Classic Psychological Movies - The Best 22 Ever
The Best Psychological Movies Ever
If you're anything like me then your favorite type of movie is the one that really gets into your head, bores into your grey matter and stays there, or in other words the psychological movie. There are literally tonnes of lists of thriller, suspense and psychological movies online, as well as lists for every other genre of movie but here I've tried to create the very best list there is!.
Spattered among the classics you'd probably expect to see in a list of psychological movies, I've got some goodies here that aren't on anyone elses lists - forgotten fantastic movies that will totally twist your mind, make you think and should have pride of place in your DVD or Blu Ray collection (most of the oldies are now available in blu ray format and have been remastered so they look even better than the originals).
A good psychological movie can come from any genre - the important factors are that it gets those neurons excited, is completely absorbing and will be unforgettable. You'll see movies here that would fall into the categories of love story, horror, action, war, thriller, sci-fi and there's even one bordering on comedy, but each one has the essential elements that also allow it to be described as "psychological".
Just in case there are movies here you haven't seen I'm not going to give away the plots in the descriptions as that would spoil all your fun, but I will give a little overview of the type of movie it is and hopefully provide a flavor of what to expect.
So in no particular order, the best 25 psychological movies of all time.....
1. The Hitcher
Without doubt The Hitcher is Rutger Hauer's best movie. He is absolutely suited to the role of maniac hitchhiker and plays it with aplomb. This is a movie with many twists and turns with a plot that will bore into your brain and stay there. An unforgettable thriller with plenty of suspense and little bit of horror as well.
P.S. Don't get confused and buy the Sean Bean remake - it's nowhere near as good as the original.
2. The Wicker Man
The Wicker Man may be old (1975) but it's a classic thriller that will rock your world. The re-make is no where near as good as the original, so my advice is don't bother with it. Buy the original version and enjoy Edward Woodward at his finest moment as well as Brit Ekland looking absolutely stunning. A cult classic!
3. The Shining
One of the best horrors ever made, The Shining is the kind of movie that you shouldn't watch alone. Stanley Kubrick creates a movie that is intense and suspenseful with fantastic acting and a brilliant story line - this is a keeper and a movie that all lovers of the psychological movie should have in their collection. A psychological horror that will keep you on the edge of your seat and have you hiding behind your cushion!
4. Jacob's Ladder
Jacob's Ladder is one of those psychological movies that you need to watch at least three times before you get it (at least I did!). A movie on the horrors of war and its after effects, with some definite twists.
Beautifully done, the acting from Tim Robbins is superb. A cult classic!
Psycho is another horror classic created by the master of suspense, Alfred Hitchcock. So many film makers have tried to emulate this "masterpiece of the macabre", most have failed. Psycho is unique and despite its age will always be a psychological movie classic.
Unusually for a movie with three sequels each sequel is good in it's own right and all add to our understanding of the twisted Norman Bates. Well worth watching!
6. The Game
I don't usually like Michael Douglas movies, but The Game is a corker. The story line is totally unique and delivers a true roller coaster ride. Best watched without knowing anything of what's going to happen (so close your eyes when it comes to the reviews). A masterful psychological thriller that will engage you from beginning to end.
7. 2001 - A Space Odyssey
Another powerful psychological movie, but this time in the sci-fi genre, from the master of twisted films, Stanley Kubrick. Beautiful and visually stunning, 2001 is a movie that is still ahead of its time 50 years on. Buy if you haven't already - the remastering takes this already fabulous movie to another level. the blu-ray version of 2001
8. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest
A movie that is scary on a fundamentally human level, One Flew over the Cuckoo's Nest, is the classic psychological movie that can be enjoyed over and over and my personal favorite of all time. Every aspect of good movie making comes together perfectly in this film and the intensity and range of emotions it generates is unmatched. One that will definitely stick with you!
One of the best movies of all time, Magnolia is a psychological drama that seeks to take you on a journey and make you think, and does it exceptionally well. This is a masterpiece of story telling via visual means and the characters lives are beautifully woven together to create a powerful movie. The amazing soundtrack by Aimee Mann works perfectly with the script and was certainly an inspired decision. For those that enjoy the pure psychological movie sans blood and guts Tom Cruise has his finest hour in this one.
10. Fight Club
I don't usually like watching extreme violence but in this movie it's a necessary and welcome part of story line. Another one to get those synapses firing rapidly and completely do your brain in, the movie Fight Club, is a genius creation from controversial director David Fincher. Brad Pitt's acting is phenomenal as is the supporting casts. An imaginative and philosophical psychological drama that is a must have in your DVD collection.
Not all of Stephen King's books have translated well on screen but Carrie definitely cannot be put into that category. The novel Carrie was the one that propelled him to fame 70's and the movie was also deservedly a hit. A tragic psychological drama with elements of horror, Carrie is an unforgettable movie that will chill you to the core. A must have classic!
Another classic suspense movie from the master of story telling, Stephen King. Misery is a chilling psychological thriller that is brought to vivid life through the brilliant acting of James Caan and Kathy Bates.
A significant movie in the psychological genre that deserves to be described as a classic. Brilliant!
13. Falling Down
Here's another powerful movie that really gets into your head. Falling Down featuring Michael Douglas, has a unique story line that will have you rooting for the bad guy because we can all identify with him. While I'm not a fan of Michael Douglas (yes he did star in one of my other recommendations above) he should have got an Oscar for his perfect portrayal of the crazy guy in this memorable psychological movie.
14. Salem's Lot
Salem's Lot (which is another adaptation from a Stephen King novel), is a movie to haunt your imagination and definitely not for the faint hearted. When I first saw it, it scared the bejesus out of me and continued to do so for many months afterwards. This psychological movie in the vampire genre has an eerie intensity that draws you in and keeps you there. A must have for horror and vampire fans.
Memento, starring Guy Pierce, is basically an action movie come thriller with a "mind bending script". It keeps you thinking, wondering and questioning all the way through and also keeps you firmly on the edge of your seat which is just what lovers of the psychological movie want! Guy Pierce does a wonderful job in this role and is without doubt his, as well as the director's, (Chris Nolan of Inception) best movie.
16. No Country for Old Men
No Country for Old Men is an action thriller that is creepy, thought provoking and downright weird. Javier Bardem's performance is stunning as he plays the ultimate bad guy who is as scary as hell. You definitely wouldn't want to meet him in your local gas station! One to buy if you haven't got it already. A fantastic whacked movie that gets your pulse racing!
It is a close race between which Chris Nolan movie is the better, Memento or Inception. Both are memorable, screw with your mind and are perfectly executed. Inception is clever and a psychological movie that is a definite inclusion to the list of the best of. Certainly one to keep for lovers of this type of movie.
18. Vanilla Sky
Vanilla Sky is a great movie that is essentially a love story with a very large twist. It can really play on your mind and get the watcher asking some very fundamental questions about life, love and reality - which is what we love, right? Tom Cruise and Penelope Cruz both provide wonderful performances and the cinematography is spectacular. Definitely one to watch!
19. Don Juan DeMarco
Don Juan DeMarco never received the acclaim is deserved and it was only by chance that I happened to watch it late one night on TV - I'm glad I did because it's a glorious movie that explores some very relevant questions. Johnny Depp, Marlon Brando and Faye Dunaway all deliver superb performances in this psychological movie that combines elements of comedy, drama and fantasy so well. An intriguing and captivating story line that will make you think.
20. The Fisher King
The Fisher King is a psychological drama, that also borders on comedy and involves the fantasies of the psychotic. A twisted tale that may take several viewings before it's fully understood, this is a movie whose quality seems to have been forgotten in the midsts of time for some reason. The acting from Robin Williams and Jeff Bridges is fabulous and they manage to pull off a sense of the realistically insane with ease. 100% recommend this classic.
A psychological drama in the true sense of the word, Sybil takes us into the insane world of multiple personality disorder. Based on a true story, this movie gives us a shock realization at the lengths our minds will go to avoid the pain of trauma. A powerful and engrossing movie that should be in everyone's collection.
22. Pacific Heights
A superb psychological thriller from the 1990s that didn't get as much attention as it deserved. Brilliantly suspenseful, Pacific Heights manages to keep you totally engrossed and wondering what the hell is going to happen next. Great performances from Michael Keaton (as the loonie) and Melanie Griffith bring this thriller to life.
What Type of Movie Best Explains Your Idea of a "Psychological Movie"?
The Best Psychological Movies of All Time?
So there we have it - 22 of the best psychological movies ever made that now well deserve their place in the classics aisle.
If you've got any thoughts on other movies that should be here let me know.