Watchworthy

The Best Movies About Mental Illness 

Ranker Film
Originally by
Updated June 19, 2020 23.8k votes 2.1k voters 78.9k 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. You can also find several good mental illness movies on Netflix. 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 

#23 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #185 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

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 

#19 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #669 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #13 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

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 

#704 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #148 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Shutter Island is listed (or ranked) 4 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 

#5 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #73 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #244 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies

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 

#37 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #195 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
What's Eating Gilbert Gr... is listed (or ranked) 6 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 

The Most Memorable Quotes From 'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' #62 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #406 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

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 

#57 of 522 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #86 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movieslisted 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 

16 Utterly Bizarre Things You Didn't Know About The Shining #3 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #15 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books

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 

#80 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #574 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #187 of 693 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 

Travel Through Time With The Best 'Donnie Darko' Quotes #612 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #206 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guys

11
As Good as It Gets is listed (or ranked) 11 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 

#204 of 1,138 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #120 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
A Clockwork Orange is listed (or ranked) 12 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 

Kubrick And Codpieces: Behind The Scenes Of 'A Clockwork Orange' #43 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #582 of 784 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

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 

#125 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #53 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #131 of 199 The Biggest Tearjerker Movies of All Time

14
American Beauty is listed (or ranked) 14 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 

#605 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #253 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 15 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 

12 Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'Taxi Driver' That Are As Wild As The Film Itself #29 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #676 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

16
Sybil is listed (or ranked) 16 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.
17
Little Miss Sunshine is listed (or ranked) 17 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 

#93 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies #707 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

18
Memento is listed (or ranked) 18 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 

#11 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #645 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #10 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings

19
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
Michael Corbett added Christian Bale, Willem Dafoe, Jared Leto

Released: 2000

Directed by: Mary Harron

American Psycho is a 2000 American neo-noir satirical psychological horror film directed by Mary Harron, based on the 1991 novel by Bret Easton Ellis. Wealthy New York City investment banking ...more

More American Psycho 

#14 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #122 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #525 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

20
What About Bob? is listed (or ranked) 20 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? 

#321 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #58 of 1,138 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #113 of 923 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

21
Awakenings is listed (or ranked) 21 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 

#290 of 693 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #115 of 276 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry #275 of 363 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime

22
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 

#19 of 568 The Best Animated Films Ever #13 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

23
Ranker Video
Emmy Rossum, Sean Penn, Kevin Bacon

Released: 2003

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Mystic River is a 2003 American mystery drama film directed and scored by Clint Eastwood. It stars Sean Penn, Tim Robbins, Kevin Bacon, Laurence Fishburne, Marcia Gay Harden, and Laura Linney. ...more

More Mystic River 

#20 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #317 of 481 The Greatest Movies for Guyslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

24
The Machinist is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Mental Illness
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

More The Machinist 

#26 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #32 of 134 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #22 of 127 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

25
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. Henry Roth (Adam Sandler) has a history of commitment issues until he meets Lucy (Drew Barrymore) who suffers from ...more

More 50 First Dates 

50 First Dates Isn't Romantic - It's About A Guy Who Takes Advantage Of A Disabled Woman #187 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #153 of 1,138 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time