The definition of a ‘Conspiracy Theory’ refers to the belief that unpleasant things which happen – usually in relation to government actions, but not always refined to this – are planned by people who want to cause difficulties and that such things do not, and will not, happen by chance or without the control of such parties.

You put something up on the cinema screen based around that and add complex plots, gritty dialogue, base it in the believability of the everyday, occasionally throw in a devastating, brutal and very dark twist and I am most definitely there to view.

I’m, as you can gather, a HUGE fan of the conspiracy thriller so culling the list down to my favourite TWENTY was a hard task. Along the way I had to gut-wrenchingly cut some genuinely terrific films. So, before we get into what I’m calling my twenty favourite conspiracy movies I have to pay a special mention to the ones that got lost along the way. Namely, and in no particular order:

Costa Gravas’ Z, David Fincher’s The Game, Philip Kauffman’s 70s remake of Invasion Of The Bodysnatchers, Mark Pellington’s Arlington Road, John Frankenheimer’s Black Sunday, Ken Loach’s Route Irish, Alfred Hitchcock’s re-do of his own The Man Who Knew Too Much, John Schlesinger’s Marathon Man, Tony Gilroy’s Michael Clayton, Steven Spielberg’s Minority Report, Kevin MacDonald’s State of Play, Harold Becker’s City Hall, Curtis Hanson’s LA Confidential and – yeah, I’m going to throw it in there – DJ Caruso’s Eagle Eye which I have a huge soft-spot and think its first two acts are reflective of a great modern conspiracy thriller… But, man alive, that third act is a damaging dumb-arse mess!

This Top 20 is not all-encompassing and definitive. It represents MY all time favourite great conspiracy movies. The list may not be reflective of the general critical consensus overall.

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This article was first posted on September 21, 2012