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Top 100 thrillers of all time, according to critics

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Shamley Productions

Top 100 thrillers of all time, according to critics

To wrangle the best of the best when it comes to thrillers, one needs to first define what, exactly, a thriller is. The genre of thriller is less about topic and more about style. If the film manages to elicit suspense and surprise, and it blows a viewer’s mind with a twist, then it’s a thriller. However, a director has many tools to create suspense or surprise—classics of the genre like “Get Out” and “Chinatown” build tension in entirely different ways. So, the thrillers found on this list are oftentimes very different in terms of story and style.

Stacker used data from Metacritic to create a gallery of the top 100 thrillers of all time. All films included in this list were defined by Metacritic as “thrillers” and have at least four reviews from major publications or critics. In the case of a tie, films with more Metacritic reviews were favored.

Much of the Top 100 lives in the space of noir—private eyes and femme fatales appear throughout the list—but there are other stories, as well. There are films with disquieting views of the future and equally unnerving views of small-town life. There are glorious car chases, some gruesome murders, and at least one supervillain who gets sucked through the window of a plane. And, of course, there are six films by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock, and many more inspired by the portly prince of heart palpitations.

Read on to discover the top 100 thrillers of all time, according to their Metascores.      

ALSO: 100 best sci-fi films of all time, according to critics

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Mondex Films

#100. The Big Risk (1960)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 9
Director(s): Claude Sautet
Runtime: 103 min.

This 1960 film by French director Claude Sautet tells the story of a gangster (Lino Ventura) who is wanted for murder and finally decides to head home to his wife and kids after 10 years on the run. The story, adapted from a novel by José Giovanni, follows the ill-fated return to Paris, where scores must be settled and heists go horribly wrong. Sautet worked as an assistant director to many major French directors throughout the 1950s; this film allowed him to become a director in his own right. He directed his last film in 1995 before passing away in 2000.

3/
Edward R. Pressman Film

#98. Homicide (1991) (tie)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 20
Director(s): David Mamet
Runtime: 102 min.

Written and directed by the Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright David Mamet, “Homicide” is a stylish and strange thriller about a Jewish detective (Joe Mantegna) whose investigation into a murder pulls him into the strange underworld Zionists. This film opened at the Cannes Film Festival and received a four-star rating from Roger Ebert. Mamet is a legend and hugely intense, and it comes through in his films.

4/
Wigwam Films

#98. Under the Shadow (2016) (tie)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 20
Director(s): Babak Anvari
Runtime: 84 min.

This Iranian film takes place in the 1980s during the Iraq-Iran War and uses the conflict as a background for a supernatural horror story. Shideh (Narges Rashidi) lives in Tehran with her family and survives the bombing of her apartment when a missile does not explode. However, the miracle brings with it a curse—in order to save her family, she must take on the otherworldly threat.

5/
Hemdale

#97. The Terminator (1984)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 21
Director(s): James Cameron
Runtime: 107 min.

With a much-admired sequel and a much-spoofed titular character, James Cameron's action-thriller is about a cyborg (Arnold Schwarzenegger) sent from the future to kill the mother (Linda Hamilton) of the leader of the human resistance. The film launched Cameron's career (he dreamed up the story on the set of “Piranha 2”) and cemented Schwarzenegger's place in the action-movie hall of fame. Also, with a strong female lead and great practical effects, Cameron's film holds up over 30 years after its release.

6/
Twentieth Century Fox

#95. Aliens (1986) (tie)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 22
Director(s): James Cameron
Runtime: 137 min.

Riding the success of the first “Terminator” film, James Cameron signed on to direct “Aliens,” the sequel to Ridley Scott's classic “Alien.” Scott's film is a frightening gothic masterpiece that's both claustrophobic and eerie, but Cameron's sequel manages to use big-budget effects to make an exciting, while still cerebral, followup. Michael Biehn, who co-starred in “The Terminator,” plays a corporal in this film.

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Prisma Film

#95. Revanche (2009) (tie)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 22
Director(s): Götz Spielmann
Runtime: 121 min.

This Austrian thriller tells the story of a criminal (Johannes Krisch) hiding out on his grandfather's farm who strikes up a friendship with his neighbor, Susanne (Ursula Strauss), who just so happens to be married to a local cop. The film was critically acclaimed, but writer/director Götz Spielmann has followed it up with only one film, 2013's “Oktober November.”

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MBP

#93. Lantana (2001) (tie)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 29
Director(s): Ray Lawrence
Runtime: 121 min.

This Australian thriller tells the story of Valerie (Barbara Hershey) who suspects her husband (Geoffrey Rush) of infidelity as the two grieve the death of their daughter. When she disappears, the authorities are brought in to investigate the couple's strange world. “Lantana” was a critical and box office hit in Australia, but is one of only three films by award-winning and legendary director Ray Lawrence.

9/
Sputnik

#93. The Man Without a Past (2003) (tie)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 29
Director(s): Aki Kaurismäki
Runtime: 97 min.

This Finnish dark comedy/thriller tells the story of a man who loses his memory after a violent mugging in a train station. After waking in the hospital, he starts life from scratch. The film was nominated for Best Foreign Film at the Academy Awards and won the Grand Prix at the Cannes Film Festival. Director Aki Kaurismäki is considered Finland's most famous filmmaker.

10/
Touchstone Pictures

#92. The Insider (1999)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 34
Director(s): Michael Mann
Runtime: 157 min.

The Michael Mann-directed thriller tells the true story of Jeffrey Wigand (Russell Crowe), the whistleblower who eventually appears on a “60 Minutes” exposé about tobacco companies. Al Pacino plays a producer who makes contact with Wigand and guides him as his personal life and professional life come under attack. Critics praised Mann's skill for building atmosphere and tension, as well as Crowe, Pacino, Christopher Plummer, and Diane Venora's performances. “The Insider” was nominated for seven Academy Awards.  

11/
Capitol Films

#91. Before the Devil Knows You're Dead (2007)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 37
Director(s): Sidney Lumet
Runtime: 117 min.

The final film from the legendary Sidney Lumet (“Network,” “Dog Day Afternoon”), "Before the Devil Knows You're Dead" is a thrilling and tense showcase of a truly stacked cast. Philip Seymour Hoffman and Ethan Hawke play brothers who try and fail to rob their father's (Albert Finney) jewelry store. Marisa Tomei plays Hoffman's wife and Michael Shannon shows up in a supporting role. As evidenced by “Dog Day Afternoon,” Lumet is never better than when handling the aftermath of a sloppy crime gone wrong.  

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Universal Pictures

#89. Children of Men (2006) (tie)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 38
Director(s): Alfonso Cuarón
Runtime: 109 min.

Alfonso Cuarón's near-future dystopian thriller tells the story of a society on the brink of extinction until the first woman in 27 years becomes pregnant. Cuarón is an Academy Award-winning director and manages to build a film that is both a prophetic social drama and a gripping chase movie. Clive Owen, Julianne Moore, and Chiwetel Ejiofor are all fantastic, but Michael Caine steals the show as a lovely and wise aging hippie. The film is in the midst of a popular reemergence, partly because Cuarón's “Roma” is an Academy Award frontrunner and partly because the near-future dystopia feels so terrifyingly relevant to viewers today.

13/
RADiUS/TWC

#89. Snowpiercer (2014) (tie)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 38
Director(s): Joon-ho Bong
Runtime: 126 min.

This dystopian action thriller takes place on a train that runs endlessly around the globe and carries the last remaining life on Earth; like so many dystopian fiction classics, it's about class structure in the time of disaster. By the South Korean director Joon-ho Bong (“Mother,” “Okja”), “Snowpiercer” stars Chris Evans, Kang-ho Song, Tilda Swinton, and Ed Harris and became a surprise critical darling.

14/
Miramax

#87. The Quiet American (2002) (tie)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 39
Director(s): Phillip Noyce
Runtime: 101 min.

Based on the novel by Graham Greene, “The Quiet American” tells the story of a British reporter (Michael Caine) and an American doctor (Brendan Fraser) who both love the same Vietnamese woman (Thi Hai Yen Do). Caine was nominated for an Oscar for his performance. Fraser was at the height of his powers at this moment, but soon faded away from Hollywood as Zach Baron chronicled in GQ last year.

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Warner Bros.

#87. The Dark Knight (2008) (tie)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 39
Director(s): Christopher Nolan
Runtime: 152 min.

The second film in Christopher Nolan's “Batman” trilogy is considered by many the greatest superhero movie ever made. Highlighted by a transcendent performance by the late Heath Ledger as The Joker, the film is both propulsive and tense. The film was nominated for eight Academy Awards and Ledger won posthumously for Best Supporting Actor.

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Moho Film

#86. The Handmaiden (2016)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 40
Director(s): Park Chan-wook
Runtime: 144 min.

From the South Korean director of “Oldboy,” “The Handmaiden” takes place in 1930s occupied Korea and tells the story of a handmaiden (Tae-ri Kim) hired to assist a Japanese heiress (Min-hee Kim) — and secretly defraud her. Director Park Chan-wook has been credited with putting "New Korean Cinema on the map"; his most recent project is the AMC series “The Little Drummer Girl,” which stars Michael Shannon, Alexander Skarsgard, and Florence Pugh.

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Why Not Productions

#85. You Were Never Really Here (2018)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 41
Director(s): Lynne Ramsay
Runtime: 89 min.

Based on the book by Jonathan Ames, Lynne Ramsay's “You Were Never Really Here” tells the story of a veteran (Joaquin Phoenix) who tracks missing girls. Phoenix's character struggles with PTSD and becomes unhinged as a case takes him down a rabbit hole of conspiracy. The film is a difficult watch, but a showcase for both Phoenix and Scottish director Lynne Ramsay.
 

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Warner Bros. Entertainment

#84. Mystic River (2003)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 42
Director(s): Clint Eastwood
Runtime: 138 min.

Based on the Dennis Lehane novel, “Mystic River” tells the story of childhood friends who become linked after the murder of one of their daughters. The film is directed by Clint Eastwood and features Academy Award-winning performances by Sean Penn and Tim Robbins. The film was also nominated for Best Picture, Eastwood for Best Director, and Marcia Gay Harden for Best Supporting Actress.

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Endgame Entertainment

#83. Looper (2012)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 44
Director(s): Rian Johnson
Runtime: 119 min.

Written and directed by Rian Johnson, “Looper” tells the sci-fi story of Joe (Joseph Gordon-Levitt), who works as a contract killer or "looper" for crime syndicates of the future that use time travel to cover their tracks. When Bruce Willis arrives as a target, everything about the clean efficient system starts to get messy. The film made $176.5 million on a $30 million budget and turned Johnson into a rising star director; he landed “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” as his next film.

20/
Universal Pictures

#82. Get Out (2017)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 48
Director(s): Jordan Peele
Runtime: 104 min.

This social thriller tells the story of a black photographer (Daniel Kaluuya) traveling to upstate New York to meet the seemingly woke liberal family of his white girlfriend (Allison Williams). The film made an incredible $255 million on a $4.5-million budget; it also garnered near-perfect reviews, birthed a million memes, and was nominated for four Oscars (Peele won for his original screenplay).

21/
Regencey Enterprises

#81. Widows (2018)

Metascore: 84
Number of critic reviews: 57
Director(s): Steve McQueen
Runtime: 129 min.

Academy Award-winning director Steve McQueen (“12 Years a Slave”) returned with an unlikely release: a heist movie written by Gillian Flynn (“Gone Girl”). However, McQueen manages to make a film much more layered and complicated than “Ocean's 11.” “Widows” tells the story of a group of women (Viola Davis, Michelle Rodriguez, and Elizabeth Debicki) who must rob the home of an alderman (Colin Farrell) after their deceased husbands' last score goes fatally wrong. The cast is stacked, but critics raved over Debicki and Daniel Kaluuya

22/
McElroy and McElroy

#80. The Last Wave (1977)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 5
Director(s): Peter Weir
Runtime: 106 min.

This 1977 film by Australian director Peter Weir (“The Truman Show,” “Gallipoli”) tells the dream-like story of a lawyer (Richard Chamberlain) who descends into a type of psychic madness while representing four young Aboriginal clients accused of murder. The film builds tension by weaving Aboriginal tribal rituals into the facts of the case until it's unclear what is real in the world of the young lawyer. Two years before this film, Weir had his breakthrough with the strange, unsettling Australian classic, “Picnic at Hanging Rock.”

23/
Les Films Corona

#79. Hands Off the Loot! (1954)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 8
Director(s): Jacques Becker
Runtime: 94 min.

This 1950s French classic tells the story of Max the Liar (Jean Gabin), a criminal with dreams of one last score before retiring to a life of luxury. As usual in suspense thrillers, things do not go smoothly. Director Jacques Becker was never put in the pantheon of great French directors during his lifetime but is today regarded as one of Europe's best postwar filmmakers. This film is better known by its French name: “Touchez Pas au Grisbi.”

24/
Cinema 77

#78. Blow Out (1981)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 11
Director(s): Brian De Palma
Runtime: 107 min.

Soon after megahit “Saturday Night Fever” and mega whiff “Moment by Moment,” John Travolta starred in this Brian De Palma (“Scarface,” “Carrie”) thriller about a sound engineer who unwittingly captures audio that proves a car accident was actually a murder. Travolta's career continued to ebb and flow after this impressive, moody performance, but "Blow Out" remains one of his most critically acclaimed films

25/
ITC

#77. The Last Seduction (1994)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 12
Director(s): John Dahl
Runtime: 110 min.

In John Dahl's “The Last Seduction,” Linda Fiorentino plays a beautiful schemestress who dupes her doctor husband (Bill Pullman) into selling medicinal cocaine before taking off with the million-dollar score. Escaping to a small town, she finds another unwitting man (Peter Berg) and uses her beauty and charm to try to find a way out. Fiorentino was nominated for a BAFTA award for her performance in this neo-noir.

26/
Eon Productions

#76. From Russia with Love (1964)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 13
Director(s): Terence Young
Runtime: 115 min.

The second James Bond film (with returning Sean Connery as 007) is the one that solidified Bond as a cultural phenomenon and a box office behemoth. This time, the secret agent gets involved with an assassination plot and a beautiful Russian woman (Daniela Bianchi) to retrieve a stolen device. Though critics like Roger Ebert claim the film doesn't reach the genius of the third Bond film (“Goldfinger”), Ebert argued it was actually more influential; "From Russia with Love" created many templates and tropes of Bond, and its success proved that the studio should keep making these films.

27/
The Director's Company

#75. The Conversation (1974)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 15
Director(s): Francis Ford Coppola
Runtime: 113 min.

This Francis Ford Coppola film is considered a classic of the 1970s paranoid thrillers. Gene Hackman plays a strange man who runs a surveillance company in San Francisco and has a crisis when he learns that the couple he is meant to track is in danger. This is one of five films—all of which were nominated for Best Picture—that actor John Cazale appeared in before his death from cancer in 1978. Coppola filmed “The Conversation,” which won the Palme d'Or at the Cannes Film Festival, in between the two "Godfather" films.

28/
Je Suis Bien Content

#74. April and the Extraordinary World (2016)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 17
Director(s): Christian Desmares and Franck Ekinci
Runtime: 105 min.

This animated French film tells the story of a young woman in 1941 Paris, hoping to discover the longevity serum her scientist parents were working on before they mysteriously disappeared a decade earlier. Marion Cotillard (“Inception”) voices April, but the real highlight is the imaginative steampunk world and fascinating animation.

29/
Strong Heart/Demme Productions

#73. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 19
Director(s): Jonathan Demme
Runtime: 118 min.

Based on Thomas Harris' novel, “The Silence of the Lambs” is the only horror film ever to win Best Picture at the Academy Awards. Jodie Foster plays a young FBI agent who must lean on the expertise of cannibal serial killer Hannibal Lecter (Sir Anthony Hopkins) to track down another serial killer, dubbed Buffalo Bill. The film won the Big Five at that year's Academy Awards (Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actor, Best Actress, and Best Screenplay); Hopkins won Best Actor despite only being on screen for 16 minutes.
 

30/
Polygram Filmed Entertainment

#72. Fargo (1996)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 24
Directors: Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Runtime: 98 min.

The Coen brothers' darkly funny crime thriller is about a struggling car salesman (William H. Macy) whose scheme to extort ransom from his father-in-law leads to disaster. The film won Joel Coen best director at the Cannes Film Festival and garnered seven Academy Award nominations.Frances McDormand won Best Actress at that year's Oscars. Roger Ebert considered it “one of the best films [he's] ever seen.”

31/
Universal Pictures

#71. Out of Sight (1998)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 30
Director(s): Steven Soderbergh
Runtime: 123 min.

This sexy crime caper from director Steven Soderbergh (“Ocean's 11,” “Traffic”) casts George Clooney as a prison escapee and Jennifer Lopez as the federal marshal set on catching him. Soon, the two realize they're attracted to each other. The film is based on the book by crime fiction legend Elmore Leonard (“Get Shorty,” “Rum Punch”), and many credit the film with making Clooney a true movie star. Entertainment Weekly voted it “The Sexiest Film of All Time” in 2008.  
 

32/
Showbox Entertainment

#70. The Host (2007)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 35
Director(s): Joon-ho Bong
Runtime: 119 min.

South Korean director Joon-ho Bong's follow-up to his 2003 hit “Memories of a Murder” became the highest-grossing South Korean film ever when it was released in 2006. The film tells the story of a giant sea creature that snatches a snack bar owner's daughter, and the family's struggle to get her back. "The Host" was critically acclaimed—a rare feat for a monster movie.
 

33/
ARTE France

#69. The Salesman (2017)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 36
Director(s): Asghar Farhadi
Runtime: 124 min.

This Iranian film by director Asghar Farhadi (“A Separation”) tells the story of an actor (Shahab Hosseini) who sets out to find the man who assaulted his wife (Taraneh Alidoosti) in their new apartment. The title comes from the fact that the two are rehearsing for a production of Arthur Miller's “Death of a Salesman” while the action occurs. “The Salesman” won Best Foreign Language Film at the Oscars; Farhadi's “A Separation” won the same award.

34/
Universal Pictures

#68. The Bourne Ultimatum (2007)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 38
Director(s): Paul Greengrass
Runtime: 115 min.

The third in the Bourne franchise—which tracks secret agent Jason Bourne's search for his forgotten identity and past—is regarded by critics as the best installment. The film rustles Bourne out of hiding in order to aid a reporter working on an expose; eventually, car chases and fighting ensue. Critic Stephanie Zacharek praised director Paul Greengrass for orchestrating the action and violence with "chaotic clarity."

35/
Warner Bros.

#67. The Departed (2006)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 39
Director(s): Martin Scorsese
Runtime: 151 min.

Martin Scorsese's fun and frightening film is about an undercover cop (Leonardo DiCaprio) infiltrating the Irish mob, while another police officer (Matt Damon) works as a mole for that mob. Starring alongside DiCaprio and Damon is an all-star cast that includes Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg, Martin Sheen, Vera Farmiga, and Alec Baldwin. Scorsese finally won his Oscar for this film, though many believed it was more of a lifetime achievement award (he was famously snubbed for “Raging Bull” and “Goodfellas”). The film was a showcase of a very wide range of Boston accents.

36/
Focus Features

#66. Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy (2011)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 42
Director(s): Tomas Alfredson
Runtime: 127 min.

Based on the novel by John le Carré, “Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy” tells the story of a retired spy (Gary Oldman) who returns to the action to root out a mole within the highest levels of British intelligence. The Cold War drama is a quiet, paranoid puzzle filled with critically acclaimed performances from Oldman, Colin Firth, and Tom Hardy. Oldman was nominated for Best Actor, an award he won last year.

37/
Killer Films

#65. First Reformed (2018)

Metascore: 85
Number of critic reviews: 47
Director(s): Paul Schrader
Runtime: 113 min.

From the legendary writer of "Taxi Driver" and "Raging Bull," this film tells the story of an upstate New York pastor (Ethan Hawke) who is forced to make a grave decision after a pregnant congregant (Amanda Seyfried) asks for his help. A number of critics have said Hawke's performance is Oscar-worthy.

38/
Cineplex-Odeon Films

#64. The Grifters (1990)

Metascore: 86
Number of critic reviews: 18
Director(s): Stephen Frears
Runtime: 110 min.

Director Stephen Frears (“Philomena,” “Dangerous Liaisons”) adapted Jim Thompson's 1960s novel into this 1990s neo-noir thriller. "The Grifters" follows conman Roy Dillon (John Cusack), but the real stars are his estranged mother (Anjelica Huston) and his girlfriend (Annette Bening), whose battle for Roy and everything else animates the film. Both Huston and Bening were nominated for Oscars for their performances as was Frears for his direction.
 

39/
New Line

#63. The Player (1992)

Metascore: 86
Number of critic reviews: 20
Director(s): Robert Altman
Runtime: 124 min.

Robert Altman's (“M*A*S*H*,” “Nashville”) Hollywood satire casts Tim Robbins as a studio executive on the receiving end of death threats from an anonymous screenwriter whose script he passed on. Vincent D'Onofrio, Whoopi Goldberg, Fred Ward, and Greta Scacchi appear in supporting roles, and both Altman and writer Michael Tolkin were nominated for Oscars for their respective directing and screenwriting. This film, widely considered one of Altman's best, helped revive some of the director's juice in Hollywood.
 

40/
Compulsion Inc.

#62. Traffic (2000)

Metascore: 86
Number of critic reviews: 34
Director(s): Steven Soderbergh
Runtime: 147 min.

Director Steven Soderbergh's sprawling, ambitious film weaves together three different stories of drugs and class into a huge ensemble story. “Traffic” was a critical and commercial hit in 2000, taking in $207 million at the box office and winning four Academy Awards (Benicio Del Toro won for Best Supporting Actor and Soderbergh for his direction). The ensemble cast was truly loaded: Michael Douglas, Catherine Zeta-Jones, Don Cheadle, Dennis Quaid, and Luis Guzman, just to name a few.
 

41/
TriStar Pictures

#61. Baby Driver (2017)

Metascore: 86
Number of critic reviews: 53
Director(s): Edgar Wright
Runtime: 112 min.

Director Edgar Wright's (“Shaun of the Dead”) energetic and stylish thriller follows a young getaway driver (Ansel Elgort) whose love of music helps him excel in the field. Eventually, as thrillers go, his love life and a failed heist threaten the precarious equilibrium he had managed. The film was a surprise megahit, taking in $227 million on a $34 million budget. The soundtrack was also singled out, with Variety calling it "a music nerd's dream."

42/
Eon Productions

#60. Goldfinger (1965)

Metascore: 87
Number of critic reviews: 12
Director(s): Guy Hamilton
Runtime: 110 min.

Widely considered the definitive James Bond movie, Sean Connery's third time as 007 is the one most remember. “Goldfinger” is the Bond movie that first unveils the Aston Martin, the futuristic tech, and the martini order (“shaken, not stirred”). Honor Blackman plays Pussy Galore, Harold Sakata plays Oddjob, and Gert Fröbe plays the titular villain Goldfinger.   

43/
Bunya Productions

#59. Sweet Country (2018)

Metascore: 87
Number of critic reviews: 21
Director(s): Warwick Thornton
Runtime: 113 min.

This Australian western from director Warwick Thornton tells the story of a lower-class aboriginal laborer who kills a white man in self-defense in the 1920s Australian frontier. “Sweet Country” follows him as he sets out on the run to dodge retribution from a bloodthirsty posse. The film was heavily awarded at the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, where it won Best Film and five other honors.

44/
Warner Bros.

#58. The Fugitive (1993)

Metascore: 87
Number of critic reviews: 32
Director(s): Andrew Davis
Runtime: 130 min.

The remake of the popular 1960s TV series stars Harrison Ford as Dr. Richard Kimble, who is wrongfully convicted of murdering his wife before escaping custody to track the killer himself. Ford and Tommy Lee Jones (who won Best Supporting Actor for his role as U.S. Marshal Sam Gerard) were lauded for their performances. The action thriller pulled in an astronomical $369 million and garnered seven Academy Award nominations.

45/
PalmStar Media

#57. Hereditary (2018)

Metascore: 87
Number of critic reviews: 49
Director(s): Ari Aster
Runtime: 127 min.

Writer/director Ari Aster's terrifying and haunting “Hereditary” focuses on the dark history and frightening present of the Graham family, as they grieve the death of the matriarch. The film stars Toni Collette, Gabriel Byrne, Alex Wolff, and Milly Shapiro, and has been called “the scariest movie in years.” The film was a box office hit—the biggest yet for indie studio A24—which means Aster was quickly signed on to make his follow-up, “Midsommar.”

46/
London Film Productions

#55. The Fallen Idol (1948) (tie)

Metascore: 88
Number of critic reviews: 12
Director(s): Carol Reed
Runtime: 95 min.

Based on a short story from author Graham Greene, Carol Reed's “The Fallen Idol” is about a butler who is accused of murdering his wife and a diplomat's son who struggles to be heard in his defense. The British thriller is tense throughout, and both director Reed and screenwriter Greene were nominated for Academy Awards.  

47/
Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer Studios

#55. Thelma & Louise (1991) (tie)

Metascore: 88
Number of critic reviews: 12
Director(s): Ridley Scott
Runtime: 130 min.

This Ridley Scott on-the-run thriller tells the story of two women (Susan Sarandon and Geena Davis) who set out for a vacation. When Louise kills a man who tries to rape Thelma, the road trip turns into a police chase. Sarandon, Davis, and Scott were all nominated for Academy Awards; screenwriter Callie Khouri won the Oscar. Brad Pitt plays the charismatic grifter J.D. in his breakout role, which nearly went to many other handsome young men of Hollywood, including Robert Downey Jr. and Mark Ruffalo.
 

48/
NLT Productions

#54. Wake in Fright (1971)

Metascore: 88
Number of critic reviews: 14
Director(s): Ted Kotcheff
Runtime: 114 min.

Based on the novel by Kenneth Cook, director Ted Kotcheff's (“Weekend at Bernie's,” “First Blood”) “Wake in Fright” is a classic and haunting Australian thriller. The film follows a teacher who arrives in an outback town for what should have been one night and loses himself in alcohol and self-destruction. It has a perfect 100% on Rotten Tomatoes.

49/
Warner Bros.

#52. Strangers on a Train (1951) (tie)

Metascore: 88
Number of critic reviews: 15
Director(s): Alfred Hitchcock
Runtime: 101 min.

Based on the novel by Patricia Highsmith, this Alfred Hitchcock classic follows Bruno Antony (Robert Walker), who tries to convince and then coerce tennis player Guy Haines (Farley Granger) into the perfect double murder. Robert Burks was nominated for Best Cinematography for his work on the film.

50/
Newmarket Films

#52. Donnie Darko (2001) (tie)

Metascore: 88
Number of critic reviews: 15
Director(s): Richard Kelly
Runtime: 113 min.

After making just $1.5 million at the box office, writer/director Richard Kelly's “Donnie Darko” took off as a cult classic. The psychological thriller tells the story of Donnie (Jake Gyllenhaal), a troubled teen, pushed to commit crimes by a strange vision. Though audiences missed it at first, once it hit DVD and cable, it became one of the most loved films of the early 2000s.

51/
Rizzoli Films

#49. Deep Red (1976) (tie)

Metascore: 89
Number of critic reviews: 7
Director(s): Dario Argento
Runtime: 126 min.

Italian horror legend Dario Argento directed this unsettling thriller about a pianist (David Hemmings) who works with a journalist (Daria Nicolodi) to solve the murder of a psychic (Macha Méril). Argento followed “Deep Red” up with “Suspiria,” which was remade by Luca Guadagnino (“Call Me By Your Name”) last year.

52/
Stanley Kramer Productions

#49. High Noon (1952) (tie)

Metascore: 89
Number of critic reviews: 7
Director(s): Fred Zinnemann
Runtime: 85 min.

This classic western directed by Fred Zinnemann (“A Man For All Seasons”) pits a marshall (Gary Cooper) against an entire band of outlaws who threaten a town in the west. Grace Kelly plays Cooper's newlywed wife, who pleads with him not to so senselessly risk his life. Cooper won Best Actor for his portrayal; John Wayne accepted the award in his stead.
 

53/
CKK

#49. Assault on Precinct 13 (1976) (tie)

Metascore: 89
Number of critic reviews: 7
Director(s): John Carpenter
Runtime: 91 min.

After the police raid a street gang, the gang members band together and decide to take over an LAPD precinct. The station, meant to be shut down, is lightly staffed and must be defended by a highway patrolman (Austin Stoker), a couple of secretaries (Laurie Zimmer and Nancy Loomis), and a few criminals. This was the second film directed by John Carpenter (“Escape from New York,” “The Thing”), and his "subtle genius" is already obvious.

54/
Jar Pictures

#48. Gangs of Wasseypur (2015)

Metascore: 89
Number of critic reviews: 10
Director(s): Anurag Kashyap
Runtime: 321 min.

This sweeping Indian epic two-parter covers the history of violence and vengeance among three crime families that run a region of India from the 1940s to present day. The film ran an incredible five hours and 21 minutes when it screened at Cannes, but was split into two parts for its run in Indian theaters. Before the release of the thriller, director Anurag Kashyap was best known for his controversial film “Black Friday,” which told the story of the 1993 bombings in Mumbai.

55/
The Ladd Company

#47. Blade Runner (1982)

Metascore: 89
Number of critic reviews: 11
Director(s): Ridley Scott
Runtime: 117 min.

Based on the Philip K. Dick short story “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?,” this Ridley Scott sci-fi classic stars Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, a former cop hired to track down a rebellious band of replicants in a futuristic LA. The film was nominated for two Academy Awards and though it was a flop at the box office, it's regarded as one of Scott and Ford's most beloved films.

56/
SBS Productions

#46. Elle (2016)

Metascore: 89
Number of critic reviews: 36
Director(s): Paul Verhoeven
Runtime: 130 min.

Starring Isabelle Huppert, director Paul Verhoeven's (“Basic Instinct,” “Starship Troopers”) film tells the story of Michèle, a powerhouse businesswoman who becomes consumed with tracking down the man who assaulted her in her home. Huppert was nominated for Best Actress for her portrayal of Michèle; she won the Golden Globe that year.

57/
Wiedemann & Berg Filmproduktion

#45. The Lives of Others (2006)

Metascore: 89
Number of critic reviews: 39
Director(s): Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck
Runtime: 137 min.

Set in East Berlin in 1984, “The Lives of Others” follows an agent of the secret police (Ulrich Mühe) as he monitors and becomes consumed by the lives of a playwright and his partner. This was the debut film by German director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck; it won the Oscar for Best Foreign Film. The promising director followed it up with the Hollywood blockbuster “The Tourist,” which Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers hoped to banish to “the bottom of the 2010 dung heap.”

58/
Warner Bros.

#44. After Hours (1985)

Metascore: 90
Number of critic reviews: 8
Director(s): Martin Scorsese
Runtime: 97 min.

The film follows a yuppie (Griffin Dunne) who agrees to meet a beautiful woman (Rosanna Arquette) at a bar in Manhattan and has a nightmarish night. Scorsese is thought of as a master of a certain type of film; critics maintain that "After Hours" proves he can be great in any genre.

59/
Champs-Élysées Productions

#42. Eyes Without a Face (1960) (tie)

Metascore: 90
Number of critic reviews: 9
Director(s): Georges Franju
Runtime: 88 min.

Based on Jean Redon's novel, “Eyes Without a Face” is a horror thriller about a plastic surgeon who becomes consumed with giving his disfigured daughter a face transplant after an accident. Director Georges Franju is a legend of French cinema, and followed this film up with “Therese,” “Judex,” and “Thomas the Impostor.”

60/
The Malpaso Company

#42. Dirty Harry (1971) (tie)

Metascore: 90
Number of critic reviews: 9
Director(s): Don Siegel
Runtime: 102 min.

Don Siegel's 1970s thriller features a psycho-killer terrorizing San Francisco and a cop on his tail. But what makes the film legendary is the man holding the .44 Magnum revolver: Clint Eastwood as the titular Dirty Harry. Film critic Emanuel Levy said “Dirty Harry” changed the public's perception of Eastwood, of vigilante justice, and of San Francisco in general.

61/
Paramount Pictures

#41. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

Metascore: 90
Number of critic reviews: 18
Director(s): Francis Ford Coppola
Runtime: 200 min.

The sequel to Francis Ford Coppola's “The Godfather” manages to match, or even eclipse, the Academy Award-winning original. Incredibly, the sequel—which weaves Michael Corleone's (Al Pacino) move of the family business to Vegas with the rise of his father Vito Corleone (Robert De Niro), who would eventually become Don Corleone (Marlon Brando)—also won Best Picture. De Niro won Best Supporting Actor and was among the 11 nominations the film garnered at the 1975 Academy Awards.

62/
Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer

#40. The Passenger (1975)

Metascore: 90
Number of critic reviews: 20
Director(s): Michelangelo Antonioni
Runtime: 126 min.

This thriller stars Jack Nicholson as a journalist who assumes the life of a slain gunrunner in order to gain inside access to an African war for a documentary. “The Passenger” is directed by Michelangelo Antonioni, a famous Italian filmmaker, and premiered at the Cannes Film Festival in 1975. Nicholson is paired with Maria Schneider, who plays the mysterious woman he falls for.

63/
Palace Pictures

#39. The Crying Game (1992)

Metascore: 90
Number of critic reviews: 22
Director(s): Neil Jordan
Runtime: 112 min.

Writer/director Neil Jordan's story about a British soldier (Forest Whitaker) kidnapped by IRA rebels comes to focus on the unlikely friendship between Whitaker and one of his captors (Stephen Rea). “The Crying Game” is best remembered for its twist. Jordan won the Best Original Screenplay award at the Academy Awards and followed the film up with “Michael Collins,” which starred Liam Neeson and also garnered Oscar nominations.

64/
Gamechanger Films

#38. The Tale (2018)

Metascore: 90
Number of critic reviews: 26
Director(s): Jennifer Fox
Runtime: 114 min.

The debut feature from writer/director Jennifer Fox focuses on a documentarian (Laura Dern) working through a past trauma. After reading a story she wrote in middle school, she begins to wrestle with her past relationships with a track coach (Jason Ritter) and a riding instructor (Elizabeth Debicki). “The Tale” is based on Fox's own life and premiered on HBO last year. Dern was nominated for a Golden Globe for her performance.

65/
Warner Bros. Entertainment

#37. L.A. Confidential (1997)

Metascore: 90
Number of critic reviews: 28
Director(s): Curtis Hanson
Runtime: 138 min.

Based on the novel by James Elroy, this stylized L.A. noir thriller follows three very different cops (Russell Crowe, Kevin Spacey, and Guy Pearce) chasing down a string of murders in 1950s Los Angeles. Kim Basinger won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress, and the film was nominated for eight other awards (it also won for Best Adapted Screenplay).

66/
Anonymous Content

#36. Winter's Bone (2010)

Metascore: 90
Number of critic reviews: 38
Director(s): Debra Granik
Runtime: 100 min.

Based on the book by Daniel Woodrell, “Winter's Bone” follows Ree, a tough-as-nails Ozark girl, on her search for her drug-dealing father. This film launched the career of Jennifer Lawrence, who was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of Ree. She went on to win her first Oscar two years later for “Silver Linings Playbook.” Lawrence starred as a similarly stalwart outdoorswoman in "The Hunger Games,” two years after “Winter's Bone.”

67/
Laokoon Filmgroup

#35. Son of Saul (2015)

Metascore: 90
Number of critic reviews: 45
Director(s): László Nemes
Runtime: 107 min.

The Hungarian film by director László Nemes tells the tragic story of Saul Auslander (Géza Röhrig), a prisoner at Auschwitz tasked with burning corpses, who sets off to find a rabbi to bury the body of a child who may have been his son. Nemes' debut feature is powerful and devastating; it won Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards.

68/
Columbia Pictures Corporation

#34. American Hustle (2013)

Metascore: 90
Number of critic reviews: 47
Director(s): David O. Russell
Runtime: 138 min.

Director David O. Russell followed up “I Heart Huckabees,” “The Fighter,” and “Silver Linings Playbook” with a period thriller starring Christian Bale, Jennifer Lawrence, Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner, and Bradley Cooper. “American Hustle,” is a fast-paced scam story about feds and small-time crooks that delivered laughs and excitement. The film was nominated for 10 Oscars (it won zero), including nominations for Bale, Adams, Lawrence, and Cooper. Russell followed “American Hustle” up with the critical dud “Joy” and has not made a feature since.  
 

69/
Warner Bros. Pictures

#33. Mad Max: Fury Road (2015)

Metascore: 90
Number of critic reviews: 51
Director(s): George Miller
Runtime: 120 min.

The first “Mad Max” arrived in 1979, an Australian apocalyptic action thriller that made a name for Mel Gibson. The revival of the franchise, which laid dormant for three decades, was a critical and box office smash hit. Director George Miller's film made $379 million at the box office and won six Academy Awards. As Christopher Orr wrote in The Atlantic: “‘Fury Road' is an A-plus B-movie, an action flick so vivid and visceral, so striking in conception and extraordinary in execution, that it comes almost as a revelation.”

70/
Compton Film

#32. Repulsion (1965)

Metascore: 91
Number of critic reviews: 8
Director(s): Roman Polanski
Runtime: 105 min.

This claustrophobic thriller from the controversial Roman Polanski follows a pair of sisters trying their best to share a small apartment. Eventually, the younger sister (Catherine Deneuve) deteriorates mentally, repulsed by her sister's boyfriend and men in general. The film has been hailed a "chilling tale of psychosis," managing to make the apartment close in on the viewer as it does on the protagonist.

71/
Euro International Films

#31. The Red Circle (1970)

Metascore: 91
Number of critic reviews: 19
Director(s): Jean-Pierre Melville
Runtime: 140 min.

The classic French heist thriller tells the story of three unlikely collaborators: a master thief, an escapee, and an ex-cop. Together, they plan an elaborate jewelry heist. Director Jean-Pierre Melville is considered “the godfather of the French crime film” for his moody thrillers about gangsters, assassins, and thieves.
 

72/
Paramount Vantage

#30. No Country for Old Men (2007)

Metascore: 91
Number of critic reviews: 37
Director(s): Ethan Coen and Joel Coen
Runtime: 122 min.

For this Cormac McCarthy adaptation, the Coen brothers stuck to the source material, creating what's widely considered one of the great modern westerns. “No Country for Old Men” focuses on a welder (Josh Brolin) who happens upon a drug deal gone wrong and finds himself in possession of nearly $2 million. Javier Bardem plays a terrifying killer on his trail, and Tommy Lee Jones plays a sheriff doing his best against the evil of the world. Bardem won Best Supporting Actor for his portrayal, while the Coens won Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Adapted Screenplay for their work on the film.  

73/
13 Productions

#29. Werckmeister Harmonies (2001)

Metascore: 92
Number of critic reviews: 8
Director(s): Ágnes Hranitzky and Béla Tarr
Runtime: 145 min.

This Hungarian thriller, based on the novel by László Krasznahorkai, tells the story of a town that descends into mayhem after the arrival of a circus, a gigantic whale, and a strange man who can inflame violence with his impassioned speeches. One of the film's directors, Béla Tarr, is considered one of the great Hungarian filmmakers, though as Roger Ebert wrote, he is “more talked about than viewed” because of the length and artsiness of his films.    
 

74/
Paramount Pictures

#28. Chinatown (1974)

Metascore: 92
Number of critic reviews: 22
Director(s): Roman Polanski
Runtime: 130 min.

This masterpiece by Roman Polanski is one of the great Los Angeles films and, inarguably, the greatest film ever made about water rights. "Chinatown" stars Jack Nicholson as a P.I. and Faye Dunaway as the femme fatale who hires him for a job that sends him straight to the center of a conspiracy. The film was nominated for 11 Oscars; Robert Towne won Best Original Screenplay for his script.

75/
Paramount Vantage

#27. There Will Be Blood (2007)

Metascore: 93
Number of critic reviews: 42
Director(s): Paul Thomas Anderson
Runtime: 158 min.

Incredibly, both “No Country for Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” were shot near the town of Marfa in West Texas at the same time. The two movies would go on to battle for most of the important Academy Awards that year, with “No Country” winning Best Picture and Daniel Day-Lewis, of “There Will Be Blood,” winning Best Actor. The latter film tells the story of a prospector (Day-Lewis) and a preacher (Paul Dano), fighting for the hearts and minds of a rural oil town at the turn of the century. It was directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, whom GQ has called the "most admired filmmaker alive."
 

76/
Participant Media

#26. Spotlight (2015)

Metascore: 93
Number of critic reviews: 45
Director(s): Thomas McCarthy
Runtime: 128 min.

Based on The Boston Globe's real-life investigation into sexual abuse and coverups by the Catholic Church, director Thomas McCarthy's “Spotlight” is now considered one of the great newspaper thrillers. The film had an incredible cast, anchored by Rachel McAdams, Mark Ruffalo, and Michael Keaton. Like “All the President's Men,” the movie builds tension while showing the viewer how the sausage of a great exposé is made.

77/
M.C. Productions

#25. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

Metascore: 94
Number of critic reviews: 14
Director(s): John Frankenheimer
Runtime: 126 min.

Based on the novel by Richard Condon, “The Manchurian Candidate” stars Frank Sinatra as Major Bennett Marco, who is plagued by a recurring nightmare that tips him off to a plan to brainwash a fellow Korean War prisoner-of-war and turn him into a Soviet sleeper cell. Angela Lansbury was nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of the other POW's mother, one of the iconic supporting roles of the 1960s.

78/
Universal Pictures

#24. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

Metascore: 94
Number of critic reviews: 15
Director(s): Alfred Hitchcock
Runtime: 108 min.

Alfred Hitchcock's suspense thriller concerns a handsome, charming uncle who may not be who he seems. Joseph Cotton stars as the mysterious uncle, while Teresa Wright shines as the young niece trying to figure him out. The film was Hitchcock's personal favorite.
 

79/
Nouvelles Éditions de Films

#23. Elevator to the Gallows (1961)

Metascore: 94
Number of critic reviews: 16
Director(s): Louis Malle
Runtime: 91 min.

Based on the novel by Noël Calef, French director Louis Malle's “Elevator to the Gallows” tells the story of a man (Maurice Ronet) who kills his boss — who is also the husband of his lover (Jeanne Moreau). As expected, things go wrong and trouble ensues. Malle went on to direct American films, including “Atlantic City” and “My Dinner with Andre.”

80/
Film en Stock

#22. Carlos (2010)

Metascore: 94
Number of critic reviews: 21
Director(s): Olivier Assayas
Runtime: 325 min.

This three-episode miniseries fictionalizes the true story of Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, a Venezuelan revolutionary and head of a terrorist organization that took hostages at an OPEC meeting in 1975. Édgar Ramírez stars as Sánchez (who also goes by Carlos); he won a Golden Globe for his performance. The series as a whole won the Best Miniseries or Made for TV Movie at the Golden Globes that year as well.

81/
Columbia/Tristar

#21. Taxi Driver (1976)

Metascore: 94
Number of critic reviews: 23
Director(s): Martin Scorsese
Runtime: 114 min.

One of the grittiest and most influential movies of the last 50 years, “Taxi Driver” focuses on Travis Bickle, an unstable taxi driver with a violent fixation on the grime of New York City. This was Jodie Foster's breakout role; she was nominated for the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress at 14 years old and won the BAFTA

82/
Miramax

#20. Pulp Fiction (1994)

Metascore: 94
Number of critic reviews: 24
Director(s): Quentin Tarantino
Runtime: 154 min.

Quentin Tarantino burst onto the scene with his cult classic and Sundance darling “Reservoir Dogs” in 1992. But with the release of “Pulp Fiction," Tarantino became one of the biggest names in Hollywood. “Pulp Fiction” is a film built on four seemingly separate stories, told out of order, but all taking place in LA's early 1990s underworld. Tarantino won Best Screenplay for the script, and Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, and Uma Thurman were all nominated for their roles.

83/
Voltage Entertainment

#19. The Hurt Locker (2009)

Metascore: 94
Number of critic reviews: 35
Director(s): Kathryn Bigelow
Runtime: 131 min.

Director Kathryn Bigelow's (“Zero Dark Thirty,” “Point Break”) “The Hurt Locker” is a tense classic of the modern war thriller. The film follows an army bomb squad diffusing explosives during the Iraq War. Kathryn Bigelow won Best Director at the 2010 Academy Awards, becoming the first woman in history to win the award.

84/
Syncopy

#18. Dunkirk (2017)

Metascore: 94
Number of critic reviews: 53
Director(s): Christopher Nolan
Runtime: 106 min.

Director Christopher Nolan's (“The Dark Knight,” “Memento”) tension-filled war epic tells the true story of the evacuation of Allied troops from Dunkirk in World War II. Nolan's film won three Oscars, two for sound and one for editing. It also made an incredible $527 million at the box office.

85/
Paramount Pictures

#17. Double Indemnity (1944)

Metascore: 95
Number of critic reviews: 17
Director(s): Billy Wilder
Runtime: 107 min.

Billy Wilder's “Double Indemnity” centers on an insurance rep (Fred MacMurray) who gets roped into a scheme to murder the husband of his lover (Barbara Stanwyck) to collect the life insurance payout. Based on a novella by James M. Cain, this is L.A. noir at its finest. Twenty years after the movie's release, California prosecutors had a highly publicized, real-life "Double Indemnity" on their hands when housewife Lucille Miller was convicted of murdering her husband for the insurance money.

86/
Columbia Pictures Corporation

#16. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Metascore: 95
Number of critic reviews: 46
Director(s): Kathryn Bigelow
Runtime: 157 min.

Director Kathryn Bigelow once again took on a current conflict, this time dramatizing the search for and assassination of Osama Bin Laden by Navy Seal Team 6. The film centers on a CIA operative's (Jessica Chastain) decade-long struggle to find the center of the terrorist group behind 9/11. Chastain won a Golden Globe for her performance and the film was nominated for five Academy Awards.

87/
Philip D'Antoni Productions

#15. The French Connection (1971)

Metascore: 96
Number of critic reviews: 4
Director(s): William Friedkin
Runtime: 104 min.

Based on a book by Robin Moore, director William Friedkin's “The French Connection” features one of the most famous car chase scenes in movie history. The film tells the story of two NYPD narcotics officers who discover a massive drug smuggling plot. Gene Hackman won the Oscar for Best Actor for his portrayal of Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle, and the film won Best Picture (it won five Oscars in total). Hackman's career-making performance turned him from a respected bit-player to a bona fide star at the age of 41.

88/
Columbia Pictures Corporation

#14. Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964) (tie)

Metascore: 96
Number of critic reviews: 11
Director(s): Stanley Kubrick
Runtime: 95 min.

“Dr. Strangelove” is a dark satire about what would happen if the wrong man was in control of the nuclear arsenal. Kubrick adapted the novel by Peter George, turning the thriller into a black comedy. Visually, though, it's a straight thriller all the way. The film was nominated for Best Picture, while Kubrick was nominated for Best Director and Adapted Screenplay and Peter Sellers for Best Actor (he actually plays three characters).

89/
Warner Bros.

#12. Mean Streets (1973) (tie)

Metascore: 96
Number of critic reviews: 11
Director(s): Martin Scorsese
Runtime: 112 min.

Director Martin Scorsese's third feature is the film "in which he came into his own," according to TCM. “Mean Streets” follows a small-time Little Italy tough guy (Harvey Keitel) who is too nice for the mob but also gravitationally pulled to his New York crime life. Robert De Niro co-stars as Johnny Boy, a ball of psychotic energy that keeps Keitel in trouble.

90/
Warner Bros.

#12. Gravity (2013)

Metascore: 96
Number of critic reviews: 49
Director(s): Alfonso Cuarón
Runtime: 91 min.

Director Alfonso Cuarón's (“Children of Men,” “Roma”) “Gravity” is visually stunning, tracking two astronauts (Sandra Bullock and George Clooney) in the most terrifying of situations: stranded in space. The film is an anti-claustrophobic thriller, where the tension comes from being stuck in an endless void. The film won seven Oscars, including Cuarón's first for Best Director. He was the first Mexican director to win the award, but since then, a Mexican director has won the award in four of the last five years.

91/
Rialto Pictures

#11. Rififi (1955)

Metascore: 97
Number of critic reviews: 13
Director(s): Jules Dassin
Runtime: 122 min.

Director Jules Dassin's “Rififi” is considered the first heist movie—it created the genre that birthed “Ocean's 11,” “Reservoir Dogs,” “National Treasure,” and so much more. The film is most famous for its 28-minute safecracking scene, which was revolutionary at the time. It was so intricate, in fact, that Paris police worried it would be used as a “How-To” guide. Dassin was an American director but made the film in Paris because he was blacklisted from Hollywood during the Cold War communist hysteria.

92/
Shamley Productions

#10. Psycho (1960)

Metascore: 97
Number of critic reviews: 17
Director(s): Alfred Hitchcock
Runtime: 109 min.

Best known for its iconic shower scene, Alfred Hitchcock's “Psycho” has all the aspects of a great thriller: suspense, claustrophobic action, a creepy old house, a twist, and a heavy dose of insanity. While critics will argue forever about Hitchcock's best film, this was inarguably his biggest hit.

93/
London Film Productions

#9. The Third Man (1949)

Metascore: 97
Number of critic reviews: 30
Director(s): Carol Reed
Runtime: 104 min.

Director Carol Reed builds a world full of intrigue and tension in "The Third Man." The action begins when American writer Holly Martins (Joseph Cotten) arrives to meet a friend (Orson Welles) in post-war Austria, only to learn that he's dead and wanted by the authorities. The Guardian calls it "a near-perfect work," as well as a noir classic.

94/
Universum Film

#8. Metropolis (1927)

Metascore: 98
Number of critic reviews: 14
Director(s): Fritz Lang
Runtime: 153 min.

Director Fritz Lang's silent film is considered a masterpiece of science fiction. It's set in a futuristic city in which the working class and the city's elites live divergent existences. An ill-fated romance forms between the city mastermind's son and a working class prophet. Incredibly, the film's themes of economic inequality continue to be the igniting theme of today's science fiction and, well, society in general.

95/
Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer

#7. North by Northwest (1959)

Metascore: 98
Number of critic reviews: 16
Director(s): Alfred Hitchcock
Runtime: 136 min.

In Alfred Hitchcock's “North by Northwest," adman Roger Thornhill (Cary Grant) is wrongfully identified as George Kaplan, setting off a wild series of events in which he's abducted, chased, questioned, and everything else imaginable. Screenwriter Ernest Lehman was nominated for an Oscar and followed up this film with his Oscar-nominated classic adaptation of “West Side Story” in 1961.

96/
Picturehouse

#6. Pan's Labyrinth (2006)

Metascore: 98
Number of critic reviews: 37
Director(s): Guillermo del Toro
Runtime: 118 min.

Monster-mad director Guillermo del Toro employed all of his eccentric talents in making this nightmarish fairytale about the Spanish Civil War. Overflowing with monsters and poetic metaphors, “Pan's Labyrinth” tells the story of Ofelia (Ivana Baquero), the quiet stepdaughter of a brutal fascist captain (Sergi López), who chases a fairy into a mystical labyrinth that takes her away from the war—at least for a moment. Del Toro later won Best Director for “The Shape of Water,” which some viewed as a make-up call for him missing out on the award for “Pan's Labyrinth.”  

97/
Metro-Goldwyn-Meyer

#5. The Night of the Hunter (1955)

Metascore: 99
Number of critic reviews: 8
Director(s): Charles Laughton
Runtime: 93 min.

Based on a novel by Davis Grubb, “The Night of the Hunter” is a frightening thriller about a phony preacher (Robert Mitchum) who hears rumors of a fortune buried on a farm and sets about infiltrating the family and finding the money. Eventually, the action boils down to a battle between Mitchum and the head of an orphanage, played by Lillian Gish. This film was a commercial and critical failure at the time and was the only directing credit for Charles Laughton.

98/
Universal International Pictures

#4. Touch of Evil (1958)

Metascore: 99
Number of critic reviews: 22
Director(s): Orson Welles
Runtime: 95 min.

This film bombed upon its release and spelled the end of Orson Welles's career in the Hollywood studio system, but it has become much-loved by critics and noir-heads alike. “Touch of Evil” tells the story of a honeymoon gone horribly wrong, as newlywed police officer Mike Vargas (Charlton Heston) gets involved with an investigation, angering the corrupt local police chief (Welles). Janet Leigh plays Vargas's wife and Marlene Dietrich plays a fortune-teller/madam who delivers the hauntingly perfect line, “Your future's all used up.”

99/
Paramount

#2. The Godfather (1972) (tie)

Metascore: 100
Number of critic reviews: 15
Director(s): Francis Ford Coppola
Runtime: 175 min.

"The Godfather" overflows with great actors at the top of their game: Al Pacino, James Caan, Robert Duvall, Talia Shire, John Cazale, and so many more. Marlon Brando also gives a memorable late-career performance as Vito Corleone, the Godfather himself. The film was nominated for 11 Oscars, winning three.

100/
RKO Radio Pictures

#2. Notorious (1946) (tie)

Metascore: 100
Number of critic reviews: 15
Director(s): Alfred Hitchcock
Runtime: 101 min.

“Notorious”—which Roger Ebert deemed the "most elegant expression" of Hitchcock's visual style—tells the story of a young American woman (Ingrid Bergman) who is recruited as a spy by the handsome American secret agent Devlin (Cary Grant). The two fall in love before Bergman's character must risk everything and get up close and personal with a Nazi (Claude Rains) in South America. The film won two Oscars, including a Best Supporting Actor award for Rains.  

101/
Paramount Pictures

#1. Rear Window (1954)

Metascore: 100
Number of critic reviews: 18
Director(s): Alfred Hitchcock
Runtime: 112 min.

This iconic film stars James Stewart as an injured photojournalist who passes his time on the mend watching his neighbors through binoculars and composing narratives of their lives. When he thinks he spies a murder, things get out of hand. Many subsequent filmmakers have borrowed from "Rear Window," a thoughtful look at voyeurism and paranoia in both the protagonist and the audience.
 

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