Thrillers 20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Thrillers  

Ranker Film
143 votes 47 voters 20 items

List Rules Vote up the classic films appropriate for kids and teens that will teach them to love and respect thriller movies.

A quality thriller can be the kind of film that stays with you for months, even years, so it's understandable that cinephiles everywhere are eager to get kids into thrillers. Why wouldn't you want to expose your kids to movies that require intellectual engagement? However, the thriller is unfortunately a genre prone to gore, explicit content, and foul language. Is there a way to show teens and tweens thrillers that won't veer to far into the R-rated zone? Below, you'll find some thriller movies for beginners. These fantastic films hit all the notes that make a thriller great - an intriguing plot, dangerous situations, chase scenes, and more - but avoid the gratuitous use of violence and unsavory language. Browse this list to find some classic thrillers appropriate for kids! 

As your kids become teens and tweens, they'll be less easily frightened. This means, they can handle some more mature content without getting nightmares. The Prestige, for example, features rival magicians whose ambition has tragic consequences. Not to mention, the fact the film features Nikola Tesla presents a great opportunity to teach your kids a little something about science and history. Inception is truly a mind bending film that will enrich your kids by forcing them to constantly examine and rethink the plot, but it avoids the heavy levels of violence associated with the genre. 

What are the best classic thriller movies kids can watch? Vote your favorites to the top of the list! 

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The Prestige Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Hugh Jackman The Prestige is a 2006 mystery drama film directed by Christopher Nolan, from a screenplay adapted by him and his brother Jonathan Nolan from Christopher Priest's 1995 World Fantasy ...more

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The Sixth Sense Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment 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, a troubled, isolated boy who is able to see and ...more

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Taken Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace Taken is a 2008 French action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel, written by Luc Besson and Robert Mark Kamen, and starring Leland Orser, Liam Neeson, Maggie Grace, Jon Gries, David ...more

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I Am Legend Will Smith, Emma Thompson, Salli Richardson I Am Legend is a 2007 American post-apocalyptic science fiction horror film directed by Francis Lawrence and starring Will Smith. It is the third feature film adaptation of Richard Matheson's ...more

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Jurassic Park Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg. It is the first installment of the Jurassic Park franchise. It is based on the 1990 novel of the ...more

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The Fugitive Julianne Moore, Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones The Fugitive is a 1993 American action film based on the 1960s television series of the same name created by Roy Huggins. The film was directed by Andrew Davis and stars Harrison Ford and Tommy ...more

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Super 8 Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka, Kyle Chandler Super 8 is a 2011 American science fiction horror film written, co-produced, and directed by J. J. Abrams and produced by Steven Spielberg. The film stars Joel Courtney, Elle Fanning, and Kyle ...more

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The Perfect Storm George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane The Perfect Storm is a 2000 American biographical disaster drama film directed by Wolfgang Petersen. It is an adaptation of the 1997 non-fiction book of the same title by Sebastian Junger, which ...more

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The Others Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Michelle Fairley The Others is a 2001 horror-thriller film written, directed and scored by Alejandro Amenábar. It stars Nicole Kidman and Fionnula Flanagan. It won eight Goya Awards, including awards for ...more

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10 Cloverfield Lane John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher 10 Cloverfield Lane is a 2016 American science fiction psychological thriller film directed by Dan Trachtenberg. The film was developed from a script titled The Cellar, but under production by ...more

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The Bourne Ultimatum Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Brian Cox The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 American-German action spy thriller film directed by Paul Greengrass loosely based on the Robert Ludlum novel of the same title. The screenplay was written by Tony ...more

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Inception Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard Inception is a 2010 science fiction heist thriller film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars a large ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, ...more

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John Q 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

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The Transporter Jason Statham, Shu Qi, François Berléand The Transporter is a 2002 French action thriller film directed by Louis Leterrier and Corey Yuen and written by Luc Besson, who was inspired by BMW Films' The Hire series. The film stars Jason ...more

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The Cave Lena Headey, Piper Perabo, Morris Chestnut The Cave is a 2005 American action horror film, directed by Bruce Hunt. It stars Cole Hauser, Eddie Cibrian, Morris Chestnut, Marcel Iureş, Lena Headey, Rick Ravanello, Piper Perabo and Daniel ...more

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The Birds Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette The Birds is a 1963 suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the 1952 story "The Birds" by Daphne du Maurier. It depicts Bodega Bay, California, which is, ...more

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Strangers on a Train is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Thrillers
Strangers on a Train Alfred Hitchcock, Farley Granger, Leo G. Carroll Strangers on a Train is an American psychological crime thriller film produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and based on the 1950 novel of the same name by Patricia Highsmith. It was shot ...more

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Face/Off is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Thrillers
Face/Off John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Gina Gershon Face/Off is a 1997 American science fiction action thriller film directed by John Woo and starring John Travolta and Nicolas Cage. Travolta is an FBI agent and Cage is a terrorist, sworn enemies ...more

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Swimfan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Thrillers
Swimfan Erika Christensen, Shiri Appleby, Dan Hedaya Swimfan, also known as Fanatica, is a 2002 American teen psychological thriller film directed by John Polson and written by Charles Bohl and Phillip Schneider. The film stars Jesse Bradford, ...more

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War of the Worlds Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum War of the Worlds is a 2005 American epic science fiction disaster film and a loose adaptation of H. G. Wells's novel The War of the Worlds, directed by Steven Spielberg and written by Josh ...more