Thriller movies do to us what they mean – thrill. Thriller is a genre that encompasses suspense and excitement as its main elements. It has often been one of the strongest stimulants of human psyche giving the viewers uncertainty, surprise and anxiety. Some of the common subgenres include psychological thrillers, crime thrillers, mystery thrillers etc. The main idea behind the evolution of the genre was to keep viewers at the edge of their seats and incuse bouts of adrenaline-rush. Here is the list of the top ten thriller movies of all time.
10. The Sixth Sense:
Manoj Night Shyamalan’s breakthrough movie was released in 1999 and proved out to be quite a success as compared to his later releases. ‘The Sixth Sense’ kept the audience at the edge of their seats throughout the 107 minutes. It tells the story of a disturbed lad named Cole Sear who is able to see and talk to the dead and his psychologist Dr. Malcolm Crowe, played by Bruce Willis. The ending is certainly thrilling.
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Alfred Hitchcock is a name that cannot be missed when talking of thriller movies. With Vertigo, he establishes his prowess over other thriller filmmakers. The movie revolves around a detective, Scottie, who narrowly escapes his own death but the guilt of his involvement in a fellow officer’s death leaves him with bouts of vertigo. He unknowingly gets involved in a murder plot; a murder than turns out to be a hoax as the movie progresses and the unraveling of the tied threads that follows thereafter. ‘Vertigo’s complexity bridges the gap between objectivity and subjectivity.
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8. The Air I Breathe:
‘The Air I Breathe’ is a thriller movie directed by debutant Korean-American filmmaker Jieho Lee which features an ensemble star cast. The concept of the film relates with a Chinese proverb that segregates life into four emotions, namely Happiness, Pleasure, Sorrow and Love. The Air I Breathe features a series of intertwined events that carve the way for the outcome of the movie. Each emotion pertaining to the proverb is played by the four protagonists of the movie.
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One always feels the urge to stand up and applaud all of Christopher Nolan’s creations and ‘Inception’ is no exception to that. Featuring a large ensemble cast with Leonardo Di Caprio in lead roles, ‘Inception’ tells the story about him involved in corporate espionage, albeit through the medium of dream infiltration. Dom Cobb played by Caprio is handed a chance to reclaim his life in lieu of performing a deed deemed nearly impossible: implanting an idea in another person’s subconscious.
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‘Se7en’, pronounced “Seven”, is a neo-noir thriller starring Brad Pitt, Morgan Freeman and a relatively unknown (in 1995) Gwyneth Paltrow. While movies about serial killers are usually blatant and straight-forward, ‘Se7en’ brought cerebral elements to this genre. The movie unfurls a gory tale of a killer punishing his victims by architecting murders based on the seven deadly sins (which justifies the title of the film). This was directed by David Fincher.
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5. Taxi Driver:
Who could possibly forget the work of Robert De Niro as Travis Bickle? ‘Taxi Driver’ marked the apex of De Niro’s illustrious career. In the movie, Niro plays a 26 year old ex-Marine searching for work to combat his ongoing fight with insomnia. Time passes and De Niro starts alienating himself from the regular run of the mill schedules and assumes a state of abysmal delusion. The movie was directed by Martin Scorcese and won the Palme d’Or at the 1976 Cannes Film Festival. It remains as one of the greatest thriller movies.
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4. Fight Club:
The title has often baffled many as they consider ‘Fight Club’ to be a nonsensical coming of age movie involving beefcake men beating the pulp out of each other. However, ‘Fight Club’ is a marvel of film making. Directed by David Fincher based on Chuck Palahniuk’s novel of the same name, ‘Fight Club’ takes an open dig against white-collar domination. It has been hailed as one of the most exciting, thought-proving, original films to ever grace the big screen.
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3. The Usual Suspects:
“The greatest trick the Devil ever pulled was convincing the world he didn’t exist.” With a storyline as taut as a violin string, ‘The Usual Suspects’ depicts a heist gone wrong and the confusion that emanates out of it. An enormous explosion rips apart a ship leaving only two survivors, one of whom is taken into police custody for interrogation. Kevin Spacey’s acting brilliance is highlighted in this movie as he plays a con-man afflicted with cerebral palsy as he narrates his details of the heist he witnessed and reveals the identity of the man responsible for it. It does not appear in the third place on this list of thriller movies for nothing.
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2. Silence of the Lambs:
“To beat the man, you have to be the man”. ‘Silence of the Lambs’ was released on Valentine’s Day in 1991 (much to the “horror” of the lovebirds). The film intertwined elements of crime and horror in its storyline. It was based on the 1988 novel of the same name by Thomas Harris and featured Hannibal Lecter (Anthony Hopins), a psychiatrist and a cannibalistic serial killer. The story shows an FBI trainee in pursuit of a serial killer known as “Buffalo Bill” and the way the trainee gets into the mind of a notorious serial killer to capture Bill. ‘Silence of the Lambs’ was only the third film to have won Oscars in all the top categories and is still widely popular among audiences.
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1. The Shining:
Jack Nicholson has always been known for his portrayal of dark/psychotic roles. This has been evident from many of his past endeavors, for instance his work as the recidivist Randle McMurphy in ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’. Couple Jack Nicholson’s acting with Stephen King’s literary prowess and ‘The Shining’ is conceived. So when Jack Nicholson is hired to take care of the shady Overlook Hotel, he descends into madness. A performance as convincing as a mad man in a penitentiary, Nicholson does justice to the role given to him making this film the greatest of all thriller movies.
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