10 Best Thrillers Ever

Tuesday, January 25 by Tom Gordon

The ten best thrillers ever all share the feature that defines the genre: suspense, tension and some degree of mystery. This list of the ten best thrillers ever made includes crime, politics, the supernatural and even science fiction. Thrillers also tend to be among some of the great "guy movies" of all time, too. Steel your nerves and check out this list.

  1. "Inception." This blockbuster messed with your head while entertaining the hell out of you was written and directed by Christopher Nolan. It's undoubtedly one of the best thrillers to come along in awhile and demands multiple viewings to catch all the details and plot points.
  2. "Psycho." Skip the remake with Vince Vaughn and check out Alfred Hitchcock's original about a hotelier with some mother issues. It's just as creepy and suspenseful as it was when it came out, and still holds up as a great example of the psychological thriller.
  3. "The Silence of the Lambs." This Best Picture winner from 1991 isn't for the faint of heart, but it does have Anthony Hopkins in maybe the signature role of his storied career, and one of the greatest, if bloodiest, escape scenes in movie history.
  4. "Jaws." In what is basically a modern monster movie, this movie made director Steven Spielberg's career. It shows just how scary and suspenseful a scene can be, even without showing much of the monster at all, and the writing is just great.
  5. "Chinatown." Jack Nicholson stars as Jake Gittes, an L.A. private detective who gets involved in a messy and deadly case. The screenplay by Robert Towne is awesome. Look for a cameo of director Roman Polanski, as a hood who threatens Gittes halfway through the movie.
  6. "Three Days of the Condor." Robert Redford plays a low-level CIA agent whose job is to read spy novels for possible intelligence leaks or ideas to help the agency. When he shows up for work and finds all of his colleagues dead, he has three days to figure out what happened before he is the next victim. It's another one of those 1970s gems that's worth seeking out. The plotting and performances are all great.
  7. "The Usual Suspects." If you want a movie that keeps you guessing right up to the end this is it. The performances of everyone, from Kevin Spacey to Kevin Pollack to Gabriel Byrne to Benicio del Toro are all first rate. It's one of the best mystery movies ever filmed.
  8. "Rear Window." Another Hitchcock classic, featuring James Stewart as a photographer with a broken leg and a sense of curiosity that gets him and his girlfriend (the gorgeous Grace Kelly) into trouble with a homicidal neighbor. Just seeing how Hitchcock builds up the suspense by peering through windows is a lesson in creative filmmaking.
  9. "L.A. Confidential." Cops, crooks, celebrities and politicians all become intertwined in this brilliant movie with a cast that includes Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, Kim Basinger, Guy Pearce and James Cromwell. And if you want a great thriller to read, check out the book upon which the movie was based. It's by James Ellroy and it's a beauty.
  10. "Memento." Another great movie thriller by Christopher Nolan (and starring Guy Pearce). The movie centers on a man with short-term memory loss who must rely on notes and tattoos to help him track down his wife's suspected killer. And because of the hero's mental struggle, the movie follows one storyline moving ahead in time and the other moving backward as he tries to piece together what has happened. Like "Inception," multiple viewings will help you appreciate the filmmaking even more.

Comments Closed