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BFI Reuben Library

Collections Focus: Thriller

Delve deeper into the stories that put us on the edge of our seats.

Image from Collections Focus: Thriller

"This essentially twentieth-century form shows no sign of releasing its grip upon our ambivalent desires both to escape from and to remain within the uneasy security of our increasingly downsized world."
Martin Rubin, Thrillers (1999)

"Thrillers, like horror films, trap us temporarily in someone else’s nightmare, but the anxieties that surface are our own... The point is not simply to shock or excite us, but to insert us into a weightless environment with few specific coordinates, to set us adrift in a medium of uncertainty, with our expectations suspended. In good thrillers it is we who are suspended, caught between what we know and what we fear."
Morris Dickstein in American Film (Jul-Aug 1981)

We mine our rich collections in an attempt to define this most slippery of genres. Browse materials, articles and books on film noir to espionage, crime drama to Cold War paranoia and beyond, and delve deeper into the stories that put us on the edge of our seats...

See our Who Can You Trust? season.


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