The 15 Best Thriller Movies of All Time You Must Watch

No matter how many thrillers we watch, not all of them will thrill us. Here, we've compiled the Best Thriller Movies of all time that will hook you.

Thriller, Suspense, Plot Twists, Drama. There is no doubt that all of these genres are the most famous and popular ones. No matter how many thrillers we watch, not all of them will thrill us as much as the ones that have flawless narration. We as an audience look for the best thriller movies that would keep us glued to the screen till the end. In contrast, a thriller that isn’t crafted perfectly does not engage us and is therefore a mediocre thriller. But don’t you go all across the internet for finding the best thrillers. Here, we have compiled the best thriller movies of all time that we think you’re going to love & those are the stories that will hook you from start to finish with iconic characters.

Especially, we have to talk about some ultimate climaxes that made us felt tense and engaged.

Note: The following films are not ranked in any particular order.

15. Night Crawler

night crawler best thriller movies

Nightcrawler epitomizes what happens when a person does anything, literally anything to always get his way in life. It ultimately blurs the boundaries of what’s acceptable and what’s not. Social commentary and character studies are what make the film more interesting. The main characters are very well crafted, and defined through the backdrop with parallel motives. The film essentially tells the story of an ambitious sociopath news video freelancer who will do anything to become a successful media editor. While on the other side, it manifests the dark side of media propaganda & how media distorts the validity of the story.

This is the pinnacle performance of Jake Gyllenhaal who will surely frighten you with his acting and who deserves an Oscar for this role. Also, Riz Ahmed also delivers a sincere performance.

IMDb Rating: 7.8/10

Cast: Jake Gyllenhaal, Riz Ahmed, Rene Russo, and more.

14. Black Swan

Black Swan

Black Swan is a psychological-thriller film that deals with obsession and addiction, and how they could affect the mental side of humans. When I talk about Black Swan, It would be disrespectful If I don’t acknowledge the mind-blowing performance of Natalie Portman. Throughout the film, she was a major asset and an eye-catcher.  Nina (Natalie), a ballerina gets the opportunity to play the White Swan, Princess Odette. However, her paranoia & insecureness take hold of her mind, when Thomas, the artistic director, decides that Lily (Mila) might fit the role better. The whole movie is grim & gloomy from Nina’s viewpoint & takes us to an entire melancholy atmosphere.

The pinnacle of Black Swan is its climax & outstanding cliffhanger. The audience still talk about its ending & conceive theories on the last shot. The film won oscar honors for Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Film Editing, and Best Director, with Natalie Portman winning her first academy award.

IMDb Rating: 8.0/10

Cast: Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Vincent Cassel, and more.

Read more: The 15 Best Animated Films of the 21st Century

13. Shutter Island

shutter island best thriller movies

Shutter Island is absolutely a dark and grim suspense thriller. Subjectively, I would call this film a staggering thriller for its jaw-dropping climax. I was completely dumbfounded and speechless for a few minutes when I first time watched the film. There’s a lot of mystery surrounding the characters in Shutter Island; when the U.S. Marshal and his partner are charged with tracking down a criminal who recently escaped from a psychiatric asylum, they unravel a tale of intrigue and suspense that is hard to put down. Probably, that’s all I can reveal about the film to give you a crazy experience.

It is directed by legendary director, Martin Scorsese, one of the top directors of all time. Just as always, he knocked the socks off with Shutter Island, alongside Leonardo Dicaprio and Mark Ruffalo excellent performances throughout the drama.

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, and more..

12. Memento

memento best thriller movies

Memento is the most unconventional thriller movie ever made in the history of cinema. Wondering why? The film is narrated backwards and forwards simultaneously. To be honest, I can’t describe it, so let me leave a video, Nolan explaining it:

The film has non-linear narration that challenges you to catch the details, making it one of the best thriller movies ever made. It’s so genius of Christopher Nolan to put the audience in the main character’s viewpoint to see the world through him. Basically, he has short-term memory loss, what his purpose now is to hunt his wife’s murderer and get revenge. However, the film isn’t as plain as the plot sounds. I’m telling you, It’s mind-twisting, & elusive. Every time I watch this film, I always feel like ” God I want to edit this movie.”

It takes an ingenious mind to come up with such an incredible idea and make it into a film that nobody could have imagined before it was released, so I gotta give big props to Nolan for a new approach to filmmaking.

can say with certainty that the climax will take you by astonishment & bewilderment. Even at the climax of the film, you’re not really sure if it’s a climax, but I

( Are you looking closely ) ⬆️

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

Cast: Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano, and more.

Read more: 10 Best Post-Apocalyptic Movies of All Time

11. The Usual Suspects

The Usual Suspects best thriller movies

I would say that the Usual Suspects is among the most brilliant films ever made. The idea that a group of the crew can produce something so perfect from start to finish is truly incredible. I don’t think there’s a film that preserves that ultimate plot twist better than this one. There is a lot of talk about the film’s ending. No way, I’m not revealing what the plot of this movie is. As a cineast, I will never be able to explain the immense sense of astonishment I felt when the film reached its climax. Although it takes the film a little longer to develop, the consequences are startling & unbelievable.

I can sum up the cast with one word: Flawless. Kevin Spacey has never been better, according to me. In fact, the performance he turns in well merits an Oscar, and he did indeed win one. Furthermore, Byrne, Del Toro, and Postlethwaite also delivered dark, yet outshining performances.

Watch the movie, and observe all of its strong points, including Bryan Singer’s superb direction and an equally beautiful score. Prepare yourself for a rollercoaster ride and the best ending you will ever see in anyone’s world movie. I really mean it.

Perhaps, you may want to watch it again after one time.

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

Cast: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, and more.

10. Old Boy

old boy best thriller movies

Oldboy is kind of a movie, that puts you on the edge of your seat through the end. But, what comes at the end is probably one of the shocking & darkest endings in cinema history. As you can see in the poster, you must have guessed it, it’s going to be raw and gory. The entire movie is embodied by revenge, raw, gritty, rustic, and savage. It begins with a man who has been imprisoned for years without charge seeks revenge against his captor. However, there is a deeper, darker message waiting behind for him.

The major assets of the old boy are narration and performances by actors. Chan-wook Park, the director, deserves accolades for incredible work & also Choi Min-Sik for amazing performance.

Here’s the suggestion: Don’t watch the film, waiting for the twist to reveal. Just engage in it & I’m sure you’ll be shocked by its enigmatic climax. It’s definitely one of the best open ending movies you must watch.

IMDb Rating: 8.4/10

Cast: Min-Sik Choi, Ji-Tae Yoo, Hye-Jeong Kang and more.

Read more: 10 Best Open Ending Movies You Must Watch

Read more: 20 Best Action Movies Of The 21st Century

9. Fight Club

fight club

The first rule of Fight Club, is you never talk about Fight Club. Yet, I’ll break that rule anyway.

Fight Club was adapted from the book by Chuck Palahniuk. This film presents fascinating perspectives on consumerism, emasculation, chaos, violence, terrorism, and the imminent threat of death and societal collapse. In the same vein, there is no doubt that David Fincher’s films are amazing. You may be interested to watch this film since David Fincher also directed Se7en. In addition to direction, the film also received accolades for visual production, screenplay, cinematography, and jaw-dropping twist. I can’t imagine anyone else playing the main roles, other than Edward Norton, an insomniac office worker, who teams up with Brad Pitt ( a soap salesman) to form an underground fight club.

Nevertheless, some people complained the film was challenging to understand on the first watch. For a complete perception, you may need to watch it multiple times.

IMDb Rating: 8.8/10

Cast: Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Meat Loaf, and more.

8. The Departed

The departed

The Departed hooks you from the start with its intriguing characters and compelling plot. In The Departed, Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg display some of their best acting with their witty and incisive characters, and Leonardo DiCaprio is outstanding as usual. This gripping film employs a brilliant plot device of parallelism, by contrasting two characters, one an undercover cop working to do good, with another character, a cop who appears to be ethical but has actually been planted to rise to the highest levels by the arch-criminal and tragic.

The best thing about the departed is its perfectly paced narration. As a thriller, The Departed is filled with twists, drama, and witty humor throughout. Once again, Martin Scorsese, legendary director delivered the film that exceeds the expectations of its audience in almost every way, which earned him the first Academy Award for best director.

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

Cast: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, and more.

7. Prisoners

prisoners best open ending movies

In case you’re in for a gritty & grim thriller, You must watch Prisoners. Prisoners movie is symbolism on Christianity & Mythology. There are a ton of symbols & figurative allegories in prisoners, which you may not grasp in the first watch, but the metaphors would surprise you sooner or later when you rewatch the film again. Denis Villeneuve, my other favorite director, crafted the film perfectly, exploring enigmatic aspects with subtext for every scene. On the other side, Prisoners is one of the best thriller movies, with an open-ended climax that may frustrate you, while in one sense, a perfect ending to the narrative.

Regarding the plot, I decided not to reveal it to you. As a guy who has seen the film already, I highly recommend that you watch it without watching the trailer or plotline. Just go ahead thinking you’re going to witness one hell of a dark thriller. As for me, I assume, prisoners as an enigma. You have to decipher while watching it & comprehend the narrative while enjoying the performances of two amazing actors Hugh and Jake.

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10

Cast: Hugh Jackman, Jake Gyllenhaal, Viola Davis, and more.

6. The Prestige

The prestige best thriller movies

If you still haven’t seen this masterpiece, Just go right away & Watch it. The Prestige is one of the best thriller movies of all time, which is directed by Christopher Nolan. When you talk about Nolan films, you tend to bring up the sci-fi genre. However, the prestige is entirely different from that arena. Although the film has minimal sci-fi elements, it’s the film that deserves more appreciation & recognization in Christopher Nolan’s filmography.

The prestige is about two rival magicians, who constantly make efforts to upstage one another with the motive of gaining prestige from the audience. Now you know the intent behind the film title. Though, try not to learn too much about the film, the more you learn, the more you’ll be spoiled by its narrative. Because that’s where the prestige nails at, the screenplay & plot twists are major assets of the film with extraordinary performances from both Hugh Jackman & Christian Bale. In case you’re desperately in need of one hell of a thriller. The prestige awaits you.

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

Cast: Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, Scarlett Johansson, and more.

Read more: 15 Best Sci-Fi Movies of All Time

5. Parasite

parasite best thriller movies

Parasite is the oscar winner of the best picture in 2019. It is not just the best thriller also, a movie with social commentary on class through a bunch of metaphors. Specifically, Parasite depicts the underlying aspects of class, labor, & anti-capitalism from the viewpoint of a rich class family and a working-class family. The title of the film “Parasite” itself is a metaphor for the whole plot. This shows how scrupulously the film uses metaphors.

It all starts when the working-class family Kim’s son starts working for the wealthy Park family. But it doesn’t end there, working-class Kim’s family plots something cunning to take leverage of the situation which is bold, crafty, & parasitic. I’m sure right from the beginning, you will be glued to the screen till the film ends. The director, Boon Joon-ho, also the oscar winner of the best director, outlines the narrative with meticulous details, leaving no frame to no avail. The film ” Parasite” also won oscars for Best Original Screenplay, Best International Feature Film, & Best Picture.

The ambiguous ending may baffle you, but it accomplishes what it wants to tell. To put it in a nutshell about the complete cinema, Parasite is full of metaphors & tropes.

IMDb Rating: 8.6/10

Cast: Kang-ho Song, Sun-Kyun Lee, Yeo-Jeong Jo and more.

4. No Country For Old Men

no country for old men

Be ready to crap your pants. No, I’m not exaggerating!

No Country for Old Men is undoubtedly one of the best thrillers directed by the most acclaimed Coen brothers, who won an Academy Award for their work. As you know, Coen brothers are known for their outlandish filmmaking which is the same case with No Country for Old Men with so many tropes & allegories. Immediately after the film begins, you are in for a solo show by Javier Bardem, who continues to terrify you until the end. I think that’s the greatest merit of this film. The very first thing you will talk about when talking about No Country for Old Men is Javier Bardem’s outstanding performance, for which he won the Oscar.

anton chigurh

To elaborate more, In 2018, a group of psychiatrists studied 400 movies and identified 126 psychopathic characters. They chose Javier Bardem’s portrayal of Anton Chigurh as the most clinically accurate portrayal of a psychopath. Period.

IMDb Rating: 8.1/10

Cast: Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin and more.

3. The Silence of the Lambs

The Silence of the Lambs best thriller movies

The Silence of the Lambs ( 1991) is a thriller classic you cannot miss, it’s a masterwork of suspense that blends the elements of horror, crime, and psychology into one gripping story. It’s only the third film in history to win Academy Awards in all the top five categories: Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Actress, Best Director, and Adapted Screenplay.

It begins with a young F.B.I. agent (Jodie Foster) who must receive the advice of an imprisoned killer (Anthony Hopkins) to apprehend another serial killer, who has been taking women victims. With all aspects of filmmaking executed at the highest level of craftsmanship, this film combines a strong point of craft with excellent performances by its stellar cast especially ( Jodie Foster and Anthony Hopkins ). Right from start to end, you’ll be put on the edge of your seat. Even after nearly 30 years of its release, The Silence of the Lambs has remained as one of the best thriller movies of all time. It is a perfect representation of how great a film can become when all the right elements work harmoniously to create a complete work.

IMDb Rating: 8.6/10

Cast: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney and more.

2. Seven

seven best thriller movies

Se7en is one hell of a thriller that unfolds the narrative slowly and sets out to deliver an extraordinary conclusion. It’s a complete master-class & ingenious direction from David Fincher. If you’ve seen any of his films, you’ll see a style of thought-provoking cinematography with symbolic color palettes. Se7en follows the same pattern, though the writing and narration are more intricate.

This psychological thriller follows ( Brad Pitt), a rookie detective who is newly transferred to a crime-ridden metropolitan city, partnered with an old veteran detective ( Morgan Freeman) who is on the verge of retirement, to investigate a series of gruesome murders all around the city. These murders happen to correlate with the seven deadly sins which include: gluttony, greed, sloth, lust, pride, envy, and wrath, as you can see in the poster.

With Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman’s brilliant performances, you’re in for probably the best thriller in your POV, which ends with a grim & dark ending that you’ll never expect coming.

IMDb Rating: 8.6/10

Cast: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, and more.

1. Psycho

psycho best thriller movies

Despite the psycho film’s title genre being horror, the narrative carries a large element of a thriller. This is Alfred Hitchcock’s Top-tier, what do you expect? Psycho is widely regarded to be the best thriller movie of all time & the magnum opus of Alfred Hitchcock who is also known as Master of Suspense. If anything, “Psycho” still remains a masterpiece in the suspense genre even after thirty-eight years. It also had been imitated by many films, including “A Nightmare on Elm Street,” “Halloween,” and “Scream.” Even the unnecessary 1998 remake cannot surpass Alfred Hitchcock’s original.

The specialty of Psycho is it doesn’t have guns, blood, explosions, fires, or crashes. It’s just a first-class piece of filmmaking with immersive suspense and anxiety that evokes you while watching. Furthermore, one of the interesting aspects of the film is it left some audiences traumatized.

With the film shot in black and white, Bernard Hermann’s suspenseful music, Hitchcock’s masterful direction, and stellar performances from Anthony Perkins and Janet Leigh, It is safe to say that Psycho is the best suspense film of all time.

IMDb Rating: 8.5/10

Cast: Anthony Perkins, Janet Leigh, Vera Miles, and more.

Honorable Mentions:

  • Zodiac
  • The Sixth Sense
  • Knives Out
  • Gone Girl
  • Vertigo

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  1. These are some great recommendations! I’ve been meaning to rewatch Black Swan. I saw it when I was younger, but I just don’t remember it. I’ve heard a lot of positive reviews for most of these movies. I may have myself a movie marathon coming up.

    • Parasite is one of the best films in the last decade. You should watch it as soon as possible. You surely love it if you have seen boon Joon hoo filmography.

  2. I love thrillers. Memento and Seven are definitely in my list of all time favourites….so is Silence of the Lambs. There are a few here I’ve not heard of before so will definitely be looking them up. Thanks.

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