Thrillers are fun to watch because they take us down dangerous paths and into dark places that we never hope to go but can safely enjoy on the screen. IMDb TV has a number of the best thrillers available to do just that.
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Take a peek to see what thrillers are currently available to watch on IMDb TV.
Paul Schrader has written some of the most iconic movies in film history, including Taxi Driver and Raging Bull, while also being the director behind critically-acclaimed titles like the recent First Reformed. He pulls double duty with Affliction, based on the Russell Banks novel, which goes a bit under the radar for his career but is one of his better reviewed works.
Affliction centers on a small-town cop who is investigating a suspicious hunting death to the point of obsession. Meanwhile, his fraught relationship with his father only pushes his mental fortitude closer to the edge.
Nick Nolte, Sissy Spacek, James Coburn and Willem Dafoe headline Affliction, with Nolte being nominated for Best Actor and Coburn taking home the Best Supporting Actor Oscar.
The Boys from Brazil (1978)
More than 30 years after the end of World War II, The Boys from Brazil posed the idea that exiled Nazis were still at play in this thriller that sees former members of the Third Reich attempting to enact a devious plot to reassert their power.
The Boys from Brazil is stacked, featuring Gregory Peck as Dr. Josef Mengele, Laurence Olivier as a Nazi hunter (his tenth and final Oscar nomination for acting), James Mason, Uta Hagen, Steve Guttenberg, Rosemary Harris, and Bruno Ganz.
It doesn’t get any more classic Hollywood than the pairing of Cary Grant and Audrey Hepburn, and their one film together is the fun and twisty thriller Charade.
Hepburn plays the widow of a recently killed man, who she soon learns was not who he said he was. Now a group of men believe that she is in possession of a large sum of money her husband had that they want to get their hands on. Grant introduces himself as an ally to Hepburn’s character, but he has plenty of secrets of his own.
Walter Matthau, James Coburn and George Kennedy help round out the cast for this Stanley Donen directed film.
Clue is a rare example of the comedy thriller (Game Night is one of the few recent examples I can think of). Based on the classic board game, the movie adaptation of Clue brings in the classic characters of Mrs. Peacock, Professor Plum, Mrs. White, Mr. Green, Miss Scarlett and Colonel Mustard as they stumble about trying to find the murderer among them.
Tim Curry (playing an original character, the butler Wadsworth) headlines the comedic ensemble that includes Madeline Kahn, Christopher Lloyd, Martin Mull, Lesley Ann Warren, Michael McKean and Eileen Brennan.
In a fun gimmick, the film was originally released in theaters with multiple endings playing at different locations. Thankfully, you can watch them all when streaming.
Die Hard (1988)
Die Hard remains one of the gold standards of the action-thriller genre, as Bruce Willis’ barefooted John McClane must navigate Nakatomi Plaza as he tries to outsmart and out maneuver Hans Gruber (Alan Rickman) and his German terrorists.
Later Die Hard films may have ramped up the action and explosions, and there are certainly big examples of both here, but Die Hard strikes an effective balance between the big set pieces and the tension as McClane, his wife Holly (Bonnie Bedelia) and Gruber play off one another.
Donnie Darko (2001)
When looking for a prime example of a cult classic, Donnie Dark will almost surely be among the films mentioned. The dark tale of a teenage boy (Jake Gyllenhaal) and the imaginary bunny named Frank who manipulates him didn’t immediately find success, but it is widely praised nowadays.
The film was a breakout for Gyllenhaal (both, as sister Maggie Gyllenhaal also stars), and featured other future stars including Seth Rogen and Jena Malone. Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze and Katharine Ross also have supporting roles.
Farewell My Lovely (1975)
Philip Marlowe is one of the most iconic detective characters in literature, created by Raymond Chandler, and he also happens to have a pretty good run on film as well. Dick Powell, Humphrey Bogart, Robert Montgomery, James Garner and Elliot Gould all played Marlowe at one point, but in Farewell My Lovely he is portrayed by screen legend Robert Mitchum.
The plot of Farewell My Lovely sees Marlowe hired to track down the lost love of an ex-convict while also trying to get the scoop on the murder of one of his clients. However, he soon realizes that the two cases are connected.
Young versions of recognizable faces show up in Farewell My Lovely, including Charlotte Rampling, Sylvester Stallone and Harry Dean Stanton. Sylvia Myles, Jack O’Halloran and John Ireland also star.
L.A. Confidential (1997)
L.A. Confidential takes viewers back to 1950s Los Angeles, where the police are corrupt and powerful players act with little impunity. That is until a trio of detectives played by Guy Pearce, Russell Crowe and Kevin Spacey, decide to work together try and solve a murder.
Kim Basinger, James Cromwell, David Strathairn and Danny Devito co-star in the Curtis Hanson film that is one of the best crime dramas made in the last 30-odd years.
The film earned two Oscars, one for Basinger as Best Supporting Actress and another for Hanson and Brian Helgeland’s script adapting the James Ellroy novel. It may have more if not for a little film called Titanic.
The Lady Vanishes (1938)
Alfred Hitchcock is known as the master of suspense, and with a filmography that includes Psycho, Vertigo, Rear Window and North by Northwest, to name a few, it’s hard to argue. An earlier entry from the director, The Lady Vanishes, is just further proof that he always had a deft touch at crafting a thriller.
The Lady Vanishes follows a young socialite on vacation in Europe. While taking the train she realizes that an elderly woman has disappeared into thin air, but no one else says that they ever saw the woman. The young girl is convinced that she has disappeared and begins to desperately search the train for her.
This is one of the last films that Hitchcock made in London before making his official move to Hollywood and it is a gem of a picture.
Memento, Christopher Nolan’s breakout film, is smaller in scale to more recent efforts like Tenet or his Dark Knight trilogy, but that does not mean it is any less ambitious, as he constructed a gripping thriller that plays out in reverse.
With his protagonist Leonard (Guy Pearce) suffering from the inability to create new short term memories, Nolan puts the audience in a similar situation by starting from the end of Leonard’s story so that they are forced to fill in the gaps along with him. Even 20 years later, it’s a choice that has not lost any of its intrigue as Memento holds up as one of Nolan’s best.
Telling the story of a father’s search for his missing daughter just through computer and phone screens was an odd choice that could have failed miserably, but Aneesh Chaganty’s Searching is an incredible film and the narrative device he went with adds to the intensity as the audience feels intensely connected to the search with no other barrier between conversations and information found on these devices.
John Cho stars as the father of the missing girl, who desperately works with Debra Messing’s detective to find her before deciding to take things into his own hands.
Chaganty is a fantastic talent (also check out his Hulu original movie Run) and has found a niche early on as a grade-A thriller director.
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Michael Balderston is a DC-based entertainment and assistant managing editor for What to Watch, who has previously written about the TV and movies with TV Technology, Awards Circuit and regional publications. Spending most of his time watching new movies at the theater or classics on TCM, some of Michael's favorite movies include Casablanca, Moulin Rouge!, Silence of the Lambs, Children of Men, One Flew Over the Cuckoos Nest and Star Wars. On the TV side he enjoys Peaky Blinders, The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel, Saturday Night Live, Only Murders in the Building and is always up for a Seinfeld rerun. Follow on Letterboxd (opens in new tab).
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