Trying to choose a list of the 10 best crime thriller movies is as difficult as trying to pull off a crime. Crime films have criminals and cops. Thrillers have chills and thrills. What you get when you mash up the two genres is a lot of action, suspense and edge-of-your-seat entertainment.
- “Silence of the Lambs” (1991). This is the kind of movie that makes you actually want to try fava beans, a nice Chianti, and some human flesh. Anthony Hopkins’ portrayal of the terrifying Dr. Hannibal Lector will forever go down in movie history as one of the greatest villains ever. This movie is a thriller about an FBI agent trying to solve a grisly crime. Jodie Foster’s Clarice Starling is the perfect counterpoint to Dr. Lector. Watch it once and you’ll watch it again and again.
- “Law Abiding Citizen” (2009). Jamie Foxx and Gerard Butler tango in this crime thriller about a man so bent on revenge that he is willing to kill any and everyone in the legal system in order to make his point. Butler is the criminal and Foxx is the D.A. The film avoids formula by keeping the kills a surprise and the acting is top notch.
- “Memento” (2000). This mind-bender from Dark Knight director Christopher Nolan is a great example of indie filmmaking as art. It requires more than one viewing but at some point you will come to appreciate this great thriller.
- “Se7en” (1995). The murders in this film are as gruesome as you will ever see. Kevin Spacey is a cryptic killer who teaches his victims a lesson by killing them in Old Testament-seven sins fashion. An amazing thriller, the ending is one of the best surprises you will ever see.
- “The Usual Suspects” (1995). Keyser Soze… Keyser Soze! One of the best crime thriller movies ever made is also an academy award winner. Kevin Spacey does his thing in this one as the mastermind Keyser Soze. A cop spends the entire movie trying to piece together the crime in this thriller and deciphering who Keyser Soze is only to find out that it is the guy he’s been interrogating the whole time.
- “Old Boy” (2003). This Korean thriller is dark and twisted in its plot and characterization. The big twist in this crime thriller is when the main character realizes that the daughter he’s been searching for is actually the girl he’s been screwing for most of the movie. Ugghhh!
- “Traitor” (2008). This crime thriller is an amazing example of the post Cold-War espionage film. Don Cheadle puts in a stellar turn in this movie as the deep undercover agent who navigates the world of middle-eastern terrorism. Guy Pierce is great as his nemesis.
- “The Boys from Brazil” (1978). This cult film is a psychological thriller about the cloning of Adolf Hitler in the form of several young boys in Brazil. The film is a bit slow, but the plot is chilling and Gregory Peck plays a great Nazi. This little scene gem is one of the best crime thriller movies you might have never seen.
- “One False Move” (1992). This American Midwestern crime thriller doesn’t let up until the very end. Mixed with the politics of crime and the American race dilemma, its as much thriller as it is drama
- “Inside Man” (2006). Clive Owen is the rival to Denzel Washington in this crime thriller directed by American icon, Spike Lee. Washington, who can be so good playing villains, is the cop/negotiator in this thriller. Owen is the mastermind behind the bank robbery. The two face-off the entire movie until Owen and his gang get what they came for and leave. It’s one of those crime movies where everybody wins; good guy and bad guy.
What Others Are Reading Right Now.
6 Signs She Wants You to Come Talk to Her at the Bar
These not-so-subtle hints mean legit interest—and time for action.
10 Types of Tattoos Women Love
That dumb bet you lost in college? It’s actually endearing.
How to Turn (Almost) Every Lady’s Head
Top female stylists share their favorite men’s looks.