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Thriller

Who Can You Trust?

Trust few and fear all in a collection of films packed with paranoia and conspiracy.

BFI's Thriller season also explores erotic thrillers, racial politics, espionage, the British thriller tradition, fake news, queer characters and femmes fatales.

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Enjoy over 400 subscription-only classic and cult films from across the decades.  Free for 14 days, then £4.99 a month - cancel any time

Wake in Fright
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Wake in Fright

Drama1971109 minsDirector: Ted Kotcheff

In this classic, broiling Australian thriller, an exasperated schoolteacher finds himself stranded in the dusty outback town of Bundanyabba, where the growing isolation and unhinged locals begin to eat away at his sanity.

Crimes of Passion
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Crimes of Passion

Thriller1984107 minsDirector: Ken Russell

Ken Russell's second Hollywood films is a deliriously excessive erotic thriller with Kathleen Turner as an imperilled prostitute.

The Bird with the Crystal Plumage
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The Bird with the Crystal Plumage

Thriller196997 minsDirector: Dario Argento

Dario Argento's hugely influential thriller, about a murder witness who becomes amateur detective, added sex and style to the murder-mystery and kick-started Italy's 'giallo' genre.

The Third Man
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The Third Man

Thriller1949104 minsDirector: Carol Reed

Carol Reed's timeless classic, one of the greatest British films, lavishly marries a perfect script, an unforgettable theme tune and the star power of Orson Welles.

Frozen River
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Frozen River

Crime200893 minsDirector: Courtney Hunt

Nominated for two Oscars (Best Actress – Melissa Leo - and Best Original Screenplay) Frozen River is a riveting thriller that raises questions about the borders we construct, between countries, communities and each other.

Assault
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Assault

Detective drama197087 minsDirector: Sidney Hayers

Violent British crime film about a murderer on the loose near a girls’ school, starring Suzy Kendall and Lesley Anne-Down.

Mystery Road
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Mystery Road

Crime2013121 minsDirector: Ivan Sen

An Aboriginal cop returns to his hometown to solve the brutal murder teenage girl, uncovering a web of corruption and a growing body count, in Ivan Sen's acclaimed Australian riff on the Western genre.

White of the Eye
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White of the Eye

Thriller1986111 minsDirector: Donald Cammell

British visionary Donald Cammell directs this kaleidoscopic, highly stylised thriller about a series of brutal murders in an isolated desert community.

Trans-Europ-Express
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Trans-Europ-Express

Thriller196695 minsDirector: Alain Robbe-Grillet

This stylish, cult 1966 erotic thriller stars French New Wave icons Jean-Louis Trintigant and Marie-France Pisier.

M
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M

Crime1931111 minsDirector: Fritz Lang

Peter Lorre is unforgettable as the compulsive child murderer on the run from both police and criminals alike, in Fritz Lang’s seminal crime film.

The Headless Woman
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The Headless Woman

Drama200886 minsDirector: Lucrecia Martel

A woman is plagued by paranoia after she hits something – or someone – with her car in Lucrecia Martel’s acclaimed psychological thriller.

Mother
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Mother

Thriller2009129 minsDirector: Bong Joon-ho

Cult Korean director Bong Joon-ho’s (The Host, Snowpiercer) fourth feature is a startlingly original and thrilling account of the limits of maternal devotion.

King of New York
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King of New York

Crime1990103 minsDirector: Abel Ferrara

Christopher Walken is the dogged drug-lord determined to keep his empire together, in Abel Ferrarra's brutally gritty crime thriller.

Audition
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Audition

Horror1999115 minsDirector: Takashi Miike

Takashi Miike burst to international prominence with this deeply disturbing tale of a deadly young woman who turns the tables on her middle-aged suitor.

Capricorn One
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Capricorn One

Science Fiction1977123 minsDirector: Peter Hyams

Stunning sci-fi thriller steeped in post-Watergate paranoia, following a hoaxed mission to Mars and a trio of astronauts' desperate flight for survival, with Elliott Gould, James Brolin and O.J. Simpson.

For Queen and Country
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For Queen and Country

Drama1989101 minsDirector: Martin Stellman

Denzel Washington stars as a British paratrooper who returns to the London council estate of his youth, only to find his wartime service counts for nothing.

Chameleon
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Chameleon

Drama201682 minsDirector: Jorge Riquelme Serrano

Two women are terrorised by an unwanted stranger in this impeccably-styled bourgeois nightmare.

Flight to Berlin
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Flight to Berlin

Drama198490 minsDirector: Chris Petit

Chris Petit’s sparse moody thriller begins with a mysterious death.

Gomorrah
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Gomorrah

Crime2008132 minsDirector: Matteo Garrone

Matteo Garrone's unnervingly authentic Naples crime drama won the Grand Prix at Cannes before inspiring a hit TV series.

The Hunt
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The Hunt

Drama2012111 minsDirector: Thomas Vinterberg

Mads Mikkelsen stars in a distressing examination of a false indictment, and the collective hysteria that ensues, in this electrifying drama from Festen director Thomas Vinterberg.

A Hijacking
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A Hijacking

Thriller2012103 minsDirector: Tobias Lindholm

Tobias Lindholm’s thriller refreshes the genre as a ship's cook, Somali pirates and a CEO negotiate an endgame.

The 39 Steps
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The 39 Steps

Thriller193583 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

Sublime and suspenseful version of the popular John Buchan spy thriller from the master of suspense himself, Alfred Hitchcock.

Secret Agent
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Secret Agent

Thriller193683 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

Long before James Bond, Alfred Hitchcock tried the story of a suave spy.

The Man Who Knew Too Much
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The Man Who Knew Too Much

Thriller193472 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

An English couple are drawn into espionage when their daughter is kidnapped.

Lodger: A Story of the London Fog
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Lodger: A Story of the London Fog

Crime192691 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

Ivor Novello plays a strange lodger who may be behind a number of Jack the Ripper-style killings in Alfred Hitchcock’s silent thriller.

Sabotage
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Sabotage

Thriller193677 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

A cinema owner works with a ring of terrorists, with drastic effects on his wife and her brother, in Hitchcock’s London-set thriller.

The Lady Vanishes
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The Lady Vanishes

Thriller193896 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

An old woman disappears mysteriously on a busy train in Hitchcock’s delightful classic.

Night Moves
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Night Moves

Thriller2013113 minsDirector: Kelly Reichardt

Jesse Eisenberg and Dakota Fanning star in a taut political thriller about radical environmentalists planning to commit an act of eco-terrorism.

The Killing of a Chinese Bookie
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The Killing of a Chinese Bookie

Gangster1976109 minsDirector: John Cassavetes

John Cassavetes’s uncompromising character study of a gangster, with Ben Gazzara as the small-time club owner whose life begins to spin out of control.

The Ipcress File
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The Ipcress File

Crime1965108 minsDirector: Sidney J. Furie

The coolest spy of all – Michael Caine’s Harry Palmer – makes his brilliant big screen debut in this landmark British spy thriller.

Peeping Tom
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Peeping Tom

Drama1960101 minsDirector: Michael Powell

Michael Powell’s dark, disturbing, once controversial tale of a shy camera technician who films women as he kills them is now rightly deemed a classic

L'Assassino
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L'Assassino

Crime196198 minsDirector: Elio Petri

Elio Petri’s dazzling first feature stars Marcello Mastroianni as dandyish antiques dealer arrested for murder by a Kafkaesque police force.

High and Low
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High and Low

Crime1963143 minsDirector: Akira Kurosawa

Akira Kurosawa’s procedural crime masterpiece, from Ed McBain’s gritty novel, follows an industrialist who faces an agonising choice as a result of a botched kidnapping by ruthless criminals.

Hell Is a City
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Hell Is a City

Police drama195996 minsDirector: Val Guest

Punchy crime thriller with a realist streak as Stanley Baker pursues a fugitive through the streets of Manchester.

It Always Rains on Sunday
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It Always Rains on Sunday

Drama194788 minsDirector: Robert Hamer

Austerity noir? Ealing's downbeat but compelling East End thriller.

Tiger Bay
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Tiger Bay

Police drama1959113 minsDirector: J. Lee Thompson

A young girl witnesses a murder, befriending the killer and shielding him from the police.

Face
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Face

Crime1997101 minsDirector: Antonia Bird

Robert Carlyle and Ray Winstone are members of a gang of thieves that falls apart when a heist goes wrong, in Antonia Bird’s stylish and political crime thriller.

Melancholia
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Melancholia

Thriller198987 minsDirector: Andi Engel

Cerebral thriller about a German art critic who reconnects with his radical past when he agrees to be involved with an assassination attempt.

Man in Fear
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Man in Fear

Thriller201111 minsDirector: Will Jewell

Luke Treadaway stars as a paranoid man convinced he is destined to be the victim of a conceptual art 'accident'.

Victim
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Victim

Drama1961100 minsDirector: Basil Dearden

This thought-provoking classic stars Dirk Bogarde as a homosexual lawyer who risks his career to hunt down a blackmailer.

Odd Man Out
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Odd Man Out

Crime1947116 minsDirector: Carol Reed

A gunman, badly wounded during a robbery, attempts to escape from the authorities in Belfast, in Carol Reed's moody Belfast set-thriller with James Mason.

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