Thought-provoking movies (List)

In this guide, we will see a list of ‘Thought-provoking movies’.

Thought-provoking movies

Thought-provoking movies have the ability to stay in our heads for days even long after we have seen them.

For some people, movies on suicide are thought provoking but for others movies on happiness.

Here is a list of thought-provoking movies according to,, and IMDB:

  1. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

“The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep.”

  1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) 

“When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories.”

  1. Vanilla Sky (2001) 

“A self-indulgent and vain publishing magnate finds his privileged life upended after a vehicular accident with a resentful lover.”

  1. Being John Malkovich (1999)

“A puppeteer discovers a portal that leads literally into the head of the movie star John Malkovich.”

  1. Life of Pi (2012)

“A young man who survives a disaster at sea is hurtled into an epic journey of adventure and discovery. While cast away, he forms an unexpected connection with another survivor: a fearsome Bengal tiger.”

  1. Predestination (2014)

“A brilliant subversion of the Time Paradox trope, with enough plot twists to keep you entertained until well after the movie, is finished. Predestination is an amazing movie with great performances from Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook.”

  1. Donnie Darko (2001)

“After narrowly escaping a bizarre accident, a troubled teenager is plagued by visions of a man in a large rabbit suit who manipulates him to commit a series of crimes.”

  1. Contagion (2011)

“Healthcare professionals, government officials, and everyday people find themselves in the midst of a pandemic as the CDC works to find a cure.”

  1. Equilibrium (2002)

“In an oppressive future where all forms of feeling are illegal, a man in charge of enforcing the law rises to overthrow the system and state.”

  1. Interstellar (2014)

“A team of explorers travels through a wormhole in space in an attempt to ensure humanity’s survival.”

  1. Underwater (2020)

“A crew of oceanic researchers working for a deep-sea drilling company try to get to safety after a mysterious earthquake devastates their deepwater research and drilling facility located at the bottom of the Mariana Trench.”

  1. The Truman Show (1998)

“An insurance salesman discovers his whole life is actually a reality TV show.”

  1. The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)

“In 1971, twenty-four male students are selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building.”

  1. The Matrix (1999)

“A computer hacker learns from mysterious rebels about the true nature of his reality and his role in the war against its controllers.”

  1. Looper (2012)

“In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits – someone like Joe – who one day learns the mob wants to ‘close the loop’ by sending back Joe’s future self for assassination.”

  1. Ex Machina (2015)

“It tells the story of a developer who is invited by a billionaire CEO to participate in a groundbreaking experiment and interact with a robot called Ava. Questions of trust and ethics soon collide with the protagonist’s personal views.”

  1. Breaking the Waves (1996)

“Oilman Jan is paralyzed in an accident. His wife, who prayed for his return, feels guilty; even more, when Jan urges her to have sex with another.”

  1. V for Vendetta (2006)

“In a future British tyranny, a shadowy freedom fighter, known only by the alias of “V”, plots to overthrow it with the help of a young woman.”

  1. Eden Lake (2008)

“Refusing to let anything spoil their romantic weekend break, a young couple confront a gang of loutish youths with terrifyingly brutal consequences.”

  1. Cloud Atlas (2012)

“An exploration of how the actions of individual lives impact one another in the past, present, and future, as one soul is shaped from a killer into a hero, and an act of kindness ripples across centuries to inspire a revolution.”

  1. Never Let Me Go (2010)

“A dark and sophisticated slow-burning drama, Never Let Me Go is adapted from the highly acclaimed novel of the same name by Japanese-born British author Kazuo Ishiguro. It stars Carey Mulligan, Keira Knightley, and Andrew Garfield as boarding school raised teenagers eager to explore the outside world when they learn a secret that will threaten their very existence.”

From Japanese creators you can also enjoy the renowned Animes.

  1. The Prestige (2006) 

“After a tragic accident, two stage magicians engage in a battle to create the ultimate illusion while sacrificing everything they have to outwit each other.”

  1. Memento (2000)

“A man with short-term memory loss attempts to track down his wife’s murderer.”

  1. Gone Baby Gone (2007)

“Two Boston area detectives investigate a little girl’s kidnapping, which ultimately turns into a crisis both professionally and personally.”

  1. Possession (1981)

“A woman starts exhibiting increasingly disturbing behavior after asking her husband for a divorce. Suspicions of infidelity soon give way to something much more sinister.”

  1. Hereditary (2018)

“A grieving family is haunted by tragic and disturbing occurrences.”

  1. Girl, interrupted (1999)

“Based on writer Susanna Kaysen’s account of her 18-month stay at a mental hospital in the late 1960s.”

  1. Pan’s Labyrinth (2006)

“In the Falangist Spain of 1944, the bookish young stepdaughter of a sadistic army officer escapes into an eerie but captivating fantasy world.”

  1. The Beach (2000)

Vicenarian Richard travels to Thailand and finds himself in possession of a strange map. Rumors state that it leads to a solitary beach paradise, a tropical bliss. Excited and intrigued, he sets out to find it.

  1. Thirteen (2003)

“A thirteen-year-old girl’s relationship with her mother is put to the test as she discovers drugs, sex, and petty crime in the company of her cool but troubled best friend.”

  1. Amélie (2001)

“Amélie is an innocent and naive girl in Paris with her own sense of justice. She decides to help those around her and, along the way, discovers love.”

  1. Before I Go to Sleep (2014)

“A woman wakes up every day, remembering nothing as a result of a traumatic accident in her past. One day, new terrifying truths emerge that force her to question everyone around her.”

  1. American Beauty (1999)

“A sexually frustrated suburban father has a midlife crisis after becoming infatuated with his daughter’s best friend.”

  1. Inception (2010)

“A thief who steals corporate secrets through the use of dream-sharing technology is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of a C.E.O.”

  1. The Skin I Live In (2011)

“A brilliant plastic surgeon, haunted by past tragedies, creates a type of synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.”

  1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)

“After discovering a mysterious artifact buried beneath the Lunar surface, mankind sets off on a quest to find its origins with help from intelligent supercomputer H.A.L. 9000.”

  1. The Virgin Suicides (1999)

“A group of male friends becomes obsessed with five mysterious sisters who are sheltered by their strict, religious parents in suburban Detroit in the mid-1970s.”

  1. We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)

“Kevin’s mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly dangerous things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.”

  1. Gone Girl (2014)

“With his wife’s disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it’s suspected that he may not be innocent.”

  1. Shutter Island (2010)

“In 1954, a U.S. Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderer who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane.”

  1. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)

“After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.”

  1. Trainspotting (1996)

“Renton, deeply immersed in the Edinburgh drug scene, tries to clean up and get out, despite the allure of the drugs and influence of friends.”

  1. Room (2015)

“Held captive for 7 years in an enclosed space, a woman and her young son finally gain their freedom, allowing the boy to experience the outside world for the first time.”

  1. The Butterfly Effect (2004)

“Evan Treborn suffers blackouts during significant events of his life. As he grows up, he finds a way to remember these lost memories and a supernatural way to alter his life by reading his journal.”

  1. The Others (2001)

“A woman who lives in her darkened old family house with her two photosensitive children becomes convinced that the home is haunted.”

  1. Extraction (2012)

“A scientist who has invented a technology to construct virtual realities from people’s memories finds himself in a perilous situation after he reluctantly allows it to be used for a purpose he never imagined.”

  1. Forrest Gump (1994)

“The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the events of Vietnam, Watergate, and other historical events unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75, whose only desire is to be reunited with his childhood sweetheart.”

  1. The Lovely Bones (2009)

“Centers on a young girl who has been murdered and watches over her family – and her killer – from purgatory. She must weigh her desire for vengeance against her desire for her family to heal.”

  1. Seven Pounds (2008)

“A man with a fateful secret embarks on an extraordinary journey of redemption by forever changing the lives of seven strangers.”

  1. The Green Mile (1999)

“The lives of guards on Death Row are affected by one of their charges: a black man accused of child murder and rape, yet who has a mysterious gift.”

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Thought-provoking movies

What is the most depressing movie ever?

The title of the most depressing movie may be subjective so here are some of the most depressing movies ever made according to 

– Sophie’s Choice (1982)

– Vera Drake (2004)

– Jude (1996) 

– Precious (2009) 

– Angela’s Ashes (1999) 

– Dancer in the Dark (2000) 

– The Road (2010) 

– Dead Man’s Shoes (2004) 

What movies make you think?

According to, here are some of the movies that will really make you think:

– 15 Ex Machina.

– 14 The Fountain. 

– 13 Shutter Island. 

– 12 Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. 

– 11 Stranger than Fiction. 

– 10 Black Swan. 

– 9 Barton Fink. 

– 8 2001: A Space Odyssey.

What is the most played movie song?

It is difficult to determine the most played movie song, so here is a list of the most used songs in soundtracks:

– Ain’t No Mountain High Enough.

– Sweet Home Alabama. 

– Bad To The Bone. 

– Walking On Sunshine.

– I Feel Good.

– O Fortuna.

– Somebody To Love.

– Jaws Theme. 

Which band has the most songs in movies?

It has been suggested that Jimi Hendrix’s, ‘All Along The Watchtower’ holds the record of appearing in most movies.

What films make you cry?

There are many films that will make you cry but it will actually depend on you and how connected you feel to the movie, here are some examples:
Toy Story 3
The Notebook
Brokeback Mountain
P.S. I Love You
Blue Valentine
My Sister’s Keeper


Dadds, K. (2016, Jun.) 52 Movies That Are So Clever They’ll Have You Thinking For Days. Retrieved from

Sol, M. (n.d.) 21 Mind-Bending Movies That Make You Think Deeply. Retrieved from “Best most Meaningful/thought-provoking/amazing/Inspirational movies ever!” “114 Best Thought-Provoking Movies To Watch” “My Top 30 Best thought-provoking movies”

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