Psychology in the movies


Image by Holger Ellgaard on Wikimedia commons

Movies reflect situations and parts of the human life. Sometimes they reflect our desires and fantasies, others our fears and worst realities. They are not always realistic, and neither their characters should be taken as role models. But I think they have succeeded in this struggle that I have, to bring psychology and therapy closer to everyone.

Therefore, as I am a big movie buff, I could not hesitate to create this post about movies about psychology and therapy. I ordered them alphabetically. You can find the year, director and the theme. Hope you enjoy it and if you want to add any, comment below!


A Beautiful Mind (2001) – Ron Howard. Schizophrenia.

Analyze This (1999) – Harold Ramis. Therapy.

Another Woman (1988)- Woody Allen. Therapy.

Antwone Fisher (2002)- Denzel Washington. Therapy.

As Good as it Gets (1997)- James L. Brooks. Obsessive Compulsive Disorder.

Awakenings (1990)- Penny Marshall. Research and medication. Based on the life of Oliver Sacks.

Call Me Crazy (five short films) (2013)- Various directors. Different mental illnesses.

Canvas (2006) – Joseph Greco. Schizophrenia.

Donnie Darko (2001) – Richard Kelly. Halluzinations. Psychology.

Girl Interrupted (1999)- James Mangold. Therapy, psychiatric hospital, suicide.

Good Will Hunting (1997)- Gus Van Sant. Therapy.

Hope Springs (2012)- David Frankel. Couple therapy.

Mumford (1999)- Lawrence Kasdan. Therapy.

‘night Mother (1983)- Tom Moore. Depression and suicidal thoughts.

Now, Voyager (1942)- Irving Rapper. Therapy.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest (1975)- Milos Forman. Psychiatric hospital.

Ordinary People (1980)- Robert Redford. Therapy, psychiatric hospital, suicide.

Raising Cain (1992) -Brian de Palma. Therapy, psychosis.

Shutter Island (2010) – Martin Scorsese. Psychiatric hospital.

Silver Linings Playbook (2012)- David O. Russell. Bipolar disorder, therapy.

What About Bob? (1991)- Frank Oz. Therapy.


TV shows

The Sopranos (1999)- Therapy.

In Treatment (2008)- Therapy.


Further information:

I did not include some of the movies that are mentioned in other reviews. There are many many movies that work psychological concepts such as grief, loss, personal growth, crisis, and others. However, my idea was to include only the ones that happen around mental illness, or that at least some kind of therapy happens in them. Many of them are added because I personally like them.

*Thanks to the people who added films to the list:

Diana Crego

Sarah Cozzi



Counseling today.

Películas sobre psicología. Spanish.

Cine y psicoterapia. Spanish.


4 thoughts on “Psychology in the movies

  1. Very interesting post! I was thinking about the movie ¨Shutter Island¨ in which appears the setting of a Psychiatric Hospital and some non conventional “treatments”.


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