Best Thriller Movies of 1961

1.

The Innocents

5.5
7.8/10 IMDB

A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.

Starring: Deborah Kerr, Peter Wyngarde, Megs Jenkins, Michael Redgrave, Martin Stephens, Pamela Franklin, Clytie Jessop, Isla Cameron, Eric Woodburn ..
Directed by: Jack Clayton
Release date: 1961-12-15
2.

The Pit and the Pendulum

5.1
7.0/10 IMDB

Francis Barnard goes to Spain, when he hears his sister Elizabeth has died. Her husband Nicholas Medina, the son of the most brutal torturer of the Spanish Inquisition, tells him she has died of a blood disease, but Francis finds this hard to believe. After some investigating he finds out that it was extreme fear that was fatal to his sister and that she may have been buried alive!

Starring: Vincent Price, John Kerr, Luana Anders, Antony Carbone, Patrick Westwood, Lynette Bernay, Mary Menzies, Barbara Steele, Charles Victor, Larry Turner ..
Directed by: Roger Corman
Release date: 1961-08-12
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : The Shelter
3.

The Shelter

4.6
8.6/10 IMDB

A suburban dinner party is interrupted by a bulletin warning of an impending nuclear attack. As the neighbors scramble to prepare themselves, they turn against the one family that installed a permanent bomb shelter.

Starring: Larry Gates, Joseph Bernard, Jack Albertson, Peggy Stewart, Sandy Kenyon, Michael Burns, Jo Helton, Moria Turner, Mary Gregory ..
Directed by: Lamont Johnson
Release date: 1961-09-29
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : The Midnight Sun
4.

The Midnight Sun

4.2
8.4/10 IMDB

When the Earth falls out of orbit, two women try to cope with increasingly oppressive heat in a nearly abandoned city.

Starring: Lois Nettleton, Betty Garde, Tom Reese, Jason Wingreen, Juney Ellis, William Keene ..
Directed by: Anton Leader
Release date: 1961-11-17
5.

Victim

3.9
7.7/10 IMDB

Barrister Melville Farr is on the path to success. With his practice winning cases and a loving marriage to his wife, Farr's career and personal life are nearly idyllic. However, when blackmailers link the secretly closeted Farr to a young gay man, everything Farr has worked for is threatened. But instead of giving in, Farr decides to fight.

Starring: Dirk Bogarde, Sylvia Syms, Dennis Price, Nigel Stock, Peter McEnery, Anthony Nicholls, Norman Bird, Margaret Diamond, Hilton Edwards, John Barrie ..
Directed by: Basil Dearden
Release date: 1961-08-01
6.

Cash on Demand

3.9
7.4/10 IMDB

A charming but ruthless criminal holds the family of a bank manager hostage as part of a cold-blooded plan to steal 97,000 pounds.

Starring: Peter Cushing, André Morell, Richard Vernon, Norman Bird, Barry Lowe, Kevin Stoney, Edith Sharpe, Lois Daine, Alan Haywood, Charles Morgan ..
Directed by: Quentin Lawrence
Release date: 1961-12-20
7.

Blast of Silence

3.8
7.5/10 IMDB

A hired killer from Cleveland has a job to do on a second-string mob boss in New York. But a special girl from his past, and a fat gun dealer with pet rats, each gets in his way.

Starring: Allen Baron, Molly McCarthy, Larry Tucker, Bill DePrato, Peter H. Clune, Danny Meehan, Lionel Stander, Joe Bubbico, Gil Rogers, Ruth Kaner ..
Directed by: Allen Baron
Release date: 1961-03-20
8.

Taste of Fear

3.8
7.4/10 IMDB

A wheelchair-bound young girl returns to her father's estate after ten years, and although she's told he's away, she keeps seeing his dead body on the estate.

Starring: Susan Strasberg, Ronald Lewis, Ann Todd, Christopher Lee, John Serret, Leonard Sachs, Anne Blake, Fred Johnson, Bernard Browne, Madame Lobegue ..
Directed by: Seth Holt
Release date: 1961-06-05
9.

Underworld U.S.A.

3.7
7.3/10 IMDB

A bitter young man sets out to get back at the gangsters who murdered his father.

Starring: Cliff Robertson, Dolores Dorn, Beatrice Kay, Paul Dubov, Robert Emhardt, Larry Gates, Richard Rust, Gerald Milton, David Kent, Peter Brocco ..
Directed by: Samuel Fuller
Release date: 1961-02-22
10.

The Young Savages

3.6
6.9/10 IMDB

A district attorney investigates the racially charged case of three teenagers accused of the murder of a blind Puerto Rican boy.

Starring: Burt Lancaster, Dina Merrill, Edward Andrews, Vivian Nathan, Shelley Winters, Larry Gates, Telly Savalas, Pilar Seurat, Jody Fair, Roberta Shore ..
Directed by: John Frankenheimer
Release date: 1961-05-24
11.

Homicidal

3.5
6.8/10 IMDB

A woman named Emily checks into a hotel and offers the bellboy $2000 to temporarily marry her. We soon find out Emily is the caretaker of a wheelchair-bound mute named Helga, who was the childhood guardian of a pair of siblings: Miriam Webster and her half-brother, Warren, who is about to inherit the estate of their late father. Who is the mysterious Emily and what are her intentions?

Starring: Glenn Corbett, Patricia Breslin, Eugenie Leontovich, Alan Bunce, Richard Rust, James Westerfield, Gilbert Green, Joan Marshall, Hope Summers, William Castle ..
Directed by: William Castle
Release date: 1961-07-26
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : The Shadow of the Cat
12.

The Shadow of the Cat

3.5
6.3/10 IMDB

Tabitha, once the placid, gentle and devoted pet, adopts all the characteristics of a ferocious, wild animal following the murder of her mistress. The three guilty people are all trapped by the cat's power and each will come to untimely deaths of horrific proportions without anyone being able to solve the mystery that surrounds their brutal death.

Starring: Barbara Shelley, Conrad Phillips, André Morell, Richard Warner, William Lucas, Freda Jackson, Andrew Crawford, Vanda Godsell, Catherine Lacey, Alan Wheatley ..
Directed by: John Gilling
Release date: 1961-05-01
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : The Naked Edge
13.

The Naked Edge

3.4
6.6/10 IMDB

Five years after George Radcliffe was the chief witness in a high profile murder case, his wife receives a blackmailing letter accusing him of the crime.

Starring: Gary Cooper, Deborah Kerr, Eric Portman, Diane Cilento, Hermione Gingold, Peter Cushing, Michael Wilding ..
Directed by: Michael Anderson
Release date: 1961-06-28
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : What a Carve Up!
14.

What a Carve Up!

2.9
6.3/10 IMDB

Ernie's Uncle Gabriel has just died but to claim his inheritance he must spend the night in the ancestral family home with the rest of his rather eccentric relatives. Ernie's imagination has been affected by his constant immersion in cheap horror novels, but his wildest fears turn out to be justified when the guests begin to drop dead.

Starring: Sid James, Kenneth Connor, Donald Pleasence, Shirley Eaton, Dennis Price, Michael Gough, Valerie Taylor, Esma Cannon, George Woodbridge, Michael Gwynn ..
Directed by: Pat Jackson
Release date: 1961-09-15
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : Pit of Darkness
15.

Pit of Darkness

2.9
6.2/10 IMDB

When Richard Logan, the partner in a safe making firm, is found unconscious, on an old deserted bomb site, he finds that he has no recollection of the last three weeks. Then he discovers that the private detective, hired by his wife, has been found murdered, and a safe that his firm installed in a large country house, has been cleverly opened, and the contents are missing. So with the help of his wife, he sets out to uncover the truth.

Starring: William Franklyn, Moira Redmond, Bruno Barnabe, Leonard Sachs, Nigel Green, Nanette Newman, Tony Booth, Jacqueline Jones, Michael Balfour, Bruce Beeby ..
Directed by: Lance Comfort
Release date: 1961-10-01
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : The Third Alibi
16.

The Third Alibi

2.9
7.0/10 IMDB

A composer (Laurence Payne) is stuck in a middle-class marriage and finds that his affair with his wife's half-sister (Jane Griffiths) has resulted in a pregnancy. When his wife refuses to give him a divorce he hatches a murder scheme that is too clever by half.

Starring: Laurence Payne, Patricia Dainton, Jane Griffiths, Edward Underdown, Humphrey Lestocq, Lucy Griffiths, Olive Milbourne, Arthur Hewlett, John Arnatt, Cleo Laine ..
Directed by: Montgomery Tully
Release date: 1961-03-15
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : The Secret Partner
17.

The Secret Partner

2.8
6.6/10 IMDB

A shipping tycoon with a record becomes a suspect when money goes missing from the company vault.

Starring: Stewart Granger, Haya Harareet, Bernard Lee, Hugh Burden, Lee Montague, Melissa Stribling, Conrad Phillips, John Lee, Norman Bird, Peter Illing ..
Directed by: Basil Dearden
Release date: 1961-05-01
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : Man-Trap
18.

Man-Trap

2.7
6.0/10 IMDB

Helmed by Edmond O'Brien, this slick crime thriller stars Jeffrey Hunter as naïve Matt Jameson, whose Korean War pal Vince Biskay talks Matt into helping commandeer nearly $4 million from a Central American dictator. After Vince is wounded in a gun battle as they're making off with the loot, the duo holes up at Matt's house -- where his boozy, promiscuous wife puts the moves on Vince.

Starring: Jeffrey Hunter, David Janssen, Stella Stevens, Elaine Devry, Virginia Gregg, Dorothy Green, Hugh Sanders, Frank Albertson, Arthur Batanides, Perry Lopez ..
Directed by: Edmond O'Brien
Release date: 1961-09-20
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : Fear No More
19.

Fear No More

2.7
6.3/10 IMDB

Accused of killing a woman on a train, Sharon Carlin runs home to find another corpse there too!

Starring: Jacques Bergerac, Mala Powers, Helena Nash, John Baer, Anna Lee Carroll, Robert Karnes, John Harding, Gregory Irvin, Peter Brocco, Peter Virgo ..
Directed by: Bernard Wiesen
Release date: 1961-11-01
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : Twenty Plus Two
20.

Twenty Plus Two

2.6
6.1/10 IMDB

A famous movie star's fan club secretary has been brutally murdered. She has in her office old newspaper clippings regarding a missing heiress. Did the secretary know something about the mystery of the heiress? David Janssen investigates.

Starring: David Janssen, Jeanne Crain, Dina Merrill, Agnes Moorehead, Brad Dexter, Robert Strauss, Jacques Aubuchon, William Demarest, George N. Neise, Fredd Wayne ..
Directed by: Joseph M. Newman
Release date: 1961-08-13
21.

The Mask

2.6
5.9/10 IMDB

A young archaeologist believes he is cursed by a mask that causes him to have weird nightmares and possibly to murder. Before committing suicide, he mails the mask to his psychiatrist, Dr. Barnes, who is soon plunged into the nightmare world of the mask.

Starring: Paul Stevens, Claudette Nevins, Anne Collings, Bill Walker, Martin Lavut, Leo Leyden, Norman Ettlinger, W.B. Brydon, Jim Moran, Eleanor Beecroft ..
Directed by: Julian Roffman
Release date: 1961-10-27
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : The Cat Burglar
22.

The Cat Burglar

2.6
6.0/10 IMDB

Unwitting pickup artist Jack Coley (Jack Hogan) nabs a briefcase holding a costly scientific formula, turning himself into a moving target for owner Alan Sheridan (John Baer), foreign agents and the fuzz -- all bent on a blistering game of finders, keepers. In this stylized crime drama, the quarry coolly eludes the pack while eliciting the aid of an unlikely party: blonde beauty Nan Baker (June Kenney), the attaché's original carrier.

Starring: Jack Hogan, June Kenney, John Baer, Gregg Palmer, Will J. White, Gene Roth, Bruno VeSota, Billie Bird, Tommy Ivo, Cosmo Sardo ..
Directed by: William Witney
Release date: 1961-07-01
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : Blueprint for Robbery
23.

Blueprint for Robbery

2.5
6.3/10 IMDB

A gang of career criminals plots the robbery of an armored car company's headquarters. Although the robbery itself goes off as planned, it's not long before the gang members are fighting among themselves over everybody's share of the loot and trying to avoid capture by the police, who are pouring all their resources into capturing the robbers. Based on a real-life 1950 Brinks Armored Car Co. robbery in Boston.

Starring: J. Pat O'Malley, Robert Gist, Romo Vincent, Jay Barney, Henry Corden, Tom Duggan, Sherwood Price, Robert Carricart, John Indrisano, Paul Salata ..
Directed by: Jerry Hopper
Release date: 1961-02-01
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : The Secret Ways
24.

The Secret Ways

2.4
6.1/10 IMDB

Vienna, 1956. After Soviet tanks crush the Hungarian uprising, soldier-of-fortune Michael Reynolds is hired to help a threatened Hungarian scientist escape from Budapest.

Starring: Richard Widmark, Sonja Ziemann, Walter Rilla, Charles Regnier, Senta Berger, Heinz Moog, Hubert von Meyerinck, Ady Berber, Jochen Brockmann, Reinhard Kolldehoff ..
Directed by: Phil Karlson
Release date: 1961-04-01
25.

Five Minutes to Live

2.4
5.5/10 IMDB

A guitar playing killer terrorizes a housewife while his partner robs the bank where her husband works.

Starring: Johnny Cash, Ron Howard, Donald Woods, Cay Forester, Pamela Mason, Vic Tayback, Merle Travis, Midge Ware, Norma Varden, Leslie Kimmell ..
Directed by: Bill Karn
Release date: 1961-12-07
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : Freedom to Die
26.

Freedom to Die

2.3
5.4/10 IMDB

Paul Maxwell plays Craig Owen, an incarcerated criminal whose cellmate holds the secret to the valuable contents within a safe deposit box. When the cellmate dies, Owen breaks out of jail in search of the stash. Unable to open the box, the fugitive abducts Linda (Felicity Young), the dead man's daughter. Tension mounts as the girl plays for time to prevent her own demise.

Starring: Paul Maxwell, Felicity Young, Bruce Seton, Kay Callard, Laurie Leigh, Charles Byrne, James Fitzgerald, T. P. McKenna ..
Directed by: Francis Searle
Release date: 1961-01-01
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : The Gambler Wore a Gun
27.

The Gambler Wore a Gun

2.3
5.8/10 IMDB

The professional gambler Case Silverthorn wants to quit and retire to a small ranch in Marlpine he bought recently. On the way there he saves the Sheriff's life, who got into an ambush. However another man is dead, Will Donovan, from whom he bought the ranch! Neither the Sheriff nor Donovan's children know about the sale. So Case has to switch back to his former profession, while he tries to clarify the situation. He comes across a group of cattle thieves.

Starring: Jim Davis, Merry Anders, Addison Richards, Mark Allen, Robert Anderson, Don Dorrell, Charles Cane, Keith Richards, John Craig, Joe McGuinn ..
Directed by: Edward L. Cahn
Release date: 1961-05-04
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : The Flight That Disappeared
28.

The Flight That Disappeared

2.3
5.6/10 IMDB

A cross-country airliner, whose passengers include a nuclear physicist, a rocket expert, and a mathematical genius, is drawn beyond radar range by an unknown, unbreakable force.

Starring: Craig Hill, Paula Raymond, Dayton Lummis, John Bryant, Bernadette Hale, Nancy Hale, Brad Trumbull, Jerry James, Harvey Stephens, Meg Wyllie ..
Directed by: Reginald Le Borg
Release date: 1961-09-01
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : Return of a Stranger
29.

Return of a Stranger

2.1
5.0/10 IMDB

An obsessed man returns to claim the woman he loves.

Starring: John Ireland, Susan Stephen, Cyril Shaps, Timothy Beaton, Patrick McAlinney, Kevin Stoney, Ian Fleming, Raymond Rollett, Frederick Piper ..
Directed by: Max Varnel
Release date: 1961-01-01
30.

Anatomy of a Psycho

1.8
4.1/10 IMDB

The crazed brother of a condemned killer sent to the gas chamber swears vengeance on those he holds responsible for his brother's execution.

Starring: Ronnie Burns, Pamela Lincoln, Darrell Howe, Judy Howard, Michael Granger, Frank Killmond, Russ Bender, Don Devlin, William Salzwedel, Robert Stabler ..
Directed by: Boris Petroff
Release date: 1961-06-14
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : The Spiral Staircase
31.

The Spiral Staircase

1.8
7.8/10 IMDB

Based on the screenplay by Mel Dinelli, this story revolves around Helen Warren, a beautiful mute girl, who becomes the target of a mysterious killer who preys on young handicapped women.

Starring: Elizabeth Montgomery, Lillian Gish, Gig Young, Edie Adams, Eddie Albert, Jeffrey Lynn, Frank McHugh ..
Directed by: Boris Sagal
Release date: 1961-10-04
32.

Dark Odyssey

1.5
6.4/10 IMDB

Yianni Martakis, a sailor immigrant in New York City, is on a mission to find and kill the man who raped his sister. Along the way he becomes entangled with the sweet, unassuming Niki Vassos, and must decide whether he should forget his path of vengeance and perhaps begin living a normal life.

Starring: Athan Karras, Jeanne Jerrems, David Hooks, Rosemary Torri, Edward Brazier, Nicholas Zapnoukayas, Ariadne Zapnoukayas, Chris Marx, Warren Houston, Maggie Owens ..
Directed by: William Kyriakis
Release date: 1961-06-24
33.

Secret of Deep Harbor

1.4
5.2/10 IMDB

A reporter learns that his girlfriend's father, an old sea captain, is being paid by the mob to transport gangsters out of the country.

Starring: Ron Foster, Merry Anders, Barry Kelley, Grant Richards, Norman Alden ..
Directed by: Edward L. Cahn
Release date: 1961-09-19
34.

Intrusion

1.3
4.9/10 IMDB

Early short film by director Michael Reeves, where two young men break into a house and terrorise the woman who ives there.

Starring: Ian Ogilvy, Sarah Dunlop, Michael Reeves ..
Directed by: Michael Reeves
Release date: 1961-12-29
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : Strip Tease Murder
35.

Strip Tease Murder

1.3
5.2/10 IMDB

The unusual death of a dancer at the Flamingo Club prompts the dancer's husband to dig deeper into the case. What he uncovers is a tangled web of blackmail, drug trafficking, and mad science.

Starring: John Hewer, Ann Lynn, Kenneth J. Warren, Carl Duering, Jean Muir ..
Directed by: Ernest Morris
Release date: 1961-03-01
Best Thriller Movies of 1961 : Honeymoon of Terror
36.

Honeymoon of Terror

1.3
5.2/10 IMDB

A couple honeymoons on a deserted isle called Thunder Island. When the husband leaves the island to go for supplies, the wife finds that the island isn't as deserted as they thought it was.

Starring: Doug Leith, Dwan Marlow, Peter Perry Jr., Anton von Stralen ..
Directed by: Peter Perry Jr.
Release date: 1961-01-13
37.

Rocket Attack U.S.A.

0.9
1.7/10 IMDB

It's the height of the Cold War between the United States and the Soviet Union with the Communists launching a spy satellite that has the Free World leaders in a panic. Fears about the nature of the satellite force the United States to send an agent undercover behind the Iron Curtain to discover what the Soviets have learned. What he finds is the Communists have used the information acquired from their spy satellite to help them perfect a new and even more deadly nuclear weapon.

Starring: Monica Davis, John McKay, Daniel Kern, Edward Czerniuk, Phillip St. George, Richard Downs, Herbert Flato, Ray Brewer, Janice Gilmain, Robert Reah ..
Directed by: Barry Mahon
Release date: 1961-01-01
38.

The Picture of Dorian Gray

0.0
0.0/10 IMDB

Despite an increasingly sinful life, Dorian Gray keeps on looking young and handsome and innocent - but the portrait of him hidden in his attic keeps on changing.

Starring: John Fraser, George C. Scott, Louis Hayward, Susan Oliver ..
Release date: 1961-12-06
39.

Five Fingers : Thin Ice

0.0
0.0/10 IMDB

Sebastian must either deliver a young Arab prince to Russia or get him back safely to his own country. The episode aired in the US in 1959, and in theaters in the UK in 1961 -- supporting the movie Wild in the Country with Elvis Prestley

Starring: David Hedison, Luciana Paluzzi, Peter Lorre, Alan Young, Brett Halsey, Marc Platt, Alan Napier ..
Directed by: Lamont Johnson
Release date: 1961-07-01

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