If youre interested in a thriller, your body may know sooner than your mind does. Thrillers can range from classic thrillers like John Cassavetes The Killing of a Chinese Bookie and Bong Joon-hos Memories of Murder to undiscovered gems like Antonio Banderas Mall cop thriller Security, there's a wealth of information to suit every demographic.
Weve compiled a list of 21 of our favorite thrillers available to stream on Netflix, Hulu, HBO Max, free services like Tubi, and more. If youre looking to keep the adrenaline pumping, consider our list of great horror films you can watch at home.
Michael Bay's high-octane heist thriller has been one of our favorites of the year thus far, and it is likely to make its way onto this list as well.
Danny (Jake Gyllenhaal) and Will (Yahya Abdul-Mateen II) are two brothers who are going through a medical operation for their wife. Danny recruits Will into a bank position, which fails when a police officer arrives to ask out a bank teller. The pair then hijack an ambulance, take an EMT (Eiza Gonzalez) captive, and embark on a wild chase around Los Angeles.
The ending is a straightforward heist narrative, but the well-crafted leads (all the way down to the various bit parts) go a long way. But what makes Ambulance so successful, of course, is Bay: the film is a perfect match for his particular abilities and technical knowledge.
Bays latest technological breakthrough: captivating drone filming. Drones have replaced helicopters in a lot of films for cheaper overhead shots, but Bay isnt content to use the latest technology to recreate chase sequences that were previously impossible to achieve when shooting practically.
Peacock has an ambulance service.
Assault on Precinct 13
John Carpenters 1976 crime thriller is one of the finest 91 minutes ever shot on screen. Following Dark Star and just two years before Halloween changed everything, the film follows a police officer (Austin Stoker) and a convicted murderer (Darwin Joston) who unite to defend the titular precinct from a heavily armed street gang.
Assault on Precinct 13 is a master class in efficient filmmaking, using the closed-in setup of the film to the max in building tension and staging action sequences, and it's also an early glimpse at many of the skills that would make Carpenter one of the greatest masters of genre filmmaking. PV
Showtime is available to stream Assault on Precinct 13 for free with a library card on Kanopy, or for free with advertisements on Tubi.
Blood Simple, the film by the Coen brothers in 1984, is a darkly comic, eccentrically plotted, and idiosyncratic body of work they went on to produce. Both portray Abby, the frightened wife at the center of the story, and M. Emmet Walsh as Loren Visser, the conniving hitman who stirs the whole conflict into flames in his own selfish pursuit for quick cash.
Blood Simple is available for streaming on HBO Max and the Criterion Channel.
Blow Out, a 1981 mystery film directed by Brian De Palma, sees Jack Terry, a sound effects technician living in Philadelphia, stumble upon a political assassination while recording background noise for a sleazy teenage slasher film. Jack tries to uncover and expose the hidden conspiracy behind the murder before the perpetrators can murder her and conceal their involvement.
De Palmas' Blowup is a 1966 film by Michelangelo Antoniono that is inspired by its inventive use of diopter lenses to emphasize foreground and background elements, stunning cinematography that emphasizes the main plot elements, and a trio of fantastic performances by Travolta, Allen, and John Lithgow as a sadistic hitman bent on completing his mission.
Blow Out is now available on HBO Max.
The Firm, a 1993 adaptation of John Grishams, stars Tom Cruise, an ambitious Harvard law student who accepts a generous proposal from a small but prestigious law firm in Memphis, Tennessee, where he finds himself caught in the middle of a deadly plot that threatens to put him in prison or in a shallow grave. TE:
The Firm is now available on HBO Max to watch.
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie is a 1970s American filmmaking masterpiece by John Cassavetes.
The Criterion Channel and HBO Max have both offered streaming of The Killing of a Chinese Bookie.
Joint Security Area
JSA is a career-making hit for Park Chan-wook (Oldboy, The Handmaiden) as she investigates a slaying on the border between the two Koreas. After the injured South Korean soldier confesses to the killings, the investigator receives conflicting reports from both sides about what transpired.
On Tubi, the Joint Security Area is available for free streaming.
The hugely influential neo-noir from Jean-Pierre Melville is a meticulously paced, slow-burn crime thriller. When Jef, played by all-time great film star Alain Delon in one of his most memorable roles, is pulled into a tough situation when he is discovered after killing a target. Soon, Jef is on the run from the police, but also from other individuals in the organized crime organization.
Le Samourai is one of the purest expressions of cool ever seen in movies, and has been cited by filmmakers like John Woo, Jim Jarmusch, and Johnnie To as influences on their work. PV
Le Samourai is available to stream on HBO Max, the Criterion Channel, or for free with a library card on Kanopy.
Ivan Locke (Tom Hardy) is a construction foreman in England. The night before a major job, he discovers that a woman he had an affair with is about to give birth to their child. Locke decides to drive to London to stay with her while his wife and children remain at home.
Hardy is the only actor to play onscreen in the 85-minute film, as Locke juggles his professional and personal obligations on the road.
Locke, directed by Steven Knight (Peaky Blinders, 2019's Serenity), is an impressive technical feat and an economical thriller to the bone, both showing off the talents of its star and director.
Locke is available for free on HBO Max and Kanopy with a library card.
Lino (former stuntman Alban Lenoir) is the star of many excellent French crime thrillers on Netflix. When he is accused of murder, Lino must discover the one thing that can prove his innocence: a missing bullet in a missing automobile. With high-octane action sequences and outstanding stunts, director Guillaume Pierret executes a simple concept to perfection.
Lost Bullet is now available on Netflix.
Fritz Lang's 1931 thriller M is widely considered to be the greatest work of all time, second only to his landmark 1927 sci-fi epic Metropolis, but also one of the greatest films of all time. As the criminal underground of Berlin discover the noose tightening around them in the polices unsuccessful attempt to capture him, they take it upon themselves to root out this evil and bring him to justice.
M is available for free on Kanopy with a library card, or for free with ads on Plex. HBO Max, the Criterion Channel, and for free on Kanopy with a library card.
Marathon Man, a 1976 thriller directed by John Schlesingers, is perhaps best remembered for a scene in particular where Dustin Hoffmans character is brutally tortured by an elderly Nazi war criminal with dentistry tools, all while being asked, Is it safe? The whole film is worth seeing in full, with a byzantine conspiracy involving devious assassins, undercover government agents, a hidden cache of stolen diamonds, and a hapless layperson thrown into the mix by a random
Marathon Man is now available for streaming on Prime Video and Paramount Plus.
Memories of Murder
The career-making film Bong Joon-hos is loosely based on the story of the first confirmed serial murders in Korea, and is one of the finest serial killer dramas and detective thrillers ever made. Song Kang-ho plays an overmatched local detective who has been charged with solving a series of murders. His methods differ when a younger detective from Seoul (Kim Sang-kyung) comes to assist him with the case.
Hulu has made Memories of Murder available for streaming.
Michael Clayton (Clooney) is a professional attorney who works as a fixer for the rich and powerful. After Arthur (Tom Wilkinson), another attorney at his firm, breaks down during a deposition for a class-action lawsuit against an agricultural company, Michael is assigned to assist Arthur in recovering. In an instant classic, Michael learns more about the truth of the lawsuit and dramatic events unfold.
Michael Clayton is available to stream on Netflix.
Pushpa: The Rise
Pushpa, a gangster who joins the group that exports red sandalwood, a rare lumber that only grows in South India, is shown in reverse. It's a fascinating way to start the film, and it immerses you directly into the characters who harvest this rare commodity.
Pushpa (Allu Arjun) is one of those laborers, but he is a unique individual. With enough confidence in himself to ignore any and every authority figures, Arjun brings a warmth to the plot that can only be described as the coolest cat around. However, when the unsavory members at the top of the criminal organization start to fear him, Pushpa must use all his wits and strength to prevail. PV
Part 1 of Pushpa: The Rise is now available on Prime Video.
Security, a low-budget Antonio Banderas vehicle, is a 2017 action thriller that introduces a retired Marine Corps delta captain who is hired as the new security guard at a mall. Banderas must use his all-purpose training to protect a young girl who is being chased by armed mercenaries (led by Ben Kingsley), which runs for 92 minutes. PV
Netflix has security services available to stream.
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance
Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is the first film in the Park Chan-wooks Vengeance trilogy, a collection of three standout films (including 2003s Oldboy) that are linked in theme but not in plot or character. In Mr. Vengeance, a deaf worker (Shin Ha-kyun) trades his kidney for one that might be used for his sick sister, and kidnaps his former boss' daughter (Song Kang-ho).
Mr. Vengeance, like Oldboy and the trilogy's third film (Lady Vengeance), examines class and capitalism through the lens of the action thriller genre. With a standout cast and Parks' excellent visual sensibilities, Mr. Vengeance is a bloody good time at the movies.
With tubi, Plex, and Vudu advertisements, Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance is available for free streaming, or for free with a library card on Kanopy.
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning
A soldier (Scott Adkins) wakes up from a coma haunted by memories of his wife and daughter's horrific deaths. He wants nothing more than to discover the culprit... Luc Deveraux (Jean-Claude Van Damme), the protagonist in the Universal Soldier franchise's original films.
The 2012 masterpiece by John Hyams is a major achievement, effortlessly combining science fiction, horror, and hard-hitting action (the fight in the sporting goods store with UFC fighter Andrei Arlovski!) into a tense and dynamic package. Adkins' breakout role engages with a long-running franchise in new and challenging ways, making Day of Reckoning an unforgettable experience that will keep you on your seat.
Universal Soldier: Day of Reckoning is available for streaming on HBO Max or for free with ads on Crackle.
Claire Foy plays Sawyer Valenti, a young woman who is involuntarily committed to a mental institution as part of what she suspects is a plot orchestrated by her stalker, in Steven Soderberghs' 2018 psychological horror thriller Unsane. TEXT
Unsane is available to stream on Hulu and Kanopy or Hoopla with a library card.
Denzel Washington and Tony Scott have never, ever left out in their many films together. Unstoppable, a working-class drama about generations of workers and a tragic train accident, may be their finest collaboration. Washington plays Frank Barnes, a retired railroad engineer who is dissatisfied with his job to train fresh-faced train conductor Will Colson (Chris Pine), who finds themselves as the only ones capable of halting the train and saving tens of thousands of lives. Scott's assured direction
Unstoppable is now available on Hulu.
Yojimbo may be my favorite of the many excellent collaborations between Akira Kurosawa and legendary film star Toshiro Mifune. Mifune plays a ronin who wanders in a small town and unknowingly discovers himself in the middle of a gang war. The two factions try to bring him into their own side of the conflict.
Sergio Leones A Fistful of Dollars is a tremendously influential film, and an unforgettable portrayal of one of the most charismatic leading men to grace movie screens.
Yojimbo is available for viewing on HBO Max and the Criterion Channel.
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