Sometimes, you want a movie to make you anxious, to really sink its hooks into you and stress you out — but in a fun way! When you’re in that mood, you need a thriller. Luckily for you, Amazon Prime has a solid library of movies that will keep you on the edge of your seat.
Whether you want to watch a political thriller, a psychological thriller, or a thriller with a more comedic edge, these 10 movies are sure to scratch that itch. Plus, they’re all included with an Amazon Prime membership, so you don’t need any additional subscriptions in order to watch them.
Here, in no particular order, are the 10 best thrillers on Amazon Prime.
It’s easy to overlook this fact, but M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable is actually an origin story for a reality-based superhero (and also his nemesis). Bruce Willis stars as a seemingly ordinary security guard whose life of consistently good health is thrown into question when he survives a deadly train crash with nary a scratch or bruise on him. Is Willis’s David Dunn really that healthy? Or is something more fantastical going on here? Also featuring strong performances from stars Samuel L. Jackson and Robin Wright Penn, Unbreakable ended up becoming the starting point for an eventual Shyamalan-helmed trilogy. – Adam Rosenberg, Senior Entertainment Reporter
2. The French Connection
In this 1971 crime thriller, NYPD detectives Jimmy “Popeye” Doyle (Gene Hackman) and Buddy “Cloudy” Russo (Roy Scheider) work to catch Alain Charnier (Fernando Rey), a French narcotics smuggler. What really sets this movie apart from other films about detectives working a case is its consistent forward momentum. It’s a classic cat and mouse situation made even better thanks to spectacular action sequences staged throughout New York City. When Popeye tails Charnier or chases down an elevated train by car, you feel a real sense of movement and excitement. – Belen Edwards, Entertainment Fellow
3. The Handmaiden
Park Chan-wook’s psycho-sexual thriller unfolds in three acts, each twisting and reframing what came before it. Set in Japan-occupied Korea in the early 20th century, the film follows Count Fujiwara’s (Ha Jung-woo) plan to con the wealthy Lady Hideko (Kim Min-hee) by infiltrating her household with handmaid Sook-Hee (Kim Tae-ri). Sook-Hee and Hideko begin a relationship while the Count attempts to woo the heiress, leading to one betrayal after another.
When it’s not wildly erotic and filled with deception, The Handmaiden feels almost like a fantasy movie, immersing you fully in Ryu Seong-hee’s production design and Jo Yeong-wook’s score. The cast manage to fool viewers as much as each other, and even the film’s quietest scenes thrum with energy. -Proma Khosla, Entertainment Reporter
4. Rear Window
Alfred Hitchcock is the master of suspense, and nowhere is that more apparent than in Rear Window. The whole movie is confined to the apartment of L.B. Jefferies (Jimmy Stewart), a photographer stuck at home with a broken leg. He observes his neighbors through his rear window in order to pass the time, but everything changes when he witnesses a sinister act. Hitchcock masterfully uses the claustrophobia of Jefferies’ plight to build tension throughout this classic mystery, resulting in one of the greatest thrillers of all time. – B.E.
5. Fight Club
For better or for worse, Fight Club is a movie that defined a generation. It’s frequently quoted (“The first rule of fight club…”) and often misunderstood (Tyler Durden is not a role model), but its iconic twist and anti-capitalist message is one that resonates decades after its release. Fight Club was a commercial failure in theaters despite the surprisingly high profile casting of Brad Pitt, Ed Norton, and Helena Bonham Carter, therefore it stands as an example of a great film that was too uncomfortable for its era and later hailed as a masterpiece. – Alexis Nedd, Senior Entertainment Reporter
6. The Report
The Report is a political thriller that is less interested in generating thrills than it is in taking a thorough look at its thorny subject matter: the Senate Intelligence Committee’s investigation into the CIA’s use of “enhanced interrogation techniques,” conducted by Senate staffer Daniel Jones (Adam Driver). Writer and director Scott Z. Burns distills Jones’s investigation (and subsequent 7,000 page report) into a film that is gripping and horrifying in equal measures. Particularly upsetting are depictions of the CIA’s torture methods, as well as scenes in which United States government officials attempt to justify said torture. Strengthened by one of Driver’s best performances to date, The Report is an unflinching and meticulous examination of the process to uncover a serious injustice. – B.E.
7. Burn After Reading
The Coen Brothers’ sharp eye for satire and talent for spinning comedic gold out of any genre is on full display in Burn After Reading, a sort-of spy thriller with the kind of cast a director would kill to work with. George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Tilda Swinton, John Malkovich, and J.K. Simmons star in this story about a disgruntled ex-CIA employee whose horrible memoir winds up in the hands of two dimwitted gym employees who mistake it for top secret government information. The following chaos is a controlled demolition of spy tropes, red herrings, broken stereotypes, weird sex stuff, and murder. – A.N.
8. Blow the Man Down
Directed by Bridget Savage Cole and Danielle Krudy, Blow The Man Down is an expectation-defying marvel. Set in a small fishing town in Maine, this darkly comedic thriller goes to some unbelievable places when teen sisters Mary Beth (Morgan Saylor) and Pris (Sophie Lowe) are forced to cover up for a violent crime. Still, the film’s unrelenting atmosphere of realism will keep you hooked on the murder mystery at its center, never letting you distance yourself from the action.
Clever joke writing, stunning cinematography, and a fearless performance by Margo Martindale are obvious draws for this title, but it’s full of quieter moments that are just as memorable. A true hidden gem you’ll be recommending yourself if you see it, this is a good pick for when you want to impress someone with your impeccable taste in suspense. Or even just freak them out a little. — Alison Foreman, Entertainment Reporter
9. The Manchurian Candidate (2004)
Imagine a scenario where one of the top candidates in a U.S. presidential election is actually a brainwashed agent of forces working to undermine American interests. That’s the basic premise of The Manchurian Candidate, a 1959 novel and 1962 film that got a fresh and modernized update in 2004 from filmmaker Jonathan Demme. It stars Denzel Washington as Bennett Marco, an ex-soldier who suspects that one of his former squadmates-turned-candidate for Vice President, Raymond Shaw (Liev Schreiber), is receiving orders from forces outside the U.S. chain of command. -A.R.
One of the best mainstream Indian films of the 2010s is Meghna Gulzar’s Raazi, starring Alia Bhatt as a spy during the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War. Bhatt plays Sehmat Khan, who is married into a Pakistani family and tasked with spying on them by her dying father (Rajit Kapur).
Raazi contains familiar sequences from any spy movie; the training montage, tense surveillance, and brushes with death — but Bhatt’s performance grounds the toll of espionage in a way that few films do. Sehmat often breaks down after a high-stress encounter or upon seeing the consequences of her actions, the body count of a war purportedly greater than any of the individuals caught in its crossfire. Many Indian films succumb to blind nationalism, but it feels different through the eyes of a younger India and Pakistan, and through characters like Sehmat’s husband Iqbal (Vicky Kaushal) who are never villainized but made real and relatable. -P.K.