Favorite Thriller Movies

by emertens | created - 29 Dec 2012 | updated - 29 Dec 2012 | Public

A list of my favorite thriller movies from the 20th century

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1. Blast of Silence (1961)

Not Rated | 77 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A hired killer from Cleveland has a job to do on a second-string mob boss in New York. But a special girl from his past, and a fat gun dealer with pet rats, each gets in his way.

Director: Allen Baron | Stars: Allen Baron, Molly McCarthy, Larry Tucker, Peter Clune

Votes: 3,180

2. 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: 44,616

3. Experiment in Terror (1962)

Not Rated | 123 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller

A man with an asthmatic voice telephones bank clerk Kelly Sherwood at home and coerces her into helping him steal a large sum from her bank.

Director: Blake Edwards | Stars: Glenn Ford, Lee Remick, Stefanie Powers, Roy Poole

Votes: 3,289

4. Apartment Zero (1988)

R | 124 min | Drama, Thriller

Set in modern day Buenos Aires, the film centers around a relationship between two emotionally crippled roommates. Adrian LeDuc is a lonely sociopath who is forced to rent his insane ... See full summary »

Director: Martin Donovan | Stars: Hart Bochner, Colin Firth, Dora Bryan, Liz Smith

Votes: 3,344 | Gross: $0.67M

5. Sorry, Wrong Number (1948)

Approved | 89 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery

While on the telephone, an invalid woman overhears what she thinks is a murder plot and attempts to prevent it.

Director: Anatole Litvak | Stars: Barbara Stanwyck, Burt Lancaster, Ann Richards, Wendell Corey

Votes: 8,192

6. 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: 368,627 | Gross: $36.76M

7. The 39 Steps (1935)

Not Rated | 86 min | Mystery, Thriller

A man in London tries to help a counterespionage agent. But when the agent is killed and the man stands accused, he must go on the run to both save himself and also stop a spy ring which is trying to steal top secret information.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Robert Donat, Madeleine Carroll, Lucie Mannheim, Godfrey Tearle

Votes: 44,147

8. Rope (1948)

PG | 80 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Two young men strangle their "inferior" classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family to a dinner party as a means to challenge the "perfection" of their crime.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: James Stewart, John Dall, Farley Granger, Dick Hogan

Votes: 108,084

9. Vertigo (1958)

PG | 128 min | Mystery, Romance, Thriller

A San Francisco detective suffering from acrophobia investigates the strange activities of an old friend's wife, all the while becoming dangerously obsessed with her.

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

Votes: 295,265 | Gross: $3.20M

10. Strangers on a Train (1951)

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

A psychotic socialite confronts a pro tennis star with a theory on how two complete strangers can get away with murder - a theory that he plans to implement.

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

Votes: 108,548 | Gross: $7.63M

11. Berlin Express (1948)

Approved | 87 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A multinational group of train passengers become involved in a post-World War II Nazi assassination plot.

Director: Jacques Tourneur | Stars: Merle Oberon, Robert Ryan, Charles Korvin, Paul Lukas

Votes: 2,392

12. Cash on Demand (1961)

Approved | 89 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A charming but ruthless criminal holds the family of a bank manager hostage as part of a cold-blooded plan to steal 97,000 pounds.

Director: Quentin Lawrence | Stars: Peter Cushing, André Morell, Richard Vernon, Norman Bird

Votes: 791

13. Se7en (1995)

R | 127 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

65 Metascore

Two detectives, a rookie and a veteran, hunt a serial killer who uses the seven deadly sins as his motives.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, Andrew Kevin Walker

Votes: 1,186,068 | Gross: $100.13M

14. The Whisperers (1967)

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, Thriller

Beyond Mr. Conrad who attends to the allowance she receives through National Assistance, seventy-six year old Margaret Ross, who lives in a cluttered run down flat, is emotionally all alone... See full summary »

Director: Bryan Forbes | Stars: Edith Evans, Nanette Newman, Harry Baird, Jack Austin

Votes: 854

15. The Night My Number Came Up (1955)

Not Rated | 94 min | Mystery, Thriller

On a routine flight from Hong-Kong to Japan, a British military transport aircraft's fate may or may not depend on a prophetic nightmare.

Director: Leslie Norman | Stars: Michael Redgrave, Sheila Sim, Alexander Knox, Denholm Elliott

Votes: 677

16. Foreign Correspondent (1940)

Not Rated | 120 min | Action, Romance, Thriller

On the eve of World War II, a young American reporter tries to expose enemy agents in London.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Joel McCrea, Laraine Day, Herbert Marshall, George Sanders

Votes: 15,398 | Gross: $3.48M

17. 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: 10,592

18. Cape Fear (1962)

Not Rated | 106 min | Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A lawyer's family is stalked by a man he once helped put in jail.

Director: J. Lee Thompson | Stars: Gregory Peck, Robert Mitchum, Polly Bergen, Lori Martin

Votes: 22,466

19. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

R | 139 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

In late 1950s New York, Tom Ripley, a young underachiever, is sent to Italy to retrieve Dickie Greenleaf, a rich and spoiled millionaire playboy. But when the errand fails, Ripley takes extreme measures.

Director: Anthony Minghella | Stars: Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow, Jude Law, Cate Blanchett

Votes: 153,326 | Gross: $81.30M

20. The Window (1949)

Approved | 73 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Thriller

To avoid the heat of a sweltering summer night a 9-year-old Manhattan boy decides to sleep on the fire escape and witnesses a murder, but no one will believe him.

Director: Ted Tetzlaff | Stars: Bobby Driscoll, Barbara Hale, Arthur Kennedy, Paul Stewart

Votes: 2,812

21. Duel (1971 TV Movie)

PG | 90 min | Action, Thriller

A business commuter is pursued and terrorized by the malevolent driver of a massive tractor-trailer.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Dennis Weaver, Jacqueline Scott, Eddie Firestone, Lou Frizzell

Votes: 53,337

22. The Name of the Rose (1986)

R | 130 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An intellectually nonconformist friar investigates a series of mysterious deaths in an isolated abbey.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud | Stars: Sean Connery, Christian Slater, Helmut Qualtinger, Elya Baskin

Votes: 89,750 | Gross: $7.15M

23. 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: 12,467

24. 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: 16,622 | Gross: $0.11M

25. The Sadist (1963)

Unrated | 92 min | Thriller

Three people driving into Los Angeles for a Dodgers game have car trouble and pull off into an old wrecking yard where they are held at bay by a bloodthirsty psycho and his crazy girlfriend.

Director: James Landis | Stars: Arch Hall Jr., Helen Hovey, Richard Alden, Marilyn Manning

Votes: 1,953

26. The Dark Mirror (1946)

Not Rated | 85 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

A man is found murdered, with witnesses convinced about the woman they saw leaving his apartment. However, it becomes apparent that the woman has a twin, and finding out which one is the killer seems impossible.

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Olivia de Havilland, Lew Ayres, Thomas Mitchell, Richard Long

Votes: 3,139

27. Seance on a Wet Afternoon (1964)

115 min | Crime, Drama

A medium and her husband stage a kidnapping in order for her to pretend to solve the crime and achieve fame.

Director: Bryan Forbes | Stars: Kim Stanley, Richard Attenborough, Margaret Lacey, Marie Burke

Votes: 4,904

28. The Mind Benders (1963)

99 min | Drama, Thriller

A dedicated British scientist tests the possibility of brainwashing. If the experiment succeeds, he will stop loving his wife.

Director: Basil Dearden | Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Mary Ure, John Clements, Michael Bryant

Votes: 353

29. Reflections in a Golden Eye (1967)

Not Rated | 108 min | Drama, Romance, Thriller

Bizarre tale of sex, betrayal, and perversion at a military post.

Director: John Huston | Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Marlon Brando, Brian Keith, Julie Harris

Votes: 5,367

30. What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? (1962)

Not Rated | 134 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller

A former child star torments her paraplegic sister in their decaying Hollywood mansion.

Director: Robert Aldrich | Stars: Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Victor Buono, Wesley Addy

Votes: 41,871

31. The Most Dangerous Game (1932)

Not Rated | 63 min | Adventure, Horror, Mystery

An insane hunter arranges for a ship to be wrecked on an island where he can indulge in some sort of hunting and killing of the passengers.

Directors: Irving Pichel, Ernest B. Schoedsack | Stars: Joel McCrea, Fay Wray, Leslie Banks, Robert Armstrong

Votes: 8,233

32. Double Indemnity (1944)

Passed | 107 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir

95 Metascore

An insurance representative lets himself be talked into a murder/insurance fraud scheme that arouses an insurance investigator's suspicions.

Director: Billy Wilder | Stars: Fred MacMurray, Barbara Stanwyck, Edward G. Robinson, Byron Barr

Votes: 117,199 | Gross: $5.72M

33. Suddenly, Last Summer (1959)

Approved | 114 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

The only son of wealthy widow Violet Venable dies while on vacation with his cousin Catherine. What the girl saw was so horrible that she went insane; now Mrs. Venable wants Catherine lobotomized to cover up the truth.

Director: Joseph L. Mankiewicz | Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Katharine Hepburn, Montgomery Clift, Albert Dekker

Votes: 11,765 | Gross: $13.90M

34. Notorious (1946)

Not Rated | 101 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Romance

A woman is asked to spy on a group of Nazi friends in South America. How far will she have to go to ingratiate herself with them?

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Cary Grant, Ingrid Bergman, Claude Rains, Louis Calhern

Votes: 80,919 | Gross: $10.46M

35. Dial M for Murder (1954)

PG | 105 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Thriller

An ex-tennis pro carries out a plot to murder his wife. When things go wrong, he improvises a brilliant plan B.

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

Votes: 129,591 | Gross: $0.01M

36. I Confess (1953)

Not Rated | 95 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A priest who comes under suspicion for murder cannot clear his name without breaking the seal of the confessional.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Montgomery Clift, Anne Baxter, Karl Malden, Brian Aherne

Votes: 16,246

37. North by Northwest (1959)

Not Rated | 136 min | Adventure, Mystery, Thriller

98 Metascore

A hapless New York advertising executive is mistaken for a government agent by a group of foreign spies, and is pursued across the country while he looks for a way to survive.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Cary Grant, Eva Marie Saint, James Mason, Jessie Royce Landis

Votes: 253,193 | Gross: $13.28M

38. Lady in the Lake (1946)

Approved | 105 min | Crime, Film-Noir, Mystery

The lady editor of a crime magazine hires Philip Marlowe to find the wife of her boss. The private detective soon finds himself involved in murder.

Director: Robert Montgomery | Stars: Robert Montgomery, Audrey Totter, Lloyd Nolan, Tom Tully

Votes: 4,098

39. Dead Calm (1989)

R | 96 min | Horror, Thriller

70 Metascore

After a tragedy, John Ingram and his wife Rae are spending some time isolated at sea, when they come across a stranger who has abandoned a sinking ship.

Director: Phillip Noyce | Stars: Nicole Kidman, Sam Neill, Billy Zane, Rod Mullinar

Votes: 32,296 | Gross: $7.83M

40. Christmas Holiday (1944)

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

A young femme fatale-type woman realizes that the man she married is an incorrigible wastrel.

Director: Robert Siodmak | Stars: Deanna Durbin, Gene Kelly, Richard Whorf, Dean Harens

Votes: 973

41. Rebecca (1940)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

A self-conscious bride is tormented by the memory of her husband's dead first wife.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson

Votes: 103,504

42. Dangerous Crossing (1953)

Approved | 75 min | Drama, Film-Noir, Mystery

When a beautiful bride boards an ocean liner with her new husband, he goes into hiding, and she becomes the target of a murder conspiracy.

Director: Joseph M. Newman | Stars: Jeanne Crain, Michael Rennie, Max Showalter, Carl Betz

Votes: 1,396

43. Hysteria (1965)

Not Rated | 85 min | Mystery, Thriller

An American wakes up in an English hospital unable to remember anything of his life before a recent car accident. With only a photograph torn from a newspaper to guide him, and an unknown ... See full summary »

Director: Freddie Francis | Stars: Robert Webber, Anthony Newlands, Jennifer Jayne, Maurice Denham

Votes: 499

44. Seconds (1966)

R | 106 min | Sci-Fi, Thriller

An unhappy middle-aged banker agrees to a procedure that will fake his death and give him a completely new look and identity - one that comes with its own price.

Director: John Frankenheimer | Stars: Rock Hudson, Frank Campanella, John Randolph, Frances Reid

Votes: 12,984

45. The Ghost Ship (1943)

Approved | 69 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller

Tom Merriam signs on the ship Altair as third officer under Captain Stone. At first things look good, Stone sees Merriam as a younger version of himself and Merriam sees Stone as the first ... See full summary »

Director: Mark Robson | Stars: Richard Dix, Russell Wade, Edith Barrett, Ben Bard

Votes: 2,459

46. Our Mother's House (1967)

104 min | Drama, Thriller

When their deeply religious mother dies, the seven Hook children bury her in the garden and continue life as normal. Then their absent father, Charlie, reappears...

Director: Jack Clayton | Stars: Dirk Bogarde, Margaret Leclere, Pamela Franklin, Louis Sheldon Williams

Votes: 1,350

47. 10 Rillington Place (1971)

GP | 111 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

Based on the real-life case of the British serial killer John Christie, and what happened to his neighbors Tim and Beryl Evans.

Director: Richard Fleischer | Stars: Richard Attenborough, Judy Geeson, John Hurt, Pat Heywood

Votes: 6,155

48. The Nature of the Beast (1995)

R | 91 min | Crime, Horror, Mystery

Two men, both hiding a deadly secret, are on a murderous rampage through the desert.

Director: Victor Salva | Stars: Eric Roberts, Lance Henriksen, Brion James, Frank Novak

Votes: 1,656

49. They Drive by Night (1938)

84 min | Crime, Thriller

A convict, just out of prison, is implicated in a murder and goes on the run, hitching a ride with a truck driver.

Director: Arthur B. Woods | Stars: Emlyn Williams, Anna Konstam, Allan Jeayes, Ernest Thesiger

Votes: 190

50. The Other (1972)

PG | 108 min | Drama, Horror, Mystery

Down in the farm country of the US twins are born. One of them turns out to be good, while the other becomes rather evil.

Director: Robert Mulligan | Stars: Uta Hagen, Diana Muldaur, Chris Udvarnoky, Martin Udvarnoky

Votes: 4,707

51. Strongroom (1962)

Not Rated | 80 min | Crime, Drama

7.2