10 Best Psychology Movies

Saturday, February 5 by Charlie Higgins

Wondering what the 10 best psychology movies are? Movies about psychology-related topics began to appear with greater frequency by the late 1960s when the field became firmly ingrained in popular culture. These films deal with everything from multiple personality disorder and schizophrenia to and group psychology and mental institutions, and many feature award-winning performances. Here are the 10 best psychology movies of all time.

  1. “Primal Fear” This bone-tingling thriller from director Gregory Hoblit stars Richard Gere as a high-profile defense lawyer who volunteers to defend a Kentucky altar boy (Edward Norton) accused of murdering an archbishop. The film features riveting performances by Gere and Norton, whose character is diagnosed with multiple personality order. 
  2. “Good Will Hunting” features breakthrough roles for Matt Damon and Ben Affleck, who also co-scripted this story of a rebellious MIT janitor who also happens to be a mathematical genius. Robin Williams picked up an Oscar for his role as a compassionate therapist who teaches Damon’s character to confront his troubled past.
  3. “A Clockwork Orange” This 1971 film set in a futuristic dystopia solidified Stanley Kubrick’s position as one of the great filmmakers of his generation. Darkly satirical and at times both shocking and hilarious, “A Clockwork Orange” tells the story of an impudent delinquent forced to undergo experimental corrective treatment that involves repeated viewings of unspeakable acts.
  4. “Girl, Interrupted” Diagnosed with Borderline Personality Disorder, 19-year-old Susanna played by Winona Ryder is committed to an all-female psychiatric institute in this 1999 drama. The film also features stellar performances by Angelina Jolie as the resident hellraiser and Vanessa Regrave as Susana’s psychiatrist. 
  5. “One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest” This outstanding film adaptation of the popular Ken Kesey novel of the same name picked up a slew of Oscars including best actor for Jack Nicholson and best director for Milos Forman. The film stars Nicholson as the free-thinking psychiatric patient who leads his fellow inmates to rebel against the oppressive Nurse Ratched.
  6. “What About Bob?” Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfus co-star in this hilarious portrayal of a psychiatric patient, Bob, who follows his doctor on what was supposed to be a relaxing family vacation by the lake. The film proves even the best psychology movies can make you laugh.
  7. “A Beautiful Mind” This fascinating true story portrays the life of prominent mathematician John Forbes Nash who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia. Nash, played by Russell Crowe, works to expose what he perceives to be a government controversy as his wife, Jennifer Connelly comes to terms with his disorder.
  8. “The Diving Bell And The Butterfly” Based on a previous book and documentary of the same name, this French docudrama recounts the life of Jean-Dominic Baub, an esteemed journalist who suffers from a stroke that leaves him with a rare condition known as locked-in syndrome whereby the victim is physically paralyzed by remains mentally intact. 
  9. “Memento” This suspenseful, complex film by the unknown director Christopher Nolan follows a man suffering from short-term memory loss as he tries to reassemble his life after the brutal killing of his wife. With its reverse narrative and clever twists and turns, Nolan’s film works on multiple levels despite its unusual structure.
  10. “The Breakfast Club” Though you won’t find any mental hospitals or black leather couches in this classic '80s dramedy by director John Hughes, “The Breakfast Club” is a fairly accurate study of group behavior and adolescent social dynamics. Fiv high school kids each from distinct albeit stereotypical social ranks find themselves stuck in Saturday detention with a mean-spirited principal.
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