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The Best Memory Loss Movies 

Ranker Film
Updated March 17, 2020 2.2k votes 419 voters 51.7k views 44 items

List Rules Films in which characters experience memory loss, Alzheimer's disease, dementia, forgetfulness, or manipulated memories

List of the best memory loss movies, as ranked by film fans and movie critics. Films about memory loss are very popular and often critically acclaimed because, although most movie viewers don’t experience loss of memory, the themes are universal. Many of these films feature characters trying to find themselves, fix the unfixable people in their lives, or trying to relive moments that are gone forever. The characters of these films either had memory stealing car accidents or deal with dementia. In some cases they even had their memories stolen by malevolent forces.

What are the best memory loss movies ever made? The films here - all movies about memory loss - range from romantic comedies, like 50 First Dates and Overboard, to haunting thrillers, like Shutter Island and The Manchurian Candidate. A few of the films feature abstract depictions of amnesia, such as Memento and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. Even Disney's animated films Finding Nemo and Finding Dory deal with characters suffering from short term memory loss. While most of the movies include a protagonist with amnesia, a few have main characters who are dealing with a loved one suffering from dementia.

This list features the best memory loss movies of all time, ranging from heartbreaking romances, like The Notebook, to hilarious gut-busters, like The Hangover.

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1
Memento is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss, Joe Pantoliano

Released: 2000

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Memento is a 2000 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Christopher Nolan. The screenplay was written by Nolan based on his younger brother Jonathan Nolan's short story ...more

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#12 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #641 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #212 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

2
Shutter Island is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams, Mark Ruffalo

Released: 2010

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Shutter Island is a 2010 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese. The film is based on Dennis Lehane's 2003 novel of the same name. Production started in March 2008. ...more

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#4 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #73 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #236 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies

3
Inception is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard

Released: 2010

Directed by: Christopher Nolan

Inception is a 2010 science fiction thriller film written, produced, and directed by Christopher Nolan. The film stars a large ensemble cast that includes Leonardo DiCaprio, Ellen Page, Joseph ...more

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List of Movies Like Inception #9 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #195 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

4
Eternal Sunshine of the ... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey

Released: 2004

Directed by: Michel Gondry

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind is a 2004 American romantic science-fiction comedy-drama film about an estranged couple who have each other erased from their memories, written by Charlie ...more

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The Most Memorable 'Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind' Quotes #51 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
The Bourne Ultimatum is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Brian Cox

Released: 2007

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

The Bourne Ultimatum is a 2007 American-German action spy thriller film directed by Paul Greengrass loosely based on the Robert Ludlum novel of the same title. The screenplay was written by Tony ...more

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The Best Characters in the Whole Jason Bourne Franchise, Ranked #266 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
50 First Dates is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Dan Aykroyd

Released: 2004

Directed by: Peter Segal

50 First Dates is a 2004 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Segal. Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) has a history of commitment issues until he meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore) who suffers from ...more

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50 First Dates Isn't Romantic - It's About A Guy Who Takes Advantage Of A Disabled Woman #185 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #377 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

7
Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside

Released: 1990

Directed by: Paul Verhoeven

Total Recall is a 1990 American science fiction action film directed by Paul Verhoeven. In 2084, a construction worker, Douglas Quaid (Arnold Schwarzenegger), suddenly finds himself embroiled in ...more

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Every Warning Sci-Fi Writer Philip K. Dick Gave Us About Technology That Is Coming True #137 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #15 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made

8
Finding Nemo is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Ellen DeGeneres, Willem Dafoe, Eric Bana

Released: 2003

Directed by: Andrew Stanton, Lee Unkrich

Finding Nemo is a 2003 American computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. Written and directed by Andrew Stanton, it ...more

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#20 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #29 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
The Bourne Identity is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Matt Damon, Clive Owen, Julia Stiles

Released: 2002

Directed by: Doug Liman

The Bourne Identity is a 2002 American-German action spy film adaptation of Robert Ludlum's novel of the same name. It stars Matt Damon as Jason Bourne, a man suffering from extreme memory loss ...more

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The Best Characters in the Whole Jason Bourne Franchise, Ranked #102 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #104 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

10
The Notebook is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Rachel McAdams, Ryan Gosling, James Garner

Released: 2004

Directed by: Nick Cassavetes

The Notebook is a 2004 American romantic drama film directed by Nick Cassavetes and based on the novel of the same name by Nicholas Sparks. The film stars Ryan Gosling and Rachel McAdams as a ...more

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These Quotes From 'The Notebook' Will Have You In Tears #117 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #224 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

11
The Hangover is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Mike Tyson, Bradley Cooper, Heather Graham

Released: 2009

Directed by: Todd Phillips

The Hangover is a 2009 American comedy film, co-produced and directed by Todd Phillips and written by Jon Lucas and Scott Moore. It is the first film of The Hangover trilogy. The film stars ...more

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#92 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #8 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #31 of 1,211 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

12
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer

Released: 1995

Directed by: Terry Gilliam

12 Monkeys, also known as Twelve Monkeys, is a 1995 American science fiction film directed by Terry Gilliam, inspired by Chris Marker's 1962 short film La Jetée, and starring Bruce ...more

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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From '12 Monkeys' #27 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #188 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

13
Overboard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Roddy McDowall

Released: 1987

Directed by: Garry Marshall

Overboard is a 1987 American romantic comedy film starring Goldie Hawn and Kurt Russell. It was directed by Garry Marshall, produced by Roddy McDowall, and loosely inspired by the 1974 Italian ...more

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#78 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #74 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #156 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

14
While You Were Sleeping ... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Sandra Bullock, Monica Keena, Bill Pullman

Released: 1995

Directed by: Jon Turteltaub

While You Were Sleeping is a 1995 romantic comedy film directed by Jon Turteltaub and written by Daniel G. Sullivan and Frederic Lebow. It stars Sandra Bullock as Lucy, a Chicago Transit ...more

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#162 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #46 of 802 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #203 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies

15
The Bourne Supremacy is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Michelle Monaghan

Released: 2004

Directed by: Paul Greengrass

The Bourne Supremacy is a 2004 American-German action and spy film starring Robert Ludlum's Jason Bourne character. Though it takes the name of the second Bourne novel, its plot is entirely ...more

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16
Finding Dory is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence

Released: 2016

Directed by: Andrew Stanton

Finding Dory is a 2016 American 3D computer-animated comedy adventure film directed by Andrew Stanton, and a sequel to Finding Nemo. The friendly but forgetful blue tang fish, Dory (Ellen ...more

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#19 of 601 The Best Animated Films Ever #982 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #158 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

17
Hancock is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Charlize Theron, Will Smith, Jason Bateman

Released: 2008

Directed by: Peter Berg

Hancock, formerly known as John Hancock and Tonight, He Comes, is an superhero film directed by Peter Berg and starring Will Smith, Jason Bateman and Charlize Theron. Will Smith portrays an old ...more

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18
The Manchurian Candidate... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh

Released: 1962

Directed by: John Frankenheimer

The Manchurian Candidate is a 1962 American Cold War suspense thriller directed by John Frankenheimer that stars Frank Sinatra, Laurence Harvey and Janet Leigh and co-stars Angela Lansbury, ...more

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#64 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #733 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #292 of 599 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

19
Mulholland Drive is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George

Released: 2001

Directed by: David Lynch

Mulholland Drive is a 2001 American neo-noir mystery film written and directed by David Lynch and starring Naomi Watts, Laura Harring, and Justin Theroux. It tells the story of an aspiring ...more

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#65 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #640 of 852 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #871 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

20
Regarding Henry is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Harrison Ford, Annette Bening, J.J. Abrams

Released: 1991

Directed by: Mike Nichols

Regarding Henry is a 1991 American film drama starring Harrison Ford and Annette Bening, directed by Mike Nichols. The screenplay by J. J. Abrams focuses on a New York City lawyer who struggles ...more
21
The Long Kiss Goodnight ... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
mikeville66 added Samuel L. Jackson, Geena Davis, Brian Cox

Released: 1996

Directed by: Renny Harlin

The Long Kiss Goodnight is a 1996 action film directed and produced by Renny Harlin, written and produced by Shane Black and starring Geena Davis and Samuel L. Jackson.

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#849 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #539 of 802 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #141 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

22
The Vow is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Jessica Lange

Released: 2012

Directed by: Michael Sucsy

The Vow is a 2012 romantic drama film directed by Michael Sucsy, starring Channing Tatum and Rachel McAdams. The film is inspired by the true story of Kim and Krickitt Carpenter. The Vow was a ...more
23
Angel Heart is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
mikeville66 added Robert De Niro, Mickey Rourke, Lisa Bonet

Released: 1987

Directed by: Alan Parker

Angel Heart is a 1987 American horror mystery film written and directed by Alan Parker, and starring Mickey Rourke, Robert De Niro, and Lisa Bonet. The film, adapted from the novel Falling Angel ...more

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#314 of 852 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time #318 of 571 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #58 of 63 Movies You Wish You Could Still Watch for the First Time

24
The Machinist is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
crystalplumage707 added Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside

Released: 2004

Directed by: Brad Anderson

The Machinist is a 2004 English-language Spanish psychological thriller film directed by Brad Anderson and written by Scott Kosar. The film stars Christian Bale with Jennifer Jason Leigh, John ...more

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#25 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #33 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #407 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time

25
Still Alice is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin, Julianne Moore

Released: 2015

Directed by: Richard Glatzer, Wash Westmoreland

Still Alice is an upcoming 2015 drama film written by Lisa Genova and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland.