I watch therefore I am: 10 of the Best Philosophical Films

Reader Rating 22 Votes

Compiling just 10 is difficult so we’ve created a full list of recommended films and documentaries with summarised ratings in our watch section, which we add to weekly. If you have any films you’d like to recommend, please comment below and we’ll make time to reply and watch them.

“Film as dream, film as music. No art passes our conscience in the way film does, and goes directly to our feelings, deep down into the dark rooms of our souls.”
― Ingmar Bergman

Looking to watch them online? Alluc isn’t a bad place to look. So, here we are 10 of the best philosophical films:


1. Rashomon


Rashomon is a brilliant but bleak and very dramatic examination of epistemology, the philosophy of knowledge, the need for certainty and its frail attainment. Exploring how our personal perceptions cloud reality, this is a must-see for anyone that enjoys the high ranks of cinematic achievement.

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2.  I Heart Huckabees


A quirky existential comedy that preys on the curiosity of the human spirit, exploring existentialism with dry and demented humor. Lily Tomlin and the wonderful Dustin Hoffman play a couple of “existential detectives” hired by Jason Schwartzman to investigate a series of “coincidences” involving a very tall mysterious African man. A great movie if you’re in the mood to revive in your mind the ultimate questions “who are we?”, “what are we?”, “why are we?” and laugh along the way.

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3. Waking Life


A far-out poetry slam/art exhibit and imaginative philosophical discourse all at once. Waking Life takes a peek into that other ninety nine percent of possibilities the cinematic medium rarely explores. Who says existential fiction must be dreary? This is an animated masterpiece.

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4. Blade Runner


One of the most intelligent and profound science-fiction films of all time. Among the philosophical themes explored in Blade Runner are:
– The dehumanization of people through a society shaped by technological and capitalistic excess.
– The roles of creator and creation, their mutual enslavement.
– The nature of humanity itself: emotions, memory, purpose, desire, cruelty, technological mastery of environment, mortality and death.
– The meaning of existence and much more.
All intertwined through stunning visual imagery of a dark futuristic cityscape, this deserves the highest ranks of recognition and long remembrance in film history.

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5. Gattaca

One of the most under-rated pieces of cinema I’ve explored. With breathtaking cinematography Gattaca strives to explore the ideas of genetic engineering, wisely stressing the subtle theological questions of whether man ought to tamper with ‘God’s’ work, and whether the result would actually better society and humanity. It is prolific, stylish, thought-provoking, and one of the few science fiction movies that totally forgoes special effects.

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6. Dark City

This is what ‘The Matrix’ could of been. Dark City floods the screen with cinematic and literary references ranging from Murnau and Lang to Kafka and Orwell, creating a unique yet utterly convincing world. Exploring the philosophical themes of memory, thought control, human will and the altering of reality, but engaging mostly in the degree to which it creates and sustains a visually startling alternate universe. Part film noir, part science fiction, part fantasy, and part psychotic dreamscape, Dark City is a visual marvel of a cinematic experience.

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7. Fight Club


A brash slap in the face of consumerism. Fight Club is more a condemnation of a materialistic society which presents the vast emptiness of modern existence – ridden as it is with shallow values, rampant consumerism, empty of meaning, feeling and life itself-  in a slick and ironically consumer oriented fashion. Fight Club is not just a movie, but a wake up call to a disenfranchised generation sick of being told by advertising what to drive, wear, buy, smoke, drink and eat in order to be cool. This movie is a bit like being punched in the face in the best possible way.

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8. Groundhog Day


Exploring arguably the most accurate analogy for the Buddhist transformation of becoming a bodhisattva Groundhog Day explores an array of free will related philosophical themes. To paraphrase Reality Sandwich “…it’s a movie about a bad-enough man—selfish, vain, and insecure man (played by Bill Murray) who becomes wise and good through timeless recurrence. It is about a man whose experience of a break in the time-space continuum allows him to harvest the wisdom of a thousand well-lived lifetimes within a single day. True reality is revealed to contain a perfect present; each instant unfolds a fresh Buddha field of opportunity to awaken us to our true nature, which turns out to be inherently loving and turned toward the light.” A quintessential comedy with a life changing message, Groundhog Day turned out to be one of the most beautiful and mind-enriching films I’ve ever seen.

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9. A Scanner Darkly

Another trippy rotoscopic animation directed by Richard Linklater. This Phillip K. Dick adaptation focuses on a combination of psychology, paranoia, science fiction motifs, political critical response, drug use reflections, humane concern, environmentalism, eastern philosophy, theology, and humor. The message is clear and the animation creates a world unlike any other in film making, remaining funny, disturbing and thought-provoking all at once.

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10. Solaris

An addictive and serenely maddening but brilliantly imaginative work of art. Tarkovsky’s speculative visions enfold the mysteries of death and rebirth, the lost paradise of childhood, the power of art to define identity and the menace of science as destructive vanity. Two truths drive this film: the inadequacy of human-kind to understand the Universe, and the inadequacy of human-kind to understand the human heart. It’s hard to put this film into words, I can only suggest multiple viewings.

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Recommend your favourite Philosophical movies

We'll make time to watch and reply to your suggestions

Full list of weekly updated documentaries and films on our watch page

  • Aryeh Levine

    Really great post, In depth, with content i haven’t seen before.

  • Βασιλης85

    nice list you can add:
    The Matrix,
    The fountain,
    Truman show,
    Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind,
    99 franks,


    these came to my mind there are plenty of others worth of watching

    • You pretty much named most of my top 10 films there @braker85:disqus, great suggestions.
      Also in these areas, check out waking life and cloud atlas.

  • Becky Sherry

    Hereafter, The Way and Robin Hood with Russell Crow

    • I’ve not seen these Becky, I’ll add them to my IMDB list, thanks for sharing

  • Achim

    Hey, there – have you ever heard of / seen “Powder”? … This is great watching!

    • No but I just took a look on IMDB and it looks like a tear jerker – I’ve added it to my list, thank you Achim

  • Ion

    Have you ever seen “Cloud Atlas”? – This movie spans 500 years, though everything is connected. I’ve seen it 8 times until now, and everytime I discover new connections between the characters. My absolute favourite movie!

  • Seq

    Peaceful Warrior .My favorite movie on life philosophies

    • You know what, totally forgot about that film. Seemed cheesy in areas but in hindsight so many of the eastern influenced teachings make sense to me now

  • Brandiggity215


    • Good shout, this film seems to be heavily misunderstood. Christopher Nolan has a incredible way of translating complex ideas into the non-linear narratives most of his films take on!

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  • DarkaB

    You can also considered “Donnie Darko”, a film that makes you think so after watching

  • paminap

    My Dinner with Andre

  • Rick McPeak

    Memento explores the issues of both epistemology (knowing) and ethics. How much does one have to know or remember to be morally responsible? What are the lies or trusts that we “tattoo” on our consciousnesses and how do they orient the way we interpret experience?

  • Justin

    where is mr. nobody or coherence

  • Steve

    I am really enjoying exploring your site! I’ll be searching for the movies/ docs suggested here later this month. One of my favorite philosophical comedic gems that many haven’t heard of is “Angel’s Dance”. Check it out- I’d love to hear some feedback.

    • Hey Steve, We’re glad you’re enjoying the site! Will put this on the to-watch list and get back to you with some feedback when I get chance 🙂

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  • Eyrah Bokortsey

    Hi , I have just finished watching Rememory starring Peter Dinklage of ‘Game of thrones’ fame and it left me wanting more similar movies, so I went searching on google which brought me to your site.
    Great list of films by the way. Most I have seen but there are a few I will definitely be looking out for