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

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Mystery RoadMystery 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.

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HyenaHyena

Crime2014112 minsDirector: Gerard Johnson

In this stylish, dark crime thriller, a policeman’s complex web of underworld relationships is threatened by an internal affairs investigator.

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ObsessionObsession

Romance197698 minsDirector: Brian De Palma

High melodrama, creeping insanity and barely contained delirium abound in this dizzying tribute to the high tension thrillers of Alfred Hitchcock from director Brian De Palma.

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The Third ManThe 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.

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The HuntThe 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.

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The Ipcress FileThe 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.

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Female Human AnimalFemale Human Animal

Drama-documentary201874 minsDirector: Josh Appignanesi

Josh Appignanesi's art-world psycho-thriller blends reality and fiction to delirious effect, in its tale of an exhibition curator pursued by a mysterious figure.

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Frozen RiverFrozen 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.

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Trans-Europ-ExpressTrans-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.

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MM

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.

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The Headless WomanThe 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.

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MotherMother

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.

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Capricorn OneCapricorn 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.

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AllureAllure

Drama2017105 minsDirector: Carlos Sanchez

A dark psychosexual drama from first-time directors Carlos and Jason Sanchez, Allure stars Evan Rachel Wood (Westworld) as a troubled woman who becomes entangled in an intense relationship with a teenage girl.

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AssaultAssault

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.

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Wake in FrightWake 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.

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For Queen and CountryFor 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.

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Man in FearMan 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'.

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GomorrahGomorrah

Crime2008132 minsDirector: Matteo Garrone

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

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The Bird with the Crystal PlumageThe 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.

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A HijackingA 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.

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The 39 StepsThe 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.

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Secret AgentSecret Agent

Thriller193683 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

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

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The Man Who Knew Too MuchThe Man Who Knew Too Much

Thriller193472 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

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

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

Crime192691 minsSilentDirector: 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.

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SabotageSabotage

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.

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The Lady VanishesThe Lady Vanishes

Thriller193896 minsDirector: Alfred Hitchcock

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

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Night MovesNight 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.

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The Killing of a Chinese BookieThe 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.

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Crimes of PassionCrimes 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.

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Peeping TomPeeping 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

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White of the EyeWhite 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.

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High and LowHigh 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.

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Hell Is a CityHell 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.

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It Always Rains on SundayIt Always Rains on Sunday

Drama194788 minsDirector: Robert Hamer

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

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Tiger BayTiger Bay

Police drama1959113 minsDirector: J. Lee Thompson

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

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The Ninth ConfigurationThe Ninth Configuration

Horror1979118 minsDirector: William Peter Blatty

From the writer of The Exorcist, one of the ultimate cult film experiences: William Peter Blatty's unclassifiable blend of unhinged psychological thriller and anarchic comedy.

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King of New YorkKing 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.

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L'AssassinoL'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.

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VictimVictim

Drama1961100 minsDirector: Basil Dearden

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

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Odd Man OutOdd Man Out

Crime1947116 minsDirector: Carol Reed

Wounded during a robbery, a gunman attempts to escape police in Carol Reed's moody Irish thriller, starring James Mason.

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AuditionAudition

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.

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The American FriendThe American Friend

Film noir1978121 minsDirector: Wim Wenders

Acclaimed director Wim Wenders, with the help of Dennis Hopper, transforms Patricia Highsmith's novel 'Ripley's Game' into a gripping European noir.

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Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler Part 1 (The Great Gambler - A Picture of the Time)Dr. Mabuse, the Gambler Part 1 (The Great Gambler - A Picture of the Time)

Crime1922155 minsSilentDirector: Fritz Lang

Fritz Lang's legendary epic of silent cinema, following the diabolical crimes of the titular arch-villain, is a masterpiece of conspiracy, fear and paranoia.

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Dr Mabuse, the Gambler Part 2 (Inferno, A Game for the People of Our Age)Dr Mabuse, the Gambler Part 2 (Inferno, A Game for the People of Our Age)

Crime1922115 minsSilentDirector: Fritz Lang

The second part of Fritz Lang's legendary epic of silent cinema, following the diabolical crimes of the titular arch-villain.

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FaceFace

Crime1997101 minsDirector: Antonia Bird

Robert Carlyle and Ray Winstone are members of a criminal gang that tears itself apart after a heist goes wrong, in Antonia Bird’s stylish thriller.

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ChameleonChameleon

Drama201682 minsDirector: Jorge Riquelme Serrano

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

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