Psychopath Movies For Learning
To Recognize Psychopaths

The increase in psychopath movies over the last few years indicates a growing awareness of psychopathy and the damage that they do in society.

Below is a list of what I consider to be some of the best of these movies from the point of view of learning about and understanding psychopaths. By that I mean that many people still think that a psychopath is a serial killer or a serial rapist. The fact is that the vast majority of psychopaths live hidden in society and people don't recognize them for what they are because they have a false idea about what a psychopath actually is and many psychopaths are great actors and play a role disguising themselves as normal people.

movies about 1 on 1 relationships

In Stone (2010), Edward Norton plays a psychopath in prison who 'plays' the experienced prison psychologist to get an early release. Watch out for the rapid fire talk, the big ego and the willingness to use others for his own ends, too.

Primal Fear (1996) Edward Norton again plays a psychopath who does a number on the lawyer who is defending him in a murder case.

In White Oleander (2002), Michelle Pfeiffer demonstrates what a psychopath is prepared to do, even to her own daughter. While I didn't particularly like the ending (not very realistic for a psychopath) notice the continuing connection of the daughter to the woman who has abused her all her life. This is the power of the bond a psychopath creates with their victims.

Gone Girl (2014) is a movie that shows the acting prowess of the psychopath. Again, notice how the husband has difficulty separating from the person he knows is abusing him.

Home Sweet Hell (2015) is a tongue in cheek psychopath movie, although many of the characteristics of a psychopath are portrayed very nicely.

 

The nasty cruel side

In The Last King of Scotland (2006), Forest Whitaker portrays the brutal dictator Idi Amin and he does a fantastic job of oozing power and creating fear in those around him as well as the sudden changes of moods, from rage to friendly and charming in an instant, which is typical of psychopaths.

The Devil's Double (2011) is a psychopath movie telling of the man who was forced to be the double of Saddam Hussein's sadistic son. The lack of morals, lack of inhibitions, lack of consideration of risks and lack of loyalty (shooting at his father's companions) are shown well.

Johnny Depp plays Whitey Bulger, a violent Boston gangster in Black Mass (2015). In this psychopath movie watch how the big ego shows up time and time again. It's all about power for him and he lets everyone know who is boss, including the FBI agents he is working with! And his own crew pay a heavy price for speaking up to him, which the psychopath considers a challenge to his dominance.

Whiplash (2014) is sometimes hard to watch because the leader of the band is so cruel to the musicians. He says it is for their own good but he really wants to find the next musical sensation. And he believes it is okay for him to destroy the career of musicians because of the least little thing. Lies and deceit are present here, too, of course.

 

Psychopath movies that show mind control techniques

The Island (2005) is a great portrayal of a cult where the real agenda of the leader is totally hidden from the members who are literally living in an alternate universe that is completely fabricated to keep them busy in various ways. Anybody who suspects or challenges the leader are immediately dealt with and the whole emotional control aspect can be seen here, too.

Red State (2011) shows how youngsters are tricked into joining a group. The fear of living in a cult is shown, as well as the long drawn out speeches and the totally distorted thinking of the members. The movie also takes a jab at the authorities management of a cultic group.

Compliance (2012) is a psychopath movie to watch if you want to see Robert Cialdini's weapons of influence in action. And in case you think it's farfetched, there have been many such cases in the US over the years.

Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs 2 (2013) is an animated children's movie that shows nicely how the psychopath plays on the hero's wants and desires (and his intelligence!) to get him to do his bidding, all the time telling him he is going to save the world. The psychopath also isolates the hero from his friends and family, lies, cheats and even abuses his own team.

The Hunger Games and the Maze Runner series of films as well as The Giver (2014) also portray life in a totalitarian society where mind control techniques are used to keep the citizens in line.

 

Psychopath movies about child psychopaths

We Need To Talk About Kevin (2011) is a chilling psychopath movie about what it's like to bring up a child that is a psychopath, without realizing that he is a psychopath. The lack of affection, playing parents off against each other and cruelty to siblings are all covered here.

The Boy (2015) is about a 9 year old psychopath and his interest in death. It starts slowly but is not short on psychopathic traits in the main character, which means the movie heats up quite a bit!

 

Real life stories

The Imposter (2012) is a story about a psychopath who stole identities and it's interesting in that the main character describes how he set out to deliberately fool certain people in particular situations.

True Story (2015) is another psychopath movie about a man accused of murdering his family and how he convinces a reporter (whose identity he had stolen!) that he is innocent. The interaction here is notable because you can hear some of the vague language of the psychopath and how it can be quite convincing.

 

Assorted psychopath movies

Badlands (1973) while not a recent psychopath movie, is worth a watch because you get two for one. Sissy Spacek's role is also that of a psychopath and the whole movie is really well done.

A Perfect Getaway (2009) is a great example of how psychopaths can really hide themselves in society.

Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer (1986) is considered to be a realistic portrayal of a psychopath, with the lack of empathy, poor planning and a somewhat chaotic lifestyle.

And if you want a bit of humor and revenge in a psychopath movie, The Other Woman (2014) is one to watch.

Remember that these movies are just that, movies. They are made to entertain and may not match perfectly the psychopath you have in your life.

And if you are interested, here are some mind control videos...

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