Entertainment

Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters  

Ranker Film
977 votes 212 voters 13.3k views 33 items

List Rules Vote up your favorite films about a lone wolf character who hasn't quite figured out this whole life thing.

 

Since loner types prefer to spent most of their time in solitude, the best way to examine their lives is at the movies. The top lone wolf movies spotlight introverted characters who struggle to identify with the bulk of society. This is a list of the greatest movies about lonely characters including everything from Taxi Driver to Rebel Without a Cause to The Wrestler.

What films will you find on this list of the best movies about lonely and pathetic characters? Into the Wild was inspired by the real-life Alaskan adventures of Chris McCandless. Emile Hirsch starred in the 2007 drama, which was based on Jon Krakauer's book of the same name. Barton Fink is another fascinating film about a loner character. Ghost World follows a pair of teenage girls as they befriend a sad loner after setting him up on a fake blind date. Other good films about loner characters include About Schmidt, Safety Not Guaranteed, and The Panic in Needle Park.

Which movie about a loner is the best? Vote your favorites up to the top of the list, and please add any good features that are missing.

 

list ordered by
1
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
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

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2
Joker is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Joaquin Phoenix, Robert De Niro, Zazie Beetz

Released: 2019

Directed by: Todd Phillips

Joker is a 2019 American crime drama film directed by Todd Phillips, based on the DC Comics character. In 1981, a failed stand-up comedian (Joaquin Phoenix) is driven insane, turning to a life ...more

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3
Into the Wild is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn, Zach Galifianakis

Released: 2007

Directed by: Sean Penn

Into the Wild is a 2007 American biographical drama survival film written and directed by Sean Penn. It is an adaptation of the 1996 non-fiction book of the same name by Jon Krakauer based on ...more

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#22 of 80 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books #49 of 145 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Madefeaturing Everything That Had To Go Wrong For Chris McCandless To Meet His Fate

4
Rebel Without a Cause is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Natalie Wood, James Dean, Dennis Hopper

Released: 1955

Directed by: Nicholas Ray

Rebel Without a Cause is a 1955 American drama film about emotionally confused suburban, middle-class teenagers. The film stars James Dean, Sal Mineo and Natalie Wood. Directed by Nicholas Ray, ...more

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5
Ghost World is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Teri Garr

Released: 2001

Directed by: Terry Zwigoff

Ghost World is a 2001 American comedy-drama film directed by Terry Zwigoff, based on the comic book of the same name by Daniel Clowes, with a screenplay cowritten by Daniel Clowes and Terry ...more

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6
The Wrestler is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Evan Rachel Wood, Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei

Released: 2008

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

The Wrestler is a 2008 American sports drama film directed by Darren Aronofsky, written by Robert D. Siegel, and starring Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei, and Evan Rachel Wood. Production began in ...more

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7
Ghost Dog: The Way of th... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
intershyte added
Forest Whitaker, Henry Silva, Victor Argo

Released: 1999

Directed by: Jim Jarmusch

Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samurai is a 1999 American action film written and directed by Jim Jarmusch. Forest Whitaker stars as the title character, the mysterious "Ghost Dog" who ...more

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8
Midnight Cowboy is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Bob Balaban

Released: 1969

Directed by: John Schlesinger

Midnight Cowboy is a 1969 American drama film based on the 1965 novel of the same name by James Leo Herlihy. The script was written by Waldo Salt, directed by John Schlesinger, and stars Jon ...more

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9
The Machinist is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
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

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10
Barton Fink is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Frances McDormand

Released: 1991

Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Barton Fink is a 1991 American period film written, produced, directed and edited by the Coen brothers. Set in 1941, it stars John Turturro in the title role as a young New York City playwright ...more

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11
Pi is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Mark Margolis, Ajay Naidu, Clint Mansell

Released: 1998

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Pi, also titled π, is a 1998 American surrealist psychological thriller film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky in his directorial debut. The film earned Aronofsky the Directing Award at ...more

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12
The Station Agent is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Michelle Williams, Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson

Released: 2003

Directed by: Thomas McCarthy

The Station Agent is a 2003 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Thomas McCarthy. McCarthy's script about a man who seeks solitude in an abandoned train station in the Newfoundland ...more

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#14 of 28 Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo #13 of 28 The Best Movies Where Nothing Really Happens #16 of 20 Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life

13
Shame is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, Nicole Beharie

Released: 2011

Directed by: Steve McQueen

Shame is a 2011 drama film written by Steve McQueen and Abi Morgan and directed by Steve McQueen. It premiered at the 2011 Venice Film Festival on September 4, 2011.

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14
The Master is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Released: 2012

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

The Master is a 2012 American drama film written, directed, and co-produced by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman, and Amy Adams. It tells the story of ...more

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15
Hard Eight is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Released: 1996

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

Hard Eight is a 1996 American neo-noir crime thriller film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson, starring Philip Baker Hall, John C. Reilly, Gwyneth Paltrow and Samuel L. Jackson. There ...more
16
A Beautiful Mind is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Coco2 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

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17
The Panic in Needle Park... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Raúl Juliá

Released: 1971

Directed by: Jerry Schatzberg

The Panic in Needle Park is a 1971 American film directed by Jerry Schatzberg and starring Al Pacino in his second film appearance. The screenplay was written by Joan Didion and John Gregory ...more

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18
Buffalo '66 is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Christina Ricci, Mickey Rourke, Anjelica Huston

Released: 1998

Directed by: Vincent Gallo

Buffalo '66 is a 1998 comedy-drama film that is writer-director Vincent Gallo's full-length motion picture debut. Gallo and Christina Ricci star in the lead roles and the supporting cast ...more

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19
Lars and the Real Girl ... is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson

Released: 2007

Directed by: Craig Gillespie

Lars and the Real Girl is a 2007 comedy-drama film directed by Craig Gillespie. A sweet but socially awkward young man (Ryan Gosling) develops a romantic yet platonic relationship with a doll.

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20
About Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, June Squibb

Released: 2002

Directed by: Alexander Payne

About Schmidt is a 2002 American comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne, starring Jack Nicholson in the title role. It is very loosely based on the 1996 novel of the same title by Louis ...more

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21
Punch-Drunk Love is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Adam Sandler, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Emily Watson

Released: 2002

Directed by: Paul Thomas Anderson

Punch-Drunk Love is a 2002 romantic comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Adam Sandler, Emily Watson, Mary Lynn Rajskub, Philip Seymour Hoffman and Luis ...more

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22
Before Sunrise is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Adam Goldberg

Released: 1995

Directed by: Richard Linklater

Before Sunrise is a 1995 American romantic drama film directed by Richard Linklater and written by Linklater and Kim Krizan. The film follows Jesse, a young American man, and Céline, a ...more

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23
Wild is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann

Released: 2014

Directed by: Jean-Marc Vallée

Wild is a 2014 American biographical drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée, written by Nick Hornby, and based on Cheryl Strayed's 2012 memoir Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific ...more
24
The Punisher is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Coco2 added
John Travolta, Rebecca Romijn, Kevin Nash

Released: 2004

Directed by: Jonathan Hensleigh

The Punisher is a 2004 American comic book vigilante action film based on the Marvel Comics character of the same name, starring Thomas Jane as the antihero Frank Castle / The Punisher and John ...more

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25
The Mountain is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Tye Sheridan, Denis Lavant, Hannah Gross

Released: 2019

Directed by: Rick Alverson

The Mountain is a 2018 American drama film directed by Rick Alverson. in the 1950s, a young photographer (Tye Sheridan) joins a renowned lobotomist (Jeff Goldblum) on a tour to promote the ...more