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.
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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
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.
Thriller196695 minsDirector: Alain Robbe-Grillet
This stylish, cult 1966 erotic thriller stars French New Wave icons Jean-Louis Trintigant and Marie-France Pisier.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
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
Police drama195996 minsDirector: Val Guest
Punchy crime thriller with a realist streak as Stanley Baker pursues a fugitive through the streets of Manchester.
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.
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.