Best thrillers in movie history

Best thrillers in movie history

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By: Meagan Drillinger
Rizzoli Film

Best thrillers in movie history

Representing the best of all worlds, quality cinematic thrillers pair edge-of-your-seat suspense with genuine human conflict. Throw in a little mystery, some taut action sequences, and the occasional romantic encounter, and it's no wonder the genre remains so wildly popular year after year. Further distinguishing a number of thrillers is that they opt for the slow burn, as opposed to, say, horror movies, which go straight for the jugular. That said, there are still plenty of top thrillers out there that veer into "action movie" territory, sparing the slow burn for a nonstop barrage of fights, explosions, and death-defying showdowns. One might say such loose parameters lend the genre all the more range. Others might argue that those same parameters dumb things down, diluting the genre in the process.

Big-budget action sequences or not, most thrillers tend to emphasize the human element. As a result, viewers are more inclined to care about the characters and invest in the story. Not only that, but because thrillers often weave a more intricate narrative, the best ones reveal additional layers of meaning and detail with every viewing, making them compulsively watchable over and over again. And who doesn't love a movie that they can watch multiple times?

As with any genre, not all thrillers are created equal. Some explode with pure movie magic, while others fail to light even the weakest fuse. Stacker is celebrating the former, listing out the 100 best thrillers in movie history. For analysis, we've built an index (the "Stacker score") that compiles IMDb ratings (weighted 50%) and Metacritic scores (weighted 50%). To qualify, the film had to be listed as crime on IMDb, have a Metascore, and have at least 5,000 votes. Ties were broken by Metascore, and further ties were broken by IMDb user rating. Every film on the list has been considered according to the cinematic history and development of thrillers.

Click through to see if your favorite thriller made it to Stacker's list.

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Prisma Film

#100. Revanche (2008)

- Director: Götz Spielmann
- Stacker score: 86
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 121 min

This Austrian film tells the story of Alex, an ex-con who, in an attempt to make life easier for his prostitute girlfriend, turns back to his old life of crime for a final heist. Fleeing the scene, he hides out in his grandfather's farming community, where he befriends a woman whose husband just happens to be a police officer. The film was a foreign-language Oscar nominee in 2008.

Boshra Film

#99. Fireworks Wednesday (2006)

- Director: Asghar Farhadi
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 102 min

In this Iranian thriller, housewife Mojdeh is deeply suspicious that her husband, Morteza, is having an affair with the beautician next door. She sends her housekeeper, Rouhi, on an investigative mission to find out the truth, and things go horribly awry. A sweeping metaphor throughout the movie are the sounds of cap guns and rockets, which are literally the sounds of a celebration of the Persian New Year, but symbolically signal the human drama within, writes Clayton Dillard in Slant.

Touchstone Pictures

#98. The Insider (1999)

- Director: Michael Mann
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 157 min

Sometimes a thriller doesn't need to go big on explosions or mysteries in order to retain an atmosphere of suspense. For proof, look no further than Michael Mann's "The Insider," about a chemist's harrowing attempt to expose Big Tobacco by appearing on "60 Minutes." The film is based on the real-life story of Jeffrey Wigand, who requested that not a single cigarette be smoked on screen. With the exception of one puff during the opening sequence, Mann obliged.

Warner Bros.

#97. Mystic River (2003)

- Director: Clint Eastwood
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 138 min

Ex-con Jimmy Marcus' daughter is dead, and it turns out two of his childhood friends are involved: one was the last person to see her alive, and the other is the homicide detective working on the case. Not only was the film directed by Clint Eastwood, but the Hollywood icon also wrote the film's score, writes Peter Travers in Rolling Stone.

Universal Pictures

#96. Children of Men (2006)

- Director: Alfonso Cuarón
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 109 min

In a desolate future where humans are unable to reproduce, a miracle arrives in the form of a pregnancy. So goes the premise for "Children of Men," a propulsive thriller based on a book of the same name. Among the movie's many iconic scenes is a pig floating over the Battersea Power Station, making direct reference to the Pink Floyd album "Animals."

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Warner Bros.

#95. All the President's Men (1976)

- Director: Alan J. Pakula
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 138 min

From the annals of great journalism movies comes 1976's "All the President's Men," the story of two reporters who blow the lid off the Nixon Watergate scandal. While the movie goes to great lengths to preserve the integrity of the book upon which it was based, it does take some liberties in the dialogue department. More to the point, the film introduced the phrase "follow the money," which is now part of the national lexicon.

CJ Entertainment

#94. The Handmaiden (2016)

- Director: Park Chan-wook
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 145 min

Revenge is served all sorts of ways in this Korean erotic thriller from 2017. Directed by Park Chan-wook, class tension and politics are central themes in the story of a con man who teams up with a pickpocket to swindle a wealthy man and his niece out of their money. The film is based on a Victorian-era novel titled "Fingersmith." Chan-wook's version sets it in Korea during the Japanese occupation, notes Bettina Makalintal in Vice.

The Ladd Company

#93. Blade Runner (1982)

- Director: Ridley Scott
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 117 min

In the midst of the initial "Star Wars" craze came Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner," a noirish take on sci-fi that's earned itself a healthy cult following over the years. In the film, Harrison Ford stars as a bounty hunter who must find and terminate a group of escaped replicants. Everything from the music to the characters to the set pieces is bursting with style and distinction, lending the film a breathtaking aesthetic all its own.

Twentieth Century Fox

#92. Aliens (1986)

- Director: James Cameron
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 137 min

In 1979, Ridley Scott terrified audiences with "Alien," and in 1986, James Cameron delivered "Aliens," a sequel that cranked up the action while toning down the horror. Cameron would later become well known for his authoritative methodology, but at the time, he was considered a novice, which made it hard for him to earn the respect of his assistant director and the film crew alike. In response, Cameron had the assistant director replaced, quashing a potential uprising.

Warner Bros.

#91. The Dark Knight (2008)

- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Stacker score: 95
- Metascore: 84
- IMDb user rating: 9.0
- Runtime: 152 min

The second Batman film from Christopher Nolan is now widely considered one of the greatest comic book movies of all time. We're speaking, of course, of "The Dark Knight," which sees Christian Bale returning as the caped crusader and Heath Ledger famously tackling the Joker. To best capture the role, Ledger reportedly drew upon a slew of influences, including Sex Pistols members Sid Vicious and Johnny Rotten as well as Alex from "A Clockwork Orange."

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Incorporated Television Company (ITC)

#90. The Last Seduction (1994)

- Director: John Dahl
- Stacker score: 84
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 110 min

The first five minutes of "The Last Seduction" set the tone, when femme fatale Bridget steals her husband's money he scored from a drug deal. She flees to western New York, where she hones in on her next victim. Linda Fiorentino was the people's choice for best actress—save for the fact that the film wasn't even nominated. Due to an outdated rule, the movie was ineligible because it aired on cable TV first, according to The Independent.

Universal Pictures

#89. Out of Sight (1998)

- Director: Steven Soderbergh
- Stacker score: 84
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 123 min

From the pages of the novel by Elmore Leonard comes this 1998 film directed by Steven Soderbergh. "Out of Sight" stars George Clooney as the suave, debonair bank robber who gets a little more than he bargained for when he wins the heart of a Federal Marshal, played by Jennifer Lopez. The film's A-list roster doesn't end there—supporting cast members include Don Cheadle, Albert Brooks, Steve Zahn, and Isaiah Washington.

McElroy & McElroy

#88. The Last Wave (1977)

- Director: Peter Weir
- Stacker score: 85
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 106 min

The Sydney-based story follows lawyer David Burton who takes on a legal aid case defending five Aboriginal Australians accused of murdering another member of their tribe. However, none will talk about what happened. Meanwhile, Burton himself keeps having troubling dreams about a looming apocalypse. Director Peter Weir says he got the idea for the film after asking himself the question, "What if someone with a very pragmatic approach to life experienced a premonition?"

Killer Films

#87. First Reformed (2017)

- Director: Paul Schrader
- Stacker score: 85
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 113 min

An encounter with a volatile environmental activist sends a small-town church pastor plummeting into his unstable past. The overarching theme that it is the uncertainty that will damn us in the end. "First Reformed" was, according to Vox's Alissa Wilkinson, perfectly poised for the era of Trump. Although no direct reference to President Trump exists in the film, the movie focuses heavily on themes of extremism.

StudioCanal,

#86. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

- Director: Tomas Alfredson
- Stacker score: 85
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 122 min

John le Carre's 1974 spy novel leaps off the pages in this film adaptation from Tomas Alfredson. An omnipresent feeling of throbbing dread takes viewers on a wild ride of puzzle after puzzle chasing Soviet agent moles to stop them from leaking secrets to British intelligence. The book is nearly 500 pages, which is boiled down into a two-hour movie. While it was brilliantly acted, especially by lead Gary Oldman, those who haven't read the book may find the film rushed and confusing, according to Slate's Dana Stevens. 

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Je Suis Bien Content

#85. April and the Extraordinary World (2015)

- Directors: Christian Desmares, Franck Ekinci
- Stacker score: 86
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 105 min

Set in 1941 Paris, a teenager, along with her sidekick talking cat, embarks on a quest to find her missing parents. The steampunk style of the film is visually stunning, which is only enhanced by the storytelling itself. The film emphasizes the importance of intelligence in an otherwise terrifying world. In fact, the original French title translates to "April and the Twisted World."

Hydraulx

#84. Take Shelter (2011)

- Director: Jeff Nichols
- Stacker score: 86
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 120 min

Plagued by nightly apocalyptic visions, Curtis (played by Michael Shannon), begins to, without explanation, refashion a storm shelter in his backyard. His new obsession throws confusion into his marriage and a wedge between himself and his community. Director Jeff Nichols admits that much of the relationship between Curtis and his wife, played by Jessica Chastain, drew on very real examples from his own marriage, including one particular urine-soaked argument, reports IFC.

NLT Productions

#83. Wake in Fright (1971)

- Director: Ted Kotcheff
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 109 min

The 1971 thriller film, "Wake in Fright," follows John Grant, a teacher in a remote outback town making his way to Sydney following the school term. After getting sidetracked in a mining town full of local drunks whose favorite pastime is a ruthless kangaroo hunt, he starts to wonder if suicide is a better alternative to his misfortune. Speaking of local drunks, actor Chips Rafferty was appalled by the director's choice to stock the scenes with nonalcoholic beer. The director estimated that Rafferty needed to down 30 pints in a day to complete the drinking scenes, reports The Guardian.

Universal Pictures

#82. Get Out (2017)

- Director: Jordan Peele
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 104 min

Still fresh on everyone's minds is Jordan Peele's "Get Out," the 2017 thriller about an African American man who visits his white girlfriend's family and unwittingly gets ensnared in a diabolical scheme. As one might imagine, the film is rife with racist overtones and comic jabs at upper-crust society. However, there are also some less obvious references to America's history of racism. For instance, a teacup and spoon play an essential role in the film, alluding to the slave era, when masters would use a teacup and spoon to summon slaves.

ARTE

#81. The Salesman (2016)

- Director: Asghar Farhadi
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 124 min

An Iranian couple is forced to take a new apartment in Tehran. Once relocated, the wife is assaulted by an unknown intruder and suffers trauma that she is unwilling to cope with. Throughout the film, the husband and wife act in an ongoing performance of Arthur Miller's "Death of a Salesman" on stage at a local community theater, but the trauma of what happened starts to infiltrate their performances. Asghar Farhadi won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film director, but refused to attend the ceremony to protest President Trump's travel ban, writes Saba Hamedy in Mashable.

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Directors Company, The

#80. The Conversation (1974)

- Director: Francis Ford Coppola
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 113 min

In between making "The Godfather" and "The Godfather II," Francis Ford Coppola released "The Conversation," a comparatively modest but effectively unnerving film about a surveillance expert who thinks his next targets are going to be murdered. The highly acclaimed movie won the Palme d'Or at Cannes and was nominated for three Academy Awards, including best picture. It would ultimately suffer defeat in the best picture category to "The Godfather II," making 1974 an excellent year for Coppola.

Les Films Alain Sarde

#79. Mulholland Drive (2001)

- Director: David Lynch
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 147 min

Composed of a series of side vignettes, "Mulholland Drive" ultimately follows the main story of Betty Elms, an aspiring actress in Los Angeles who befriends a woman recovering from a car accident and suffering from amnesia. The psychological thriller was originally created with the potential for a television series. However, ABC ultimately pulled the plug, notes Andrew Pulver in The Guardian, so David Lynch reshaped it as a feature film.

Universal Pictures

#78. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

- Director: Paul Greengrass
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 115 min

Director Paul Greengrass and star Matt Damon deliver nonstop thrills and lots of shaky-cam action in "The Bourne Ultimatum," the third in a series of Jason Bourne movies. In the film, Bourne narrowly escapes the wrath of a CIA boss and his various assassins, all while searching for the truth behind his own life as a trained killer.

PolyGram Filmed Entertainment

#77. Fargo (1996)

- Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 98 min

While the premise of a man who hires two criminals to abduct his wife might sound like standard Hollywood fare, 1996's "Fargo" is quite unlike any other film of its kind. Arguably the Coen brothers' most quintessential work, this movie performed well at the box office and even spawned a hit TV series on FX. But the FX series actually marks the second time "Fargo" was adapted for the small screen: Before that came a TV adaptation in 1997, which was passed over by networks.

Warner Bros.

#76. The Departed (2006)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 151 min

Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio play undercover agents on opposite sides of the law in Martin Scorsese's "The Departed." The movie was a star-studded affair, to say the least, with about half the $90 million budget going toward actors' salaries.

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Strong Heart/Demme Production

#75. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

- Director: Jonathan Demme
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 85
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 118 min

Adapted from the best-selling novel by Thomas Harris, "The Silence of the Lambs" remains a benchmark in the thriller genre. That's in no small part thanks to Anthony Hopkins' turn as serial killer Hannibal Lecter, who enjoys toying with minds as much as he does devouring bodies. Hopkins would later claim he was able to portray the iconic character by combining author Truman Capote and actress Katharine Hepburn with the HAL computer from "2001: A Space Odyssey."

Columbia Pictures

#74. To Die For (1995)

- Director: Gus Van Sant
- Stacker score: 84
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 6.8
- Runtime: 106 min

It started with the real-life story of Pamela Smart, which was transformed into a novel by Joyce Maynard, picked up by Gus Van Sant and turned into this criminal "dramedy/mockumentary." An A-list cast includes Nicole Kidman, Matt Dillon, and Joaquin Phoenix. Together they tell the story of a weather reporter with big newscaster dreams. But when her husband threatens to stand in her way, she arranges to have him killed.

Cineplex Odeon Films

#73. The Grifters (1990)

- Director: Stephen Frears
- Stacker score: 84
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Runtime: 110 min

Film noir gets a new face with "The Grifters," a film with big names attached to it like Stephen Frears, Martin Scorsese, John Cusack, Anjelica Huston, and Annette Bening. It tells the story of three con artists who come together in Los Angeles, where a series of clashes leads to big trouble for them all. To prepare for the role, Anjelica Huston tells Betsy Sharkey of The New York Times that she'd go to the windowless card parlors of Los Angeles to watch the female card dealers.

Beijing Hairun Pictures Company

#72. Drug War (2012)

- Director: Johnnie To
- Stacker score: 85
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.0
- Runtime: 107 min

"Drug War" is a suspense-filled film about a police captain who teams up with a drug lord. Looking to escape the death penalty, the drug lord feeds information to the captain about his drug ring, but loyalties are questioned as the captain gets deeper into the case. This was the first film by Hong Kong director Johnnie To to be filmed in mainland China, notes Boyd van Hoeij in Variety.

Morgan Creek Entertainment

#71. Dead Ringers (1988)

- Director: David Cronenberg
- Stacker score: 86
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 116 min

"Dead Ringers" tells the story of Elliot and Beverly, twin gynecologists who are identical in looks but polar opposite in disposition. Elliot, the bolder of the two, is attracted to his patients, but when he inevitably loses interest, he passes them to Beverly, without the women knowing the difference. The script was based on the lives of Stewart and Cyril Marcus, twin gynecologists from New York City with mysterious circumstances surrounding their untimely deaths, according to Janet Maslin of The New York Times.

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Cinema 77

#70. Blow Out (1981)

- Director: Brian De Palma
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 108 min

Murder has a sound all of its own, or so says the tagline of this 1981 psychological thriller. Starring John Travolta, "Blow Out" is about a sound technician who inadvertently records audio evidence of a political assassination. The film was based on the 1966 film "Blowup," which was a similar concept using photography as the medium, whereas "Blow Out" involved audio.

Avenue Pictures

#69. The Player (1992)

- Director: Robert Altman
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 124 min

Based on a novel of the same name, 1992's "The Player" is a Hollywood satire and compelling thriller rolled into one. The movie tells the tale of a film executive who finagles his way into deals and out of murder charges. Look for cameos from just about everybody who was anybody around the time the film was made.

Compulsion Inc.

#68. Traffic (2000)

- Director: Steven Soderbergh
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 147 min

A film of ever-shifting perspectives, "Traffic" tells the story of the illegal drug trade through the eyes of everyone involved—traffickers, enforcers, politicians, and users. A powerful narrative is emboldened by an impressive cast, including Don Cheadle, Benicio del Toro, Michael Douglas, Erika Christensen, Luis Guzman, Dennis Quaid, Catherine Zeta-Jones, James Brolin, and many others. Originally, 20th Century Fox demanded that Harrison Ford play a leading role, but Steven Soderbergh refused. USA Films picked up the project.

TriStar Pictures

#67. Baby Driver (2017)

- Director: Edgar Wright
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 113 min

Bank heists are to the thriller genre what haunted houses are to the horror genre, yet that didn't stop filmmaker Edgar Wright from infusing "Baby Driver" with its own distinct vibe. The movie is about a young getaway driver with a passion for music who gets wrangled into pulling off an impossible job. To research the film, Wright befriended real-life ex-convict Joe Loya, author of "The Man Who Outgrew His Prison Cell."

Paramount Pictures

#66. Mission: Impossible - Fallout (2018)

- Director: Christopher McQuarrie
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 147 min

Ethan Hunt is back for the sixth chapter in the "Mission: Impossible" franchise, this time teaming up with a CIA assassin to prevent an even greater disaster. The sixth film was discussed before the release of the fifth film, "Rogue Nation," which was also directed by Christopher McQuarrie, making him the only "Mission: Impossible" director to direct more than one film in the franchise.

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Warner Bros.

#65. Argo (2012)

- Director: Ben Affleck
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 120 min

To save six American hostages, CIA agents enter Tehran under the guise of a Hollywood production crew in 2012's "Argo." Directed by Ben Affleck, the movie is based on a real-life hostage crisis that occurred in 1979. While the film does strive for authenticity, it reportedly overlooks Canada's involvement in the rescue mission, which in real life was quite significant.

Warner Bros.

#64. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

- Director: Sidney Lumet
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 125 min

As much a comedy and a drama as it is a thriller, 1975's "Dog Day Afternoon" is based on the true story of a man who robs a bank to pay for his partner's sex reassignment surgery operation. What follows is a media circus for the ages. Al Pacino stars in the lead role and bears a striking resemblance to his real-life counterpart.

American International Pictures (AIP)

#63. Persona (1966)

- Director: Ingmar Bergman
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 83 min

In this complete mind-meld of a film, director Ingmar Bergman tells the story of a young nurse and her patient, who has unexpectedly stopped speaking. The two relocate to a remote cottage where the lines between the two begin to blur to the point where the nurse has trouble distinguishing herself from her patient. Often thought to be Bergman's masterpiece, the film touched on almost every controversial subject out there, from abortion and family relationships to sexuality and even vampire mythology.

Selznick International Pictures

#62. Rebecca (1940)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 130 min

More thrillers mean more Hitchcock, and 1940's "Rebecca" finds the master in top form. The film centers on a newlywed woman who moves in with her recently widowed husband and finds herself unable to escape the looming presence of his deceased former wife. This is the only Hitchcock film to win best picture at the Academy Awards.

Mirisch Company, The

#61. The Great Escape (1963)

- Director: John Sturges
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 172 min

Putting actor Steve McQueen in a POW escape movie is virtually guaranteeing one of the best thrillers of all time. That movie was "The Great Escape," and it features McQueen leading a group of allies out of a German internment camp. Charles Bronson stars as the chief tunneler, drawing upon his previous experiences as a coal miner for the role.

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Bavaria Film

#60. Das Boot (1981)

- Director: Wolfgang Petersen
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 86
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 149 min

German U-boat U-96 patrols the Atlantic Ocean during World War II. The film, nominated for six Academy Awards, highlights the thrill of battle juxtaposed against the sheer boredom of life aboard. The film was made with a budget of approximately $12 million, which made it one of the most expensive movies in German cinema at the time, according to Variety.

Rook Films

#59. The Duke of Burgundy (2014)

- Director: Peter Strickland
- Stacker score: 83
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 6.5
- Runtime: 104 min

"The Duke of Burgundy" is a British drama about two female lovers who play games of sexual dominance and subservience with each other. The two characters are students of lepidopterology, which is the study of moths and butterflies. The title of the film refers to a specific species of butterfly.

Bunya Productions

#58. Sweet Country (2017)

- Director: Warwick Thornton
- Stacker score: 85
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 6.9
- Runtime: 113 min

Based on a true story, "Sweet Country" is set in Australia's Northern Territory in 1929, threading together stories about real-life tension between European settlers and Aboriginal Australians. The film was inspired by the story of an Aboriginal Australian named Wilaberta Jack, who shot ANZAC (Australian and New Zealand Army Corps) veteran, Harry Henty.

Non-Stop Productions

#57. Elena (2011)

- Director: Andrey Zvyagintsev
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 109 min

A Russian drama from 2011, "Elena," tells the story of the looming death of Vladimir. He leaves his fortune to his only daughter, thus cutting his wife, Elena, and her son from a previous marriage out of the will. The film was described as "Darwinian" by Stephen Holden in The New York Times, describing it as "a moral vacuum where money rules, the haves are contemptuous of the have-nots, and class resentment simmers."

A24

#56. Hereditary (2018)

- Director: Ari Aster
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 127 min

You can't outrun your past, they say. But never was it so true as in "Hereditary," the story of the death of a matriarch, whose daughter and grandchildren begin to uncover a series of frightening secrets about their ancestry. Starring Toni Collette, the film was made on a $10 million budget and brought in more than $80 million worldwide.

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Double Dare You (DDY)

#55. The Shape of Water (2017)

- Director: Guillermo del Toro
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 123 min

A mute, isolated woman who works as a cleaning lady in a government lab in 1962 Baltimore discovers a classified secret: an aquatic creature captured and living in a water tank. They form an intense, romantic bond, but the future and life of her discovery lay in the hands of a hostile government. "The Shape of Water" was nominated for 13 Academy Awards and took home four, including best picture and best director.

British Lion Film Corporation

#54. The Wicker Man (1973)

- Director: Robin Hardy
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 88 min

A British police sergeant pays a call to the island of Summerisle, searching for a missing girl. When he arrives on the island, he discovers that its residents have forsaken Christianity to practice a form of Celtic paganism. The film was based on the David Pinner novel, "Ritual," and was remade in 2006 starring Nicolas Cage.

E-K-Corporation

#53. The Long Goodbye (1973)

- Director: Robert Altman
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 112 min

Another classic from Robert Altman, 1973's "The Long Goodbye," adapts a Raymond Chandler novel and stars Elliott Gould as famous detective Philip Marlowe. This was one of five movies that Gould and Altman would make together and was also one of the first movies to feature Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Artists Entertainment Complex

#52. Serpico (1973)

- Director: Sidney Lumet
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 130 min

"Serpico" is a chilling tale about corruption within the NYPD and the real-life cop who dedicated his career to exposing it. One of Al Pacino's greatest roles, the screenplay was inspired by the biography of the real Frank Serpico. Pacino was nominated for best actor, though he lost out to Jack Lemmon for his performance in "Save the Tiger."

Eon Productions

#51. Goldfinger (1964)

- Director: Guy Hamilton
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 110 min

The third James Bond film to ever be made, "Goldfinger," was based on the 1959 Ian Fleming novel of the same name. It stars Sean Connery as the suave secret agent investigating a gold smuggling plan set to contaminate the U.S. Bullion Depository at Fort Knox. The movie had a budget of $3 million ($25 million with inflation), which was the budget of "Dr. No" and "From Russia with Love" ("Goldfinger's" predecessors) combined.

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Compass International Pictures

#50. Halloween (1978)

- Director: John Carpenter
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 91 min

Most folks might consider John Carpenter's 1978 classic "Halloween" to be straight horror. However, the film about a crazed homicidal maniac who terrorizes his hometown actually touts more suspense than it does gore. That feature and a slow-burn narrative easily qualify this film as a thriller—one of the best thrillers of all time at that.

Warner Bros.

#49. The Fugitive (1993)

- Director: Andrew Davis
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 130 min

Harrison Ford plays a falsely accused murderer on the run in "The Fugitive," which was based on a TV series of the same name. The film delivers no shortage of memorable dialogue, an impressive feat given the fact that the actors improvised many of their lines.

Dreamlab

#48. About Elly (2009)

- Director: Asghar Farhadi
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 119 min

Three Iranian families, all former classmates, take a three-day vacation on the coast of the Caspian Sea. One of the families brings along their daughter's teacher to set her up with one of the men, but the teacher, Elly, disappears, which reveals a web of secrets. Upon release in Iran, it quickly rose to be considered one of the greatest Iranian film of all time.

Zanuck/Brown Productions

#47. Jaws (1975)

- Director: Steven Spielberg
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 87
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 124 min

The original blockbuster, 1975's "Jaws," pits a great white shark against unsuspecting locals and tourists in a small coastal town. As most are aware, this film made director Steven Spielberg a household name, though what is less commonly known is the fact that he wasn't the studio's first choice. The director who was originally attached was fired after he kept referring to the shark as a whale during production meetings.

Sidney Kimmel Entertainment

#46. Hell or High Water (2016)

- Director: David Mackenzie
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 102 min

Combining a simple premise with poignant social commentary, 2016's "Hell or High Water" tells the story of two brothers who rob banks to save their ranch. Screenwriter Taylor Sheridan was partly inspired to write the film after visiting his hometown and seeing nothing but closed storefronts and empty houses.

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London Film Productions

#45. The Fallen Idol (1948)

- Director: Carol Reed
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 95 min

Phillipe is the young son of a diplomat who finds himself alone much of the time and takes a strong liking to the house butler, Baines. When Baines is wrongly accused of his wife's death, Phillipe is desperate to come to his rescue. The film was critically acclaimed upon its release in Britain, and Carol Reed was nominated for best director.

Warner Bros.

#44. Strangers on a Train (1951)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 101 min

Alfred Hitchcock continues to reign over this list, this time with 1951's "Strangers on a Train." Adapted from a novel by Patricia Highsmith, the premise deals with two men who agree to swap murders to forge stronger alibis. Mystery writer Raymond Chandler wrote an early draft of the screenplay, but virtually nothing from the draft would make it onto the big screen. However, Warner Bros insisted on giving Chandler screenwriting credit as a marketing ploy.

Pandora Cinema

#43. Donnie Darko (2001)

- Director: Richard Kelly
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 88
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 113 min

A modern cult classic if there ever was one, "Donnie Darko" tells the surreal tale of a teenage boy who narrowly escapes death, only to be haunted by visions of a man wearing a rabbit suit. Richard Kelly's debut film is so heady in its delivery that entire websites are devoted to deciphering its meaning.

SBS Productions

#42. Elle (2016)

- Director: Paul Verhoeven
- Stacker score: 87
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.1
- Runtime: 130 min

A CEO of a video game company is horrifically raped by a man in a ski mask, causing her to become suspicious of the men in her life as she tries to uncover his identity. Originally, director Paul Verhoeven planned to film the movie in the U.S. and considered actresses like Nicole Kidman, Charlize Theron, Julianne Moore, and others. But due to the script's violent content, filming in France with a French cast and crew proved a better option.

CKK

#41. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976)

- Director: John Carpenter
- Stacker score: 89
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 91 min

Members of the LAPD kill several members of the Street Thunder gang, causing other gang members to unleash a war against the cops and civilians. The climax of the movie is an all-out battle at the precinct, with Lt. Ethan Bishop forming an alliance with prisoners to defend the station. Producer J. Stein Kaplan offered the directing job to John Carpenter with a budget of less than $150,000.

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Rizzoli Film

#40. Deep Red (1975)

- Director: Dario Argento
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 127 min

"Deep Red" is a 1975 Italian horror film about a murdered psychic medium and a musician who feels compelled to solve the case. It's classified under the genre of "giallo," which means yellow in Italian, named after a series of mystery novels with yellow covers that were popular in Italy.

Stanley Kramer Productions

#39. High Noon (1952)

- Director: Fred Zinnemann
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 85 min

Gary Cooper plays a sheriff who reluctantly battles a gang of revenge-seeking killers in 1952's "High Noon." The famous film was directed by Fred Zinnemann, who nearly got run over by a train during the shoot.

Jar Pictures

#38. Gangs of Wasseypur (2012)

- Director: Anurag Kashyap
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 321 min

Told in two parts, "Gangs of Wasseypur" is an Indian crime film that centers around power struggles and politics between three coal industry mafia families. The five-hour film was broken into two parts, as the story spans more than 40 years. But it was originally shot as a single movie.

Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion

#37. The Lives of Others (2006)

- Director: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 89
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 137 min

It's 1983 East Berlin, and Stasi officer Gerd Wiesler doubts a playwright's loyalty to the Communist Party. With permission to spy on him and his girlfriend, Wiesler begins to empathize with the couple, and suddenly, his loyalty is called into question. It received the 2007 Oscar for best foreign language film.

Gamechanger Films

#36. The Tale (2018)

- Director: Jennifer Fox
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 114 min

Director Jennifer Fox gets about as raw and real as possible in "The Tale," a story that details her own childhood sexual abuse and the effect it has had on her relationships since. It's based on a short story that Fox wrote when she was 13 years old, and that story is narrated, verbatim, in the film, writes Phoebe Riley in her Rolling Stone review.

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Palace Pictures

#35. The Crying Game (1992)

- Director: Neil Jordan
- Stacker score: 88
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.2
- Runtime: 112 min

Set in the backdrop of The Troubles in Northern Ireland, "The Crying Game" follows an IRA member, Fergus, who forms an unlikely bond with a kidnapped British soldier, Jody. Fergus promises Jody he'll visit his girlfriend in London, but little does Fergus know that this mystery woman will become the object of his affection. The screenplay was based on a heart-wrenching 1931 short story called "Guests of the Nation," which wrote about IRA soldiers bonding with their English captives and, ultimately, being forced to kill them.

Universal Pictures

#34. United 93 (2006)

- Director: Paul Greengrass
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 111 min

"United 93" puts viewers on one of the flights hijacked by terrorists during the September 11 attacks. The film, counting down in real-time, takes us into the seats with the passengers and crew, as well as with their loved ones. The film was made with the permission and cooperation of all of the passengers' families. Many of the actors spent time with family members while researching their individual roles.

A24

#33. Uncut Gems (2019)

- Directors: Benny Safdie, Josh Safdie
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.5
- Runtime: 135 min

A Jewish American jeweler with a gambling problem makes a high-stakes bet that could clear his crippling debt if he wins. The lead was played by Adam Sandler, who blew critics out of the water. It was the role of a lifetime that almost never was, as Sandler didn't even read the script the first two times the directors approached him, writes Alissa Wilkinson for Vox.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#32. The Passenger (1975)

- Director: Michelangelo Antonioni
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 126 min

While on assignment in North Africa, journalist David Locke discovers the dead body of a stranger who looks just like him. Locke assumes the man's identity, only to discover that the man was entwined in illegal arms dealing. The most iconic scene of the film is a seven-minute continuous shot at the end of the movie, that sweeps from inside a hotel room to the piazza outside.

The Geffen Company

#31. After Hours (1985)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 97 min

Paul Hackett is a New York City word processor who meets a woman in a cafe one night and takes a taxi down to her apartment. The rest of the movie is a series of unfortunate, awkward, and sometimes dangerous situations as he tries to make his way back uptown. At the time, the movie was the first Martin Scorsese film in 10 years to not include Robert De Niro as the lead.

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Warner Bros.

#30. Dirty Harry (1971)

- Director: Don Siegel
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 102 min

Known for its uncompromising depiction of violence and equally uncompromising lead character, "Dirty Harry" stars Clint Eastwood as a San Francisco cop assigned to track down "the Scorpio Killer." Helping Eastwood perform the job is a fearless attitude and a silver .44 Magnum revolver. In many ways, this seminal film expanded upon the persona Eastwood had developed in classic Westerns, where he likewise took an "ends justifies the means" approach toward the pursuit of justice.

Warner Bros.

#29. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

- Director: George Miller
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 120 min

The legendary Mad Max series got a 21st-century upgrade in "Mad Max: Fury Road." It pairs the post-apocalyptic warrior with a group of female rebels as they all try to escape a vicious overlord. The blockbuster was made when CGI was ubiquitous, but that didn't stop director George Miller from using practical effects and stunts for about 80% of the action sequences.

Regency Enterprises

#28. L.A. Confidential (1997)

- Director: Curtis Hanson
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 90
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 138 min

Based on James Ellroy's novel, "L.A. Confidential" takes place against a backdrop of widespread corruption as three policemen investigate a murder that isn't what it seems. Ellroy himself felt the book could never be adapted for the big screen. The author was wrong in this assumption and ended up quite pleased with the results.

Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions

#27. Frenzy (1972)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 90
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 116 min

London is at the mercy of a serial killer who uses a necktie to strangle his victims. When the ex-wife of an ex-Royal Air Force officer is found dead, the officer becomes a suspect and is forced to go on the lam. Critics like Roger Ebert (who gave the film four stars) called it a triumphant return to thrillers for Hitchcock, who had previously been exploring other genres.

Compton Films

#26. Repulsion (1965)

- Director: Roman Polanski
- Stacker score: 91
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 105 min

Carole is a young manicurist who suffers from a pathological fear of interacting with men. When her sister, who is also her roommate, leaves for a vacation, Carole is left alone in the apartment to further succumb to her psychological entrapments. Roman Polanski got the idea for "Repulsion" after moving to London following his decision to not return to Poland, notes Charles Silver, the curator of the Department of Film at MoMA. "Repulsion' was my discovery of London... I was suddenly overwhelmed by the Anglo-Saxon world: language, objects, sets, people. It was new to me, and I was tremendously inspired," Silver quotes Polanski.

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Euro International Film (EIA)

#25. Le Cercle Rouge (1970)

- Director: Jean-Pierre Melville
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 140 min

French criminal Corey is released from prison and vows never to wind up there again. A short-lived notion, he is dragged quickly back into a life of crime, plotting a diamond heist with an escaped murderer and a former policeman. The title of the film, which translates to "The Red Circle," comes from a Buddhist saying that means men who are destined to meet will inevitably meet, writes Roger Ebert.

Columbia Pictures Corporation

#24. On the Waterfront (1954)

- Director: Elia Kazan
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 108 min

Marlon Brando plays a former boxer who takes a job as a longshoreman and finds himself at odds with corrupt union bosses in Elia Kazan's "On the Waterfront." Brando nabbed the role from Frank Sinatra, who reportedly carried a grudge for the rest of his life.

Paramount Vantage

#23. No Country for Old Men (2007)

- Directors: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 91
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 122 min

The Coen brothers were well into their careers as legendary filmmakers by the time they made "No Country for Old Men," and yet the film stands out as one of their best. Based on the Cormac McCarthy novel, the film tells the story of a man who comes across a boatload of drug money before finding himself in the crosshairs of a sadistic killer. In the film, Josh Brolin's character gets shot in the arm and hobbles around in pain, which was fortuitous because the actor actually did break his shoulder right before shooting.

Paramount Pictures

#22. Chinatown (1974)

- Director: Roman Polanski
- Stacker score: 95
- Metascore: 92
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 130 min

Set in 1937, Roman Polanski's "Chinatown" is about a private investigator who finds himself embroiled in a wide-reaching scheme involving Los Angeles' water supply. Written by Robert Towne and starring Jack Nicholson, the film is often pointed to as delivering perfect narrative structure. However, that perfection was only achieved after multiple compromises, including a complete change to the scripted ending.

Philip D'Antoni Productions

#21. The French Connection (1971)

- Director: William Friedkin
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 104 min

Before shocking audiences with 1973's "The Exorcist," director William Friedkin was helming one of the most epic car chase sequences in movie history in "The French Connection." The film stars Gene Hackman as a cop on the trail of drug smugglers. The aforementioned car chase was filmed without proper permits, and the movie also includes an unplanned car crash.

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Universal Pictures

#20. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.8
- Runtime: 108 min

In Alfred Hitchcock's "Shadow of a Doubt," a woman fears that her visiting uncle is not the man he appears to be. In fact, her uncle might very well be a serial killer known as the Merry Widow Murderer. Hitchcock often claimed that this was his personal favorite among his many films.

M.C. Productions

#19. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

- Director: John Frankenheimer
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 126 min

Directed by John Frankenheimer and starring Frank Sinatra, 1962's "The Manchurian Candidate" is a harrowing political thriller about a former POW who's brainwashed into becoming an assassin. The executives at United Artists were originally reluctant to produce the film, fearing its political premise was far too controversial. Their sentiment changed after Sinatra reached out to his good friend President John F. Kennedy, who made a direct plea to the UA studio head and got the film green-lit.

Syncopy

#18. Dunkirk (2017)

- Director: Christopher Nolan
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 106 min

Christopher Nolan's "Dunkirk" takes place during WWII and deals with the true story of Allied soldiers finding themselves under constant attack from the German Army. In the film, Nolan eschews traditional character development in favor of constant action and an almost permanent sense of dread. The result is a war saga quite unlike any other.

Nouvelles Éditions de Films (NEF)

#17. Elevator to the Gallows (1958)

- Director: Louis Malle
- Stacker score: 95
- Metascore: 94
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 91 min

Florence Carala and her secret lover, Julien Tavernier, conspire to murder Florence's husband. But when Julien returns to the crime scene to dispose of evidence, he finds himself in an incriminating position when he becomes trapped in an elevator. Miles Davis composed the score for the movie.

Columbia Pictures

#16. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

- Director: Kathryn Bigelow
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.4
- Runtime: 157 min

Directed by Kathryn Bigelow, "Zero Dark Thirty" takes the 10-year-long manhunt for Osama bin Laden to the big screen. The movie follows the international search following the September 11 attacks and leads to his capture and death in Pakistan. It was nominated for five Academy Awards, including best picture and best actress.

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Voltage Pictures

#15. The Hurt Locker (2008)

- Director: Kathryn Bigelow
- Stacker score: 93
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 7.6
- Runtime: 131 min

Movies don't get much more straightforward in their intensity than Kathryn Bigelow's "The Hurt Locker," which follows a bomb squad sergeant as he dismantles explosives during the Iraq War. In spite of its broad acclaim, this movie remains the lowest-grossing best picture winner of all time.

Otto Preminger Films

#14. Anatomy of a Murder (1959)

- Director: Otto Preminger
- Stacker score: 95
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 161 min

In "Anatomy of a Murder," an accused man pleads temporary insanity while on trial for murdering his wife's rapist. As the courtroom drama unfolds, it turns out there's far more to both the murder and the man than first meets the eye. Ultimately, it's up to the prosecutor (played by George C. Scott) to get to the truth of the matter.

Paramount Pictures

#13. Double Indemnity (1944)

- Director: Billy Wilder
- Stacker score: 97
- Metascore: 95
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 107 min

A noir classic from Billy Wilder, "Double Indemnity," tells the story of an insurance salesman who's seduced into a murder plot by a gorgeous femme fatale. Actress Barbara Stanwyck landed the role of the seductress, and she was initially hesitant to play a diabolical killer. In response, Wilder asked her, "are you a mouse or an actress?"

Warner Bros.

#12. Mean Streets (1973)

- Director: Martin Scorsese
- Stacker score: 92
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.3
- Runtime: 112 min

Showing off the more classic (and career-defining) side of Robert De Niro is Martin Scorsese's "Mean Streets," in which the actor plays a psychotic troublemaker. The movie also stars Harvey Keitel as a small-time hoodlum trying to make his way up the mob ladder. Scorsese made the film on a shoestring budget of $500,000, allegedly spending most of the money on music for the soundtrack.

Warner Bros.

#11. Gravity (2013)

- Director: Alfonso Cuarón
- Stacker score: 94
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 7.7
- Runtime: 91 min

To make 2013's "Gravity," director Alfonso Cuarón and his team didn't just spend years in the computer animation studio, but actually invented new technology along the way. And that was all before they even began shooting with actors. Suffice to say, the effort paid off, as the 3-D film about two astronauts trying to survive in space was a massive hit upon its release.

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Barunson E&A

#10. Parasite (2019)

- Director: Bong Joon Ho
- Stacker score: 99
- Metascore: 96
- IMDb user rating: 8.6
- Runtime: 132 min

The first South Korean film to win the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, this thriller from 2019 tells the story of a poor Korean family that infiltrates a wealthy family by becoming hired as their servants. The movie swept the Academy Awards, too, with four wins: best picture, best director, best original screenplay, and best foreign language film. 

London Film Productions

#9. The Third Man (1949)

- Director: Carol Reed
- Stacker score: 97
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.1
- Runtime: 93 min

A poor writer arrives in Vienna to visit an old pal, only to discover that his friend is dead. The writer suspects foul play and decides to remain in Vienna to get to the bottom of the case. Orson Welles was the original choice to play the missing man, but it was thought that his name could damage the movie's earnings. A series of other names were tossed forward, but ultimately they went with Welles.

Pathé Consortium Cinéma

#8. Rififi (1955)

- Director: Jules Dassin
- Stacker score: 97
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.2
- Runtime: 118 min

Notorious jewel thief Tony is released from prison and schemes up one more heist after discovering his ex-girlfriend is now the girlfriend of a local gangster. The film was made in 1955—prime McCarthy era—by Jules Dassin, who was a blacklisted American filmmaker.

Shamley Productions

#7. Psycho (1960)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 99
- Metascore: 97
- IMDb user rating: 8.5
- Runtime: 109 min

No list of best thrillers is complete without Alfred Hitchcock's "Psycho," which tells the story of a hotel owner who works out his mother issues on unwitting guests. The film's premise was quite controversial for its time, prompting Paramount Studios to back out of financing. Hitchcock ended up using his own money to get the film made, in exchange for 60% ownership. Suffice to say, that ended up working out in the director's favor.

Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM)

#6. North by Northwest (1959)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 98
- Metascore: 98
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 136 min

In Hitchcock's "North by Northwest," a case of mistaken identity sends a New York ad executive down a dangerous path as he struggles to survive while being hunted by international spies. Featuring a brilliant score by Bernard Herrmann along with some of old Hollywood's most memorable set pieces, the film infused the thriller genre with ideas still being utilized today.

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Paul Gregory Productions

#5. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

- Director: Charles Laughton
- Stacker score: 97
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 92 min

In "The Night of the Hunter," a Depression-era con man assumes the role of a preacher to swindle an unsuspecting widow out of $10,000. The film was directed by actor Charles Laughton and would end up being Laughton's only credited directorial effort.

Universal International Pictures (UI)

#4. Touch of Evil (1958)

- Director: Orson Welles
- Stacker score: 97
- Metascore: 99
- IMDb user rating: 8.0
- Runtime: 95 min

Orson Welles might be best known today as the singular force behind "Citizen Kane," but nearly as worthy of note is his 1958 offering, "Touch of Evil." The film is about police corruption in a small Mexican border town. Unlike "Citizen Kane," however, Welles lost creative control over this project and was even fired during post-production. In 1998, a re-edited version more in line with the director's intended vision was released.

RKO Radio Pictures

#3. Notorious (1946)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 97
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 7.9
- Runtime: 102 min

Alfred Hitchcock appears on the list yet again, this time for 1946's "Notorious," the story of a woman who's asked to spy on a group of Nazis in South America. The director famously made cameos in his own movies, and this one was no exception. Look for Hitchcock drinking champagne around the hour mark at a party sequence.

Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions

#2. Vertigo (1958)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 99
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.3
- Runtime: 128 min

The master of suspense was back and better than ever with 1958's "Vertigo," which centers on a private investigator with a fear of heights who becomes obsessed with a woman he's hired to follow. Featured in the film is a now-famous "vertigo effect," which was credited to Hitchcock at the time. It turns out that the second unit cameraman, Irwin Roberts, actually came up with the effect.

Alfred J. Hitchcock Productions

#1. Rear Window (1954)

- Director: Alfred Hitchcock
- Stacker score: 100
- Metascore: 100
- IMDb user rating: 8.4
- Runtime: 112 min

Taking the #1 spot is Alfred Hitchcock's "Rear Window," the story of a wheelchair-bound photographer who's convinced his neighbor is a murderer. The movie explores themes of doubt and paranoia with impeccable precision and remains a cornerstone of the thriller genre. Meanwhile, some of the film's events were inspired by real-life murder cases.

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