Entertainment

25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown  

Ranker Film
494 votes 112 voters 3.8k views 26 items

Everyone from con artists to business executives to former musicians have suffered an onscreen nervous breakdown. The top mental break movies feature characters dealing with anger issues, personal baggage, and depression. This is a list of mental hospital movies featuring everything from Silver Linings Playbook to Welcome to Me to A Streetcar Named Desire.

What movies will you find on this list of the best flicks about life after a nervous breakdown? One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is an enduring classic of the genre. Randle McMurphy (Jack Nicholson) enters a mental institution to avoid a tough jail sentence, but his sanity is pushed to the limits by the domineering staff. American Beauty is another great movie that features several characters at different stages of mental breakdowns. The newer hit Greenberg follows a middle-aged man re-entering the world after spending some time in a mental hospital. Other good films featured on this roundup of the top nervous breakdown movies include Secretary, Black Swan, and Stay.

Do you have a favorite mental illness movie? Give the best films a thumbs up and please add any good movies that are missing.

list ordered by
1
Girl, Interrupted is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Angelina Jolie, Winona Ryder, Whoopi Goldberg
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

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#155 of 808 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #35 of 145 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

2
One Flew Over the Cuckoo... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito, Christopher Lloyd
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a 1975 drama film written by Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman and directed by Miloš Forman.

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#755 of 997 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #148 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

3
A Beautiful Mind is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, 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

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#23 of 80 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Booksfeaturing 'A Beautiful Mind' Left Out A Lot About The Life And Relationships Of John Nashlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Black Swan is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis, Winona Ryder
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

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#22 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #309 of 371 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #657 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

5
Silver Linings Playbook ... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper
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

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#537 of 997 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films #149 of 808 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #103 of 347 The Best Movies Based On Books

6
Shutter Island is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
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

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#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

7
It's Kind of a Funny Sto... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Emma Roberts, Lauren Graham, Zach Galifianakis
It's Kind of a Funny Story is a 2010 drama film directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck.

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#75 of 78 The Best Film Adaptations of Young Adult Novels #121 of 250 The Best Teen Romance Movies #3 of 81 The Best Movies About Depression

8
Benny & Joon is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Johnny Depp, Julianne Moore, William H. Macy
Benny & Joon is a 1993 romantic comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer about how two eccentric individuals, Sam and Juniper "Joon", find each other and fall in love. Aidan ...more

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#197 of 630 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies #157 of 808 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #210 of 460 The Most Quotable Movies of All Time

9
American Beauty is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening, Mena Suvari
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

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#26 of 59 Every Movie Coming To Netflix In January 2020 #169 of 291 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Crylisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

10
Wristcutters: A Love Sto... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Wristcutters: A Love Story Tom Waits, Leslie Bibb, Will Arnett
Wristcutters: A Love Story is a 2006 American black comedy romance road movie written and directed by Goran Dukić, starring Patrick Fugit, Shea Whigham, and Shannyn Sossamon. Its premise is set ...more
11
Secretary is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Spader, Lesley Ann Warren
Secretary is a 2002 romance film directed by Steven Shainberg and starring Maggie Gyllenhaal as Lee Holloway and James Spader as E. Edward Grey. The film is based on a short story from Bad ...more

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#276 of 808 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #28 of 75 50+ Quirky Romance Movies That Are Unique in Their Own Way #4 of 140 The Most Awkward Movies to Watch with Your Parents

12
A Streetcar Named Desire... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh, Karl Malden
A Streetcar Named Desire is a 1951 American drama film adaptation of Tennessee Williams's Pulitzer Prize-winning 1947 play of the same name. It is the story of a southern lady, Blanche Dubois, ...more

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#245 of 808 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #78 of 145 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
Love Liza is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Kathy Bates, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Stephen Tobolowsky
Love Liza is a 2002 tragicomedy film directed by Todd Louiso and starring Philip Seymour Hoffman, Kathy Bates, Jack Kehler, Wayne Duvall, Sarah Koskoff and Stephen Tobolowsky.

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#116 of 145 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Made #116 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #27 of 33 Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters

14
Rachel Getting Married ... is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Anne Hathaway, Debra Winger, Sebastian Stan
Rachel Getting Married is a 2008 drama film directed by Jonathan Demme, and starring Anne Hathaway, Rosemarie DeWitt, Bill Irwin and Debra Winger. The film was released in the U.S. to select ...more
15
The Jacket is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Keira Knightley, Daniel Craig, Jennifer Jason Leigh
The Jacket is a 2005 psychological thriller film directed by John Maybury that is partly based on the Jack London novel The Star Rover. Massy Tadjedin wrote the screenplay based on a story by ...more

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#226 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #88 of 156 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made #12 of 25 The Best Horror Movies About Time Travel

16
Cake is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
17
The Ward is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Amber Heard, Lyndsy Fonseca, Danielle Panabaker
The Ward is a 2010 American psychological horror film directed by John Carpenter. It stars Amber Heard, Mamie Gummer, Danielle Panabaker and Jared Harris. The story revolves around a young ...more

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#10 of 46 The Best Horror Movies About Hospitals and Mental Asylums #34 of 49 The Best Movies About Split Personalities #124 of 200 The Best R-Rated Psychological Thriller Movies

18
Bottle Rocket is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Owen Wilson, James Caan, Leslie Mann
Bottle Rocket is a 1996 American comedy film directed by Wes Anderson. It was co-written by Anderson and Owen Wilson. In addition to being Wes Anderson's directorial debut, Bottle Rocket was the ...more

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19
Greenberg is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Ben Stiller, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Dave Franco
Greenberg is a 2010 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Noah Baumbach. The film stars Ben Stiller, Greta Gerwig, Rhys Ifans and Jennifer Jason Leigh. Greenberg was produced by ...more
20
Permanent Record is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Keanu Reeves, Lou Reed, Kathy Baker
Permanent Record is a 1988 American drama film starring Pamela Gidley, Michelle Meyrink, Keanu Reeves, Jennifer Rubin, and Alan Boyce. It was filmed on location in Portland, Oregon and Yaquina ...more

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21
Mad Love is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Drew Barrymore, Liev Schreiber, Chris O'Donnell
Mad Love is a 1995 teen romantic drama film directed by Antonia Bird and starring Drew Barrymore and Chris O'Donnell. The screenplay was written by Paula Milne. The original music score is ...more

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#197 of 198 The Biggest Tearjerker Movies of All Time #25 of 34 Great Movies About a Mental Breakdown #210 of 373 The Best Movies Directed by Women

22
Don't Say a Word is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Famke Janssen, Michael Douglas, Brittany Murphy
Don't Say a Word is a 2001 psychological thriller film starring Michael Douglas, Brittany Murphy and Sean Bean based on the novel of the same title by Andrew Klavan. Don't Say a Word was ...more

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#92 of 258 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #42 of 89 Best Kidnapping Movies & Hostage Movies of All Time, Ranked #80 of 200 The Best R-Rated Psychological Thriller Movies

23
Stay is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts, Ryan Gosling
Stay is a 2005 American psychological thriller film directed by Marc Forster. A psychiatrist (Ewan McGregor) tries prevent one of his patients (Ryan Gosling) from committing suicide while trying ...more

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#3 of 22 The Most Pretentious Horror Movies Ever Made #235 of 387 The Best Movies to Watch While Stoned #37 of 70 The Best Mindf*ck Movies

24
The House of Yes is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Tori Spelling, Rachael Leigh Cook, Parker Posey
The House of Yes is a 1997 American film starring Parker Posey, Josh Hamilton, Geneviève Bujold, Freddie Prinze, Jr. and Tori Spelling. The movie is based on the play of the same name, ...more

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25
Welcome to Me is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list 25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown
Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Linda Cardellini
Welcome to Me is a 2014 American comedy film directed by Shira Piven and written by Eliot Laurence. The film stars Kristen Wiig, James Marsden, Linda Cardellini and Wes Bentley. The film is ...more