One time, Freud received an offer from Hollywood to create a script for a multimillion-dollar film. Films based on his theory are listed below.
A psychoanalytic precept that continues to stoke debate is that sexual desire exists in all human relationships. Freud’s contributions to psychology have had a significant impact on the art world. Psychic automatism, the unconscious, sexual impulses, and the interpretation of dreams have all inspired various artistic groups.
Once, a Hollywood studio offered Freud a multi-million-dollar deal to write a movie screenplay. Yet he was convinced that a video camera could never convey the essence of psychoanalysis.
In 1962, Jean-Paul Sartre initiated the effort to bring Freud’s concepts to the big screen with the writing for The Secret Passion, which was directed by John Huston and starred Montgomery Clift as Freud. Due to their divergent views on what constitutes psychoanalysis, Sartre and Huston’s collaboration was fraught with difficulties and creative disagreements. He deleted his name from the credits because Sartre accused him of using the film to investigate his own inner thoughts and feelings.
1. Spellbound (1945) – Alfred Hitchcock
A film about dreams and the meanings they hold, featuring a montage of amnesiac Gregory Peck’s dreams as illustrated by Salvador Dal. There is an obvious reference to Freud in the opening, which states: “Our novel deals with psychoanalysis, the way by which modern science handles the emotional issues of sane people. In order to unlock his mind’s barred doors, the analyst just wants to get the patient to talk about his or her concealed troubles.
2. A Clockwork Orange (1971) – Stanley Kubrick
Psychoanalytical interpretations of Kubrick’s cult classic are endless: from Alex DeLarge’s amoral actions and his gang’s classical conditioning, to the phallic sculpture Alex uses to beat up the cat woman.
3. Black Swan (2006) – Darren Aronofsky
With her unique style of dancing, Nina dreams of becoming the Prima Ballerina of Tchaikovsky’s Swan Lake in the upcoming show. It’s hard to play the black swan since she is passive and lacks the enthusiasm to do it. With an overprotective mother, Nina’s repressed impulses become even more pronounced in the story. As a child, she had a sexual fantasy involving her dancing partner Lily, and she and her mother have a lot of fights, which explains why she is so traditional in her views.
4. The Science of Sleep (2006) – Michael Gondry
As the story progresses, we learn of Stéphan’s creative endeavors and ambitions as he is tricked by his mother into returning to France and taking a job he despises. Because of Stéphan’s shame, he escapes reality and enters his psyche. Stephanie, a neighbor, is the woman he falls in love with while travelling, but she ultimately rejects him. Both his gloomy reality and the dreamscape in which he finds happiness are interwoven in the story.
5. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004) – Michael Gondry
Behavioural psychology aspires to achieve selective memory erasure. Our deepest and most buried impulses are revealed in our dreams by psychoanalysts. The film by Michel Gondry examines the complex relationships between the pulsions and the world around us. Past, present, and a memory world form to keep Joel from completing the therapy that would erase his most important memories…
6. Un chien andalou – (1928) Luis Buñuel
Although this film is only 17 minutes long, it immediately transports the viewer to a surrealist dreamscape. One’s vision is impaired, and one’s mind is forced to focus solely on one’s own thoughts and feelings. Many other artists, like David Lynch, Alfred Hitchcock, and even David Bowie, have been affected by Freud’s work, including Buuel and Dal.
7. Annie Hall (1977) – Woody Allen
A recurring subject throughout Woody Allen’s films, both in the creation of characters and in the interpretation of his work, is psychoanalysis. As the story progresses, Alvy Singer reflects on his background, which has shaped his current behavior. In the film’s memorable introduction, he tells the audience about his childhood, timid personality, and the traumas he suffered during that time.
8. La stanza del figlio (2001) – Nanni Moretti
Giovanni, an obsessive psychotherapist, loses his kid in a diving accident, and he is devastated by the loss. Family life has been forever altered, and Giovanni’s psychoanalytic skills are what will allow him to rescue his family from their current state of depression.
9. Whirlpool (1941) – Otto Preminger
Richard Conte, a respected psychotherapist, is forced to help his wife Ann Sutton when she suspects that she committed a string of crimes while under the effect of hypnosis in this psychological and crime thriller. If he wants to save his wife, Conte will have to use psychoanalysis to uncover the truth.
Even the historical theory of psychoanalysis has been unable to crack the cipher that is the human mind. With psychoanalysts taking on the roles of detectives and police officers in investigating crimes and unraveling mysteries, it is clear that Sigmund Freud’s influence on twentieth-century cinema cannot be denied. When the surrealist movement took hold, many artists felt free to use Freud’s psychoanalysis in their work. What do you think is the greatest film based on his theory?