watchworthy presents

The Best Movies About Mental Illness 

Ranker Film
Originally by
Updated March 17, 2020 23.3k votes 2k voters 76.8k views 118 items

List Rules Films about mental illness and people who suffer from it. Vote up the best mental illness films.

This list features the best movies about mental illnesses. The films on this list cover an array of different mental illnesses, such as amnesia, clinical depression, autism, anxiety disorders, and many more. But what are the best movies about mental illness? Which films tackle the issue the best? Vote up the best films below and see where your favorites rank.
 
The movies on this list cover very important topics in our society, and range from a variety of genres. Some take more of a realistic, dramatic look at what happens when a person suffers from a mental illness and how it affects their loved ones. Others are fictional and put a comedic twist on these very common problems. All tell the story of a character struggling with a mental illness.
 
This list has the best movies about mental illness including, As Good As it Gets, Saving Private Ryan, Little Miss Sunshine, Black Swan, The King’s Speech, What Dreams May Come, and What’s Eating Gilbert Grape. Vote up your favorites below or add a film about mental illness that isn't already on the list.
Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
One Flew Over the Cuckoo... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
but chickens double d added Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd

Released: 1975

Directed by: Miloš Forman

One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a 1975 drama film written by Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman and directed by Miloš Forman.

More One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest 

#229 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #122 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes

2
Black Swan is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder

Released: 2010

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller-horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky and starring Natalie Portman, Vincent Cassel, and Mila Kunis. The plot revolves around a production ...more

More Black Swan 

#22 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #309 of 373 The Best Musical Movies of All Time

3
Girl, Interrupted is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
MejaEhrenström added Angelina Jolie, Winona Ryder, Whoopi Goldberg

Released: 1999

Directed by: James Mangold

Girl, Interrupted is a 1999 American drama film, and an adaptation of Susanna Kaysen's 1993 memoir of the same name. The film chronicles Kaysen's 18-month stay at a mental institution. Directed ...more

More Girl, Interrupted 

#667 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #2 of 80 The Best Movies About Depressionlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
What's Eating Gilbert Gr... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
Johnny Depp, Leonardo DiCaprio, Juliette Lewis

Released: 1993

Directed by: Lasse Hallström

What's Eating Gilbert Grape is a 1993 American drama film directed by Lasse Hallström and starring Johnny Depp, Juliette Lewis, Darlene Cates, and Leonardo DiCaprio. Peter Hedges wrote the ...more

More What's Eating Gilbert Grape 

#281 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #146 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

5
A Beautiful Mind is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
but chickens double d added Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Ron Howard

Released: 2001

Directed by: Ron Howard

A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American biographical drama film based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. The film was directed by Ron Howard, from a screenplay written by Akiva ...more

More A Beautiful Mind 

#42 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #14 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endingslisted on Movies That Won Best Picture at the Oscars and Golden Globes

6
Shutter Island is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
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

More Shutter Island 

#105 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #3 of 23 The Best Movies That Sort of Leave You Hanging

7
Rain Man is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Valeria Golino

Released: 1988

Directed by: Barry Levinson

Rain Man is a 1988 American drama film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass. It tells the story of an abrasive and selfish yuppie, Charlie Babbitt, who ...more

More Rain Man 

#320 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #185 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
The Shining is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, Scatman Crothers

Released: 1980

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

The Shining is a 1980 British-American psychological horror film produced and directed by Stanley Kubrick, co-written with novelist Diane Johnson, and starring Jack Nicholson, Shelley Duvall, ...more

More The Shining 

#6 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #61 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies 16 Utterly Bizarre Things You Didn't Know About The Shining

9
Silver Linings Playbook ... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
MarySSpiegel added Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper

Released: 2012

Directed by: David O. Russell

Silver Linings Playbook is a 2012 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by David O. Russell, adapted from the novel The Silver Linings Playbook by Matthew Quick. The film ...more

More Silver Linings Playbook 

#103 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #149 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

10
Donnie Darko is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
but chickens double d added Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale, Jake Gyllenhaal

Released: 2001

Directed by: Richard Kelly

Donnie Darko is a 2001 American supernatural drama film written and directed by Richard Kelly and starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Drew Barrymore, Patrick Swayze, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Noah Wyle, Jena ...more

More Donnie Darko 

#290 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #215 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys Travel Through Time With The Best 'Donnie Darko' Quotes

11
A Clockwork Orange is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
but chickens double d added Malcolm McDowell, Warren Clarke, Steven Berkoff

Released: 1971

Directed by: Stanley Kubrick

A Clockwork Orange is a 1971 dystopian crime film adapted, produced, and directed by Stanley Kubrick, based on Anthony Burgess's 1962 novella A Clockwork Orange. It employs disturbing, violent ...more

More A Clockwork Orange 

#51 of 363 The Best Movies Based On Books #955 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies Kubrick And Codpieces: Behind The Scenes Of 'A Clockwork Orange'

12
The Perks of Being a Wal... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
Emma Watson, Nina Dobrev, Paul Rudd

Released: 2012

Directed by: Stephen Chbosky

The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a 2012 American coming-of-age comedy-drama film, and an adaptation of the 1999 epistolary novel of the same name; it was written and directed by the novel's ...more

More The Perks of Being a Wallflower 

#117 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #75 of 344 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

13
I Am Sam is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
Sean Penn, Dakota Fanning, Michelle Pfeiffer

Released: 2001

Directed by: Jessie Nelson

I Am Sam is a 2001 American drama film directed by Jessie Nelson. A mentally handicapped man (Sean Penn) fights for custody of his 7-year-old daughter (Dakota Fanning) and in the process teaches ...more

More I Am Sam 

#52 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #97 of 199 The Biggest Tearjerker Movies of All Time #115 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time

14
As Good as It Gets is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
Jack Nicholson, Helen Hunt, Julie Benz

Released: 1997

Directed by: James L. Brooks

As Good as It Gets is a 1997 American romantic comedy film directed by James L. Brooks and produced by Laura Ziskin. It stars Jack Nicholson as a misanthropic, homophobic, racist, ...more

More As Good as It Gets 

#116 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #438 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Timelisted on The Highest Grossing 90s Movies

15
Sybil is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
Sally Field, Joanne Woodward, Brad Davis

Released: 1976

Directed by: Daniel Petrie

Sybil is a 1976 American drama film that originally aired as a made-for-television miniseries. It is based on the book of the same name.
16
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
but chickens double d added Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Martin Scorsese

Released: 1976

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

Taxi Driver is a 1976 American neo-noir psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader. Set in New York City soon after the end of the Vietnam War, the film ...more

More Taxi Driver 

#522 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #95 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys 12 Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'Taxi Driver' That Are As Wild As The Film Itself

17
American Beauty is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Mena Suvari

Released: 1999

Directed by: Sam Mendes

American Beauty is a 1999 American drama film directed by Sam Mendes. An advertising executive (Kevin Spacey) has a midlife crisis when he becomes infatuated with his teenage daughter's best ...more

More American Beauty 

#292 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #42 of 344 Movies with the Best Soundtrackslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

18
Little Miss Sunshine is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
Steve Carell, Bryan Cranston, Toni Collette

Released: 2006

Directed by: Valerie Faris, Jonathan Dayton

Little Miss Sunshine is a 2006 American comedy-drama road film and the directorial film debut of the husband-wife team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. The screenplay was written by ...more

More Little Miss Sunshine 

#168 of 803 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #173 of 1,199 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
What About Bob? is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
but chickens double d added Bill Murray, Richard Dreyfuss, Charlie Korsmo

Released: 1991

Directed by: Frank Oz

What About Bob? is a 1991 comedy film directed by Frank Oz, and starring Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss. Murray plays Bob Wiley, a psychiatric patient who follows his egotistical psychiatrist ...more

More What About Bob? 

#529 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #64 of 1,199 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time

20
Memento is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
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

More Memento 

#7 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #10 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings

21
What Ever Happened to Ba... is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
punksnotdead added Bette Davis, Joan Crawford, Robert Aldrich

Released: 1962

Directed by: Robert Aldrich

What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? is a 1962 American psychological thriller film produced and directed by Robert Aldrich, starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford about an actress who holds her ...more

More What Ever Happened to Baby Jane? 

#81 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #149 of 804 The Best Horror Movies Of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

22
Awakenings is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
looksharp added Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Vin Diesel

Released: 1990

Directed by: Penny Marshall

Awakenings is a 1990 American drama film based on Oliver Sacks' 1973 memoir of the same title. It tells the true story of British neurologist Oliver Sacks, fictionalized as American Malcolm ...more

More Awakenings 

#90 of 292 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #146 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

23
Ranker Video
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 and written by George Wing. The film stars Adam Sandler as a lothario veterinarian and Drew Barrymore as an ...more

More 50 First Dates 

#162 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #150 of 1,199 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time 50 First Dates Isn't Romantic - It's About A Guy Who Takes Advantage Of A Disabled Woman

24
The Aviator is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
looksharp added Kate Beckinsale, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwen Stefani

Released: 2004

Directed by: Martin Scorsese

The Aviator is a 2004 American biographical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, written by John Logan and produced by Michael Mann, Sandy Climan, Graham King, and Charles Evans, Jr.. It ...more

More The Aviator 

#249 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time #63 of 68 The Best Movies That Are Super Longlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

25
Ranker Video
but chickens double d added 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

More Finding Nemo 

#56 of 598 The Best Animated Films Ever #129 of 1,199 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever