The 10 best thrillers of the 90s, according to Letterboxd

Films in the thriller genre dominated the ’90s in many ways. While not all of them were huge box office hits, the decade has seen many thrillers that are considered to be some of the best in the history of the genre.

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A few were designed by some of the most acclaimed directors in modern memory, while others are little-seen independent films that have received rave reviews. Letterboxd users certainly love their movies, and their review ratings helped determine which really were the best thrillers of the decade.

ten Miller’s Passage (1990) – 3.91

the miller's crossing

One of the few top rated letterboxd thrillers from the 90s that isn’t a very popular movie is the miller’s crossing. It hasn’t even brought its budget back to theaters, but it’s worth checking out to get a taste of the work of The Coen Brothers, two of today’s most prominent filmmakers.

Located at the time of prohibition, miller’s cross tells the story of Tom Reagan (Gabriel Byrne) as he plays two sides of a rival gang war against each other. Although not a commercial success, it has been named on several lists of the greatest films in history and 35% of users have given it four stars.

9 Misery (1990) – 3.92

Annie taking care of Paul in a wheelchair

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Whenever the horror or thriller genres are discussed, the Stephen King name is sure to come up a handful of times. The prolific writer has seen many of his works adapted into movies or TV shows and one of the best of all time was that of the 1990s. Misery.

The plot centers on an obsessive fan (Kathy Bates) who holds her favorite author (James Caan) captive, forcing him to write her a story. The film made history thanks to Bates’ Oscar for Best Actress Misery the only adaptation of King to win an Oscar. Four stars is the most frequently awarded score (42%).


8 Lost Highway (1997) – 3.94

Image of the lost highway

If there is one director known for his breathtaking films between the 70s and 90s, it’s David Lynch. Of Eraser To Dune To Mulholland Drive, Lynch has made a lot of trippy movies. One of his best thrillers, which means something, is Lost highway.

Just trying to describe the plot is a crazy task considering the film centers on a musician (Bill Pullman) who receives tapes of him and his wife (Patricia Arquette) at home before being convicted of murder. He then disappears and is replaced by a young mechanic. Although confusing, he’s engaging and fans have given him four stars the most often (33%).

7 The Sixth Sense (1999) – 3.94

Walking scene in Le Sixième Sens

Even though it was not his first film, The sixth sense was the one who certainly put M. Night Shyamalan on the map. This established his signature style for delivering things like suspense and shocking twists as people around the world have been talking about this movie for years.

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Starring Bruce Willis as a child psychologist tasked with helping a patient (Haley Joel Osment) who can talk with ghosts, the film grossed nearly $ 700 million. The ending revealing that Willis’ character was a ghost the entire time has become iconic, as have certain lines in the film. Most users gave it four stars (37%).

6 Eyes Wide Closed (1999) – 3.95

eyes wide closed mask on pillow

The end of the decade was apparently a big one for thrillers. In the same way The sixth sense came Eyes wide closed, which was directed by famous director Stanley Kubrick. The film is a modernized version of a 1926 short story titled Traumnovelle.

Kubrick was behind the camera and in front of her there were more stars like Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman. The story sees a doctor (Cruise) embarking on a wild night after his wife (Kidman) admits she was considering an affair. A success that is both critical and commercial, Eyes wide closed also well with Letterboxd users, who most often have it at four stars (29%).

5 The Usual Suspects (1995) – 3.97

Suspects are among the usual suspects

Before there was The sixth sense, one could argue that the best end of torsion occurred a few years ago in The usual suspects. From the start, the loaded cast stood out as this film starred Gabriel Byrne, Benicio del Toro and more.

Through flashbacks, the story is told by a con artist named Roger “Verbal” Kint as he recounts the events that led to a massive boat shooting. Ultimately, it’s revealed that Kint was actually the mastermind behind it all, a mind-blowing audience. Most reviews rate it as four stars (35%).

4 LA Confidential (1997) – 3.98

Again, this is a thriller that’s filled with some of the best acting talent of the ’90s. LA Confidential stars Russell Crowe, Kim Basinger, Danny DeVito, Guy Pearce and many more.

RELATED: 10 Best Modern Film Noirs, Ranked According To IMDb

Bringing everyone together worked well as this film was nominated for Best Picture while also winning the Best Adapted Screenplay award and winning the Best Supporting Actress award in Basinger. The story follows a trio of police officers in 1953 as they investigate multiple murders around Hollywood. Again, four stars (36%) is the most common rating.

3 Se7en (1995) – 4.28

David and William standing in a field in Se7en.

Another iconic director to have directed a great thriller in the 90s is David Fincher. He continued on this path in the 2010s with films like Missing girl and The girl with the dragon tattoo but it is always difficult to surpass what he achieved in 1995 with Se7en.

The film tells the story of two detectives (Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt) as they track down a serial killer whose murders are based on the Seven Deadly Sins. It’s a dark, tense movie with a shocking ending, so it’s no wonder that four stars (32%) and five stars (31%) are the scores given most often.

2 Pulp Fiction (1994) – 4.32

Jules Winnfield aiming a gun in Pulp Fiction.

Many people think this Quentin Tarantino film is one of the greatest ever made. He certainly had influence as pulp Fiction helped popularize the concept of nonlinear storytelling and is still talked about decades later.

For the most part, the plot is difficult to pin down completely as the film actually tells multiple stories at once. They surround a gangster, his wife, two contract killers and a boxer. Praised for the unique concept, formidable cast (Samuel L. Jackson, John Travolta, Uma Thurman, Burce Willis, and more) and strong writing, pulp Fiction most often received a perfect rating (42%).

1 Perfect Blue (1997) – 4.35

Perfect blue

It is not often that you will find an animated film among thrillers but Perfect blue is not your ordinary movie. Based on a novel of the same name, it is one of the most intriguing animated films ever made, mainly because of the genre in which it belongs.

Focusing on a singer who enters the world of theater to be hunted down by an obsessive fan and a ghost from her past, Perfect blue is heartbreaking, intense and keeps the viewer on their toes. It received the perfect five-star rating on the website 35% of the time.

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