15 Best Thought provoking Movies That Make You Think

“Thought provoking movies” Yes, there are several movies that make you think. 

I’m not going to name the most well-known, but I’ve looked at various categories and genres, including dramas, thrillers, sports, horror, and even science fiction. 

People think in various patterns, even you and me; for example, you might feel of a movie while I think of something else, so we can’t discuss these things in one spot. Read my related article, Ten movies with deep meaning.

List of Thought Provoking Films

“Thought Provoking Films,” I think it means just that, not a single category like Mind-Bending Movies. Thought-provoking words are different from people’s thoughts because all people’s sentiments are not the same.

Here is the list of various categories of movies, not just the same pattern. Occasionally, movies go beyond the mainstream, and some films reveal such deep concepts that they stay with the viewer for years afterward.

Perhaps some overviews contain spoilers. I’m trying to avoid spoilers, but please accept my apologies if there’s a little bit. So, let’s take a look at a few films that will make you think.

1. One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest

one flew over the cuckoos nest
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is an excellent lesson in stories that often devolve into sadness. It makes you feel flawed for all the mentally distressed patients and their treatment. It’s a sentimental, humorous, and thought-provoking film all at once. 

Perhaps Jack Nicholson’s best performance. I’m familiar with many of the supporting cast members and am constantly surprised by the variety of emotions exhibited. The movie will make you laugh at the well-timed, equally confusing moments and make you rethink all you thought.

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest is a touching story about kindness that will make you chuckle, but it will melt your heart. Also, the movie has an excellent rating from all critics and is in the IMDB Top 50.


Some compare this film to “The Shawshank Redemption,” but I oppose it because it is of a different genre, and it ends differently, not in the way that “The Shawshank Redemption” did.

2. The Imitation Game (2014)

the imitation game 2014
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

Alan Turing‘s story is beautifully composed, with a combination of memories from his early life and recent memories to set the mood for him and fully comprehend his story. Unfortunately, Alan didn’t have a longer life. 

The man was a true genius and had the exceptional ability. So let’s imagine he lived a long time if we think about what else he could have given to the world. He had a more knowledgeable mindset. 

That kind of mentality is necessary in this world, but society has destroyed him. This film serves as an excellent expression of the human spirit. The colors, lighting, plot, and acting are fantastic. 

The score is so intense that it hits you and makes your heart race. I recommend this film to anyone who wants to know “Alan Turing, the codebreaker who could save “thousands of lives.”

3. The Blind Side (2009)

the blind side movie
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

Someone might think, “Yeah, another sports movie.” “This isn’t just another sports movie. It tries to explain how human civilization must develop into humans who are not discernible from one another.

There were a couple of shudder lines, which doesn’t make much difference. It also indicates that the future is exceptionally bright if one utilizes one’s skills. Life is complicated, and finding the right people to support you is even more difficult.

This film is about facing one’s fears, believing in one’s abilities, being dedicated, and being generous, among other things. The leading message is to never give up on your dreams.

Your faith should always keep you pushing, no matter how difficult life is because it could all change tomorrow. The character was brilliant, and it began to feel as if I was watching someone else’s life. So, you don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate it.

4. Lion (2016)

lion 2016
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

Lion is a movie about Saroo Brierley, who has an unbelievable story to tell. Saroo’s actual families are brought to life through superbly dramatized depictions of Dev Patel, Nicole Kidman, and David Wenham.

This film is engaged in positivism, which is part of what makes it so good. Dev Patel’s characterization of Saroo was fantastic; he evoked a genuine emotional reaction in the audience.


This one has a profound emotional impact on you that will last a long time, and it develops with each lesson to become an impressive masterwork.

I do not mean what the movie has to say about thought-provoking; you can feel it; the film is not a mind-blowing or advanced quantum theory. The movie has a lonely experience if you like those types of movies. Read this article about loneliness movies.

5. The Truman Show (1998)

the truman show 1998
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

The Truman Show has a simple but powerful concept of a creative plot structure. In this, Jim Carrey is at his peak, proving that he has a massive variety of acting abilities and is more than just a comedian.

The surprise of the movie is that it begins inside the human psyche. You can experience it on a soul level rather than through the perspective of a cinematic lens filled with drama, comedy, and sci-fi.

We’ve all stayed in a place in our memorials when we realized that the system isn’t something that happens, that we’re all under the control of someone. Also, it has a powerful message about reality and the factual situation of the world.

Truman Show’s director is Peter Weir, and the movie gets positive reviews from all critics, including 95% on Rotten Tomatoes, 8.1 on IMDb, and 90% on Metacritic. These kinda movies that make you think.

6. Requiem for a Dream (2000)

requiem for a dream 2000
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

This film is a masterpiece, and it stresses everything that is divided and yet normalized in society, such as pharma, privacy, people’s choices, and a lack of focus on one another. At the same time, it’s shocking and attractive. 

It contains one of the most reliable depictions of substance abuse and its consequences in modern cinema. That magnifies the senses at the moment of dislocation, but it also tries to draw you deeper—every scene is well-crafted and considered, with an impressive music score.

During the first part of the movie, I wasn’t a fan; the design appeared somewhat out of place, then everything started to make sense.

Jennifer Connelly gave an outstanding performance. Jared Leto and Ellen Burstyn were also excellent. I think it would be good to show in high schools. “No, it would be useful to all of humanity.”


7. Mulholland Drive (2001)

naomi watts in mulholland drive
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

In every way, this film is cinematic quality at its highest form. It’s well-written, paced, shot, edited, and acted. Without trying to say anything, David Lynch tells us a lot.

Blue Velvet is another of David Lynch’s notable works; this movie also touches that style. He refers to you, the audience, to decide what you’ll see. Is this a noir horror film? Is There a Hollywood Background?

You can select it. It was highly thought-provoking, and I tried to solve what the finish might be. Also, it may be you. It is one of the underrated movies, but it needs too much to deserve it.

This correlation is impressive, and the acting skills, especially Naomi Watts’, are top-notch. It’s much more than a thriller. That also means it sends the right message to society concerning fantasies.

8. Gran Torino (2008)

Clint Eastwood in Gran Torino
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

Gran Torino is a profound portrayal, and a thin thriller rolled into one. It has a lot of overlap, taking personalities, and a great musical score. The film seems to have a sensible plotline with hilarious scenes.

It’s a gorgeous cultural theory with everyone else being the same; we are all in the same class. I wouldn’t say the film is a masterpiece, but the movie is not much action, but the most heartfelt film by actor and director Clint Eastwood.

Eastwood is a genuine legend in the film industry. These are some notable works to his credit as a director, actor, and producer.

  • Escape from Alcatraz
  • Sudden Impact
  • Unforgiven
  • Mystic River
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Invictus
  • Changeling
  • American Sniper

The phrase “how something began or ended up going” has significance and is as accurate in the real world as in fiction. Gran Torino received the most positive feedback and movie on IMDb’s top 250.

9. Mother (2017)

mother 2017
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

“Mother is a different, thought-provoking movie by Darren Aronofsky. It may be uncomfortable to watch. I feel that might be why some people don’t appreciate it. Perhaps you know that Darren Aronofsky has some different directing styles. 

This movie is not a story about inspiration that contains some unusual sense, so I’m not explaining the story. Darren Aronofsky’s many films have some psychological touch. Look at some examples.

People who live according to their wishes will utilize anyone else who gets in their way for control. It’s like someone simply entering your soul, holding it to move. Nevertheless, I do not recommend it to everyone; if you enjoy tension thrillers, I believe you will enjoy this one.

10. The Founder (2016)

the founder 2016
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

First and obviously, this movie isn’t for everyone. Although, if you enjoy life stories, I recommend watching that. The story is absolutely captivating, and the screenwriting is impressive.

I didn’t know much about McDonald’s background before seeing this movie. However, after watching this movie, I looked up some facts about McDonald’s. Director “John Lee Hancock” has some unique tones. He directed multiple biography movies, such as,

  • The Rookie
  • The Blind Side
  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • The Highwaymen

After the first quarter, I had an idea, but part two made me doubt it. Michael Keaton played Ray Kroc, and he brings the character’s liveliness of characteristics and sentiments along with him.

Nick Offerman as Richard McDonald and John Carroll as Maurice McDonald give their best performances. It’s a stunning shot and a well-acted film. The storyline is terrific and flows smoothly, and it reminds me a little of The Social Network.

11. What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993)

what eating gilbert grape 1993
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

Perhaps this film isn’t perfect; there isn’t much cinematography, and there aren’t many emotional tunes. It was raw, realistic, and filled with many spontaneous, dramatic scenes.

When I watch it, I want to feel like I’m in a movie, so it was brilliantly filmed and brilliantly directed, and it also added to the storyline and the development of the characters.

I wouldn’t want to recognize Leo’s performance as Arnie because it is outstanding; Johnny Depp does splendidly. It’s sad at times and hilarious at others, just like in day-to-day life.

What’s Eating Gilbert Grape generally gets good reviews from Filmaffinity, Rotten Tomatoes, and IMDb, and Leo is nominated for Best Supporting Role at the Academy Awards.

12. The Intern (2015)

the intern 2015
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

The Intern is an ideal movie about life, love, and relationships of all kinds, including family obligations and natural interaction. That will remind us that doing the proper job will give us pleasure in life. 

This one is not a complex movie; it has some mixed-up and family things; it’s not science fiction or a thrilling portrait; it is a pleasant film. “Robert De Niro” is one of my favorite actors, and he carries his soft side to a pretty unique degree. 

Anne Hathaway is brilliant as a businessperson, fiancee, and mother who worries about everything. Nancy Meyers, a female director, is frequently featured in feel-good movies. You know, she has some notable work examples.

  • It’s complicated
  • The Holiday
  • Something’s Gotta Give
  • What Women Want

The Intern will provide thought-provoking inspiration, and it can also be a surroundings movie. I recommend it to anyone who appreciates becoming inspired by happiness, love, and feelings, along with other things.

13. In Time (2011)

in time 2011
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

The movie poses a philosophical question regarding living eternally. Notably, the concept of death makes lessons more interesting, and there is a range of themes to consider. It’s a science fiction film, but it does give an interesting theory: how about using time as money?

However, the story’s technical aspects can be weird at times. Still, there is a message deeply in this society. In time, in one sentence, “If you run out of everything, you can still live. You lose your spending power and die when you run out of time. “

It also highlights political and financial issues, economic inequality, violence, and income differences. Amanda Seyfried and Justin Timberlake have fantastic performances as the key roles, while Cillian Murphy and Alex Pettyfer are also impressive.

Some of these concepts feature in Andrew Niccol’s work as a director and writer; he may know you from a few brilliant pieces, including Gattaca, The Truman Show, Simone, Lord of War, and The Host.

14. Gattaca (1997)

gattaca 1997
Source: Commonsensemedia.org

Gattaca is another work by Andrew Niccol in terms of writing and direction. The concept is practical, and the camerawork is magnificent, especially when considering its shot period. 

Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman give their best performances with other support members. Its potential to question the audience in every way possible while not explaining too much about this world makes you feel strange.

A well-crafted piece of futuristic science fiction and theater. A fantastic story about overcoming challenges and the irrepressible human spirit with various thought-provoking aspects.

Gattaca gets good reviews from all critics, including Metacritic, RT, IMDb, and audience review sites like Letterboxd.

15. Coherence (2013)

“This One” is a fantastic low-budget sci-fi film. It is how you make the most of a decent set and a mid-realist approach on a low budget and with a small cast.

Coherence is James Ward Byrkit’s directorial debut. There is no well-known cast or high-quality camera work, but the time frame is given exceptional attention with mind-blowing quantum theory.

Most of the conversation is innovative. It provides an impressive, pretty fantastic concept with operating and complicated ideas and a subtle statement about the nature of humanity.

This film is imaginative and strange in its nonlinear storytelling and script. The acting, writing, directing, and cinematic techniques are excellent, resulting in a horrifying film that evokes hopelessness and has a weirdly emotional ending.

Also, there are some thought-provoking animated movies, such as Klaus, Wall-E, The Polar Express, Soul, Monsters University, and more. There are many better films, most of which you have probably already watched. Here is a well-known movie list.

  • Fight Club (1999)
  • The Hunt (2012)
  • Interstellar (2014)
  • Mr. Nobody (2009)
  • The Matrix (1999)
  • The Help (2011)
  • Primer (2004)
  • Upgrade (2018)
  • Wonder (2017)
  • Crash (2004)
  • American Beauty (1999)
  • Cloud Atlas (2012)
  • Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
  • The Curious Case of Benjamin Button (2008)
  • Her (2013)
  • Donnie Darko (2001)
  • Black Swan (2010)
  • Dallas Buyers’ Club (2013)
  • “Rain Man” (1988)
  • A Beautiful Mind (2001)
  • Source Code (2011)
  • Goodwill Hunting (1997)
  • The Theory of Everything (2014)
Share to Others
Default image

Madushan Bandara

My name is Madushan Bandara, and I'm a Sri Lankan. I am currently learning about WordPress design and Internet marketing. This website will also serve as a platform for me to share my findings and experiences. 

Leave a Reply