The list of top 10 suspense movies of all time includes a healthy dose of Alfred Hitchcock films, reflecting his mastery of the genre. But, movies by other directors, who use different approaches to create thrills and build suspense deserve recognition, too. Film noir, adventure, science fiction, and fantasy all have representatives among the top ten suspense films. Suspense is not so much about setting as it is about creating and shaping a state of mind. 

  1. “Psycho.” This is Hitchcock's greatest thriller. A woman who has stolen a large sum of money from her employer checks into the Bates Motel. Instead of the law, she should have been afraid of the psychotic killer in residence at the hotel. The shower murder may be the most famous movie scene ever.

  2. “The Silence of the Lambs.” An FBI agent seeks the advice of an imprisoned, but brilliant, serial killer known for eating his victims, in order to catch another serial killer. This thriller is one of the top ten suspense movies of all time because it won every one of the five biggest Academy Awards.

  3. “Double Indemnity.” A likable insurance agent and his lover kill her husband to collect on a large life insurance policy. They think they have committed the perfect murder until a dogged insurance investigator begins to slowly unravel their plot.

  4. “Se7en.” Two police detective investigate a series of horrible murders that seem to be based on the seven deadly sins. The frightening, intense conclusion makes this movie one of the top ten suspense movies ever made.

  5. “Jaws.” This was a landmark movie in many ways. Suspense is built by a killer who stalks his victims. However, this serial killer is a shark, not a person. The fact that a fish is effectively committing murder makes the killings seem more horrible.

  6. “North by Northwest.” International spies are out to kill an opposing agent, but they identify the wrong man as the intended victim. This Hitchcock film is an iconic top ten ten suspense movie and features a climactic descent down the faces of the Mount Rushmore monument.

  7. “Alien.” A vicious alien creature kills the crew of a spaceship one by one, until only a female warrant officer remains. She proves to be a lot tougher than her crew-mates. This suspense movie was so popular that it spawned multiple sequels.

  8. “Rear Window.” This is a classic Hitchcock thriller. An injured man spies on his neighbors while he recovers and becomes convinced that one of them is a murderer. The suspense builds as he tries to prove it with the help of his girlfriend and a police detective.

  9. “Terminator 2: Judgment Day.” Machines rule the future, but people ar fighting back by using time travel to make changes in the past that will help them in the future. A robot-like machine is sent back in time to defend two key people from the machines sent to kill them. This is not only a top ten suspense movie, but also a top ten science fiction film.

  10. “M.” A serial killer is murdering children in a German city. Horrified by the crimes, and with police pressure interfering with their own enterprises, conventional criminals band together to catch the killer.