Watchworthy

Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo 

Ranker Film
Updated October 14, 2019 723 votes 146 voters 5.9k views 28 items

Some people are loners by choice, while others are forced into a life of solitude by elements beyond their control. The top movies about loners feature insight into these intriguing and often overlooked characters. This is a list of the greatest movies about single people including everything from The Machinist to Citizen Kane to Cast Away.

What films will you find on this list of loner movies? In Taxi Driver, Robert De Niro stars as Travis Bickle, an overnight cabbie with dangerous ideas. Director Martin Scorsese and writer Paul Schrader utilize voiceover throughout the movie to share Bickle's troubling, troubled thoughts. Psycho is another one of the best movies about single men - though Norman Bates is never really without his mother. Into the Wild tells the true story of Chris McCandless and his solo journey into the Alaskan wilderness. Other good movies on this best loner movies list include Nell, Nightcrawler, and Up in the Air.

It's up to you to decide which loner movie deserves the top spot on this list. Give your favorites a thumbs up to move them towards number one, and please add any good films that are missing.

Data-driven recommendations based on voting from over 40 million monthly visits to Ranker. Try the free app
list ordered by
1
Taxi Driver is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
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 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #682 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

2
Cast Away is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Tom Hanks, Helen Hunt, Chris Noth

Released: 2000

Directed by: Robert Zemeckis

Cast Away is a 2000 American adventure drama film directed and produced by Robert Zemeckis and starring Tom Hanks as a FedEx employee stranded on an uninhabited island after his plane accident ...more

More Cast Away 

#119 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #275 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time #18 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

3
Joker is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
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

More Joker 

18 Of The Funniest 'Joker' Memes We Could Find #187 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
Psycho is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Alfred Hitchcock, Janet Leigh, Anthony Perkins

Released: 1960

Directed by: Alfred Hitchcock

Psycho is a 1960 American horror film directed by Alfred Hitchcock. The film centers on an encounter between a secretary, Marion Crane, who ends up at a secluded motel after taking money from ...more

More Psycho 

#8 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #14 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #7 of 852 The Best Horror Movies Of All Time

5
Into the Wild is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
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

More Into the Wild 

Everything That Had To Go Wrong For Chris McCandless To Meet His Fate #410 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time #252 of 321 Movies with the Best Soundtracks

6
Drive is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Christina Hendricks, Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan

Released: 2011

Directed by: Nicolas Winding

Drive is a 2011 American neo noir arthouse action directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, starring Ryan Gosling, Carey Mulligan, Bryan Cranston, Oscar Isaac and Albert Brooks. It is adapted from the ...more

More Drive 

#228 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #196 of 301 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #357 of 624 The Greatest Guilty Pleasure Movies

7
American Psycho is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
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 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #121 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #508 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

8
Cool Hand Luke is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Paul Newman, Dennis Hopper, George Kennedy

Released: 1967

Directed by: Stuart Rosenberg

Cool Hand Luke is a 1967 American prison drama film directed by Stuart Rosenberg, starring Paul Newman and featuring George Kennedy in an Oscar-winning performance. Newman stars in the title ...more

More Cool Hand Luke 

#40 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #367 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
Rebel Without a Cause is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
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

More Rebel Without a Cause 

#1,244 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #217 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies #121 of 199 The Biggest Tearjerker Movies of All Time

10
The Machinist is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
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 

#25 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #407 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Time #33 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again

11
Birdman of Alcatraz is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Burt Lancaster, Telly Savalas, Karl Malden

Released: 1962

Directed by: John Frankenheimer

Birdman of Alcatraz is a 1962 film starring Burt Lancaster and directed by John Frankenheimer. It is a largely fictionalized version of the life of Robert Stroud, a federal prison inmate known ...more

More Birdman of Alcatraz 

#47 of 195 The Best Movies of the '60s #2 of 78 The Best Burt Lancaster Movies #17 of 136 The Best Prison Movies

12
Gran Torino is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Clint Eastwood, Dreama Walker, Scott Eastwood

Released: 2008

Directed by: Clint Eastwood

Gran Torino is a 2008 American drama film directed and produced by Clint Eastwood, who also starred in the film. The film co-stars Christopher Carley, Bee Vang and Ahney Her. This was Eastwood's ...more

More Gran Torino 

#84 of 177 The Greatest Movie Quotes of All Time #133 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #29 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

13
One Hour Photo is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Clark Gregg

Released: 2002

Directed by: Mark Romanek

One Hour Photo is a 2002 American psychological thriller film written and directed by Mark Romanek and starring Robin Williams, Connie Nielsen, Michael Vartan, Gary Cole, and Eriq La Salle. ...more

More One Hour Photo 

#110 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #26 of 157 The Best Movies You Never Want to Watch Again #34 of 149 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time

14
Pi is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
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

More Pi 

#104 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #96 of 149 The Best and Scariest Psychological Thrillers of All Time #14 of 156 The Most Confusing Movies Ever Made

15
The Station Agent is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
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

More The Station Agent 

#15 of 28 The Best Movies Where Nothing Really Happens #15 of 37 Great Movies About Sad Loner Characters #15 of 20 Great Movies About Drifters Who Are Lost in Life

16
Nightcrawler is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Jake Gyllenhaal, Rene Russo, Bill Paxton

Released: 2014

Directed by: Dan Gilroy

Nightcrawler is a 2014 American neo-noir thriller film written and directed by Dan Gilroy in his directorial debut. The film stars Jake Gyllenhaal who starts shooting footage in Los Angeles and ...more

More Nightcrawler 

#122 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #14 of 121 The Greatest Directorial Debuts Of All Time #10 of 24 Great Movies Where The Hero Doesn't Change Or Grow At All

17
Willy Wonka & the Ch... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Gene Wilder, Jack Albertson, Tim Brooke-Taylor

Released: 1971

Directed by: Mel Stuart

Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory is a 1971 musical fantasy film directed by Mel Stuart, and starring Gene Wilder as Willy Wonka. The film, a film adaptation of the 1964 novel Charlie and ...more

More Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory 

There's A Theory That 'Willy Wonka & the Chocolate Factory' Is Actually About A Tormented Killer #25 of 377 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #8 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books

18
Grizzly Man is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Timothy Treadwell, Amie Huguenard, Werner Herzog

Released: 2005

Directed by: Werner Herzog

Grizzly Man is a 2005 documentary film by German director Werner Herzog. It chronicles the life and death of bear enthusiast Timothy Treadwell. The film includes some of Treadwell's own footage ...more

More Grizzly Man 

#362 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars #114 of 135 The Scariest Animal Movies Ever Made #3 of 15 These Popular True Crime Documentaries Are Even Better In Podcast Form

19
Inside Llewyn Davis is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Justin Timberlake, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman

Released: 2013

Directed by: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen

Inside Llewyn Davis is a 2013 American comedy-drama film edited, written and directed by Joel and Ethan Coen. It was produced by Scott Rudin, Ethan and Joel Coen. Set in 1961, the film stars ...more

More Inside Llewyn Davis 

#113 of 210 The Best Movies About Music #60 of 70 The Most Pretentious Movies Ever Made #11 of 18 The Best Coen Brothers Films

20
The Hunt is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Mads Mikkelsen, Alexandra Rapaport, Thomas Bo Larsen

Released: 2012

Directed by: Thomas Vinterberg

The Hunt is a 2012 Danish drama film directed by Thomas Vinterberg. The story is set in a small Danish village around Christmas, and follows a man (Mads Mikkelsen) who becomes the target of mass ...more
21
Citizen Kane is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Orson Welles, Alan Ladd, Agnes Moorehead

Released: 1941

Directed by: Orson Welles

Citizen Kane is a 1941 American drama film produced by, co-written by, directed by and starring Orson Welles. The picture was Welles's first feature film. The film was nominated for Academy ...more

More Citizen Kane 

#576 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #276 of 581 The Greatest Film Scores of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

22
Nell is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
Jodie Foster, Liam Neeson, Natasha Richardson

Released: 1994

Directed by: Michael Apted

Nell is a 1994 American drama film starring Jodie Foster as a young woman who has to face other people for the first time after being raised by her mother in an isolated cabin. The film also ...more

More Nell 

#184 of 253 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #438 of 802 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made #10 of 24 Movies You Loved As a Child That Just Don't Hold Up

23
Up in the Air is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
George Clooney, Anna Kendrick, Zach Galifianakis

Released: 2009

Directed by: Jason Reitman

Up in the Air is a 2009 American comedy-drama film directed by Jason Reitman and co-written by Reitman and Sheldon Turner. It is a film adaptation of the 2001 novel of the same name, written by ...more

More Up in the Air 

#188 of 367 The Best Movies Based On Books #591 of 1,211 The Absolute Funniest Movies Of All Time #437 of 548 The Greatest Movies for Guys

24
My Best Friend's Wedding... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
RosanneFinn added Julia Roberts, Dermot Mulroney, Rupert Everett

Released: 1997

Directed by: P. J. Hogan

My Best Friend's Wedding is a 1997 American romantic comedy film directed by P.J. Hogan. When a woman's long-time friend (Dermot Mulroney) reveals he's engaged, she (Julia Roberts) realizes she ...more

More My Best Friend's Wedding 

My Best Friend's Wedding Is The Most Twisted, Screwed Up Rom-Com Ever Made #131 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #505 of 1,027 The All-Time Greatest Comedy Films

25
Papagajka is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list Great Movies About People Going Through Life Solo
mlerthf added Papagajka Susanna Cappellaro, Adnan Omerovic

Released: 2016

Directed by: Emma Rozanski