Colin Farrell, Olga Kurylenko, Christopher Walken Seven Psychopaths is a 2012 comedy film written and directed by Martin McDonagh.

31
7 8
25th Hour is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Anna Paquin, Rosario Dawson, Edward Norton 25th Hour is a 2002 American drama film directed by Spike Lee and starring Edward Norton. Based on the novel The 25th Hour by David Benioff, who also wrote the screenplay, it tells the story of ...more

32
5 6
Winter’s Bone is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Jennifer Lawrence, John Hawkes, Garret Dillahunt "Deep in the Ozark Mountains, clans live by a code of conduct that no one dares defy—until an intrepid teenage girl has no other choice. When Ree Dolly's father skips bail and goes missing, ...more

33
1 4
Only God Forgives is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, Tom Burke Only God Forgives is a 2013 Danish-French thriller film written and directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling, Kristin Scott Thomas, and Vithaya Pansringarm. The film was shot on ...more

34
1 5
Irréversible is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Cerebral Crime Movies, Ranked
Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel, Gaspar Noé Irréversible is a 2002 French mystery thriller film written and directed by Gaspar Noé, starring Monica Bellucci, Vincent Cassel and Albert Dupontel. The film employs a non-linear ...more