40 Best Hollywood Thriller Movies That You Can’t-Miss

Let's solve the mystery!

Abhinay Talkhedkar

Jun 16, 2021|13 min read


A human being is a by-product of a Story. We all have stories through which we have got evolved and are intertwined with each other in the form of tales. 

We are running behind a mirage in our lives but aren’t reaching a final destination. While running we need a break from the race to engage ourselves in something that will intrigue us and most significantly entertain us. 

Films are the fairest means of entertainment. When we confine Time & Space in confined dimensions, we give birth to the cinema. 

Every individual has his/her unique vision of Cinema. Mystery Thrillers, Romance, Comedy, Horror, Science-fiction, Documentary, etc. 

Thrillers are the 5th extensively accepted genre of global cinema. We all are surrounded by a couple of mysteries. 

Our life and our origin itself is never-ending and mystery, Whether God is there or not is another most celebrated mystery. 

This is one of the reasons, behind the involvement of people in Mystery thrillers. 

Regional cinema is constrained by the language but people want to cross every border of their understanding and conscience by watching Global Cinema. 

This is an attempt to give you the best-picked Hollywood thrillers of all time that you shouldn’t miss at all. 

Let’s watch mysteries and solve them, let’s live mysterious life and resolve meanings.

1. Inception

Inception : Hollywood Action Movie

Escaping from reality is possible in two spheres, one is of Dreams and the other is Cinema. 

Have you designed your dreams and experienced the invasion of dreams? 

Inception is not just a Hollywood thriller movie directed by Christopher Nolan and the 13the topmost rated movies of all time on the list of IMDB but is a dream within itself. Confused? 

This is the beginning of the inception of confusion in your mind. Nolan will intensify the confusion, break your sleep and bring you on the edge. 

It is one of the best Hollywood thrillers in the entire history.

2. The Prestige

Magic is all about hiding things and making them reappear intelligently. 

People feel fascinated after watching things getting vanished from the stage but we believe in it when the magic becomes complete by reappearance. 

Every frame of this movie is suspenseful and adds thrill to the entire plot. 

It is directed by Christopher Nolan and is decorated with extravagant actors like Hugh Jackman, Christian Bale, Scarlett Johansson, etc., and a structured screenplay.

3. The Usual Suspects

I will not disclose anything, but the movie triggers us when we reach the climax. Performances by every actor are beyond our imagination. 

Kevin Spacey being the supporting actor won an award at the Academy Awards of 1996. 

The movie is also ranked on the top of various best Hollywood thriller movie lists because of the climax. We never feel suspicious of that suspect but he/she turns to be usual.

4. Internal Affairs

Internal affairs of the Police Department are depicted in this 1990 Suspense thriller. Creating suspense without much usage of technology was a strenuous task.  

The movie has a combo of Richard Gere & Andy García which involves us in their craft. It has got a place in 1000 best-made movies of all time in the “The New York Times Guide.” 

It is an auspicious opportunity for Fans of Richard Gere to watch him as the antagonist.

5. The Lives Of Others

Cinema is a language of visuals and is beyond every dimension.  Something common everywhere is Human emotions. 

This Hollywood thriller movie has won Academy Awards for best foreign-language film and also won awards at various prestigious film festivals.

It is a marvelous treat for those studying cinema. 

6. The Sixth Sense

It is one of the best Hollywood thriller movies of 1999. Bruce Willis has subtly engaged us in his incredible performance. 

This film has won lots of international accolades. Haley Joel Osment got appreciation on every platform and from almost every critic.

7. Se7en


It is a film for those who love performances. Cocktail of craft where various actors get mixed and produce a cinematic pleasure. Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt, Kevin Spacey, etc. The film is a series of murders so those who love action sequences. 

This Hollywood thriller movie is one of the best creations of David Fincher.

8. Memento

Christopher Nolan brought a new vision to Cinema. Memento is one of the best screenplays in the history of world cinema. 

Guy Pearce has a huge screen presence and his character arc in this film is thought-provoking. We get indulged in his behavior and at the climax, we reach his core. 

The movie can’t be understood on the first watch. It’s a bit intricate. 

Memento for sure will play with our memory of remembering the flow of the former scene when watching the latter one.  

9. The Green Mile

It is an artistic and musical gift. Artistic for those who love Tom Hanks. 

A musical gift because the original soundtrack of this film comprises 37 songs. 

It tastes our level of patience because it is a long cinema but still emotionally charged.

10. LA Confidential

It is a masterpiece as far as Craft, Direction, and Storytelling are concerned. 

Kim Basinger and Curtis Hanson won several awards in several festivals including the Academy Awards. 

One of the most significant things about this movie is, it has been selected by the Library of Congress, the USA for preservation. 

11. Sherlock, The Abominable Bride

Everyone knows Sherlock and Dr. Watson. Out of 13 huge investigative episodes, this is the 10th episode with a grand ‘Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Television Movie.’

It has been peculiarly created and decorated with incredible ambiance. Filmmaking is as usual, very mind-boggling.

12. Shutter Island

Shutter Island

Those who have watched Martin Scorsese's direction will not be surprised, because it is shot wonderfully and every frame diversely depicts an entire narrative. 

It got nominated to various festivals and is among the many psychological thrillers whose ending needs an explanation. 

Those who love Leonard DiCaprio must not miss this.

13. The System

The System is one interesting watch as it is made up of social, political, and economical spheres. 

This also is a story where various stories are blended into each other. 

The crescendo that gets created after an incident is worth watching.

14. Old Boy

Korean Cinema has also done remarkably well in the past few decades. The old boy also is a Korean movie with revenge at its core. 

Choi Min-Sik took lots of effort while portraying the character by losing and gaining weight. Watching his acting will be a bonus for audiences.

Therefore, Old Boy is a must-watch from our list of Hollywood thriller movies for all the revenge lovers.

15. What Lies Upstream

It is a mystery depicted in the form of a documentary. 

Water is one of the necessities of a Human Being and the entire story is about a system trying to impeach drinking water. Interviews and cover-ups of officials have been pictured to give us an authentic feel. 

Documentaries become reliable because of data and research.

16. Memories of Murder

It is a film based on True Story. This film has got terrific appreciation. The cinematography and editing of the film are amazing. 

This Hollywood thriller movie has accomplished position in various lists. It has also attained the position of one of the greatest films of the 2000s. 

It got appreciated as one of the best crime movies ever made. Such a critically acclaimed movie will achieve one more interpretation from your side.

17. Gone Girl

Here comes one of the best works of David Fincher. 

The plot becomes fascinating because of the disappearance of the central character. It is a dark film wrapped under the cloth of psychology. 

Movies are nowadays based on novels, plays, short stories, poems, etc. This Hollywood thriller movie is also based on Gillian Flynn's ‘Gone Girl.’ 

When one art form is broken down into another form then the viewers enjoy the intermediate phase of two forms.

18. Prisoners

We all are trapped in various cages. Everyone wants to break the cage and fly. Attainment for the prisoners was in the form of money & appreciation. 

If you want to understand and study cinematography, then you must watch this thriller that got a nomination for Cinematography at the Oscars. 

It was the first feature movie by Denis Villeneuve. Performances of leading actors are breathtaking.

19. 12 Monkeys

12 Monkeys

The movie is a conquest to search for the reason behind Holocaust. 

The acting department of the team is infallible. Golden Globe Award, Universe Choice Awards, Saturn Awards, and Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actor nomination were achieved by Brad Pitt. 

Memory and Technology are at the base of the movie and everything revolves around them. Don’t miss this Science-fiction & Thriller.

20. Blade Runner 2049

Movies are supposed to capture Space and Time in a definite dimension. Making a movie about the past needs database and facts but making a movie about the future needs imagination and technology. 

Showing scenes of 2049 is a tricky thing as everything is mere creative liberty. Denis Villeneuve's 2049 vision is indeed a masterpiece and one of the best Hollywood thriller movies.

Got critically acclaimed and as a study material, we can study the film to scrutinize the process of imagination. Noir elements have a touch of Science in this film and that’s the reason behind its critical appreciation.

21. Knives out

It is one of the recent movies which being a mystery film has a comedy touch. It is written and directed by Rian Johnson. 

The film got released at Toronto Film Festival and got appreciated globally for Screenplay and Direction. A list of subtle actors intensifies the quality of performances.

It is also known as one of the top 10 films of 2019. 

Don’t miss this Hollywood thriller movie because while laughing you will unknowingly solve the mystery.

22. Night Crawlers

It belongs to Neo-Noir Genre. The film is based on Journalism and depicts the fading ethics in the field of media and its relationship with the appetites of buyers. 

The shooting of this film was a vigorous process because it took two weeks to complete the shooting schedule and covered over 80 spots. 

This Hollywood thriller movie is a pictorial delight.

23. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo

This is another creation of David Fincher with an IMDB rating of 7.8 This film is based on a novel written by Stieg Larsson with the same name. 

Investigation of a girl who has disappeared 40 years ago. Isn’t it interesting? 

Unfolding the betrayals in this human form of life, David Fincher narrates the missing girl with a tattoo.

24. Parasite


It is a film that depicts the difference between the Upper and Lower class. Every frame of the film is symbolic.

Ascending steps depict rich society whereas, descending portrays poor. 

The film got Academy Award for Best Picture 2020 and also got screened at Cannes Festival. 

One more important thing about the film is it is considered as one of the best films of the 21st century.

Don’t miss a single frame of this film and try to figure out who exactly is Parasite?

25. Basic Instincts

This is a masterpiece of Sharon Stone and Michael Douglas. It depicts the fall of a Detective in an erotic manner. 

The portrayal of erotic scenes is sizzling and makes us sit straight.

26. The Gift

Gifts are usually loved by everyone because they are offered to us with due respect and immense love.

It is based on a true story and a confession. Joel Edgerton's direction got a positive response. 

Series of gifts augment the intensity and excitement of the audience to attain climax.

27. The Invitation

The invitation is filled with blood. It has many fighting and stabbing scenes. Violent settings and dead bodies are the outstanding elements of this cinema. 

It is directed by Karyn Kusama. Usage of various toxic elements in a slow manner makes this a slow poison.

28. Searching

The film is portrayed in an illustrative manner. A girl is missing and when her laptop is checked then the mystery starts resolving itself. 

The way computer data and files are shown on the screen is tremendous. Every second is just like a unique blend of Technology and Mystery.

29. The Game

The game is a story of an investment banker. David Fincher is one of the best storytellers of the 21st century.

Michael Douglas has performed well and the entire cinema is well-drafted. It got acclaimed in New York Times and other prestigious newspapers and magazines.

30. The Killing Of Sacred Deer

It is one of the best Hollywood thriller movies, I have ever watched. 

The Killing Of Sacred Deer is an infallible experience. Words can’t explain the supremacy of the concept. Direction is immensely wonderful. 

The climax scene is a mental trauma for the audience because creates terrific tension. The film is directed by Yorgos Lanthimos. 

Please don’t miss the death of innocent deer weirdly.

31. US

What if our shadows knock on our doors and start attacking us? 

This film is about a fight between a family and the lookalikes of that family. Jordan Peele is a director with abstract vision and has directed ‘Get Out.’ 

Few scenes in the US are horrifying and disturb us a lot. 

Many a time we feel like closing our eyes and holding something very tightly because a couple of scenes bring Goosebumps.

32. Arrival

It is based on the short story named ‘Story of your life' by Ted Chiang. 

Many a time when a short story is stretched to make a movie out of it, there is a chance of failing, but it is a successful attempt made by Denis Villeneuve. 

The film is all about communicating with aliens. It got a chance to get released at Venice Film Festival. Don’t miss this well communicated and artistic cinema.

33. The Silence Of The Lambs

It is a film directed by Jonathan Demme. 

The best thing about this cinema is it won the Academy Awards in the five most important categories namely, Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Screenplay(Adapted), Best Actress.

 It is a magnificent film from every perspective. Don’t miss the silence. 

34. With a Friend Like Harry

It is a French film directed by Dominik Moll. One of the best things about that film is its entry into the Cannes festival 2000. The film has a hero and villain but it is more than a thriller. 

The Hollywood thriller movie, With a Friend Like Harry, has been named differently in different regions of the world. 

The film has casual and customary stunning scenes. Sergi López has performed very well and has become the center of attraction.

35. Runaway Jury

This film is not just a thriller but has Law at its core and so is a Legal Thriller. John Grisham wrote ‘The Runaway Jury' which got selected for transformation. 

The novel again left pages of the book and got trapped into the space of the screen. 

This Hollywood thriller movie made a business of $80,154,140. The author of the novel after watching the cinema said, ‘Smart and Suspenseful movie.’ 

36. Caché

It is widely known as ‘Hidden.’ It also disturbs our psychology while watching scenes. 

The film is co-produced by four countries that are, France, Italy, Germany, and Austria. 

Collective Guilt and Collective Memory are highlighted in the entire film. It got critically appreciated at Cannes Film Festival. 

It is a must-watch Hollywood thriller movie.

37. Zodiac

It is a quite lengthy movie. Another milestone in the thrilling career of David Fincher.

 The musical element is wonderful and Fincher has included 40 vintage cues to represent the entire story. Visuals are wrapped up in a box of dialogue. 

Every scene creates an anxious ambiance.

38. Buried

The truck driver is a central character who finds himself buried alive. 

The story is not limited up to a subjective level but attains a universal level by the end of the film. Simplicity turns into complications while watching the movie. 

We can feel everything. The concept is extravagant and indulges us.

39. The Strange Colour of Your Body's Tears

The film is a dark thriller and sensual pleasure-giving product by Hélène Cattet and Bruno Forzani.

The title itself engages us and invites us to watch the movie. It is appreciated for the narrative.

It has been made in three languages, namely, Danish, Flemish, French.

40. The Handmaiden

The Handmaiden

It is a thriller but eroticism and psyche are the foundation of the film. It got selected in Cannes Festival 2016 and also won an award at the 71st British Film Awards. 

Thrillers are gripping but when they have erotic touch then they arouse us as well.

Movies are a combination of various art forms. We can’t travel in space and time in real life but we can practice escapism and fly in the heavens of imagination. 

Time and space can be confined in our palms just because of this art. Watching global cinema is the first step of anyone towards becoming a literate audience. 

People develop the power of infinity by watching few hours of takes and retakes. Why do we watch the film? 

Not just to entertain ourselves but to discover relations between imaginary supreme beings and us. 

Global cinema means eternal cinema. Visuals and narratives are the vital organs of films. Diving into the world of dreams is itself a thrill. 

Thrillers then it may be, psychological, erotic legal, catch universal attention. 

This is an attempt to articulate and present the list of the best Hollywood thriller movies of all time. 

Let’s live imagination and watch reality in the films.

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Abhinay Talkhedkar

Omnipresent Politics... Journalism...Thespian...Blogger...Idiosyncratic... Read & Write more...Become Conscious.



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