The Best Psychological Thrillers of the 1950s

by Chihir0 | created - 9 months ago | updated - 9 months ago | Public

The 50s were the golden years of Alfred Hitchcock. With five great movies on the list, he is one great contender to win the poll. We, as movie buffs, should thank also French cinematography too for three great movies on this list: Les diaboliques (1955), Le salaire de la peur (1953) and Ascenseur pour l'échafaud (1958).

Which of these Psychological Thrillers of the 1950s did you like the most? After voting, discuss here.

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1. Rear Window (1954)

PG | 112 min | Mystery, Thriller

100 Metascore

A wheelchair-bound photographer spies on his neighbors from his apartment window and becomes convinced one of them has committed murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Grace Kelly, Wendell Corey, Thelma Ritter

Votes: 402,555 | Gross: $36.76M

2. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Not Rated | 92 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

99 Metascore

A religious fanatic marries a gullible widow whose young children are reluctant to tell him where their real daddy hid $10,000 he'd stolen in a robbery.

Director: Charles Laughton | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Shelley Winters, Lillian Gish, James Gleason

Votes: 75,679 | Gross: $0.65M

3. The Wages of Fear (1953)

Not Rated | 131 min | Adventure, Drama, Thriller

In a decrepit South American village, four men are hired to transport an urgent nitroglycerine shipment without the equipment that would make it safe.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot | Stars: Yves Montand, Charles Vanel, Peter van Eyck, Folco Lulli

Votes: 48,612

4. Vertigo (1958)

PG | 128 min | Mystery, Romance, Thriller

100 Metascore

A former police detective juggles wrestling with his personal demons and becoming obsessed with a hauntingly beautiful woman.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Kim Novak, Barbara Bel Geddes, Tom Helmore

Votes: 323,439 | Gross: $3.20M

5. Touch of Evil (1958)

PG-13 | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

99 Metascore

A stark, perverse story of murder, kidnapping, and police corruption in a Mexican border town.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Charlton Heston, Orson Welles, Janet Leigh, Joseph Calleia

Votes: 93,092 | Gross: $2.24M

6. Strangers on a Train (1951)

PG | 101 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller

88 Metascore

A psychopath forces a tennis star to comply with his theory that two strangers can get away with murder.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Farley Granger, Robert Walker, Ruth Roman, Leo G. Carroll

Votes: 114,877 | Gross: $7.63M

7. Diabolique (1955)

Not Rated | 117 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

The wife and mistress of a loathed school principal hatch a plan to murder him while having the perfect alibi. They carry out the plan...but then his body disappears.

Director: Henri-Georges Clouzot | Stars: Simone Signoret, Véra Clouzot, Paul Meurisse, Charles Vanel

Votes: 57,134

8. Dial M for Murder (1954)

PG | 105 min | Crime, Thriller

75 Metascore

A tennis player frames his unfaithful wife for first-degree murder after she inadvertently hinders his plan to kill her.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Ray Milland, Grace Kelly, Robert Cummings, John Williams

Votes: 141,468 | Gross: $0.01M

9. The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956)

PG | 120 min | Drama, Thriller

78 Metascore

An American physician and his wife take matters into their own hands after assassins planning to execute a foreign Prime Minister kidnap their son.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, Doris Day, Brenda de Banzie, Bernard Miles

Votes: 52,173 | Gross: $10.25M

10. Bad Day at Black Rock (1955)

Not Rated | 81 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

A one-armed stranger comes to a tiny town possessing a terrible past they want to keep secret, by violent means if necessary.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Spencer Tracy, Robert Ryan, Anne Francis, Dean Jagger

Votes: 17,509

11. Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

Not Rated | 91 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

94 Metascore

A self-assured businessman murders his employer, the husband of his mistress, which unintentionally provokes an ill-fated chain of events.

Director: Louis Malle | Stars: Jeanne Moreau, Maurice Ronet, Georges Poujouly, Yori Bertin

Votes: 18,425 | Gross: $0.11M

12. House on Haunted Hill (1959)

Not Rated | 75 min | Horror, Mystery

A millionaire offers $10,000 to five people who agree to be locked in a large, spooky, rented house overnight with him and his wife.

Director: William Castle | Stars: Vincent Price, Carol Ohmart, Richard Long, Alan Marshal

Votes: 20,414

13. The Bad Seed (1956)

Approved | 129 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

51 Metascore

A housewife suspects that her seemingly perfect eight-year-old daughter is a heartless killer.

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: Nancy Kelly, Patty McCormack, Henry Jones, Eileen Heckart

Votes: 11,713

14. Niagara (1953)

Not Rated | 92 min | Film-Noir, Thriller

As two couples are visiting Niagara Falls, tensions between one wife and her husband reach the level of murder.

Director: Henry Hathaway | Stars: Marilyn Monroe, Joseph Cotten, Jean Peters, Max Showalter

Votes: 13,397

15. Stage Fright (1950)

Approved | 110 min | Film-Noir, Thriller

A struggling actress tries to help a friend prove his innocence when he's accused of murdering the husband of a high society entertainer.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Marlene Dietrich, Jane Wyman, Richard Todd, Michael Wilding

Votes: 11,439

16. The Narrow Margin (1952)

Approved | 71 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A woman planning to testify against the mob must be protected against their assassins on the train trip from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Charles McGraw, Marie Windsor, Jacqueline White, Queenie Leonard

Votes: 6,366

17. Confidential Report (1955)

Not Rated | 93 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

An American adventurer investigates the past of the mysterious tycoon Gregory Arkadin, placing himself in grave danger.

Director: Orson Welles | Stars: Orson Welles, Peter van Eyck, Michael Redgrave, Patricia Medina

Votes: 6,937

18. Panic in the Streets (1950)

Approved | 96 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A doctor and a policeman in New Orleans have only 48 hours to locate a killer infected with pneumonic plague.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Richard Widmark, Paul Douglas, Barbara Bel Geddes, Jack Palance

Votes: 6,400

19. Don't Bother to Knock (1952)

Passed | 76 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery

After being dumped by his girlfriend, an airline pilot pursues a babysitter in his hotel and gradually realizes she's dangerous.

Director: Roy Ward Baker | Stars: Richard Widmark, Marilyn Monroe, Anne Bancroft, Donna Corcoran

Votes: 5,323

20. While the City Sleeps (1956)

Not Rated | 100 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A serial killer has been killing beautiful women in New York, and the new owner of a media company offers a high ranking job to the 1st administrator who can get the earliest scoops on the case.

Director: Fritz Lang | Stars: Dana Andrews, Rhonda Fleming, George Sanders, Howard Duff

Votes: 4,849

21. Sudden Fear (1952)

Approved | 110 min | Film-Noir, Thriller

After an ambitious actor insinuates himself into the life of a wealthy middle-aged playwright and marries her, he plots with his mistress to murder her.

Director: David Miller | Stars: Joan Crawford, Jack Palance, Gloria Grahame, Bruce Bennett

Votes: 4,381

22. The Prowler (1951)

Approved | 92 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller

When Susan Gilvray reports a prowler outside her house police officer Webb Garwood investigates and sparks fly. If only her husband wasn't in the way.

Director: Joseph Losey | Stars: Van Heflin, Evelyn Keyes, John Maxwell, Katherine Warren

Votes: 2,638

23. Where Danger Lives (1950)

Not Rated | 82 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller

A young doctor falls in love with a disturbed young woman, becomes involved in the death of her husband, and has to flee with her to the Mexican border.

Director: John Farrow | Stars: Robert Mitchum, Claude Rains, Faith Domergue, Maureen O'Sullivan

Votes: 2,219

24. The Sniper (1952)

Approved | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A sniper kills young brunettes as the police attempt to grapple with the psychology of the unknown assailant.

Director: Edward Dmytryk | Stars: Arthur Franz, Adolphe Menjou, Gerald Mohr, Marie Windsor

Votes: 2,405

25. Night Train (1959)

99 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Jerzy enters a train set for the Baltic coast. He seems to be on the run from something - as does the strange woman with whom he must share a sleeping compartment.

Director: Jerzy Kawalerowicz | Stars: Lucyna Winnicka, Leon Niemczyk, Teresa Szmigielówna, Zbigniew Cybulski

Votes: 2,295



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