Psychology explores human behaviour, an endeavour the discipline share with film makers. Screenwriters and directors often delve into psychological concepts and touch upon theories of human behavior. While some movies are based upon the lives of famous psychologists, others depict the efforts of psychologists and psychiatrists to alleviate the suffering caused by psychological disorders. In addition, film makers often explore human motivation as they seek to understand the best and the worst aspects of human behaviour.

This list, The Top Twenty Psychological Movies of All Time, identifies movies you may have seen or ones you might like to view over the semester break.

Susan Krauss Whitbourne, a psychologist at the University of Massachusetts and a writer for Psychology Today, undertook at study of the subject matter of film that won academy awards and she concluded that:

As it turns out, the Academy Awards are heavily weighted toward films that depict psychological themes. They also do give unusual emphasis to certain types of characters and issues. Here I’ve compiled a list of psychological themes in award-winning movies including movies that won Best Leading Actor, Best Leading Actress, and Best Picture (although I did cheat in one important instance). This led to a potential set of 252 films and characters.  Of these, I count 62 that fit my criteria, leading to the overwhelming statistic that psychology accounts for 25% of all Oscar-winning major films and roles.

You can find her list here. 

Have you seen any other modern film that explores psychological issues? You can add them to this post as a comment.


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