A Perfect Getaway Thriller Movies

Thrillers are arguably the most popular of all movie genres. People used to flock to the cinema to get their adrenaline-filled fix of intense scenes and crazy twists. Even today, with the pandemic making it difficult (and in some cases impossible) to go to the cinema, thrillers remain highly sought after.

We’re not just talking about a good old-fashioned shoot ‘em up either. The perfect getaway thriller movies usually have a few core elements that make them worthy of that tag – a strong sense of realism, exotic locations and plenty of action. Add to that a complex plot and equally complex characters, and you have the perfect ingredients for the perfect getaway movie.

From classic Hitchcock classics to new releases, these are the titles that will leave you on the edge of your seat, in suspense until the very last scene. Let’s take a look at some of the best examples of perfect getaway movies.

No Country for Old Men

This film adaptation of the Cormac McCarthy novel has become a cult classic for its “neo-Western” themes, with typical tropes found in Hollywood-style Westerns flipped on their head. It stars Tommy Lee Jones, Javier Bardem and Josh Brolin and was directed by the Coen Brothers. The story follows a Vietnam veteran trying to get his hands on a fortune after stumbling onto a drug deal gone wrong. Bardem plays a deadly and clinically-minded killer, who is relentless in his pursuit of the fortune.

What really makes this picture stand out is the raw sense of tension that the Coen Brothers evoke. Every moment of this film is pregnant with tension, ratcheting up the suspense until it eventually reaches a climactic showdown – one of the most dramatic and intense ever put to celluloid.


Few actors over the last decade have embodied kick-ass action hero-style action quite like Liam Neeson. His star vehicle, Taken, is a perfect example of just what he brings to the genre. A father on the hunt for his daughter in Europe, he steals cars, beats up bad guys and flees from authorities in a story that builds up to an explosive finale.

The movie is famed for its power over audiences, with a tightly paced narrative, relentless action, and some of the best fight scenes and car chases in modern cinema. It’s a rollercoaster ride of a movie and a must-see for fans of the genre.

Gone Girl

This adaptation of the bestselling novel by Gillian Flynn stars Ben Affleck and Rosamund Pike, and has become a modern classic. While far tamer than some of the other titles on this list, it is nonetheless a brilliant example of perfect getaway thrillers.

The narrative is intense and luridly plotted, and is packed with twists, turns and secret reveals. It’s a psychological thriller that follows a husband and wife whose marriage is on the brink following her disappearance. While there is no car chases or shootouts, the tension created by the story masterfully manipulated in order to keep viewers hooked right until the very end.

The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo

Directed by David Fincher and based on the novel of the same name, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo is a neo-noir thriller that stars Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara. It follows a journalist’s attempt to solve a cold case with the help of a troubled but brilliant young woman. This movie is filled with unexpected twists and turns as its complex plot unfolds.

The cringe-worthy violence of some of the darkest scenes is bookended with tender moments, expertly establishing the range of emotions and tension of the story. Fincher’s attention to detail drives this movie throughout and continually keeps viewers guessing right up to the nail-biting climax.


David Fincher is back again with a movie that is considered to be one of the greatest thrillers of all time. Starring Morgan Freeman, Brad Pitt and Kevin Spacey, Se7en spins a puzzle-box narrative that follows two detectives on the trail of a serial killer. This movie follows the tried-and-tested formula of the perfect getaway thriller, with a complex and detailed story, powerful antagonists and plenty of suspense over the course of its running time.

The script and acting are both top-notch, and Fincher succeeds in creating a truly chilling atmosphere. Themes of morality, redemption and justice are explored, culminating in a truly memorable ending.

Panic Room

This David Fincher thriller may not be his best-known effort, but it’s still an excellent example of a perfect getaway thriller. Starring Jodie Foster and Kristen Stewart, Panic Room follows a mother and daughter who must use their wits and will to survive after they are attacked in their own home.

The script is tense and gripping and each scene of the movie slowly ratchets up the stakes and tension, culminating in the nail-biting finale. It’s a movie full of surprises, with emotionally charged moments that will stick with viewers long after the credits have rolled.

Dog Day Afternoon

This classic movie from the 1970s stars Al Pacino and John Cazale in a story based on iconic real-life events. Pacino plays a would-be bank robber who finds himself in a desperate hostage situation, and is further hampered in his escape attempts by a crowd of photographers and TV reporters.

Directed by Sidney Lumet, this movie was ahead of its time and is widely credited as the first blockbuster in the genre. It has all the trappings of a perfect getaway movie, with clever writing, fascinating characters and a gripping story. Combined with Pacino’s masterful performance, this movie stands the test of time.

The Talented Mr. Ripley

Directed by Anthony Minghella, Talented Mr. Ripley stars Matt Damon as a charming conman on the run from his past. He steals the identity of an unwitting person and must escape a race against time to clear his name. With finely-crafted characters and a rapidly-paced narrative, it is easy to sympathize with damon’s character and its interesting exploration of morality.

In addition, the movie takes us on a journey through some stunning locations, from beautiful Italian villas to Parisian streets. With terrific performances from a strong cast, superb cinematography and a simmering soundtrack, it is an undeniable classic.

Shutter Island

Scorsese’s exploration of madness stars Leonardo DiCaprio as a US Marshall sent to investigate a mysterious disappearance at an island prison. As usual, Scorsese’s direction is top-notch – he creates a creepy atmosphere through expert use of shadow and light that will unnerve even the most hardened of viewers.

DiCaprio turns in a terrific performance as a man struggling to piece together a jigsaw of dark secrets. With a slew of red herrings, powerful symbolism and a twist ending, this movie will leave you gasping for air.

The Bourne Identity

The first entry to the Bourne franchise may not have the ambition of later instalments, but it more than holds its own as a classic getaway thriller. Starring Matt Damon as a former CIA agent suffering from memory loss, he must battle with the agency to discover his past. This movie provides a thrilling ride, with fight scenes that have set the bar for action movies for years to come.

But on top of the action, there is a great exploration of identity and what it means to be a person. It is also a political thriller, with a subtle moral commentary. Taken together, it is one of the most fascinating and memorable action movies of all time.

The Prestige

This Christopher Nolan-directed mind-bender stars Christian Bale and Hugh Jackman in a story of deception and rivalry. Based on the novel of the same name, the movie follows a pair of rival magicians steeped in a rivalry so intense it will lead them to extreme lengths. The stakes are raised further when a new invention comes into the picture, putting their friendship and even lives at risk.

The story is full of shocking reveals and deceptive tricks – almost like an elaborate game of chess. It’s a gripping and fascinating exploration of the lengths people will go to in the pursuit of supremacy. It’s definitely a must-see for fans of the genre.

Vicki Strouth is a life-long film enthusiast, having grown up watching classic cinema in her childhood. She has since gone on to pursue writing about films and movie news, with her work being published on various online platforms. She is passionate about supporting independent filmmakers and highlighting important stories from around the world. She has also written a successful book about classic movies from Hollywood's Golden Age era. Vicki currently lives in Seattle, where she continues to explore films of all genres and eras.

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