Movies about Memory Psychology


People have long been fascinated by memory and the way it shapes our lives. In movies, this topic has become a rich source of narrative potential. Here are five films about memory that will strike a chord with anyone who's ever lost something or had to piece together some fragment of past experience.


Memento is a movie about a man with short-term memory loss. He wants to find his wife's murderer, but all he has are Polaroid photos, which he uses to try and remember the details of each crime scene.

To help him remember things, he keeps a journal that documents his investigation and includes notes on everything from what music was playing in the room at any given time to whether there were any fingerprints left behind at each location where they happened. The film is based on Jonathan Nolan’s short story “The Red Shoe Diaries: A Story About Memory," which was published in issue 1 of McSweeney's Quarterly Concern for Fiction magazine in 2003 (Nolan)

Total Recall

The movie Total Recall is based on a short story by Philip K. Dick, and it explores the idea of false memories. In the film, Arnold Schwarzenegger plays Douglas Quaid (the main character), who claims that he has been implanted with false memories by a secret government agency called Rekall.

In this movie, perception and memory are portrayed as having an effect on reality—for good or ill—and there is no clear distinction between those two concepts; they blend together seamlessly into one another at times. For example: when you say something out loud without thinking about it first (like "I forgot my wallet"), your brain processes this information immediately and stores it away for future reference; however, if someone asks if you're still looking for your wallet when they see you again later that day after forgetting it in order to keep track of where exactly everything is around here every time I come home from work each week? Well guess what? That doesn't mean anything at all!

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind

This movie is about a man who undergoes a procedure that erases his memories of his ex-girlfriend. As he goes through this experience, they are able to use their shared past as a way to strengthen their relationship and learn more about each other.

The film shows the importance of memory in relationships: it helps us understand what makes us feel good or bad about things in our lives, which can help us form new bonds with others or make changes if necessary. It also shows how important trust is for any relationship, especially one based on intimacy—and how much it matters when things seem too perfect for comfort (which might be scary).

50 First Dates

  • Adam Sandler as Henry Roth

  • Drew Barrymore as Lucy Whitmore

  • Rob Schneider as Sam Whitmore

  • Sigourney Weaver as Dr. Margaret O'Hare (voice)

In this romantic comedy, a couple's first date goes wrong when their memories get mixed up with each other's lives. The film stars Adam Sandler (as Henry Roth), Drew Barrymore (Lucy Whitmore), Rob Schneider (Sam Whitmore), Sigourney Weaver and Dan Aykroyd in supporting roles.

Vanilla Sky

  • Vanilla Sky is a 2003 film about a man who has lost his memory and seeks out the truth about himself.

  • The film explores many different types of memory, including:

  • Sensory (sight) - The character's vision is impaired, so he must rely on other senses to make sense of what he sees. This theme plays into later scenes when he starts hallucinating.

  • Contextual memory - Vanilla Sky shows us how memories are formed by context, which includes where we are and who we're with at the time they occur. If you're not sure if something happened in one particular place or another—or even if it happened at all—your contextual memory will let you know! You'll also see how this plays into other aspects of our lives as well: For example, if I say "I remember when..." but then don't elaborate further after that sentence ends up being vague enough for people not knowing what else I'm talking about (like myself), then my audience won't necessarily understand why I said those words in such an overconfident manner; thus proving yet again why understanding ourselves better would be beneficial both socially and professionally...

The Butterfly Effect (2004)

These movies show the power of perception and memory in a variety of ways.

These movies show the power of perception and memory in a variety of ways. The thriller Memento shows how an unreliable narrator can create an unreliable timeline, while Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind explores how we remember our pasts through our memories. From comedy to drama and everything in between, these films will have you thinking about how your own mind works as well as what's happening around you every day!


These films show just how powerful the human mind can be. They also highlight some of the issues we face when it comes to memory, from not being able to remember things for long periods of time, or even bits and pieces at all. The movies listed above are all very different in their approach towards these issues as well - some explore them directly whereas others use them as an inspiration for larger ideas about memory and perception in general. Either way though, they're great examples of Hollywood's ability to take stories that might seem small on paper but have big implications when brought together with skilled filmmakers behind them!

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