Thought-Provoking Movies That Cause A Profound Impact On Your Life
Thought-Provoking Movies That Cause A Profound Impact On Your Life + Image
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Thought-Provoking Movies That Cause A Profound Impact On Your Life

“What is real. How do you define real? If you're talking about what you can feel, what you can smell, what you can taste and see, then real is simply electrical signals interpreted by your brain.
Morpheus - The Matrix (1999)

What is a thought-provoking movie?


As the world’s most complex art form, cinema offers us new ideas, new ways of thinking about anything. Thought-provoking movies have deep and provocative effects on our minds. Those mind-blowing movies provoke our minds and make us deeply think about the new ideas that are not familiar to us or force us to rethink our thoughts. We are extensively using previously defined conceptions to move on rather than thinking about everything in-depth.


Thought-provoking films cleverly make us question those previously defined conceptions or our assumptions or the things that are told us. We can say that these thoughtful movies are trying to show a very different world than the world we perceive.

Great Thought-Provoking Themes, Questions, and Dilemmas

Thought-provoking movies that we curate for you thoroughly examine the questions we have never thought of or paid enough attention to. The thought-provoking movies list has included the greatest classics and modern films that will astonish you. Colloquially, those are the movies that make you think.

 Those are the outstanding examples of their categories and leave a long-lasting enlightenment effect on you.


The films explore diverse themes, questions, and dilemmas. Those themes can be moral values, causality, biologically and physically limited perception of humanity, epistemological issues,  political problems and conflicts, scientific developments, the faith of God, everyday life problems, human-machine interactions, and prospective problems, etc...


We’ve cautiously selected mind-blowing yet thought-provoking movies of all time. The best term is a subjective term. However, our selection of thought-provoking films coincides with the preferences of cinema professionals to a large extent. We will expand the list in time. Until that time, we hope that you discover a good film and enjoy it.




12 Angry Men  poster

A Great Court Room Drama - 12 Angry Men (1957)

A courtroom drama, directed by Sidney Lumet, on the basis of reasonable doubt, the justice system, moral values and the impact of one person to others on serious decisions. The movie also forces the characters and audience to evaluate their own self-image through observing the personality, experiences, and actions of the jurors. 12 Angry Men regarded as a classic from both critics and popular culture viewpoint. 

The defense and the prosecution have rested and the jury is filing into the jury room to decide if a young man is guilty or innocent of murdering his father. What begins as an open-and-shut case of murder soon becomes a detective story that presents a succession of clues creating doubt, and a mini-drama of each of the jurors' prejudices and preconceptions about the trial, the accused, and each other.





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The Matrix poster

Deeper Themes and Spectacular Action Scenes - The Matrix (1999)

The Matrix (1999) is the best-known and successful work of the Wachowski's. It has benefited much from the literature of philosophy especially from a descartesian point of view. The film explores significant philosophical and spiritual themes such as free-will, a posteriori knowledge, dilemma of freedom, etc...  Also, there are plenty of philosophical, historical and biblical references. The Matrix was also praised for its spectacular action scenes that are influenced by Japanese anime. The film won four Oscar awards. It is also one of the greatest thought-provoking sci-fi movies.

Thomas A. Anderson (Keanu Reeves) is a man living two lives. By day he is an average computer programmer and by night a hacker known as Neo. Neo has always questioned his reality, but the truth is far beyond his imagination. Neo finds himself targeted by the police when he is contacted by Morpheus (Laurence Fishburne) through Trinity (Carrie-Anne Moss).


The film set in a dystopian future and can be classified as cyberpunk (See cyberpunk movies list).  

William Gibson, a key figure in cyberpunk fiction, called the film "an innocent delight I hadn't felt in a long time," and stated, "Neo is my favorite-ever science-fiction hero, absolutely."



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Fight Club poster

A Cult Movie of Our Time - Fight Club (1999)

Fight Club (1999) is a cult movie of our time directed by David Fincher and stars Edward Norton as the nameless narrator, Brad Pitt as Tyler Durden, Helena Bonham Carter as Marla Singer, Meat Loaf as Bob, and Jared Leto as Angel Face.

A nameless first-person narrator (Edward Norton) attends support groups in an attempt to subdue his emotional state and relieve his insomniac state. When he meets Marla (Helena Bonham Carter), another fake attendee of support groups, his life seems to become a little more bearable. However, when he associates himself with Tyler (Brad Pitt) he is dragged into an underground fight club and soap making scheme.



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A Powerful Film Against Racism - American History X (1998)

American History X (1998) is directed by Tony Kaye and stars  Edward Norton as Derek Vinyard, Edward Furlong as Danny Vinyard, and Beverly D'Angelo as Doris Vinyard. The film received Best Actor nomination for Edward Norton.

Derek Vinyard is paroled after serving 3 years in prison for brutally killing two black men who tried to break into/steal his truck. Through his brother, Danny Vineyard's narration, we learn that before going to prison, Derek was a skinhead and the leader of a violent white supremacist gang that committed acts of racial crime throughout L.A. and his actions greatly influenced Danny. Reformed and fresh out of prison, Derek severs contact with the gang and becomes determined to keep Danny from going down the same violent path as he did.



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Waking Life poster

A Philosophical Adult Animation - Waking Life (2001)

Waking Life (2001) is a thought-provoking animated movie directed by Richard Linklater. Actually, the film termed an experimental philosophical adult-animation film. Waking Life analyzes various philosophical topics like the nature of reality, dreams, consciousness, the meaning of life, free-will, and existentialism. Additionally, Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy reprise their characters from Before Sunrise (1995) in one scene.



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Interstellar poster

An Epic Science Fiction - Interstellar (2014)

Christopher Nolan's science-fiction movie is in complete harmony with the science of physics that leads us to rethink the terms time, space, space-time, and relativity. The film stars Matthew McConaugheyJessica ChastainAnne HathawayMichael Caine.

Earth's future has been riddled by disasters, famines, and droughts. There is only one way to ensure mankind's survival: Interstellar travel. A newly discovered wormhole in the far reaches of our solar system allows a team of astronauts to go where no man has gone before, a planet that may have the right environment to sustain human life.



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Pulp Fiction poster

The Touchstone of the Postmodern Cinema - Pulp Fiction (1994)

Pulp Fiction (1994) is an American crime movie that won the grand prize of the Cannes Film Festival (See other winners). The cult film tells several criminal stories with strong dialogues and complicated plots. Critics describe the movie as a touchstone of the postmodern cinema. In the US, NFR selected the movie as "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant". 

Many people agree that Pulp Fiction (1994) is the magnum opus of director Quentin Tarantino. The director made a great impact on cinema with specifically his films: Pulp Fiction (1994) and Reservoir Dogs (1992). 



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The Man from Earth  poster

A Dialogue Driven Film - The Man from Earth (2007)

Richard Schenkman drama and science-fiction movie. The Film composed of almost entirely intellectual dialogues and set in Professor John Oldman's House. All the cast members of The Man from Earth are David Lee Smith (John Oldman), Tony ToddJohn BillingsleyEllen CrawfordAnnika PetersonAlexis ThorpeWilliam KattRichard Riehle.

An impromptu goodbye party for Professor John Oldman becomes a mysterious interrogation after the retiring scholar reveals to his colleagues he has a longer and stranger past than they can imagine.



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A Great Romantic Tragicomedy - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) is one of the greatest movies of all time. It is written by Charlie Kaufman and directed by Michel Gondry. The film stars Jim CarreyKate WinsletKirsten DunstMark RuffaloElijah WoodTom WilkinsonJane Adams, and David Cross. The film won the Best Screenplay Academy Award for Charlie Kaufman and  Kate Winslet received a nomination of Best Actress Award.

The film tells the story of Joel Barish (Jim Carrey), heartbroken that his girlfriend Clementine underwent a procedure to erase him from her memory, decides to do the same. However, as he watches his memories of her fade away, he realizes that he still loves her, and maybe too late to correct his mistake.



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A Dystopian Political Thriller - V for Vendetta (2006)

V for Vendetta (2006) is a dystopian political thriller which is directed by James McTeigue and stars  Natalie Portman,  Hugo WeavingStephen ReaStephen FryJohn Hurt

Tells the story of Evey Hammond and her unlikely but instrumental part in bringing down the fascist government that has taken control of a futuristic Great Britain. Saved from a life-and-death situation by a man in a Guy Fawkes mask who calls himself V, she learns a general summary of V's past and, after a time, decides to help him bring down those who committed the atrocities that led to Britain being in the shape that it is in.



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Persona  poster

An Influential Psychological Drama - Persona (1966)

Persona (1966) is an Ingmar Bergman movie stars Bibi AnderssonLiv UllmannMargaretha KrookGunnar Björnstrand, and Jörgen Lindström.

A young nurse, Alma, is put in charge of Elisabeth Vogler: an actress who is seemingly healthy in all respects but will not talk. As they spend time together, Alma speaks to Elisabeth constantly, never receiving any answer. Alma eventually confesses her secrets to a seemingly sympathetic Elisabeth and finds that her own personality is being submerged into Elisabeth's persona.

The film's exploration of duality, insanity and personal identity has been interpreted as reflecting the Jungian theory of persona and dealing with issues related to filmmaking, vampire mythology, lesbianism, motherhood, abortion, and other subjects




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Her poster

Her (2013)

Spike Jonze's sci-fi movie can be classified as cyberpunk. The movie causes us to rethink classical relationships in a very interesting way in the age of artificial intelligence is filling our needs.

Theodore (Joaquin Phoenix) is a lonely man in the final stages of his divorce. When he's not working as a letter writer, his downtime is spent playing video games and occasionally hanging out with friends. He decides to purchase the new OS1, which is advertised as the world's first artificially intelligent operating system, "It's not just an operating system, it's a consciousness," the ad states.



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Inception poster

Inception (2010)

Inception (2010) is a Christopher Nolan movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Dom Cobb, Joseph Gordon-Levitt as Arthur, Ellen Page as Ariadne, Tom Hardy as Eames, Ken Watanabe as Saito, Cillian Murphy as Robert Fischer, Marion Cotillard as Mal, and Michael Caine as Miles.  It won four Academy Awards (Best Cinematography, Best Sound Editing, Best Sound Mixing, and Best Visual Effects) and praised for the visual effects, Christopher Nolan's direction and the ensemble cast.


Dom Cobb is a skilled thief, the absolute best in the dangerous art of extraction, stealing valuable secrets from deep within the subconscious during the dream state, when the mind is at its most vulnerable. Cobb's rare ability has made him a coveted player in this treacherous new world of corporate espionage, but it has also made him an international fugitive and cost him everything he has ever loved. Now Cobb is being offered a chance at redemption. One last job could give him his life back but only if he can accomplish the impossible - inception. Instead of the perfect heist, Cobb and his team of specialists have to pull off the reverse: their task is not to steal an idea but to plant one.



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The Experiment poster

A True Story - The Experiment (2001)

Oliver Hirschbiegel's movie is based on a true story of a shocking psychology experiment, known as the Stanford Prison Experiment, which was held in 1971 by a group of researcher-led by Professor Philip Zimbardo. The experiment itself reveals a wild side of human nature in a scientific way and caused us to start ethics discussions about psychology experiments in reality.



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Blade Runner  poster

A Quintessential Cyberpunk Movie - Blade Runner

A quintessential cyberpunk movie directed by Ridley Scott. The movie is considered a cult movie and one of the greatest movies of all time. The film stars Harrison Ford as Rick Deckard, Rutger Hauer as Roy Batty, Sean Young as Rachael, Edward James Olmos as Gaff, M. Emmet Walsh as Bryant, and Daryl Hannah as Pris.

In the futuristic year of 2019, Los Angeles has become a dark and depressing metropolis, filled with urban decay. Rick Deckard, an ex-cop, is a "Blade Runner". Blade runners are people assigned to assassinate "replicants". The replicants are androids that look like real human beings. Also, Blade Runner 2049 which is directed by Denis Villeneuve and released in 2017 is a sequel to the film.



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Donnie Darko  poster

Donnie Darko (2001)

Donnie Darko doesn't get along too well with his family, his teachers and his classmates; but he does manage to find a sympathetic friend in Gretchen, who agrees to date him. He has a compassionate psychiatrist, who discovers hypnosis is the means to unlock hidden secrets. His other companion may not be a true ally. Donnie has a friend named Frank - a large bunny which only Donnie can see. When an engine falls off a plane and destroys his bedroom...



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Clockwork Orange, A poster

A Stanley Kubrick Dystopian - A Clockwork Orange (1971)

A Clockwork Orange (1971) is a dystopian crime movie directed by Stanley Kubrick and stars Malcolm McDowell as Alexander DeLarge, Patrick Magee as Mr. Alexander, Adrienne Corri as Mrs. Alexander, Michael Bates as Chief Guard, Warren Clarke as Dim.

On the film production's call sheet (cited at greater length above), Kubrick wrote:

"It is a story of the dubious redemption of a teenage delinquent by condition-reflex therapy. It is, at the same time, a running lecture on free-will."


Protagonist Alex DeLarge is an "ultraviolent" youth in futuristic Britain. As with all luck, he eventually runs out and he's arrested and convicted of murder and rape. While in prison, Alex learns of an experimental program in which convicts are programmed to detest violence. If he goes through the program, his sentence will be reduced and he will be back on the streets sooner than expected. But Alex's ordeals are far from over once he hits the mean streets of Britain that he had a hand in creating.




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The Truman Show poster

The Truman Show (1998)

In this movie, Truman (Jim Carrey) is a man whose life is a fake one... The place he lives is in fact a big studio with hidden cameras everywhere, and all his friends and people around him, are actors who play their roles in the most popular TV-series in the world: The Truman Show. Truman thinks that he is an ordinary man with an ordinary life and has no idea about how he is exploited. Until one day... he finds out everything. Will he react?



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Children of Men poster

Children of Men (2006)

An Alfonso Cuaron movie takes place in 2027. The world's youngest citizen has just died at 18, and humankind is facing the likelihood of its own extinction. Set in and around a dystopian London fractious with violence and warring nationalistic sects, Children of Men follows the unexpected discovery of a lone pregnant woman and the desperate journey to deliver her to safety and restore faith for a future beyond those presently on Earth.



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Mr. Nobody  poster

Mr. Nobody (2009)

Jaco Van Dormael science-fiction and drama movie with a nonlinear timeline. The film stars Jared Leto, Sarah Polley, Diane Kruger

In the year 2092, one hundred eighteen-year-old Nemo is recounting his life story to a reporter. He is less than clear, often times thinking that he is only thirty-four years of age. But his story becomes more confusing after he does focus on the fact of his current real age. He tells of his life at three primary points in his life: at age nine (when his parents divorced), age sixteen and age thirty-four. 



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Mulholland Drive poster

A Lynchean Film - Mulholland Drive (2001)

Mulholland Drive (2001) is a neo-noir mystery film directed by David Lynch and stars Naomi WattsLaura HarringJustin TherouxAnn Miller, and Dan Hedaya


David Lynch is most known for his surrealist films. Due to the developed his own unique cinematic style, his style has been dubbed "Lynchian". Mulholland Drive reflects the style of the director and also one of the finest works of him. Also, Lynch won the Best Director Award at the 2001 Cannes Film Festival with this film.



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Being John Malkovich poster

A Great Fantasy Comedy - Being John Malkovich (1999)

Being John Malkovich (1999) is another thought-provoking movie written by Charlie Kaufman. The film is directed by Spike Jonze and stars John CusackCameron DiazCatherine KeenerJohn MalkovichCharlie Sheen. Being John Malkovich received three Oscars nominations:  Best Director for Jonze, Best Original Screenplay for Kaufman, and Best Supporting Actress for Keener.

The film follows a puppeteer who finds a portal that leads into Malkovich's mind.



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The Sunset Limited poster

Theistic vs Atheistic Argument - The Sunset Limited (2011)

The film is entirely composed of dialogues between Tommy Lee Jones and Samuel L. Jackson. Theistic vs Atheistic argument.

Two men in an apartment with their opposing beliefs in this play by Cormac McCarthey. The black guy, a former convict who believes in God, just saved the white agnostic professor from jumping in front of the express train. He won't let the depressed man leave, without following him, and feel he's in this situation for a reason, decided by God. An intense chamber play about belief or unbelief, and a conversation about what's true and important in life, or not.



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The Tree of Life poster

An Experimental Epic Drama - The Tree of Life (2011)

The Tree Of Life (2011) is directed by Terrence Malick and stars Brad PittSean PennJessica Chastain, and Tye Sheridan. The film is also won the Palme d'Or award of the Cannes Film Festival. (See all Palme d'Or winners

The impressionistic story of a Texas family in the 1950s. The film follows the life journey of the eldest son, Jack, through the innocence of childhood to his disillusioned adult years as he tries to reconcile a complicated relationship with his father (Brad Pitt). Jack (played as an adult by Sean Penn) finds himself a lost soul in the modern world, seeking answers to the origins and meaning of life while questioning the existence of faith.



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