Thrillers

The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage  

Ranker Film
403 votes 71 voters 4.8k views 27 items

List Rules Vote up the best movies that feature a kidnapped hostage.

Once a hostage enters the picture the stakes of any situation go up exponentially. The best hostage thriller movies feature brave lead characters who risk their lives to save innocent victims. This is a list of the top hostage thriller movies including everything from The Silence of the Lambs to From Dusk Till Dawn to Captain Phillips.

What films will you find on this list of great hostage thrillers? You won't be surprised to find Die Hard here. The staff at the Nakatomi Corporation were held hostage by Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his gang of thieves until John McClane (Bruce Willis) enlisted the help of local police and sheer nerve to save the day. Dog Day Afternoon is another thrilling film featuring a hostage situation. Retired CIA field operative Bryan Mills (Liam Neeson) would stop at nothing to retrieve his daughter in the 2008 thriller Taken. Other top thrillers with a hostage that appear on this list include John Q, Kiss the Girls, and Inside Man.

Do you have a favorite hostage thriller? Give the best movies a thumbs up and get in on the conversation in the comments section.

list ordered by
1
Taken is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace
Taken is a 2008 French action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel. A former CIA operative (Liam Neeson) sets about tracking down his teenage daughter Kim (Maggie Grace) and her best friend ...more
2
Room is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Brie Larson, Jacob Tremblay, Joan Allen
Room is a 2015 independent drama film directed by Lenny Abrahamson, based on the novel by Emma Donoghue. After being held captive for seven years, a woman (Brie Larson) and her son (Jacob ...more
3
The Purge is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Lena Headey, Ethan Hawke, Adelaide Kane
The Purge is a 2013 American social science fiction action horror film written and directed by James DeMonaco. It stars Ethan Hawke, Lena Headey, Adelaide Kane and Max Burkholder. It is the ...more
4
Speed is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Sandra Bullock, Keanu Reeves, Dennis Hopper
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
5
Inside Man is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
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
6
John Q is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall, Bill Maher
John Q is a 2002 American thriller film directed by Nick Cassavetes. The film follows John Quincy Archibald, a father and husband whose son is diagnosed with an enlarged heart and then finds out ...more
7
Breaking In is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Gabrielle Union, Billy Burke, Richard Cabral
Breaking In is a 2018 thriller film directed by James McTeigue. After the sudden death of her father, Shaun (Gabrielle Union) taker her two kids to her father's Malibu mansion to settle his ...more
8
Split is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Split James McAvoy, Anya Taylor-Joy, Haley Lu Richardson
9
The Silence of the Lambs is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
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
10
The Taking of Pelham 123 is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
John Travolta, Denzel Washington, James Gandolfini
The Taking of Pelham 123 is a 2009 American thriller film directed by Tony Scott, and starring Denzel Washington and John Travolta. It is a film adaptation of the novel by Morton Freedgood, and ...more
11
Dog Day Afternoon is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Al Pacino, Carol Kane, Charles Durning
Dog Day Afternoon is a 1975 American drama film directed by Sidney Lumet, written by Frank Pierson, and produced by Martin Bregman and Martin Elfand. The film stars Al Pacino, John Cazale, ...more
12
Captain Phillips is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Tom Hanks, Catherine Keener, Max Martini
Captain Phillips is a 2013 American biographical thriller film directed by Paul Greengrass and starring Tom Hanks and Barkhad Abdi. The film is inspired by the true story of the 2009 Maersk ...more
13
Trespass is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Nicole Kidman, Nicolas Cage, Cam Gigandet
Trespass is a 2011 American thriller film directed by Joel Schumacher. The film stars Nicolas Cage and Nicole Kidman as a married couple taken hostage by extortionists. Shooting on the project ...more
14
Collateral is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Tom Cruise, Jamie Foxx, Jason Statham
Collateral is a 2004 American neo-noir film directed by Michael Mann from a screenplay written by Stuart Beattie, and starring Tom Cruise as a contract killer and Jamie Foxx as a taxi driver who ...more
15
Die Hard is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Bruce Willis, Alan Rickman, Bonnie Bedelia
Die Hard is a 1988 American action film directed by John McTiernan and written by Steven E. de Souza and Jeb Stuart. It is based on the 1979 novel Nothing Lasts Forever, by Roderick Thorp. Die ...more
16
From Dusk till Dawn is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Salma Hayek, George Clooney, Quentin Tarantino
From Dusk till Dawn is a 1996 American horror-crime thriller film directed by Robert Rodriguez and written by Quentin Tarantino. It stars George Clooney, Tarantino, Harvey Keitel and Juliette ...more
17
Bad Samaritan is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
David Tennant, Robert Sheehan, Kerry Condon
Bad Samaritan is a 2018 American horror-thriller film directed by Dean Devlin. A valet (Robert Sheehan) who burglarizes the houses of the people he services discovers a woman (Kerry Condon) ...more
18
Close is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Noomi Rapace, Sophie Nélisse, Eoin Macken
Close is a 2019 British-American action thriller film directed by Vicky Jewson. To protect an heiress (Sophie Nélisse) from highly trained kidnappers, a lone security expert (Noomi ...more
19
Kiss the Girls is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, Mena Suvari
Kiss the Girls is a 1997 American psychological thriller film directed by Gary Fleder and starring Morgan Freeman, Ashley Judd, and Cary Elwes. The screenplay by David Klass is based on the ...more
20
Bel Canto is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Julianne Moore, Christopher Lambert, Ken Watanabe
Bel Canto is a 2018 hostage drama film directed by Paul Weitz, based on the novel by Ann Patchett. A world-renown opera singer (Julianne Moore) becomes trapped in a hostage situation when she's ...more
21
Sudden Death is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Jean-Claude Van Damme, Markus Näslund, Luc Robitaille
Sudden Death is a 1995 American action film directed by Peter Hyams, and starring Jean-Claude Van Damme and Powers Boothe. The film was released in the United States on December 22, 1995. The ...more
22
Trapped is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Charlize Theron, Courtney Love, Dakota Fanning
edTrapped is a 2002 American-German crime thriller film starring Charlize Theron, Courtney Love, Stuart Townsend, Kevin Bacon, Dakota Fanning, and Pruitt Taylor Vince, and is directed by Luis ...more
23
Ransom is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Mel Gibson, Liev Schreiber, Rene Russo
Ransom is a 1996 American thriller film written by Richard Price & Alexander Ignon and directed by Ron Howard. The film stars Mel Gibson, Rene Russo, Brawley Nolte, Gary Sinise, Delroy ...more
24
The Ref is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Kevin Spacey, J.K. Simmons, Denis Leary
The Ref is a 1994 American black comedy film directed by Ted Demme, produced by Don Simpson and Jerry Bruckheimer and starring Denis Leary, Judy Davis, and Kevin Spacey.
25
Hostage is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Thriller Movies with a Hostage
Bruce Willis, Rumer Willis, Ben Foster
Hostage is a 2005 American action thriller drama film starring Bruce Willis and directed by Florent Emilio Siri. The film was based on a novel by Robert Crais, and was adapted for the screen by ...more