Best Thriller Movies of All Time

It is very fun and exciting to watch a thriller movie that has a smart twist. TechTrends put together a list of the best thriller movies of all time to help you decide what movie to watch next.

In the movie world, the genre of thriller is very broad as it can be mixed with many other genres including horror, drama and etc. it is never not fun to watch a good thriller that will keep the audience intrigued. Therefore, filmmakers and directors are always looking for a new way to level up the stress. Although there are a lot of amazing thriller movies out there that can date back to a century, we have narrowed down the list and included the ones from the last three decades. Thriller movies are full of conflict, unexpected twists and tension that will have the audience on the edge of their seats. The anxiety, uncertainty and terror can even make them question many things. Without further ado, let’s get to the list of the best thriller movies ever.

Best Thriller Movies of All Time

Get ready for a heart-pounding experience as the best thriller movies of all time listed below are quite interesting and worth watching. The movies are ranked based on their ratings on IMDb but we also included their ratings on Rotten Tomatoes for you to check. Here we go.

12. A Simple Favor 2018

  • Genre: Mystery/Comedy
  • Director: Paul Feig
  • Stars: Anna Kendrick, Blake Lively, Henry Golding, Linda Cardellini, Rupert Friend
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 84%, IMDb 6.8

The movie A Simple Favor is an adaptation of the novel of the same name by Darcey Bell, where Anna Kendrick portrays the role of Stephanie and Blake Lively plays the role of her friend. Stephanie is a mom and vlogger in a small town, and she becomes friends with Emily, played by Lively. When the glamorous Emily goes missing, Stephanie does her best to solve the case and goes into the world of mystery and crime. However, that world is way over her head. Then, Emily’s drowned body is found, and Stephanie goes and finds her history of Emily and what happened in her life. She finds some secrets from her past, and the story becomes so engaging and entertaining. A Simple Favor is among the best thriller movies of all time.

Read more: Best Blake Lively Movies of All Time

11. The Talented Mr. Ripley 1999

  • Genre: Crime/Drama
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Stars: Matt Damon, Vera Farmiga, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 84%, IMDb 7.4

The Talented Mr. Ripley is based on the novel written by Patricia Highsmith and showcases one of the best thriller movies of all time. Matt Damon plays the role of Tom Ripley, who gets approached by wealthy Herbert Greenleaf, played by James Rebhorn, who thinks that Ripley is his son Dickie’s old friend. He offers $1,000 to Ripley to go to Italy and find his son. He accepts it, although he has no idea who Dickie is. This thriller movie is very engaging and interesting. Moreover, Matt Damon portrayed the character in a layered and complicated form, which made the movie even more unforgettable.

10. The Machinist 2004

  • Genre: Thriller/Drama
  • Director: Brad Anderson
  • Stars: Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, John Sharian
  • Rating: IMDb 7.7, Rotten Tomatoes 77%

The amount of dedication Christian Bale showed for his role in the movie The Machinist has shocked the fans and critics. His physical transformation was mind-blowing as he lost about 63 pounds to feature as Trevor Reznik, turning from 173 to 110 pounds. He was said to be aiming for 100 pounds but the producers were worried about his life and did not allow it to happen. Considering all that, the tale of an industrial machinist who could not sleep for a year because of the remorse he felt after a fatal accident became of the best work of Bale. The Machinist is indeed one of the best thriller films of all time that we strongly recommend if you haven’t watched it already.

Read more: Best Christian Bale Movies of All Time

9. Get Out 2017

  • Genre: Horror/Thriller
  • Director: Jordan Peele
  • Stars: Daniel Kaluuya, Allison Williams, Bradley Whitford, Caleb Landry Jones, Stephen Root, Catherine Keener
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 98%, IMDb 7.7

Photographer Chris is about to meet his girlfriend’s parents, but he is pretty nervous as he asks Rose: “Do they know I’m black” but she ensures him that her father is a big fan. So, what could go wrong? Well, Everything. This modern horror masterpiece has profound social commentary and is layered with goosebumps as well as harsh humor. The director aims for the audience’s attention to go to the real terrifying truths in the identity politics of contemporary America. Moreover, the grand reveal is far more horrific than anything you would have imagined. Get Out is one of the best thriller movies of all time.

Read more: Best Horror Movies of All Time

8. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo 2011

  • Genre: Mystery/Thriller
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Stars: Rooney Mara, Daniel Craig, Stellan Skarsgård, Michael Nyqvist, Robin Wright
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 86%, IMDb 7.8

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is yet another one of the best thriller movies of all time and it revolves around Daniel Craig’s Mikael Blomkvist. He is a journalist and his career is on the rocks in this mystery/thriller. He gets the help of a computer hacker named Lisbeth Salander, played by Rooney Mara, and he wants to solve the killing of a rich girl who went missing 40 years ago. According to the girl’s uncle, she was killed by one of the family members and he wants Mikael to help him find the answers he is looking for. Do not miss this wonderful thriller movie.

7. Black Swan 2010

  • Genre: Drama/Thriller
  • Director: Darren Aronofsky
  • Stars: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, Winona Ryder, Barbara Hershey, Sebastian Stan
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 85%, IMDb 8

Black Swan is arguably the best thriller movie of all time, where Natalie Portman plays the role of a committed dancer. She is struggling with her sanity after she gets the leading role of Tchaikovsky’s “Swan Lake” for the New York City Ballet company. This Darren Aronofsky’s psychological thriller, Portman won an Oscar. Portman plays the role of Nina, who is brilliant. Although in the #MeToo era the controlling figure using sexual assault as a directing technique is not so complacent, the movie makes the damage a central plank of the character’s breakdown. Portman really deserved the Oscar and this is indeed one of the best thriller films ever.

Read more: Best Natalie Portman Movies of All Time

6. Gone Girl 2014

  • Genre: Thriller/Mystery
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Star: Matt Damon, Rosamund Pike, Tyler Perry, Neil Patrick Harris, Carrie Coon, Emily Ratajkowski, Kim Dickens,
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 87%, IMDb 8.1

The movie Gone Girl was directed by David Fincher, the father of crime/thriller movies. It is an adaptation of Gillian Flynn’s novel that has the same name. The story revolves around Nick Dunne, played by Ben Affleck, who turns out to be the lead suspect in the missing case of his wife. The female star is Rosamund Pike, playing Amy Dunne, Nick’s wife. The husband has to prove his innocence before it is too late. Many believe that this character was Affleck’s most compelling one to date. It is mostly because the character underwent immense pressure and emotional turmoil. The movie is quite surprising and unpredictable as a modern thriller. Gone Girl is indeed one of the best thriller movies of all time.

Read more: Best Ben Affleck Movies of All Time

5. Shutter Island 2010

  • Genre: Thriller/Mystery
  • Director: Martin Scorsese
  • Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams, Patricia Clarkson
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 68%, IMDb 8.2

Shutter Island is another amazing movie in which Leonardo DiCaprio collaborated with Martin Scorsese. This is one of the best thriller movies of all time. Moreover, it is considered one of the best performances of DiCaprio’s career. He performs as a US Marshal, Teddy Daniels, investigating a murderer’s disappearance. The woman escaped the criminally insane hospital. While he goes deeper into his operation in the asylum, he realizes he is losing his grasp on reality. There are a lot of disturbing imagery and lingering dread in the movie, but Scorsese was incredible and had DiCaprio lead an earnest performance. Shutter Island is one of the greatest thriller movies ever.

4. Memento 2000

  • Genre: Mystery/Thriller
  • Director: Christopher Nolan
  • Stars: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, Jorja Fox, Stephen Tobolowsky
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 93%, IMDb 8.4

Memento is one of the best thriller movies of all time and is directed by Christopher Nolan, who is known for his interest in the concept of time. Not only does this movie show the director’s fascination, but it also blends it with a murder mystery case. Leonard Shelby is trying to find the person who killed his wife and his short-term memory loss makes it all more difficult. However, it is the use of time in this movie that makes it far more interesting that many other thriller films out there. Memento is one of the greatest thriller movies ever.

Read more: Best Mystery Movies of All Time

3. Parasite 2019

  • Genre: Thriller/Drama
  • Director: Bong Joon-ho
  • Stars: Song Kang-Ho, Sun-Kyun Lee, Yeo-ieong Cho
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 98%, IMDb 8.5

The movie Parasite gives us a sense of a black comedy about differences in class and that is what it actually is. However, it also brings in surreal darkness and pushes us to guess until the very end. Making it to the list of the thriller movies of all time, this movie pulls zero punches and every one of them lands hard. This thought-provoking, unforgettable movie has an exceptionally well-written script, and in some moments, it urges the audience to think/feel deeply. If you have not watched this incredible movie yet, we strongly recommend it as it is quite engaging and thought-provoking. The director Bong Joon-ho did a wonderful job as usual.

Read more: Best Drama Movies of All Time

2. Se7en 1995

  • Genre: Crime/Mystery
  • Director: David Fincher
  • Stars: Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow, Kevin Spacey
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 82%, IMDb 8.6

One of the best thriller movies of all time is Seven directed by David Fincher. The movie shows a classic young buck who becomes a partner of a veteran who is on the verge of retiring. Brad Pitt plays the role of a hardheaded rookie who has recently joined the homicide department as a detective. He then starts to track a serial killer who is obsessed with the seven deadly sins with the help of Somerset (Morgan Freeman). The two come across horrors that even Somerset, with that level of experience, has never faced. Pitt’s performance was remarkably great, giving a genuinely flawed and rough nature. The end climax is indeed one of Pitt’s most dramatic and greatest performances, masterfully showing what one might feel like in such a situation.

Read more: Best Brad Pitt Movies of All Time

1. The Silence of the Lambs 1991

  • Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Horror
  • Director: Jonathan Demme
  • Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Jodie Foster, Ted Levine, Frank Seals Jr., Brooke Smith
  • Rating: Rotten Tomatoes 95%, IMDb 8.6

By far one of the best thriller movies of all time is The Silence of the Lambs, where Anthony Hopkins plays Dr. Hannibal Lector. He plays alongside Jodie Foster in this film that is regarded as one of the greatest movies ever. The two actors won their first Academy Award for Best Actor and Best Actress for this movie and their performance. In addition, the movie won Oscars for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay. Starling is a top student at the FBI training academy and he interviews Dr. Hannibal Lecter who is a psychiatrist and psychopath. She appears as an insight into a case and wants to get him to reveal what he knows that can help in solving the mystery of a new killer.

Read more: Best Anthony Hopkins Movies of All Time

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