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20 Movies to Show Your Kids to Get Them into Thrillers

Updated October 13, 2018 483 votes 120 voters 16.0k views20 items

List RulesVote 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
    The Sixth Sense
    45
    11

    The Sixth Sense

    Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton

    Released1999

    Directed byM. Night Shyamalan

    The Sixth Sense is a 1999 American supernatural thriller film written and directed by M. Night... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    10 Cloverfield Lane
    24
    2

    10 Cloverfield Lane

    John Goodman, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

    Released2016

    Directed byDan Trachtenberg

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  • 3
    The Prestige
    27
    7

    The Prestige

    Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie

    Released2006

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

    The Prestige is a 2006 mystery drama film directed by Christopher Nolan, from a screenplay... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    Inception
    27
    7

    Inception

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

    Released2010

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

    Inception is a 2010 science fiction thriller film written, produced, and directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    The Bourne Ultimatum
    25
    10

    The Bourne Ultimatum

    Matt Damon, Julia Stiles

    Released2007

    Directed byPaul Greengrass

    The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 American-German action spy thriller film directed by Paul... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Jurassic Park
    20
    6

    Jurassic Park

    Samuel L. Jackson, Jeff Goldblum

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

    Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction adventure film directed by Steven Spielberg.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    I Am Legend
    17
    6

    I Am Legend

    Will Smith, Emma Thompson

    Released2007

    Directed byFrancis Lawrence

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  • 8
    Super 8
    14
    3

    Super 8

    Elle Fanning, AJ Michalka

    Released2011

    Directed byJ.J. Abrams

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  • 9
    The Others
    17
    7

    The Others

    Nicole Kidman, Christopher Eccleston

    Released2001

    Directed byAlejandro Amenábar

    The Others is a 2001 horror-thriller film written, directed and scored by Alejandro Amenábar.... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    The Transporter
    20
    14

    The Transporter

    Jason Statham, Shu Qi

    Released2002

    Directed byCorey Yuen, Louis Leterrier

    The Transporter is a 2002 French action thriller film directed by Louis Leterrier and Corey... more on Wikipedia
  • 11
    The Cave
    10
    2

    The Cave

    Lena Headey, Piper Perabo

    Released2005

    Directed byBruce Hunt

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  • 12
    Strangers on a Train
    11
    5

    Strangers on a Train

    Alfred Hitchcock, Farley Granger

    Released1951

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    Strangers on a Train is a 1951 American psychological thriller film noir produced and directed... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    The Perfect Storm
    13
    7

    The Perfect Storm

    George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg

    Released2000

    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

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  • 14
    The Birds
    9
    4

    The Birds

    Alfred Hitchcock, Tippi Hedren

    Released1963

    Directed byAlfred Hitchcock

    The Birds is a 1963 suspense/horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock, loosely based on the... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    War of the Worlds
    10
    5

    War of the Worlds

    Tom Cruise, Morgan Freeman

    Released2005

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • 16
    John Q
    9
    7

    John Q

    Denzel Washington, Robert Duvall

    Released2002

    Directed byNick Cassavetes

    John Q is a 2002 American thriller film directed by Nick Cassavetes. The film follows John... more on Wikipedia

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  • 17
    Swimfan
    5
    4

    Swimfan

    Erika Christensen, Shiri Appleby

    Released2002

    Directed byJohn Polson

    Swimfan, also known as Fanatica, is a 2002 American teen psychological thriller film directed... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    Taken
    15
    20

    Taken

    Liam Neeson, Famke Janssen

    Released2008

    Directed byPierre Morel

    Taken is a 2008 French action thriller film directed by Pierre Morel. A former CIA operative... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    The Fugitive
    11
    15

    The Fugitive

    Julianne Moore, Harrison Ford

    Released1993

    Directed byAndrew Davis

    This film is a 1993 American action film based on the 1960s television series of the same name... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    Face/Off
    3
    9

    Face/Off

    John Travolta, Nicolas Cage

    Released1997

    Directed byJohn Woo

    Face/Off is a 1997 American science fiction action thriller film directed by John Woo and... more on Wikipedia

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