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The Best Movies About Memory Manipulation

Updated September 27, 2019 959 votes 156 voters 15.0k views28 items

List RulesFilms in which characters are implanted with false memories or have their thoughts erased or zapped

List of the best movies about memory manipulation, as ranked by movie fans and critics. Memory is a very powerful thing. It controls how we feel about ourselves and others. So when somebody has the power to manipulate a person’s memory, they have the power to control their thoughts and how they act around others. It’s a power that can be abused and end up hurting people greatly. That’s why memory manipulation is an interesting concept for a film.Characters who can manipulate memories are fascinating villains, while those who have been implanted with false memories are dangerous because there’s no telling who they are really.

The movies on this list feature characters that don’t know anything is wrong with their memories, those who are fighting to understand why their memories seem wrong, and even those who are manipulating their own minds,like in Memento. In movies like Inception, it’s the main characters who are doing the mind manipulation. In other films, like Overboard, characters are abusing somebody’s amnesia for personal gain.

What are the best movies about memory manipulation or false memories? This list features the best movies where characters cannot trust what they remember and those who enjoy messing with other’s memories.

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  • 1
    Memento
    48
    16

    Memento

    Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss

    Released2000

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

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  • 2
    Inception
    46
    16

    Inception

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

    Released2010

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

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  • 3
    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind
    39
    11

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

    Kate Winslet, Kirsten Dunst

    Released2004

    Directed byMichel Gondry

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  • 4
    Shutter Island
    38
    14

    Shutter Island

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams

    Released2010

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

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  • 5
    Blade Runner
    35
    11

    Blade Runner

    Harrison Ford, Daryl Hannah

    Released1982

    Directed byRidley Scott

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  • 6
    The Forgotten
    27
    10

    The Forgotten

    Julianne Moore, Gary Sinise

    Released2004

    Directed byJoseph Ruben

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  • 7
    Total Recall
    30
    13

    Total Recall

    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone

    Released1990

    Directed byPaul Verhoeven

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  • 8
    Moon
    23
    9

    Moon

    Kevin Spacey, Mary Tyler Moore

    Released2009

    Directed byDuncan Jones

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  • 9
    The Island
    24
    11

    The Island

    Scarlett Johansson, Ewan McGregor

    Released2005

    Directed byMichael Bay

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  • 10
    The Butterfly Effect
    27
    16

    The Butterfly Effect

    Ashton Kutcher, Amy Smart

    Released2004

    Directed byJ. Mackye Gruber, Eric Bress

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  • 11
    Dark City
    23
    11

    Dark City

    Jennifer Connelly, Kiefer Sutherland

    Released1998

    Directed byAlex Proyas

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  • 12
    Paycheck
    26
    17

    Paycheck

    Ben Affleck, Uma Thurman

    Released2003

    Directed byJohn Woo

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  • 13
    Pandorum
    17
    9

    Pandorum

    Dennis Quaid, Norman Reedus

    Released2009

    Directed byChristian Alvart

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  • 14
    Existenz
    15
    8

    Existenz

    Jude Law, Willem Dafoe

    Released1999

    Directed byDavid Cronenberg

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  • 15
    Secret Obsession
    2
    2

    Secret Obsession

    Brenda Song, Mike Vogel

    Released2019

    Directed byPeter Sullivan

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  • 16
    Overboard
    19
    14

    Overboard

    Goldie Hawn, Kurt Russell

    Released1987

    Directed byGarry Marshall

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  • 17
    Men in Black
    23
    20

    Men in Black

    Will Smith, Sylvester Stallone

    Released1997

    Directed byBarry Sonnenfeld

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  • 18
    10 Minutes Gone
    2
    2

    10 Minutes Gone

    Bruce Willis, Michael Chiklis

    Released2019

    Directed byBrian A. Miller

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  • 19
    Total Recall
    22
    19

    Total Recall

    Kate Beckinsale, Jessica Biel

    Released2012

    Directed byLen Wiseman

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  • 20
    The Manchurian Candidate
    22
    21

    The Manchurian Candidate

    Frank Sinatra, Angela Lansbury

    Released1962

    Directed byJohn Frankenheimer

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  • 21
    Unknown
    10
    6

    Unknown

    Diane Kruger, Liam Neeson

    Released2011

    Directed byJaume Collet-Serra

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  • 22
    The Bourne Identity
    23
    23

    The Bourne Identity

    Matt Damon, Clive Owen

    Released2002

    Directed byDoug Liman

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  • 23
    50 First Dates
    20
    19

    50 First Dates

    Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler

    Released2004

    Directed byPeter Segal

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  • 24
    The Manchurian Candidate
    12
    8

    The Manchurian Candidate

    Meryl Streep, Liev Schreiber

    Released2004

    Directed byJonathan Demme

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  • 25
    Trance
    10
    8

    Trance

    Rosario Dawson, James McAvoy

    Released2013

    Directed byDanny Boyle

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