If you ever watched Interstellar and were blown away by the sheer awesomeness of the mind-bending nature of the story, get your popcorn ready and hold on tight because this list will blow your mind.
For all the psychological thriller, mind-bending, and mind-blowing movie lovers out there, here’s the ultimate list of 35 best mind-bending movies like Interstellar you have to watch. Don’t worry; I’ll try to keep things as spoiler-free as possible.
The list is not ranked but rather in alphabetical order.
1. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the greatest science fiction movies ever created. It came into cinemas in 1968, signed by the world-renowned director, Stanley Kubrick. It’s an amazingly mind-bending movie, and when you look at it from today’s perspective, it’s interesting to see how people thought the future would look like – a future that’s now our 20-year-old past.
In the film, humanity finds a mysterious artifact buried beneath the surface of the Moon. They seek answers about its origins with the help of a superintelligent A.I. computer called H.A.L. 9000.
Apart from the iconic music you certainly heard but probably didn’t even know it’s from this film, 2001: A Space Odyssey is one of the highest-rated sci-fi movies ever, having an 8.3 rating on IMDb. Conspiracy theorists used this movie as proof that Stanley Kubrick helped direct and faked the first moon landing in 1969.
2. Being John Malkovich (1999)
Have you ever wondered what it would be like to be in somebody else’s mind for a day? Well, that’s exactly the concept the incredible 1999 movie Being John Malkovich explores – in quite a literal manner.
Starring Malkovich, Cameron Diaz, and John Cusack, the characters literally walk into John Malkovich’s mind after discovering a portal that leads directly into it and allows them to see the world through his eyes.
Director Spike Jonze and writer Charlie Kaufman did a fantastic job keeping the dramatic tension while breaking it with comedic undertones.
3. Black Swan (2010)
Darren Aronofsky has numerous incredible, mind-blowing movies on his resume. Still, none have been as incredibly well-received by the audience and critically acclaimed as the Black Swan in 2010.
Natalie Portman delivered a once-in-a-lifetime performance portraying a ballet dancer determined to succeed in her endeavor to become the best dancer in the world and deliver perfection to the lead role she got in Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake.
Her struggle for sanity and perfection is twisted so many times in such marvelous ways that the movie will remain etched in your memory for a very long time.
4. Coherence (2013)
If you want a great mind-bending mystery with a pinch of drama, make sure to check out the 2013 movie Coherence. James Ward Byrkit is the scriptwriter and the director, but Alex Manugian wrote the story.
It’s hard to talk about the plot without any spoilers, so I’m just going to say that a group of friends gathered for dinner, and at the same time, a comet is passing through the atmosphere above them.
Coincidentally, strange, unexplainable, and strange things start to happen that culminate with some amazing plot twists and a mind-blowing ending that’ll have you scratching your head for days.
5. Donnie Darko (2001)
Donnie Darko was written and directed by Richard Kelly, and it was one of the first notable lead roles that Jake Gyllenhaal played. Although he was just 21 years old, he delivered a masterful performance that further built upon a spectacular script and directing.
In the movie, Donnie Darko escapes a tragic yet bizarre accident, but afterward, he’s troubled with visions and hallucinations of a man in a creepy rabbit costume.
It’s hard to distinguish what’s real and what’s not through the entire movie, but it all becomes clear in the end after a series of mind-bending, incredibly well-written plot twists. It’s a classic I’ve watched at least a dozen times, and I’ll probably watch it a dozen more.
6. Enemy (2013)
I feel like Denis Villeneuve’s Enemy went under the radar for many people, mainly because the entire movie can be interpreted allegorically. You really need to follow the plot, think about symbolism, and read between the lines, and yet another brilliant Jake Gyllenhaal performance (how does this guy not have an Oscar yet, right?) makes it so much easier.
The movie begins when our protagonist spots an identically-looking man in a movie, so he tries to find him in real life. I won’t get into the details of the plot and the twists in hopes you’ll give it a shot and enjoy an hour and a half of pure, mind-blowing cinematographic art.
7. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
When you say Jim Carrey, most people envision the over-the-top, eccentric Ace Ventura/Dumb and Dumber comedian, and not much more. However, he had shown what a brilliant actor he was when taking on the lead role in the mystery drama Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind in 2004.
It’s a mind-boggling movie where a couple undergoes a new medical procedure to wipe each other out of their memory. The first time I saw it, I was left in tears, sitting and staring at the screen long after the end credits rolled out.
The plot is riveting and mind-blowing, but what honestly shocked me the most is how spectacularly Jim Carrey carried (pun intended) such a hard, emotional, and serious role.
8. Eyes Wide Shut (1999)
Eyes Wide Shut is yet another spectacular masterpiece via Stanley Kubrick that dived deep into a world of a secret, supremacist society or a cult if you will. The plot is so complex and metaphorically delves into the deepest problems of our society.
The plot follows a doctor from Manhattan that ends up on a bizarre journey through the night, all the while we get glimpses of his complex relationship with his wife.
The movie etched deep into cinematic history for several reasons, and many mind-blowing conspiracy theories stemmed from it. It was Kubrick’s last film, and conspiracy theorists believe he wanted to expose all the secrets he knew in the elite society.
Some suggest he used symbols to expose the truth about the secret societies (metaphorically depicted in the movie) and his role in the “faking” of the Moon landing and much more, leading many to believe he was murdered because of it.
Also, the studio had cut out at least half an hour of the movie he planned on, including where he wanted to talk about even darker, more sinister problems such as child trafficking, etc. Of course, those are merely conspiracy theories, but if you watch the movie and read the symbols in a particular way, it sure seems there’s some mind-blowing truth behind it.
9. Fight Club (1999)
We all know the first rule of the Fight Club – never talk about the Fight Club; unless you’re making a list of incredible mind-bending movies because it’s one of the best movies ever created in the genre. David Fincher went all out with this classic with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton carrying the lead roles. It’s one of the best-rated films of all time, with an 8.8 IMDb rating.
The plot follows a guy who works in an office and has insomnia. He meets a reckless soap maker and joins an underground fight club with him. Soon enough, it’s obvious that a more deep, elaborate plan is in place that has society-changing capabilities.
The final plot twist will have your jaw down on the floor. If you’ve never seen this movie, you don’t know what you’re missing.
10. Gone Girl (2014)
I have to admit that I’m not a huge Ben Affleck fan, but I’ve somewhat changed my mind after seeing Gone Girl. It’s yet another gem directed by David Fincher, and Affleck delivered a fantastic performance and had great chemistry with Rosamund Pike.
The movie follows a man whose wife has disappeared, and he is scrutinized for his behavior during a media frenzy revolving around the case. It’s one of the rare mind-blowing movies where the plot twist doesn’t come at the end but rather in the middle of the movie, but Fincher still succeeded at keeping that tension until the very end.
11. Identity (2003)
When I first watched Identity, I was blown away by the mind-bending plot twists throughout the movie. When you rewatch the movie, knowing what to expect, more and more pieces fall into their place, and you realize just how remarkably directed the film really is. The director James Mangold does a fantastic job tying all loose ends and making everything so complete.
In this mystery thriller classic, John Cusack plays the lead role in a plot where ten strangers get stranded in a ferocious storm in a desolate motel in Nevada. They are slowly killed one after another, and they struggle to find out who the killer is.
The ending will blow you away, and I can almost guarantee it won’t be anything you expect through the movie.
12. Inception (2010)
The award-winning, mind-blowing psychological thriller Inception is the epitome of mysterious, mind-bending movies you have to watch more than once to comprehend it fully. It’s clearly one of the best – if not the best – movies that the legendary director Christopher Nolan ever created, and its 8.8 IMDb rating confirms that.
The movie dives into the possibility of dreaming within a dream and using special dream-sharing technology to implant an idea into one’s mind. I won’t get into the specifics, as it would ruin the fun.
All I can say is that all the actors had absolutely brilliant performances: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Cillian Murphy, Tom Hardy, Elliot (formerly Ellen) Page, and of course, Leonardo DiCaprio, who deserved an Oscar for the role, in my opinion.
13. Looper (2012)
Rian Johnson’s Looper takes place in a future world in the year 2074. To get rid of somebody, the mob sends them back into the past, where an assassin awaits to kill them. Joe was one of those assassins until he learned that the mob sent a future version of him in the past to be assassinated as well.
It’s a mind-bending classic that you’ll need to think about once or twice, but Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Bruce Willis nailed their roles, making this one of the best sci-fi action mysteries I can think of.
14. Memento (2000)
By now, we all know Christopher Nolan’s unique, phenomenal directing style, jumping from one plot point to another, using flashbacks, memories, etc., to get to the core of one’s psyche. But, when Memento hit the big screen in 2000, it was such a mind-blowing affair to me that I had to watch it several times to understand fully what happened.
In this 8.4 IMDb-rated mystery thriller classic, we follow a man with short-term memory loss who attempts to find his wife’s murderer while having difficulty remembering anything from his immediate past. He leaves photos and notes to himself to help cope with his problem, and we witness one plot twist after another until we reach a spectacular climax, leaving us baffled.
Nolan fully presented his writing and directing genius as Guy Pearce played the lead role of his life. If you love the mind-blowing mystery genre but haven’t watched Memento, it’s like skipping the 1st grade – watch this ASAP.
15. Mr. Nobody (2009)
I know many people don’t consider Jared Leto an A-list actor, but I bet their minds change completely after watching Mr. Nobody. It’s one of my favorite movies of all time due to brilliant acting, directing, and writing (Jaco Van Dormael was both writer and director).
It dives deep into philosophical questions, as the plot starts with a boy standing in a train station, trying to choose if he’ll go away with his mother or stay with his father. From that simple choice, infinite possibilities appear, but what happens if he simply refuses to make a choice?
It’s a mind-blowing mystery drama that will have you laughing at one moment, crying in the other, and questioning the meaning of life the next.
16. Mulholland Drive (2001)
Mulholland Drive is a David Lynch-directed masterpiece that gives the slow-burn mystery-thriller genre a whole new dimension. Naomi Watts and Laura Harring carry the plot with their amazing acting performances, but the writing itself is what makes this movie so riveting and mind-blowing.
There’s a car crash that happened on Mulholland Drive, and a woman gets amnesia after it. So, she and her friend try to find clues and answers to what really happened, and soon, the line between reality and dreams becomes uncertain.
Lynch is a mystery master, and many agree that this movie is his best work in the genre – the 7.9 IMDb rating confirms it.
17. Nocturnal Animals (2016)
The third movie on this list with Jake Gyllenhaal in the lead role shows just how astonishingly accurate he can present even the hardest roles, including the lead role in Tom Ford’s Nocturnal Animals. Only this time, Gyllenhaal had found his match with the leading female role, where Amy Adams gave us a performance just as spectacular as him.
The movie follows and intertwines three simultaneous plots; the past, the present, and the novel, which Adams, a wealthy gallery owner, receives from her ex-husband. It’s hard to distinguish what’s real and what’s fiction as you get entangled and encapsulated with overwhelming emotions, plot twists, and masterful performances by two brilliant actors.
FYI: My favorite Jake Gyllenhaal movie of all time, along with the Nightcrawler.
18. Predestination (2014)
Predestination is an amazing, mind-bending sci-fi movie written and directed by the Spierig brothers that’ll have you going “what?” for a while after it ends. It delves into the concept of time travel and some paradoxes that may occur during such ventures in the past.
The plot follows a time-traveling agent sent to pursue an elusive criminal who escaped his grasp numerous times. It’s his final assignment, but it quickly turns into a mind-blowing experience that makes him question everything he knows about love, identity, and the concept of life itself.
I have an incredible urge to tell you what the twist is, but let’s just say Ethan Hawke is lucky to be alive – in the past, present, future, and existing in general.
19. Prisoners (2013)
I feel like this is turning into a Jake Gyllenhaal all-time best roles list, but what can I say? The guy obviously has a knack for picking the best roles, especially in the mystery, mind-bending genre. In a movie directed by Denis Villeneuve, Gyllenhaal shares the lead with another acting legend, Hugh Jackman.
Jackman plays the role of Keller Dover, a guy whose little daughter and her friend disappear. Gyllenhaal, a police officer in charge of the investigation, tries to help while Dover takes matters into his own hands. I won’t reveal what happens, but the twists within the story will keep you glued to your seat for the entire 150 minutes of the movie.
20. Psycho (1960)
It would be blasphemous not to have Alfred Hitchcock’s Psycho on the all-time mind-bending movie list. This movie is still one of the best unnerving, unexpected plot twists of all time, with Anthony Perkins delivering the lead role of Norman Bates spectacularly.
Bates and his mother own a remote motel in Arizona when a young woman checks in. Shortly after, she gets murdered in her room while Bates quarrels with his mother on what to do and how to run the motel.
This is a pure classic, and I strongly advise everybody to watch it. It delves deep into societal problems and the ways of dealing with mental illness as well.
21. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
Although Black Swan was a spectacular movie, I believe that Darren Aranafsky’s life masterpiece is Requiem for a Dream starring the incredible Jared Leto, Ellen Burstyn, Jennifer Connelly, and Marlon Wayans, each having a uniquely spectacular role.
The movie follows the lives of four people being shattered with drug addiction and the brutal lengths they are willing to go to satisfy that addiction. It’s a deeply disturbing movie that I haven’t watched many times. Not because it’s bad, but because it hits you like a ton of bricks.
If you want to keep your kids away from drugs, just play this movie, and they’ll quiver at the sheer thought of using.
22. Se7en (1995)
Se7ev, aka Seven, is a crime mystery classic that will blow your mind, unlike any other movie you’ve seen so far in your life. It’s another David Fincher masterpiece carried out by legendary actors Brad Pitt and Morgan Freeman.
They play the roles of two detectives trying to hunt down and catch a serial killer that uses the seven deadly sins as his motives. The plot is incredibly complex, but the twist is what will blow your mind in the end.
If you don’t believe me that it’s one of Brad Pitt’s best roles ever, just ask the 1.5 million IMDb users who have collectively rated this movie with an 8.6/10 rating.
23. Shutter Island (2010)
Leonardo DiCaprio got his Oscar for his role in The Revenant, but I believe that the biggest steal of the Academy Awards ever was him NOT winning one for his epic role in Shutter Island. He worked with the legendary director Martin Scorcese with a fantastic supporting cast, including Emily Mortimer, Mark Ruffalo, Ben Kingsley, and others.
DiCaprio plays the role of a U.S. Marshal in 1954 who investigates the disappearance of a deranged murderer who managed to escape an asylum for the criminally insane. The story is simply breathtaking, but the final twist will have your mind blown for days.
It’s probably one of the best mysteries and one of the most unexpected endings I’ve ever watched, and it’s well-deserving of the high 8.2 IMDb rating.
24. Source Code (2011)
Jake Gyllenhaal’s fifth movie on this list gave us one more brilliant performance that made the entire plot come alive. Written by Ben Ripley and directed by Duncan Jones, Source Code is a perfect mash of mystery, action, and drama with a pinch of mind-bending sci-fi.
Gyllenhaal plays the role of Colter Stevens, a soldier who wakes up on a train in someone else’s body. As he grasps what’s going on, we learn that he’s a part of a government program that takes him back in time, giving Colter eight minutes to find the bomber who destroyed the train he’s in.
After he dies, they take him right back, giving him another eight minutes until he can solve the mystery. It’s such a well-written mind-bending movie that you’ll definitely want to watch more than once.
25. Split (2016)
Split is a sequel to M. Night Shyamalan’s Unbreakable, 17 years in the making. In the movie, James McAvoy presented his spectacular acting talent to the fullest, playing the role of a guy with 23 (well, 24) different personalities.
In the movie, he kidnaps three girls – one of which is the Queen’s Gambit star Anya Taylor-Joy – and they try to escape before his 24th personality, The Beast, is unleashed, as he plans on feeding it with their flesh.
It’s a mind-bending horror-thriller exploring several aspects of multiple personality disorder, such as physical changes due to the personality change that has somewhat superhuman results.
26. The Butterfly Effect (2004)
Ashton Kutcher might not be known for having many serious roles, as he’s considered more of a comedian than an actor. However, The Butterfly Effect truly showed all of his acting talents to perfection, making this one of the best mind-bending movies of all time.
If you know what the butterfly effect is, you’ll know which concept this movie dives into – how can a single, seemingly insignificant choice, like turning right instead of left, change the entire life course of a person’s life.
I’m not revealing the plot because I really want you to watch this movie if you already haven’t, but keep in mind that the director’s cut and the theatrical cut have alternative endings, and four endings in total were shot, playing into the butterfly effect concept.
27. The Game (1997)
The Game is another masterful mystery movie directed by David Fincher – the guy is a mystery thriller legend. Michael Douglas plays the lead role, and there’s a reason why this movie is such an absolute classic – I’d say it’s somewhat of a Squid Game two decades before the Squid Game.
A wealthy banker in San Francisco is somewhat unhappy in life, so he decides to participate in a mysterious game that’ll turn his life around – but not in a good way as he imagined. He becomes uncertain if it’s a plot to destroy him, while we as the viewers are uncertain what’s real and what’s not.
It’s mind-blowing, to say the least, especially the ending, but if you’re a fan of the genre – which I believe you are if you’re still reading this list – make sure to watch The Game as soon as possible.
28. The Machinist (2004)
The Machinist is a spectacularly mind-blowing movie, but what’s even more mind-blowing is that Christian Bale played Batman just four years after this lead role. His body transformations from borderline anorexic to bulk are something never seen in movie history. This role, however, cemented him as one of the best Hollywood actors of this generation.
The plot follows an industrial worker suffering from a severe case of insomnia. He hasn’t slept in years, which is a huge detriment to his physical and mental health. He starts to question his sanity as he tries to get to the root of his insomnia.
The twist at the end will absolutely blow you away, and if you haven’t liked Christian Bale before, you will after watching The Machinist.
29. The Matrix (1999)
I’m not sure if there’s anybody who hasn’t watched The Matrix yet, but if you’re one of those people, you need to correct that immediately. It’s the mother of all mind-blowing, sci-fi, alternative world concept movies that dives deep into the roots of our society in a metaphorical (or not-so-metaphorical) way. The 8.7 IMDb rating tells you all you need to know.
Keanu Reeves plays Neo, a computer hacker who realizes that our world is nothing more than the Matrix – an elaborate virtual manifestation of an evil cyber-intelligence. In this world, anything is possible, and the movie plays with the idea of waking people up from the virtual life they’re living in our society or keeping them asleep like they were their entire life.
Do you see where the allegory between the movie and today’s society is going? Are we willing to know what’s really going on and who’s pulling the strings, or are we more comfortable living in blissful ignorance?
30. The Prestige (2006)
We go back to Christopher Nolan on this one as he joined forces with the brilliant acting minds of Christian Bale, Hugh Jackman, and Scarlett Johansson, resulting in a breathtaking mind-bending mystery drama with an 8.5 IMDb rating.
In the 1890s in London, two stage magicians do everything they can to one-up each other and create the ultimate illusion to beat one another. Their battle has a hidden undertone, though, and it goes to extreme lengths that make them sacrifice everything they have, including everything they ever loved.
It’s mind-blowing and heartbreaking at the same time, and I’d advise you to watch it as soon as possible, but you’ll cry like a baby in the end if you’re anything like me.
31. The Sixth Sense (1999)
Bruce Willis played tons of roles, but it’s obvious that he and M. Night Shyamalan loved working together. One of their most successful projects was the 1999 movie The Sixth Sense, rated 8.1 on IMDb. It has a bit of a horror vibe to it, but it’s more of a mystery thriller that’ll have you on the edge of your seat for 105 minutes.
“I see dead people” is a phrase from this movie, as a young boy seeks the help of a child psychologist after realizing he can communicate with the dead.
The final twist is spectacular, and it gives you a totally different perspective on the plot when you rewatch the movie for the second time.
32. The Truman Show (1998)
The Truman Show is a chilling, mind-bending mystery that combines Jim Carrey’s incredible acting skills with his goofy comedy. The 1998 movie has comedic elements, but it’s actually quite uneasy when you learn what the main character learns throughout the movie.
He’s an insurance salesman in a perfect little town, but he soon realizes that his entire life is nothing more than a reality TV show for the real world. The movie is unsettling and battles with deep societal problems; all the while, it gives us amazing comedic relief with Carrey leading the way.
33. The Usual Suspects (1995)
The Usual Suspects is a 1995 crime-mystery-thriller that’s one of the best-rated movies ever in the genre, with an 8.5 IMDb rating. After a crime, the police bring in “the usual suspects” for questioning – five criminals who appear to be strangers.
A sole survivor of a horrific gun battle on a boat tells the tale that has numerous twists along the way, leading to an ending almost nobody could predict. If you love crime-related thrillers, this movie is the cream of the crop.
34. Triangle (2009)
Triangle is a sci-fi mystery movie written and directed by Christopher Smith, and I believe it doesn’t get the recognition it deserves in the genre. It blew my mind the first time I saw it with a complex story that has you going, “Oh, NOW I get it!” right until the very end.
The plot follows a group of friends (focusing on a single mother of a mentally impaired child) who venture onto a yacht cruise. Their yacht gets destroyed in a storm when a big cruiser boat picks them up and saves them in the middle of the ocean – or, does it really save them?
35. V for Vendetta (2005)
Last but not least, if you didn’t know where the Anonymous mask comes from, it comes from the main antagonist of this movie, V.
Director James McTeigue delivered an instant pop-culture classic that highlights the battle for freedom and tries to break the elitist trends we have in our society, where the 1% is richer than the remaining 99%.
In the movie, Britain falls under a future tyranny, and V, a freedom fighter from the shadows, develops a plan to overthrow the government with an idea – and the help of a young woman.
It’s a spectacular movie that gave me a whole new perspective on life, society, and the capitalist system currently in place.