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20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Thrillers 

Ranker Film
Updated October 13, 2018 332 votes 103 voters 11.2k views 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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1
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Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton, Haley Joel Osment

Released: 1999

Directed by: M. Night Shyamalan

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

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2
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Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie, Hugh Jackman

Released: 2006

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

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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3
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Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

Released: 2010

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

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

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4
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Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum, Richard Attenborough

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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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5
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Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston, Michelle Fairley

Released: 2001

Directed by: Alejandro Amenábar

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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6
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Will Smith, Emma Thompson, Salli Richardson

Released: 2007

Directed by: Francis Lawrence

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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7
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Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka, Kyle Chandler

Released: 2011

Directed by: J.J. Abrams

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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8
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Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen, Maggie Grace

Released: 2008

Directed by: Pierre Morel

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

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9
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John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead, John Gallagher

Directed by: Dan Trachtenberg

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10
Strangers on a Train is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Thrillers
Alfred Hitchcock, Farley Granger, Leo G. Carroll

Released: 1951

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Strangers on a Train is a 1951 American psychological thriller film noir produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and based on the 1950 novel Strangers on a Train by Patricia Highsmith. It was ...more

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11
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Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall, Bill Maher

Released: 2002

Directed by: Nick Cassavetes

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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12
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George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane

Released: 2000

Directed by: Wolfgang Petersen

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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13
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Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren, Suzanne Pleshette

Released: 1963

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

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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14
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Julianne Moore, Harrison Ford, Tommy Lee Jones

Released: 1993

Directed by: Andrew Davis

This film 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 Lee ...more

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15
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Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman, Channing Tatum

Released: 2005

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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

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16
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Jason Statham, Shu Qi, François Berléand

Released: 2002

Directed by: Corey Yuen, Louis Leterrier

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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17
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Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Brian Cox

Released: 2007

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

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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18
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Lena Headey, Piper Perabo, Morris Chestnut

Released: 2005

Directed by: Bruce Hunt

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
19
Swimfan is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Thrillers
Erika Christensen, Shiri Appleby, Dan Hedaya

Released: 2002

Directed by: John Polson

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
20
Face/Off is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Thrillers
John Travolta, Nicolas Cage, Gina Gershon

Released: 1997

Directed by: John Woo

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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