30 Top Thought-Provoking Movies That Helps You Think Deeply

Let’s admit it, we all love to watch movies with good content. Many people watch movies in order to find a sense of relief from our bustle life and motivate themselves. There are so many thought-provoking movies that will motivate you with a unique story and help you focus on your goal. 

In this guide, we have prepared a list of the 30 best thought-provoking movies that will keep you motivated. Let’s start.

List of Top Thought-Provoking films

In the under mention section, we have prepared a list of the top 30 thought-provoking films that you should watch at least once.

  1.  Predestination (I) (2014)
  2. Upstream Color (2013)
  3.  Interstellar (2014)
  4. The Departed (2006)
  5. Shutter Island (2010)
  6. Stonehearst Asylum (2014)
  7. Fight Club (1999)
  8. Primer (2004)
  9. The Game (1997)
  10. The Sixth Sense (1999)
  11.  Se7en (1995)
  12. Exam (2009)
  13. The Illusionist (2006)
  14. The Thirteenth Floor (1999)
  15. The Others (2001)
  16. Basic Instinct (1992)
  17. Gone Girl (2014)
  18. The Da Vinci Code (2006)
  19. Inception (2010)
  20. Looper (2012)
  21. Cube (1997)
  22. Mulholland Drive (2001)
  23. Triangle (2009)
  24. Prisoners (2013)
  25. The Dark Knight (2008)
  26. Nocturnal Animals (2016)
  27. Andhadhun (2018)
  28. The Usual Suspects (1995)
  29. 29. Source Code (2011)
  30. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Let’s understand the detailed information about these top thought-provoking movies. 

#1. Predestination (I) (2014)

Rating: 7.5/10 IMDb

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Drama

Runtime: 97 minutes

This is one of the most thought-provoking movies released in 2014. The movie shows the life of a Temporal Agent who was sent on a complicated series of time-travel journeys conceived to make sure the continuance of his law enforcement career forever.

Directed By: Peter Spierig, Michael Spierig

Written By: Michael Spierig

Cast: Christopher Kirby, Ethan Hawke, Christopher Sommers, Sarah Snook

#2. Upstream Color (2013)

best thought Provoking movie

Rating: 6.6/10 IMDb

Genre: Sci-Fi, Drama

Runtime: 96 minutes

The movie starts with a young man and woman who are pulled together, entangled in the cycle of life of an ageless organism. This is one of the best thought-provoking movies released in 2013 and the runtime of the movie is 96 minutes. 

Directed By: Shane Carruth

Written By: Shane Carruth

Cast: Thiago Martins, Amy Seimetz, Andrew Sensenig, Shane Carruth

#3. Interstellar (2014)

Rating: 8.7/10 IMDb

Genre: Drama, Sci-Fi, Adventure

Runtime: 169 minutes

Do you love to watch adventure movies? If so, then you must watch the Interstellar movie. The story revolves around a team of explorers who travels in space to make sure humanity’s survival. The movie was released in the year 2014 and became one of the best thought-provoking movies of all time. 

Directed By: Christopher Nolan

Written By: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Mackenzie Foy, Matthew McConaughey, Timothée Chalamet, Ellen Burstyn

#4. The Departed (2006)

Rating: 8.5/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Drama, Crime

Runtime: 151 minutes

An undercover cop and a mole try to identify each other while investigating a case in South Boston. What will happen in the end? Will they be able to work together and solve the case? For that, you need to watch the movie. The runtime of this film is 151 and it was released in the year 2006. 

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Written By: William Monahan

Cast: Mark Wahlberg, Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson, Matt Damon

#5. Shutter Island (2010)

thought provoking movies

Rating: 8.2/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Runtime: 138 minutes

The film shows the story of the 1950s. A U.S Marshal investigating a killer who was escaped from the hospital. Will he be able to find out the murderer and help the police to arrest him? Go and watch this movie now. The movie was released in the year 2010 and the runtime of the film is 138 minutes. 

Directed By: Martin Scorsese

Written By: Dennis Lehane, Laeta Kalogridis

Cast: Michelle Williams, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ben Kingsley, Mark Ruffalo, Emily Mortimer

#6. Stonehearst Asylum (2014)

Rating: 6.8/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Horror, Drama

Runtime: 112 minutes

After completing his graduation from Oxford University, a guy takes a job in a mental asylum. He wants to discover the revolution in medical science. However, unwanted activities start happening that he can’t believe in his own eyes. 

Directed By: Brad Anderson

Written By: Edgar Allan Poe, Joe Gangemi

Cast: Brendan Gleeson, Kate Beckinsale, Michael Caine, Jim Sturgess, David Thewlis

#7. Fight Club (1999)

Rating: 8.8/10 IMDb

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 139 minutes

The movie revolves around the story of a devil-may-care soap maker and an insomniac office worker from an underground fight club tha evolves into much more. This top thought-provoking film was released in the year 1999 and the runtime of the movie is 139 minutes. 

Directed By: David Fincher

Written By: Jim Uhls, Chuck Palahniuk

Cast: Richmond Arquette, Edward Norton, Zach Grenier, Brad Pitt

#8. Primer (2004)

Rating: 6.8/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Drama, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 77 minutes

The movie shows the story of four entrepreneurs. Suddenly, they discover that there’s something bigger as well as more innovative than the different error-checking devices they have made. The movie was released in the year 2004 and the runtime of the movie is 77 minutes. 

Directed By: Shane Carruth

Written By: Shane Carruth

Cast: Anand Upadhyaya, Shane Carruth, Casey Gooden, Carrie Crawford, John Carruth

#9. The Game (1997)

Rating: 7.8/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Drama, Mystery

Runtime: 129 minutes

The film starts with Nicholas Van Orton- a banker. However, he always spends his birthday alone. But, on his 48th birthday, his brother Conrad suddenly returns and gives Nicholas a card and forces him to visit the Consumer Recreation Services. Nicholas visits the place and weird things start happening to him. The movie was released in the year 1997 and the runtime of the movie is 129 minutes. 

Directed By: David Fincher

Written By: Michael Ferris, John Brancato

Cast: James Rebhorn, Michael Douglas, Deborah Kara Unger, Anna Katarina, Armin Mueller-Stahl

#10. The Sixth Sense (1999)

thought provoking films

Rating: 8.2/10 IMDb

Genre: Horror, Mystery, Drama

Runtime: 107 minutes

It’s a horror-based movie. A little boy who can see ghosts and talk to them. Slowly, he becomes mentally imbalanced. One day, a disheartened child psychologist came to meet him. What will happen then? For that, you have to watch the movie. This thought-provoking film was released in the year 1999 and was one of the biggest hits in the same year. 

Directed By: M. Night Shyamalan

Written By: M. Night Shyamalan

Cast: Olivia Williams, Bruce Willis, Toni Collette, Haley Joel Osment 

#11.  Se7en (1995)

Rating: 8.6/10 IMDb

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Drama

Runtime: 127 minutes

Se7en revolves around two detectives, a veteran, and a rookie. Both of them work together and search for a serial killer. While investing the case that discovers seven deadly sins. They believe that the seven sins show the serial killer’s motive. Se7en movie was released in the year 1995 and the runtime of the movie is 127 minutes. 

Directed By: David Fincher

Written By: Andrew Kevin Walker

Cast: Gwyneth Paltrow, Morgan Freeman, Daniel Zacapa, Andrew Kevin Walker

#12. Exam (2009)

Rating: 6.8/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Runtime: 101 minutes

Eight talented people have reached the final stage of selection in order to join a reputable corporation. All of them entered into a windowless room and the Invigilator give them 80 minutes to answer a simple question. He creates three rules and if any of the candidates refuse to follow the rules, he/she will be instantly disqualified. Who will get selected? What will the other seven candidates do? 

Directed By: Stuart Hazeldine

Written By: Stuart Hazeldine

Cast: John Lloyd Fillingham, Adar Beck, Pollyanna McIntosh, Gemma Chan, Luke Mably

#13. The Illusionist (2006)

Rating: 7.6/10 IMDb

Genre: Mystery, Fantasy, Drama

Runtime: 110 minutes

The movie starts with a magician who is madly in love with a pretty lady. But, the lady refuse him every time. One day, he decided to use his abilities in order to impress the lady. Will he be able to successfully do so? For that, we recommend you watch the movie. The movie was released in 2013 and the runtime of the movie is 110 minutes.

Directed By: Neil Burger

Written By: Neil Burger

Cast: Rufus Sewell, Edward Norton, Jake Wood, Paul Giamatti

#14. The Thirteenth Floor (1999)

Rating: 7.0/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Sci-Fi

Runtime: 100 minutes

The movie starts with a computer scientist who is running a virtual reality simulation of 1937. However, one day his colleague was murdered and he becomes the primary suspect of the murder. The Thirteen Floor movie was released in the year 1999 and the runtime of the movie is 100 minutes. 

 Directed By: Josef Rusnak

Written By: Josef Rusnak, Daniel F. Galouye, Ravel Centeno-Rodriguez

Cast: Vincent D’Onofrio, Armin Mueller-Stahl, Vincent D’Onofrio, Craig Bierko

#15. The Others (2001)

top thought provoking movie

Rating: 7.6/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Horror, Mystery

Runtime: 104 minutes

A woman lives with her two children in her darkened old family. They live happily but suddenly an unwanted incident takes place and the woman starts believing that the house is haunted. So, she decided to take help from a paranormal expert. What will happen in the climax? 

Directed By: Alejandro Amenábar   

Written By: Alejandro Amenábar   

Cast: Christopher Eccleston, Nicole Kidman, Renée Asherson, Fionnula Flanagan

#16. Basic Instinct (1992)

Rating: 7.0/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Drama

Runtime: 127 minutes

The movie revolves around a violent police officer who investigates a brutal murder case. He believes that a seductive novelist might involve in the crime. Who will be the actual murderer? Will the police officer be able to arrest the real culprit? The movie was released in the year 1992 and is one of the best thought-provoking movies of all time. 

Directed By: Paul Verhoeven

Written By: Joe Eszterhas

Cast: Jeanne Tripplehorn, Michael Douglas, George Dzundza, Bruce A. Young

#17. Gone Girl (2014)

Rating: 8.1/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Drama, Mystery

Runtime: 149 minutes

A middle-class came into the limelight after his wife’s sudden disappearance. The police suspect that he killed his wife and arrest him. Will he be able to prove himself innocent and find out his wife? It was one of the most searched movies released in 2014. The runtime of the movie is 149 minutes. 

Directed By: David Fincher

Written By: Gillian Flynn

Cast: Neil Patrick Harris, Ben Affleck, Patrick Fugit, David Clennon, Tyler Perry

#18. The Da Vinci Code (2006)

Rating: 6.6/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Mystery

Runtime: 149 minutes

The movie is based on Dan Brown’s controversial best-selling novel “ A Powerful Secret”. A person was brutally killed inside the Louvre. While investigating the case, cops find a clue in the Da Vinci Painting. Later they discover that it’s a religious secret that was protected for two thousand years. What is that secret? How will police solve the murder mystery through the clue? 

Directed By: Ron Howard

Written By: Akiva Goldsman, Dan Brown

Cast: Paul Bettany, Tom Hanks, Alfred Molina, Jean-Yves Berteloot, Jürgen Prochnow

#19. Inception (2010)

thought Provoking movie Inception

Rating: 8.8/10 IMDb

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Adventure

Runtime: 148 minutes

Dom Cobb is a skilled thief who steals corporate private information through the use of dream-sharing technology. And want to plant his own ideas into the CEO’s mind. But, his 

Dark past might doom the project as well as his team members to disaster. The movie was released in the year 2010 and the runtime of the Inception film is 148 minutes. 

Directed By: Christopher Nolan

Written By: Christopher Nolan

Cast: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Ken Watanabe, Leonardo DiCaprio, Ken Watanabe

#20. Looper (2012)

Rating: 7.4/10 IMDb

Genre: Sci-Fi, Action, Drama

Runtime: 119 minutes

Joe is a looper. His employers use a time machine to bring man from the future to kill people. Joe is well-known for the fact that one day someone will come from the future and kill him. Will he still want to continue the Job? To know this, we suggest you watch this thought-provoking film. The movie was released in the year 2012 and the runtime of the movie is 119 minutes. 

Directed By: Rian Johnson

Written By: Rian Johnson

Cast: Emily Blunt, Noah Segan, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Pierce Gagnon, Piper Perabo

#21. Cube (1997)

Rating: 7.2/10 IMDb

Genre: Horror, Drama, Mystery

Runtime: 90 minutes

This is another best thought-provoking movie we include in the. Cube movie shows the story of six people who don’t know each other. However, due to some uncertain incidents, they came under one roof. What will happen when they get together?

Directed By: Vincenzo Natali

Written By: Vincenzo Natali.  Graeme Manson

Cast: Andrew Miller. Nicole de Boer, Julian Richings, Maurice Dean Wint

#22. Mulholland Drive (2001)

 Rating: 7.9/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Drama, Mystery

Runtime: 147 minutes

After an impact on the winding Mulholland Drive renders a woman named Amnesiac. Now the twist began, when Amnesiac and a spirited Hollywood-hopeful search for hints and explanations across Los Angeles in a convoluted incident beyond dreams as well as reality. The movie was released in the year 2001 and the run time of the movie is 147 minutes. 

Directed By: David Lynch

Written By: David Lynch

Cast: Dan Birnbaum, Randall Wulff, Naomi Watts, Brent Briscoe

#23. Triangle (2009)

Rating: 6.9/10 IMDb

Runtime: 99 minutes

Genre: Thriller, Sci-Fi, Mystery

The movie revolves around a ship named Yacht. Due to mysterious weather conditions, passengers of the Yacht ship jump onto other ships. Will the passengers survive? For that, you must watch this thought-provoking film. The movie was released in the year 2009 and the runtime of the movie is 99 minutes. 

Directed By: Christopher Smith

Written By: Christopher Smith

Cast: Michael Dorman, Melissa George, Jack Taylor, Joshua McIvor

#24. Prisoners (2013)

most thought provoking movie

Rating: 8.1/10 IMDb

Genre: Mystery, Crime, Drama

Runtime: 153 minutes

The prisoners’ movie tells us that a father can do anything to save his daughter. The film starts with Keller Dover- a beloved father. When his daughter and her friend go missing, Keller decided to take the matter on his own as he can’t trust crops. The movie was released in the year 2013 and the runtime of the movie is 153 minutes. 

Directed By: Denis Villeneuve

Written By: Aaron Guzikowski

Cast: Terrence Howard, Hugh Jackman, Maria Bello, Jake Gyllenhaal, Paul Dano

#25. The Dark Knight (2008)

Rating: 9.1/10 IMDb

Genre: Drama, Action, Crime

Runtime: 152 minutes

In the movie, we see how injustice takes place. And Batman has to put his all efforts both mentally and physically to fight injustice. Will he be able to fight with the joker and save people? For that, you should watch this one of the best thought-provoking movies of all time. The Dark Knight movie was released in the year 2008 and was one of the most searched movies in the same year. 

Directed By: Christopher Nolan

Written By: Christopher Nolan, Jonathan Nolan, David S. Goyer   

Cast: Maggie Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Heath Ledger, Monique Gabriela Curnen

#26. Nocturnal Animals (2016)

Rating: 7.5/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Drama

Runtime: 116 minutes

Do you love to watch horror movies and feel some scary moments? Then you must see the Nocturnal movie. An art gallery owner is afraid of her ex-husband’s spirit. Her ex-husband wants to take revenge on her as she is responsible for her ex-husband’s death.

Directed By: Tom Ford

Written By: Tom Ford, Austin Wright

Cast: Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Amy Adams, Michael Shannon, Armie Hammer, Jake Gyllenhaal

#27. Andhadhun (2018)

Andhadhun thought Provoking movies

Rating: 8.2/10 IMDb

Runtime: 139 minutes

Genre: Music, Comedy, Crime

The movie revolves around a blind pianist. He was happy with his life. Certainly, some unwanted incidents happen around him and he should report a crime. Andhadhun movie was released in the year 2018 and the runtime of the movie is 139 minutes. 

Directed By: Sriram Raghavan

Written By: Yogesh Chandekar,  Sriram Raghavan, Arijit Biswas

Cast: Radhika Apte, Ayushmann Khurrana, Ashwini Kalsekar,     Tabu

#28. The Usual Suspects (1995)

Rating: 8.5/10 IMDb

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Crime

Runtime: 106 minutes

The story is all about a solo survivor. He survives a horrific gun battle on a boat. Later, he explained what exactly happens to them and how he survive. It’s one of the best thought-provoking films released in 1995 with a runtime of 106 minutes. 

 Directed By: Bryan Singer

Written By: Christopher McQuarrie

Cast: Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin, Benicio Del Toro, Pete Postlethwaite

#29. Source Code (2011)

thought provoking movies

Rating: 7.5/10 IMDb

Genre: Mystery, Drama, Action

Runtime: 93 minutes

The film starts with a soldier who wakes up in someone else’s body and finds out that he is a part of an experimental Government project. The purpose of the project is to find out the bomber of a running train. There are only eight minutes left for the bomb blast. Will the Government be able to bomb the location? What will happen to the soldier?

Directed By: Duncan Jones

Written By: Ben Ripley

Cast: Jeffrey Wright, Jake Gyllenhaal, Michael Arden, Michelle Monaghan

#30. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Rating: 9.3/10 IMDb

Genre: Drama

Runtime: 142 minutes

The story of the film revolves around a formerly successful banker- Chronicles. Unfortunately, due to the falsely accused, the banker goes to jail. The rest of the movie shows how the banker deals with his new life in jail.  What will happen in the end? Will the banker be able to prove himself innocent? The Shawshank Redemption movie was released in the year 1994 and the runtime of the movie is 142 minutes. 

Directed By: Frank Darabont

Written By: Frank Darabont, Stephen King

Cast: Clancy Brown, Tim Robbins, Bob Gunton, Mark Rolston, Morgan Freeman

 

Also read,

 

The 10 Best Movies Like Avatar That One Should Not Skip

 

15 Top Movies Similar To Lolita You Can Watch

 

Wrap Up…

The best part of thought-provoking films is that they will motivate us through good content and amazing dialogues. So, are you searching for the best thought-provoking films of all time? Keep an eye on the guide as here we have highlighted the top 30 thought-provoking movies that you can watch with your friends and family members.