There were thousands or more than thousands of movies released every decade. Every movie has its own genre including comedy, action, horror, suspense, thriller, romantic, adventure, fantasy, sports, supernatural, drama and soon. Well, there can never be a final list for something like this, but I can say with some confidence these are some movies which you should not miss it. It was very hard to pick 18 out of countless movies but somehow Movienasha compiled a list of top 18 best thriller movies of Hollywood of all time.
The movies which are mentioned below are totally according to my point of view so no offense, please and personally watched by me. All the movies below are really superb to watch. I hope this will entice you to watch some. Please leave comment or feedback if you think differently and have something in mind which you want me to notice. Your comments or feedback are most welcome!
20 Best Thriller Movies of Hollywood of All Time
18. The Bourne series (2002-2016)
The Bourne Identity, the first movie in the series based on Robert Ludlum’s novels, was stylistically more conservative. It was directed by Doug Liman and starring Matt Damon, Franka Potente, Chris Cooper, Clive Owen and many other in a lead role. I have to say that the Bourne Trilogy is probably one of my favorite trilogies of all time. What I love about The Bourne Identity is its premise of a man trying to discover who he is.
His regressive amnesia has caused him to forget his biographical details, but his survival skills, facility with multiple languages, and combat training are all still intact. The Bourne Identity aims to grab the viewer in two possible places. The first is the mystery behind our heroes origins and how he ended up in the ocean half dead and the second is his embrace of humanity/the love story with Marie. It’s a must watch series for everyone especially for thriller movie’s fan.
17. 12 Monkeys (1995)
12 Monkeys is a sci-fi thriller movie which was directed by Terry Gilliam. The movie was released on December 29, 1995, starring Bruce Willis, Madeleine Stowe, Brad Pitt, Christopher Plummer, Jon Seda and many others in a lead role. The movie is all about a man named James Cole (Bruce Willis), who lives underground in 1996 with others as a deadly epidemic leaves the surface of the Earth inhabitable. Cole is sent on a mission to travel back in time to 1990 to find out was caused the deadly epidemic. Afterward, he’s thrown into jail and assigned a psychiatrist named Dr. Kathryn Railly (Madeleine Stowe), as telling people you’re from the future doesn’t make them believe you’re sane.
Later, Cole escapes from jail and meets Reilly again in 1996 in order to find twelve monkeys who have the virus that would eventually start the epidemic. The performances also deserve praise, particularly Brad Pitt as an animal activist who may cause the spread of the virus. Willis is also strong as Cole, putting his tough guy persona to good use. Gilliam has created a truly engaging piece of cinema.
16. Black Swan (2010)
Black Swan is a psychological thriller movie directed by Darren Aronofsky. The movie was released on December 17, 2010, starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, Mila Kunis, Barbara Hershey, Winona Ryder in a lead role. Black Swan is, without a doubt, the scariest thriller movie I’ve ever seen. Admittedly, I haven’t seen any good horror movies but even if I had, Black Swan would blow them all away. However, it’s a different kind of scary, one that makes it hard to place genre-wise. “Psychological thriller” is the term being discussed around to describe it.
One of the first things that should be said about Black Swan is that it’s a ballet movie and a horror movie at the same time. Maybe not as much horror as ballet, but it definitely has some incredibly creepy and disturbing moments in it. Some of these did seem a little bit forced, but it never got to the point where I didn’t enjoy watching them.
15. No Country For Old Men (2007)
No Country For Old Men is a thriller movie which was directed by Joel Coen and Ethan Coen. The movie was released on November 7, 2007, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem, Josh Brolin, Kelly Macdonald, Woodly Harrelson in a lead role. This is easily one of the most thought-provoking movies I’ve ever watched.
No Country For Old Men is as close to perfection as I think a movie can get, although many people hate the ending for some reason. The standard movie elements- shot composition, cinematography, and editing are flawless. Every image is crisp and beautiful, every transition seamless. It is one of the best movies of the 2000s and regarded it as the Coen brothers’ masterpiece.
14. L.A. Confidential (1997)
L.A. Confidential is a crime thriller movie directed by Curtis Hanson. The movie was released on September 19, 1997, starring Kevin Spacey, Russell Crowe, Guy Pearce, Kim Basinger and many other talented actors in a lead role. It is a movie all about make believe and the insidious nature of corruption. The choice of 1950’s Los Angeles is a perfect place to tell that story. Compared to other crime-police film, I think “L.A. Confidential” was quite easier to understand.
Well, of course, you need to always keep track of the plot, but the dialogue was light and clear enough that you don’t need to remember every line of the dialogues and every scene to get the whole plot. It’s an easy-to-tell story. It’s always full of curiosity after each scene and you’ll be provoked to wonder what will happen next. I mean to say full of suspense, thriller, and action.
13. Reservoir Dogs (1992)
Reservoir Dogs is one of the best thriller movies of Hollywood and debut for one of the today’s greatest directors, Quentin Tarantino. The movie was released on October 23, 1992, starring Harvey Keitel, Tim Roth, Chris Penn, Steve Buscemi, Michael Madsen and many others. The movie is full of memorable scenes, including the opening introduction, numerous flashbacks of events leading up to the warehouse and most notably the ‘torture’ scene.
The fact that you don’t get to actually see the robbery is very interesting as you actually don’t know what happened there but only get to know fragments about it through dialogues. Reservoir Dogs is a movie that you will not forget in a hurry.
12. The Sixth Sense (1999)
The Sixth Sense is supernatural horror thriller movie directed by M. Night Shyamalan. The movie was released on August 6, 1999, starring Bruce Willis, Toni Collete, Olivia Williams in a lead role. The Sixth Sense was slow, but still fun to follow. Combining elements of horror with psychological make this movie unique, because unlike the more usual horror-thriller direction. The movie tells the story of a boy named Cole who has a sixth sense so that he can see ghosts.
The ability affects the psychological aspect, it is not uncommon he called “strange” by others. The emergence of a ghost in the movie quite often, although not shown in the form of too spooky / half-monster. In other words, it looks more real as ghosts in general. The main weapon in the movie is Shyamalan twist ending which, thus making the audience does not realize what is happening to the character of Dr. Crowe for the film runs. The twist ending scenes became the key to ending.
11. Memento (2000)
Memento is a psychological thriller movie directed by Christopher Nolan. The movie was released on September 5, 2000, starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano and many others in a lead role. Memento takes an alternate perspective on storytelling with a non-linear approach.
The movie leaves viewers in suspense and thriller until the very end, where they learn the truth behind the protagonist’s past. The storytelling style of the movie uses two sequences: one, in color, is told backward while a black and white sequence progresses forward. This is what separates the movie from traditional suspense thrillers and left me guessing until the end.
10. Shutter Island (2010)
Shutter Island is a mystery psychological thriller movie directed by Martin Scorsese and based on novel Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. The movie was released on February 19, 2010, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, Michelle Williams and many others. Shutter Island is an outstanding mystery narrative that follows Teddy on a journey of collecting clues, interviewing hospital staff and mentally unstable inmates.
The story slowly unravels a series of deceptions and treachery. The ending is the most powerful, stunning, heartbreaking, gut wrecking and climatic scenes in the movie which explores the true depth of Teddy’s self-discovery. Shutter Island generates such a real and raw suspense and thriller which creates authentic moods, keeping you on the edge of your seat.
9. The Usual Suspect (1995)
The Usual Suspects is a mystery crime thriller movie directed by Bryan Singer. The movie was released on August 16, 1995, starring Stephen Baldwin, Gabriel Byrne, Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro, Chazz Palminteri, Kevin Pollak and many others. The movie follows Verbal Kint’s (Kevin Spacey) story about how seemingly random criminals ended up on the same Police line up and eventually grouped to a job for a mysterious mob boss whom they have never seen.
Kevin Spacey definitely stole the show as the disabled Verbal Kint and deserved the Oscar for his performance. This movie is true storytelling of the highest order and I suggest that if you haven’t seen it, that you do so immediately. And the first viewing is the best so make it count… and pay attention.
8. The Dark Knight (2008)
The Dark Knight is one of my most liked and best thriller movies of Hollywood which was directed by Christopher Nolan. The movie was released on July 18, 2008, starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Heath Ledger, Gary Oldman, Aaron Eckhart, Maggie Gyllenhaal and many others in a lead role. The Dark Knight the fandom for Nolan’s Batman trilogy has grown to astronomical levels – you’d have to live on a different planet to not be familiar with these movies. There are plenty of big action scenes and excellent character moments and it makes for a sprawling epic in every possible way, the darkest, the most complex segment of Nolan’s Batman trilogy. The Batman series are worth to watch.
7. The Departed (2006)
The Departed is a crime drama thriller movie directed by Martin Scorsese. The movie was released on October 6, 2006, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Ray Winstone and many others. The movie is a remake of the 2002 Hong Kong movie Infernal Affairs. The Departed is one of the finest entries into the crime thriller genre and there is not a shred of doubt.
The story is of two young men, played by Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio, who become embroiled in an elaborate plot to take down Costello’s crime organization from one end and join the Massachusetts State Police Force from the other. Damon plays Colin Sullivan, the mole inside the State Police investigative unit for organized crime. He is hired by Costello as a boy in an extended introduction that introduces most of the major players. Then there’s DiCaprio’s Billy Costigan, a new police recruit fingered for a special deep undercover assignment to help bring Costello down. The Departed is easily the great man’s most easily accessible work to date. The movie is classical, even though it is recently made.
6. Fight Club (1999)
Fight Club is a drama thriller movie directed by David Fincher. The movie was released on October 15, 1999, starring Brad Pitt, Edward Norton, Helena Bonham Carter, Meat Loaf Aday and many others in a lead role. The movie is based on a novel Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk. Norton plays an unnamed everyday guy, that goes to the meeting for people with cancer so that he can cope with his insomnia problem. After his apartment burns down Norton’s character decides to call a guy who he met on the plane – a soap seller called Tyler.
Soon they both create a way to treat aggression and the treatment is called Fight Club – an organization where men gather to fight each other. Soon, however, the idea begins to spread and get out of control. The movie has a fascinating storyline that caught my attention right from the beginning. If you miss even a second of the film you would end up wondering what did just happen.
5. The Prestige (2006)
The Prestige is a mystery thriller type of movie directed by Christopher Nolan. The movie was released on October 17, 2006, starring Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Michael Caine, Scarlett Johansson, Rebecca Hall and many others in a lead role. The movie is based on 1995 world fantasy award-winning novel The Prestige by Christopher Preist. Christopher Nolan does a brilliant work, and it is a well-directed, well-written, well-made and well-acted movie. It is a very complicated and very nonlinear movie. Nolan does a brilliant work, and it is a well-directed, well-written, well-made and well-acted movie.
The plot is about two magicians, Angier (Hugh Jackman) and Borden (Christian Bale), who had once been friends but then turned rivals as Angier believes Borden had killed his wife (Piper Perabo) during a trick. Over the time, the rivalry becomes strong as Angier tries to prove himself as a better magician and works hard to know the secrets behind Borden’s most surprising trick, and eventually, there are revelations. A very well-made movie it is. It is a good movie but you just have to have patience while watching it.
4. Inception (2010)
Inception is also one of my best thriller movies of Hollywood of all time which was directed by none other than Christopher Nolan and released on July 16, 2010, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe, Marion Cotillard, Joseph Gordon-Levitt and many others. This movie has a very interesting concept. The plot revolves around this piece of tech developed by the army which enables people to share dreams. So this team of architects adept at designing dream levels commits “mental heists”. The protagonist has to commit the heist central to the movie to get back to his children.
It is not a very easy movie which you can just sit back and watch. You really need to be alert to be actually able to capture what is going on in the movie. There are these dreams within dreams and it is difficult to figure out in the first go how the things are working actually. But it is definitely another masterpiece of a work by Nolan. Nolan does a great job in conveying his creation well to the audience.
The CG is seamless and the world of the dream has been shown in a very beautiful way. All the actors render laudable performances. I found the performance of Eames played by Tom Hardy to be my favorite. He plays this role of this expert forger with a cool mind exceptionally. All in all, this is a must watch for people who want to challenge their intellect and want some outstanding thriller.
3. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)
The Silence of the Lambs is a psychological thriller movie directed by Jonathan Demme. The movie was released on February 14, 1991, starring Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Scott Glenn, Ted Levine and many others. This movie is always included in the list of best thriller movies of Hollywood of all time. It is based on a Thomas Harris Novel of the same kind. This movie is to date considered as top class horror thriller movie by its audience and world critics. Amongst thousand horrors and thriller, this one remains on top for so many years. This movie is no-prisoner-held in order of its brutal scenes and uncomfortable moments. After adding Anthony Hopkins to all this, What else do we need?
2. Psycho (1960)
Psycho is a psychological horror thriller movie which was produced and directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The movie was released on September 8, 1960, starring Anthony Perkins, Vera Miles, John Gavin, Martin Balsam and many others. The movie is based on 1959 novel Psycho by Robert Bloch. The performances were all excellent; particularly Janet Leigh as the conflicted felon and Anthony Perkins as the mentally tortured motel owner.
The only thing I felt let it down was the very long explanation towards the end; where every nuance of the condition afflicting Bates is exposed. I didn’t feel that much detail was needed, but I could be nit-picking a bit here. It’s a great piece of filmmaking and one every fan of the movies should see at least once.
1. Seven (1995)
Se7en is a psychological thriller movie directed by David Fincher. The movie was released on September 22, 1995, starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman, Gwyneth Paltrow and John C. McGinley in a lead role. The movie starts with no titles and moves straight on the opening scene of the movie which grabs the audience’s attention, right from the very beginning of the movie. The key to Se7en’s success as a crime-thriller is the feel of the movie. Fincher is terrifically talented at bringing to life the most stylish interpretation of the material possible.
Brad Pitt gives a strong performance as Mills, the younger cop who loses his temper more frequently, but still believes he can make a difference. I wouldn’t have liked anyone else to play the role, but I could see a handful of other actors also embodying Mills. Somerset, on the other hand, could not logically be played by anyone but Morgan Freeman. Freeman’s calm deep voice and his presence on-screen is unavoidable.
He is intellectual, he reads Milton and Dante and Chaucer for clues to the murders, and he thinks before he acts, unlike Detective Mills. This difference in character serves as an essential plot point later in the movie. Se7en was Fincher’s first real venture into the crime-thriller genre, and it stands as one of his best works. Many shots in this film are incredibly memorable, being just a part of what makes Se7en such an unavoidable movie.
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