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Poll: Thought provoking movies  

post #1 of 77
Thread Starter 
Whether psychological, philosophical or even religious, what are your favorite movies that really made you think? Here are some of my picks:

The seventh seal (one of Ingram Bergman's earliest and most well known. Very philosophical.)

Ikiru (very thought provoking, about life and death, a 1952? contemporary Akira Korasawa film)

The Big Kahuna (Kevin Spacy, Danny Devito, Religious/philosophical, great dialog, was originally a play)

Open Your Eyes (Spanish, from Spain, available in subtitles, a psychological thriller. Great!)

The Castle (a GREAT Australian comedy!!)

Happiness (like the box art of this film, the characters are caricatures of people we all know)

Fight Club


Chuck and Buck (new to video, artsy, strong character study. In a subtle way, at times it was VERY funny!)

American Beauty

Catch 22

Dr. Strangelove

Limbo (John Sales)

Being John Malcovich (Great!, weird, dream like)

Leaving Las Vegas (Cage at his best)


Zorba the Greek

Swimming to Cambodia (a very good monologue)

The Contender (bran new to video)

The Manchurian Candidate

Traffic (end the drug war!)

Blow (end the drug war!!!)

What are some of your thought provoking movie recommendations?


Remember to write letters to channels that have HDTV thanking them, and to channels that should have HDTV requesting it. For example, ESPN, Fox Sports Net, Discovery channel and the NASA channel.
post #2 of 77
You already have Manchurian Candidate. Funny thing about "deep" movies is it depends on your stake of mind/body at the time you see them (e.g., Superman was deep when it came out). Otherwise, here would be my similar vein picks to Manchurian Candidate.

Seven Days in May

The Great Santini

post #3 of 77
Memento, it's one of those rare sleepers that get's zero press attention but is probably the best movie of 2001, thus far.
They have a website for the movie at http://www.otnemem.com
When you hear about the premise of the movie, you will understand why the website is spelled backwards. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif If you haven't seen this one yet, its worth finding it playing in your area.

The Academy Home Theater
post #4 of 77
Perhaps it is just me, but the movie With Honors strikes a chord with me, and the way I view/treat others...
post #5 of 77
American History X
Dead Man Walking (might change your mind about the death penalty)
post #6 of 77
Being There, from 1989, recently released on DVD, Peter Sellers last movie, and features Shirley Maclaine. Beautiful transfer by the way, and a fine mono soundtrack.


Morris Jones
San Rafael, CA
post #7 of 77
In addition to some of the great ones already mentioned:

The Virgin Suicides

-Lieutenant in the TiVo army

Pass da Nut!
post #8 of 77
Here are my choices:

Midnight Express
Thin Red Line.

Best regards-Henry
post #9 of 77
I don't think anyone has mentioned it yet; this one definitely should be on any list:


The ending will make you think quite a bit about the movie, and make you rethink and reevaluate what you thought you saw earlier in the movie. Terry Gilliam movies leave one questioning the nature of fantasy and reality, and perhaps none more so than Brazil.

post #10 of 77
How about:

Goundhogs day!

I was going through a depression at the time.

It really grabbed me

post #11 of 77

A Canadian movie that was filmed through the help of telefilm canada, the quebec branch of the national film board, I believe. If it where not for this, it would have probably been banned.

It is about a 11 year old or so boy growing up in suburban/city Montreal.

The premise of the story is that it is about..." a child who thinks he is the illegitimate offspring of a sperm-laden sicilian tomato".

From there, it gets a bit strange, but never fails to rip you to shreds.

Filmmaking at it's absolute finest. A solid 5 stars out of 4.

Others that are small, and some rarely seen:

Naked Lunch
The Beast
Naked (david thewlis)
Dead Boys can't fly(I just found a $3 copy of this,it sells for $180US used)
Romper Stomper
The Quiet earth
Miracle Mile
Night Zoo
The Butcher Boy
Citizen X
Romeo is Bleeding
The Last Seduction
The Legend of The OverFiend (careful with this one.....good luck finding it unedited)
Baraka (70 mm footage with music)
The Killing Fields

I will be adding more to this list, so stay tuned.

This is the only kind of movie I like to watch, ones that make me sqirm. I don't watch my movies for comfort, I watch them for the pressure they deliver. It has to be REAL.

Here's a few more:

Cat People
The Hunger
Vanishing Point
Bellman and True (just because I like it)

And, Dude: If you are a sci-fi fan (I have about 4000) you HAVE to see The Quiet Earth. It will definitely end up on your top ten, permanently, especially considering the recent advent of the H.A.A.R.P. Project, and it's severe lack of publicity. 'Solaris' is one of the others... one of the greatest Sci-fi movies ever made, a true original and originator.


Ken Hotte

[This message has been edited by KBK (edited 04-21-2001).]
post #12 of 77
Thread Starter 
A couple more:

1. It's my party (About euthanasia. Difficult to repress the fear of death when watching this movie)

2. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (A 1919 German expressionist film. Often shown in film class. Watch it on DVD then be sure to watch it again with the audio commentary. The audio commentary taught me a lot about movie making. This movie gets better with each viewing)

Wait a minute... I just thought of one more must for our list:

3. M (Ethical dilemma. Very good early 1930's German movie.)

I am thinking of starting a new genre in my video store for most of these movies, but I'm not sure what to call it. I'll probable call it "Thought Provoking," or "Thoughtful," or maybe "Eccentric Films That Make You Think." What do you think?

Anyway, I'm glad to know there's still a lot of my kind of movies I have yet to see. It gives me something to look forward to.


Remember to write letters to channels that have HDTV thanking them, and to channels that should have HDTV requesting it. For example, ESPN, Fox Sports Net, Discovery channel and the NASA channel.
post #13 of 77
Some good ones mentioned, I'd add:
Born on the 4th of July
This Island Earth
What Dreams May Come
To kill a Mockingbird
Day the Earth Stood Still
Day the Earth Caught Fire
A Clockwork Orange
the Lathe of Heaven
post #14 of 77
How about "12 Angry Men"
post #15 of 77
Here's another good one that I don't think anyone has mentioned yet:

Angel Heart

I first saw this many years ago on late night TV, and I couldn't get to sleep for hours after watching it. It's another one of those movies with the surprise endings that force you to rethink and reevaluate everything you thought you were watching right up until the final scene.

Also unusual for a movie in that it draws from both the horror/occult and the film noir/private detective mystery genres. Definitely in the "really makes you think" category. Angel Heart: Mickey Rourke, Robert DeNiro, Lisa Bonet.

You'll think twice next time someone offers you a hard boiled egg!

post #16 of 77
George Sluizer's original The Vanishing (Spoorloos) is a movie that seems to provoke discussion. The US remake does also, although more along the lines of "Why can't they leave well enough alone!" (Sadly Sluizer also directed the remake.)


[This message has been edited by acannon (edited 04-22-2001).]
post #17 of 77
Yep! Angel Heart. I own the 'uncut' LD, with extra Lisa Bonet 'Sex and Blood' on it... Grat movie, especially the end credits

Mikey Rourke will probably never do better than that movie.


Ken Hotte
post #18 of 77
Arlington Road comes to mind, and I second Gattaca. http://www.avsforum.com/ubb/smile.gif
post #19 of 77
I'll second a few of the movies already mentioned here:

The Insider (Anger, ethics, determination and justice)
Baraka (Planet Earth and too much thought to list here)
Blade Runner (What is human, the memory thing, fragility of the Human Condition, oddly reflected by not quite human characters (important part of the movie), and of course Harrison's character too)

I will add these Thought Provoking Movies to this thread:

This is My Father (James Cann and others, very moving.)
Holy Smoke (Kate Winslet and Harvey Keitel, just very weird)
Freeway (Reese Witherspoon, Kiefer Sutherland. Twisted Movie.)
Runaway Train (Jon Voight, Eric Roberts, Rebecca DeMornay. Compassion where and when you'd least expect it, or was it just exhaustion? You have to see the ending. Its very moving.)
Runaway Train was the first movie I ever saw that was good in such a way that I thought about it in a Movie Critic sort of way.

I had typed some thoughts for the above but I'd rather leave the thinking to the viewer. I imagine this is a great place to exchange suggestions for interesting and thought provoking movies, but not to explain them too much. Movie watching is usually an individual experience. Suffice to say that the above movies were "Thought Provoking".

[This message has been edited by cpc (edited 04-22-2001).]
post #20 of 77
American Psycho...Dancer In The Dark...The Killing Fields...

post #21 of 77
the 6 th sense! But I knew in the mid of the movie what was really happening. of course, everybody talked about a "twist", and I didn't think that it was not obvious. Spoiled a little bit this movie for me because i figured it out!
post #22 of 77
Here's a couple more to throw into the mix...
The Edge
Emerald Forest
post #23 of 77
I still think Ilsa: She Wolf of the SS is one of the most thought provoking films of all time.
post #24 of 77
Stalker (1979) - Directed by Andrei Tarkovsky. May be the most intellectually stimulating film ever made.

King Of Comedy (1983) - One of Scorsese's very best. Even more relevant to today's culture than it was to that of its time, with all of the no-talents who manage to snag 15 minutes of fame through dubious means ("reality" shows and the like) these days.
post #25 of 77
I concur with several previously mentioned choices, these three in particular: THE DAY THE EARTH STOOD STILL, TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD, CONTACT.

I would add: ALL QUIET ON THE WESTERN FRONT, OH GOD, and FORREST GUMP...but my highest evaluation in the "thought-provoking" category goes to GANDHI.


[This message has been edited by Tom Hilton (edited 04-23-2001).]
post #26 of 77
<font face="Verdana, Arial" size="2">Originally posted by Bawko Bawkorian:
Mike M.,
Just out of curiousity, what is it in particular about Ilsa that you found to be thought provoking? Or were you just kidding?

If you've seen the film, you'd know exactly whether I was kidding or not. Let's just say that it ranks up there with Beyond the Valley of the Dolls, not The valley of the Dolls -- Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. There's a definite distinction.
post #27 of 77
How about Elizabeth? A real old fashion "Godfather" cleanup Elizabethan style. That opening scene where they burn those 3 people is quite something. Do you suppose they did that then? My guess yes.
post #28 of 77
You want thought provocation...try Quills when it hits the street on 5/8. Was the Marquis de Sade really a madman or was he locked up in a mental institution for censorship? All examined thoroughly in this film adapted from the Obie Award winning play.
post #29 of 77
How about Jacobs Ladder?
I recently purchased it and hadn't seen it in a long time.
I'd say it's a thought provoking film.

Slingblade might also fit in this category.
I think Billy Bob Thorton was trying to make a statement about
the direction we've taken as a society since the Regan administration in dealing with mentally handicapped people.

And although not many people liked it, I thought Bless The Child was somewhat thought provoking. Not very deep mind you, but overall well done.
post #30 of 77
one flew over the cukoo's nest
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