The 2000s saw the debut of some of the most memorable thriller flicks of all time, and, with many of them nearing their twentieth anniversaries, it’s time to examine which films stood out and how they impacted the filmmaking landscape.
Films in the thriller genre often merge with other high stakes genres, such as drama, crime, and horror, and many more. The highest rated thrillers of the 2000s, according to IMDb, provide a wide range of genre-blending stories that will keep viewers guessing at every turn. Each one is an absolute must-watch for fans of thrillers and adjacent genres.
10 V for Vendetta (2005) – 8.1
V for Vendetta is one of the many masterpieces from the minds of the Wachowski sisters and features one of Natalie Portman’s most iconic roles to date. It tells the story of an anarchist named V who fights for freedom in a futuristic British dystopia.
Not only is it a thriller, but there are also heavy influences of the action, drama, and sci-fi genres married with major political themes. Based on a beloved comic book by Alan Moore and David Lloyd, the film has always gotten mixed reviews but is widely regarded as a classic.
9 No Country for Old Men (2007) – 8.1
One of the most thrilling western dramas from the Coen brothers, No Country for Old Men follows perhaps one of the best crime-filled stories in film history, and especially of the 2000s decade. Notably, it won four Oscars at the 2008 Academy Awards, including Best Picture.
No Country for Old Men is known for its intense plot, great action, and some of the most memorable Coen Brother characters to date. Audiences will want to strap in for a wilde ride with an ending that will leave them wondering when watching this classic.
8 A Wednesday (2008) – 8.1
Another crime thriller, A Wednesday is an Indian film that follows a police officer on the verge of retirement who recalls one of the craziest crimes he’s ever dealt with during his career. One of the many foreign films among IMDb’s highest ranked, A Wednesday has received rave reviews for its entertaining and creative story.
Additionally, the film garnered attention for its political message about patriotism in relation to India at the time it was released. Regardless, it saw much success for writer and director Neeraj Pandey with it being his feature film debut, and he has since gone on to make many more high action crime movies.
7 The Secret in Their Eyes (2009) – 8.2
One of the most intriguing thrillers from the end of the 2000’s hails from Argentina. The Secret in Their Eyes is full of crime, romance, and mystery, following the ever-intriguing story of a man who writes a novel in search of closure in both his career and romantic life.
The film received high acclaim, especially from Argentinian audiences who appreciated the nuances and intricacies of the country’s justice system. The Secret in Their Eyes is a great watch for lovers of drama in all forms, and it even won Best Foreign Language Film at the 2010 Oscars.
6 Memento (2000) – 8.4
Writer and director Christopher Nolan is considered to be a master, with Memento being one of his many greats. The film is a wild and engaging ride full of murder, mystery, and amnesia that will leave audiences engaged yet puzzled. The story is a time twisting thriller that follows a man with short term memory loss who is on a mission to solve the murder of his wife.
It was Nolan’s first big hit and was adapted from a short story written by his own brother, Jonathan. Being one of the first stunning thrillers after the turn of the decade, Memento received two Oscar nominations.
5 Oldboy (2003) – 8.4
Yet another thriller adapted from a comic book is South Korea’s Oldboy, a thrilling revenge film about a man who seeks to find his kidnapper after being mysteriously locked up for fifteen years. The movie is full of intense action and horrifying violence that will grip viewers with every scene.
The film is widely regarded as a cinematic masterpiece as most reviewers rave about being absolutely blown away by every element of it. While it is loved by cinema enthusiasts everywhere, Oldboy is unfortunately lesser known among typical American audiences.
4 The Lives of Others (2006) – 8.4
The Lives of Others is a thriller from Germany that focuses majorly in the drama and mystery genres as well. It is about a secret police officer who spies on an unsuspecting couple only to become far more invested in their lives than originally anticipated.
Yet another Best Foreign Language Film winner, The Lives of Others is the feature film directorial debut from Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck. Likely because of its non-English language, the film is considered another underrated classic widely unknown to standard American audiences.
3 The Departed (2006) – 8.5
Martin Scorsese’s best film of the 2000s, The Departed is the American-ized take on the 2002 Hong Kong hit Infernal Affairs. This thriller joins the crime/drama genres, following an undercover police officer who infiltrates a Boston gang.
The extremely complex plot merges beautifully with Scorsese’s signature approach to gangster films, and, surprisingly, it is the source of his only Oscar win. The Departed is full of A-List actors such as Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon, Anthony Anderson, and Martin Sheen, just to name a few.
2 The Prestige (2006) – 8.5
With one of his finest, Christopher Nolan once again takes reign in the IMDb charts. The Prestige is full of drama, thrills, and mystery, and magic. This mid-2000’s film stuns with its twisted plot, and every scene will leave audiences questioning the truth.
The cast is star-studded, featuring Christian Bale in-between Nolan’s Batman movies, Hugh Jackman in-between his X-Men movies, a pre-Marvel Scarlett Johansson, and even the iconic David Bowie as Nikola Tesla. Not only that, the amazing visuals even received nods from The Academy with a nomination for Best Cinematography as well as Best Art Direction. The Prestige currently sits in the overall top 50 on IMDb.
1 The Dark Knight (2008) – 9.0
With Christopher Nolan films dominating the IMDb reviews, it is no surprise that the well-known second installment of his batman trilogy, The Dark Knight, is among the highest rated. What’s more, The Dark Knight is the fourth highest rated film listed on IMDb overall, regardless of genre, with a whopping 9.0 rating.
With a chaotic story, intense visuals, and an incredible cast that features an unforgettable performance by Heath Ledger as The Joker, the film is a perfect high-stakes thriller that even those who don’t like the superhero genre can easily enjoy. The Dark Knight will surely be a staple of cinema history forever as film buffs worldwide continue to regard the movie as one of the greatest of all time.