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25+ Great Movies About Life After a Nervous Breakdown

1.0k votes 115 voters 4.3k views26 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.

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  • Girl, Interrupted1
    101
    9

    Girl, Interrupted

    Angelina Jolie, Winona Ryder

    Released1999

    Directed byJames Mangold

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  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest2
    98
    12

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito

    Released1975

    Directed byMiloš Forman

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

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  • Black Swan3
    68
    16

    Black Swan

    Natalie Portman, Mila Kunis

    Released2010

    Directed byDarren Aronofsky

    Black Swan is a 2010 American psychological thriller-horror film directed by Darren Aronofsky...  more

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  • A Beautiful Mind4
    61
    12

    A Beautiful Mind

    Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe

    Released2001

    Directed byRon Howard

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  • It's Kind of a Funny Story5
    50
    9

    It's Kind of a Funny Story

    Emma Roberts, Viola Davis

    Released2010

    Directed byRyan Fleck, Anna Boden

    It's Kind of a Funny Story is a 2010 drama film directed by Anna Boden and Ryan Fleck. A...  more

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  • American Beauty6
    44
    22

    American Beauty

    Kevin Spacey, Annette Bening

    Released1999

    Directed bySam Mendes

    American Beauty is a 1999 American drama film directed by Sam Mendes. An advertising executive...  more

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  • Wristcutters: A Love Story7
    24
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    Wristcutters: A Love Story

    Tom Waits, Leslie Bibb

    Released2006

    Directed byGoran Dukić

    Wristcutters: A Love Story is a 2006 American black comedy romance road movie written and...  more

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  • A Streetcar Named Desire8
    33
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    A Streetcar Named Desire

    Marlon Brando, Vivien Leigh

    Released1951

    Directed byElia Kazan

    A Streetcar Named Desire is a 1951 American drama film adaptation of Tennessee Williams's...  more

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  • Rachel Getting Married9
    21
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    Rachel Getting Married

    Anne Hathaway, Debra Winger

    Released2008

    Directed byJonathan Demme

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  • Love Liza10
    19
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    Love Liza

    Kathy Bates, Philip Seymour Hoffman

    Released2002

    Directed byTodd Louiso

    Love Liza is a 2002 tragicomedy film directed by Todd Louiso and starring Philip Seymour...  more

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  • Shutter Island11
    23
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    Shutter Island

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams

    Released2010

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

    Shutter Island is a 2010 American psychological thriller film directed by Martin Scorsese. The...  more

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  • Silver Linings Playbook12
    27
    19

    Silver Linings Playbook

    Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro

    Released2012

    Directed byDavid O. Russell

    Silver Linings Playbook is a 2012 American romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by...  more

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  • Benny & Joon13
    18
    14

    Benny & Joon

    Johnny Depp, Julianne Moore

    Released1993

    Directed byJeremiah S. Chechik

    Benny & Joon is a 1993 romantic comedy film released by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer about how two...  more

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  • Cake14
    14
    9

    Cake

    Jennifer Aniston, Adriana Barraza

    Released2014

    Directed byDaniel Barnz

    Cake is a 2014 American drama film directed by Daniel Barnz. The acerbic, hilarious Claire...  more

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  • The Ward15
    16
    14

    The Ward

    Amber Heard, Lyndsy Fonseca

    Released2010

    Directed byJohn Carpenter

    The Ward is a 2010 American psychological horror film directed by John Carpenter. It stars...  more

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  • Bottle Rocket16
    11
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    Bottle Rocket

    Owen Wilson, James Caan

    Released1996

    Directed byWes Anderson

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  • Secretary17
    12
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    Secretary

    Maggie Gyllenhaal, James Spader

    Released2002

    Directed bySteven Shainberg

    Secretary is a 2002 romance film directed by Steven Shainberg and starring Maggie Gyllenhaal...  more

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  • Permanent Record18
    13
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    Permanent Record

    Keanu Reeves, Lou Reed

    Released1988

    Directed byMarisa Silver

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  • Greenberg19
    15
    18

    Greenberg

    Ben Stiller, Jennifer Jason Leigh

    Released2010

    Directed byNoah Baumbach

    Greenberg is a 2010 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Noah Baumbach. The film...  more
  • The Jacket20
    8
    9

    The Jacket

    Keira Knightley, Daniel Craig

    Released2005

    Directed byJohn Maybury

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  • Stay21
    7
    12

    Stay

    Ewan McGregor, Naomi Watts

    Released2005

    Directed byMarc Forster

    Stay is a 2005 American psychological thriller film directed by Marc Forster. A psychiatrist...  more
  • Don't Say a Word22
    3
    7

    Don't Say a Word

    Famke Janssen, Michael Douglas

    Released2001

    Directed byGary Fleder

    Don't Say a Word is a 2001 psychological thriller film starring Michael Douglas, Brittany...  more

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  • Mad Love23
    3
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    Mad Love

    Drew Barrymore, Liev Schreiber

    Released1995

    Directed byAntonia Bird

    Mad Love is a 1995 teen romantic drama film directed by Antonia Bird and starring Drew...  more

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  • The House of Yes24
    3
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    The House of Yes

    Tori Spelling, Rachael Leigh Cook

    Released1997

    Directed byMark Waters

    The House of Yes is a 1997 American film starring Parker Posey, Josh Hamilton, Geneviève...  more

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  • Welcome to Me25
    4
    14

    Welcome to Me

    Kristen Wiig, James Marsden

    Released2013

    Directed byShira Piven

    Welcome to Me is a 2014 American comedy film directed by Shira Piven and written by Eliot...  more

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