Entertainment Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters  

Ranker Film
677 votes 137 voters 10.6k views 29 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
53 10
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, 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
2
35 12
Into the Wild is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn, Zach Galifianakis
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
3
11 4
A Beautiful Mind is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Coco2 added 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
4
12 5
Ghost Dog: The Way of the Samu... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
intershyte added Forest Whitaker, Henry Silva, Victor Argo
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
5
11 5
Rambo is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Coco2 added Sylvester Stallone, Julie Benz, Graham McTavish
Rambo is a 2008 American-German independent action film directed, co-written by and starring Sylvester Stallone reprising his famous role as veteran John Rambo. It is the fourth installment in ...more
6
13 7
Before Sunrise is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Ethan Hawke, Julie Delpy, Adam Goldberg
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
7
15 9
Shame is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Michael Fassbender, Carey Mulligan, Nicole Beharie
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.
8
16 10
Pi is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Mark Margolis, Ajay Naidu, Clint Mansell
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
9
19 13
Lars and the Real Girl is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Patricia Clarkson
Lars and the Real Girl is a 2007 American-Canadian comedy-drama film written by Nancy Oliver and directed by Craig Gillespie. It stars Ryan Gosling, Emily Mortimer, Paul Schneider, Kelli Garner ...more
10
20 14
Punch-Drunk Love is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Adam Sandler, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Emily Watson
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
11
18 13
Ghost World is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Scarlett Johansson, Steve Buscemi, Teri Garr
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
12
17 12
The Wrestler is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Evan Rachel Wood, Mickey Rourke, Marisa Tomei
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
13
15 10
Barton Fink is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
John Goodman, Steve Buscemi, Frances McDormand
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
14
9 5
The Punisher is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Coco2 added John Travolta, Rebecca Romijn, Kevin Nash
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
15
23 20
Rebel Without a Cause is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Natalie Wood, James Dean, Dennis Hopper
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
16
14 11
Midnight Cowboy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Dustin Hoffman, Jon Voight, Bob Balaban
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
17
10 7
The Station Agent is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Michelle Williams, Peter Dinklage, Patricia Clarkson
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
18
18 16
The Machinist is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Christian Bale, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Michael Ironside
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
19
10 9
Wild is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Reese Witherspoon, Laura Dern, Gaby Hoffmann
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
20
8 7
The Master is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Amy Adams, Joaquin Phoenix, Philip Seymour Hoffman
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
21
6 6
Hard Eight is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Gwyneth Paltrow, Samuel L. Jackson, Philip Seymour Hoffman
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
22
4 4
He Never Died is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Richard Hawkins added Henry Rollins
He Never Died is a 2015 Canadian/American comedic horror film directed by Jason Krawczyk. Jack (Henry Rollins), a social outcast, is thrust out of his comfort zone when the outside world bangs ...more
23
9 10
The Panic in Needle Park is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Al Pacino, Paul Sorvino, Raúl Juliá
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
24
6 7
Buffalo '66 is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Christina Ricci, Mickey Rourke, Anjelica Huston
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
25
10 12
About Schmidt is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters
Jack Nicholson, Kathy Bates, June Squibb
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