Entertainment

The Best Memory Loss Movies  

Ranker Film
2.1k votes 411 voters 50.8k views 43 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.

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

More Memento

#7 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #3 of 156 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made #10 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings

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

More Shutter Island

#5 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #58 of 145 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made #105 of 347 The Best Movies Based On Books

3
Eternal Sunshine of the ... is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst, Jim Carrey
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

More Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

#56 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #98 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Inception is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Marion Cotillard
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

More Inception

#10 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #24 of 59 Every Movie Coming To Netflix In January 2020featuring List of Movies Like Inception

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

More The Bourne Ultimatum

#301 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Moviesfeaturing The Best Characters in the Whole Jason Bourne Franchise, Rankedlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
Total Recall is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside
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

More Total Recall

#224 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #19 of 155 The Best Science Fiction Action Moviesfeaturing Every Warning Sci-Fi Writer Philip K. Dick Gave Us About Technology That Is Coming True

7
Finding Nemo is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Ellen DeGeneres, Willem Dafoe, Eric Bana
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

More Finding Nemo

#3 of 599 The Best Animated Films Ever #101 of 997 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Filmslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
50 First Dates is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler, Dan Aykroyd
50 First Dates is a 2004 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Segal and written by George Wing. The film stars Adam Sandler as a lothario veterinarian and Drew Barrymore as an ...more

More 50 First Dates

#75 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #162 of 997 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Filmsfeaturing 50 First Dates Isn't Romantic - It's About A Guy Who Takes Advantage Of A Disabled Woman

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

More The Bourne Identity

#100 of 347 The Best Movies Based On Books #111 of 582 The Greatest Film Scores of All Timefeaturing The Best Characters in the Whole Jason Bourne Franchise, Ranked

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

More The Notebook

#306 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #23 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cryfeaturing These Quotes From 'The Notebook' Will Have You In Tears

11
12 Monkeys is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Brad Pitt, Bruce Willis, Christopher Plummer
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

More 12 Monkeys

#33 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #170 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimefeaturing Behind-The-Scenes Stories From '12 Monkeys'

12
Finding Dory is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Ellen DeGeneres, Albert Brooks, Hayden Rolence
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

More Finding Dory

#86 of 599 The Best Animated Films Ever #181 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #105 of 180 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made

13
While You Were Sleeping ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Sandra Bullock, Monica Keena, Bill Pullman
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

More While You Were Sleeping

#95 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #184 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #57 of 808 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

14
The Hangover is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Mike Tyson, Bradley Cooper, Heather Graham
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

More The Hangover

#9 of 997 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #58 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time #95 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

15
Overboard is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell, Roddy McDowall
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

More Overboard

#220 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #96 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #90 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked

16
The Bourne Supremacy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Matt Damon, Julia Stiles, Michelle Monaghan
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

More The Bourne Supremacy

#19 of 180 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Made #129 of 582 The Greatest Film Scores of All Timefeaturing The Best Characters in the Whole Jason Bourne Franchise, Ranked

17
The Manchurian Candidate... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury, Janet Leigh
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

More The Manchurian Candidate

#37 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #294 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time #17 of 22 The Most Important "Firsts" In Film History

18
Hancock is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Charlize Theron, Will Smith, Jason Bateman
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

More Hancock

#878 of 997 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #438 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #66 of 183 The Best Superhero Movies Ever Made

19
Still Alice is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Kristen Stewart, Alec Baldwin, Julianne Moore
Still Alice is an upcoming 2015 drama film written by Lisa Genova and directed by Richard Glatzer and Wash Westmoreland.
20
Mulholland Drive is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Naomi Watts, Billy Ray Cyrus, Melissa George
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

More Mulholland Drive

#30 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #1 of 156 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made #555 of 771 The Best Horror Movies of All Time

21
Regarding Henry is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Harrison Ford, Annette Bening, J.J. Abrams
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
22
The Vow is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum, Jessica Lange
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
Jason Bourne is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Matt Damon, Tommy Lee Jones, Alicia Vikander
Jason Bourne is a 2016 American action thriller film directed and written by Paul Greengrass and film editor Christopher Rouse. The fifth installment of the Bourne film series and the direct ...more

More Jason Bourne

#20 of 118 The Very Best Movie Franchises #530 of 601 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made #49 of 177 The Very Best Movies of 2016, Ranked

24
The Number 23 is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Jim Carrey, Rhona Mitra, Logan Lerman
The Number 23 is a 2007 American psychological thriller film written by Fernley Phillips and directed by Joel Schumacher. Starring Jim Carrey, the film was released in the United States on ...more

More The Number 23

#38 of 156 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made #25 of 59 The Best Serious Movies Starring Comedians #15 of 49 The Best Movies About Split Personalities

25
Spellbound is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Memory Loss Movies
Ingrid Bergman, Gregory Peck, Alfred Hitchcock
Spellbound is a 1945 American psychological mystery thriller film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. It tells the story of the new head of a mental asylum who turns out not to be what he claims. The ...more

More Spellbound

#120 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #329 of 582 The Greatest Film Scores of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever