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Top 10 Movies You Should See If You Want To Contemplate Human Behavior

Updated on June 26, 2014

Some Movies Have A Big Impact On Awareness


There are some movies that piss me off because they are so pointless, and there are some movies that simply amuse me. But, there are other movies that make me think about the good and bad side of human behavior, and they ultimately affect my life (and how I act in it) directly in one way or the other.

Following are 10 of those movies in no particular order. Note: Instead of a picture, I've included the trailer to each movie.

1. Schindler's List

Roger Ebert said in his review that the movie is brilliantly acted, written, directed and seen. In other words, this movie is at the top of its game when it comes to realistic and emotional scenes that will have you questioning every character's thoughts and emotions - and motives.

This movie is based on a true story, and features Oskar Shindler (Liam Neeson) who takes financial advantage of the Nazis rise to power. Along the way his conscience takes over his motives and he ends up losing all his financial gains in trade for saving over a thousand lives.

This movie is powerful, and I think I saw it at too young of an age the first time. Instead of taking any lessons from it, I was just sick and disgusted. But now the lessons are abundant.

2. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

A comedy and drama intertwined, this is one of Jack Nicholson's most memorable performances (and he's had a lot of them!) It is set in a psychiatric ward, and it will make you think about sacrifice, the human mind, and the cruelness and compassion that some people are capable of.

This movie is not for the squeamish as there are plenty of scenes that are offensive and hard to watch, but it is for someone who wants to leave the movie with a new outlook on their freedom and how they should treat other people.

3. 12 Years A Slave

If you want to watch a movie that will get you thinking about the evil that lives in some people - and how big the ego and self-importance can really get, this is one of those movies to watch. Moreover, it shows the strength that some humans have inside of them.

4. The Great Gatsby

I don't think there is a show that Leonardo DiCaprio has not excelled in, but I really liked this movie. The passion he put into this role comes out in every scene.

I actually gasped at many points in this movie because the love story and character struggle were so powerful, and it made me appreciate the love that I have with my husband, and the strength I have to be honest and true to myself.

5. Goodfellas

If you want a peek into the mindset of a gangster, then this is the movie to watch. While the movie does make you think, it is also a highly entertaining movie full of awesome and talented characters. For instance, Ray Liotta does such a good job in this movie that all his other movies pale in comparison.

For me, this movie made me appreciate my non-gangster husband and my peaceful life, because the women in this movie had struggles that I would never want to go through. But, for my husband, the movie made him think about life's choices, as well as times when he was younger and not ruled fully by his conscious. (I'm not talking bad stuff, I'm just talking about partying etc.)

6. The Wolf of Wall Street

Again with Leonardo DiCaprio...but he is good in this movie too!

This movie is based on a true story, and to me, it is all about the choices you make in life and the consequences that come from them. It is acted out so well by the characters, that will you actually feel like you are living inside the movie and having their experiences. That's a good thing, because doing this stuff in real life isn't for the faint of heart.

The real man this movie is based on (Jordan Belfort) has said that the movie is pretty accurate and, in fact, his life may have been even worse that what was portrayed. Yikes! Something to think about next time you are faced with a moral choice of any kind!

7. Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

Robert De Niro has done a lot of characters in his time, but 'the creature' in this movie is one of my favorites. Robert De Niro gives his character depth that makes you feel for him and his struggles. And Helena Bonham Carter is always interesting to watch. This movie is about love and greed, and the consequences of both.

8. Rise of the Planet of the Apes

I loved this movie. A scientist (James Franco) tests out an experiment on an ape (Caesar) in hopes to come up with a drug that helps the brain repair itself, but instead ends up facing the consequences of what the experiment does to the Caesar and others.

The connection between the apes, the love between John Lithgow and Caesar, and the cruelty that goes on towards animals are just a few (a VERY small portion) of the aspects that will have you contemplating human behavior of others and yourself.

9. Seeking a Friend for the End of the World

This movie still affects me profoundly today. It is about an asteroid that will collide with Earth within 3 weeks and how one man deals with it all.

I normally don't like 'end of the world' movies, but I really enjoyed this one. I think that Steve Carrell and Keira Knightley really lighten up the movie and make it powerful but comical at the same time.

When you picture such a short time left, it gives new meaning to what the rest of your life would look like. I really like the way the movie portrays different reactions to the news of the asteroid. To me, it seems quite realistic that some people would be ignorant towards it, some would try to survive, some would make the most of it, some would try to come to terms with it, and others would simply give up.

What would you do? That's really the question you are left with. And for me, I was left with an added grateful feeling for the life I have right now.

10. The Green Mile

When a black man is accused of murdering and raping children, the guards on death row are affected in different ways. Compassion, judgment, and cruelty are all aspects of this movie.

John Coffey (Michael Clarke Duncan) does such a good job in this movie. He plays a sweet and powerful character (this is based on a Stephen King book) who is able to heal people. The obvious truth that he is not a killer, he is a healer, causes struggle in a few characters including Paul Edgecomb (Tom Hanks). I think the story-line opens your eyes to the labels we put on people and how those labels affect their lives.

If You Have Any Suggestions For Powerful Movies, Please Share!

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    • techygran profile image


      4 years ago from Vancouver Island, Canada

      Hi there

      I enjoyed reading your reflections on movies that have impacted you in your thoughts and (maybe) choices that you make today. I read "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest" and it was a sort of coming-of-age novel for those of us born in the 50s I think, with some involvement with the Vietnam War (however peripheral) and the Cold War. There was a clutch of other books that we read around the same time: "Catch 22", stuff by Vonnegut, and the quasi-beatniks like Jack Kerouac and Tom Wolfe.

      I like your list and the presentation using the trailers. Good work!


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