Existentialist Movies


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Existentialist Movies

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Redigerat: okt 2, 2009, 4:54 am

I thought I'd start the topic of Existentialist Movies, whether they be of existentialist books put to screen or other movies with an existentialist theme. Post your favourites and the ones you hate ~

Redigerat: okt 5, 2009, 6:06 am

I've just watched Waiting for Godot by Samuel Beckett. It was the Beckett on Film production for RTÉ/Channel 4/Irish Film Board.
Brilliant acting and I think that the Irish accent lends itself to this dialogue (maybe because Beckett was Irish).

okt 2, 2009, 12:16 pm

Tarkovsky's Stalker is, to me, the most existentialist movie I have seen.

Redigerat: okt 2, 2009, 4:30 pm

The Unbearable Lightness of Being which was about just that remains first in my mind among clearly existentialist films.


okt 3, 2009, 12:03 am

>3 zenomax: zeno--Tarkovsky, yes! Stalker, yes! Fantastic cinematography, pacing, negotiating the minefield of the residuum. Exposing the meagre limits of our understanding, we can only resort to crude superstition in making our approach. And then what do we find? More alien than even the ocean of Solaris, unseen and fleeting, unknowing and uncaring in its lethality, fugu for the philosopher.

okt 3, 2009, 12:53 am

No mention yet of Bergman's Persona? I'd also definitely include The Condemned of Altona with Sophia Loren, and one I'd really like to see one of these days is the 1962 adaptation of Mauriac's Thérèse Desqueyroux.

okt 4, 2009, 5:33 am

Existentialism for Dummies mentions 'Ten Great Existential Movies' (and 'Ten Great Works of Existential Literature'). I recently watched Blade Runner, which is listed. Many people will have already seen this I know, but I hadn't. I thought it was great and could see the existential themes as well as appreciating it as a great SF movie. I watched 'the final cut' version plus the 'making of the movie' DVD which was excellent too.

okt 4, 2009, 2:58 pm

#7 stiles would you be able to give us the full 10 movies from your book?

#5 Wilf, I understand Tarkovsky also wrote a screenplay on Hoffman (Hoffmania? something like that). Sadly never filmed.

Redigerat: okt 4, 2009, 3:52 pm

#8 'Zeno'
Ten Great Existential Movies as suggested in Existentialism for Dummies:

Ikiru (1952)
The Seventh Seal (1957)
Apocolypse Now (1979)
Blade Runner (1982)
Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989)
Leaving Las Vegas (1995)
Pleasantville (1998)
Fight Club (1999)
Stranger Than Fiction (2006)
Superbad (2007)

okt 4, 2009, 8:51 pm

Not an Existentialist Movie, but a documentary of eight peripatetic philosophers:

Examined Life (2008)

Reminds me to follow up on Avital Ronnell.

okt 5, 2009, 6:03 am

I've just got a copy of the novel Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury and also a DVD of the film.
I've seen the film a number of times before (years ago) but never considered it from an existential perspective. I haven't read the book before and understand it is more detailed than the film with some slight differences. The DVD has some extra footage including an interview with Bradbury. The film music is fantastic too.


apr 4, 2011, 6:01 am

Detta meddelande har blivit flaggat av flera användare och visas inte längre (visa)
MooT - the Semantics and Etymology game
The world's toughest language game.

jun 17, 2011, 6:34 pm

Well, I'd say just about any film by Bergman, Antonioni and Tarkovsky. These three names are up there in existentialist cinema, in my opinion.

jun 20, 2011, 11:33 am

When Nietzsche Wept

sep 3, 2011, 7:02 am

Try The Bucket List and Awakenings

sep 3, 2011, 9:23 am

"The sand pebbles" staring Steve McQueen and the more recent animated movie Megamind. Megamind has every existentialist theme i could think of while watching it with my kids.

Redigerat: sep 3, 2011, 12:23 pm

They Shoot Horses, Don't They? Roger Vadim urged his then-wife, Jane Fonda, to take the role of Gloria Beatty because the French considered Horace McCoy's novel THE American existentialist novel.

EDIT to fix touchstone.

sep 8, 2011, 7:08 pm

Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead

sep 9, 2011, 9:17 am

Yep, R&G great one thanks Naren. I forgot to add that. I saw the play soon after reading the book - excellent!

sep 22, 2011, 12:12 pm

The Weeping Camel

Redigerat: okt 11, 2011, 7:47 am

okt 24, 2011, 12:32 pm

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button

nov 9, 2011, 4:43 pm

I'd say most of Ken Loach, Wim Wenders, and the brilliantly quirky and funny Swedish film, You the Living.

nov 20, 2011, 8:48 pm

Two Bits (Al Pacino)

mar 17, 2012, 6:27 pm

I have just bought, and watched, the DVD Grand Illusion (French 1937): "Jean Renoir's pacifist masterpiece stars Jean Gabin as a French World War 1 POW held by Erich von Stroheim's captain. One of the greatesst antiwar films ever made, Grand Illusion (La grande illusion) is also a rousing prison escape adventure and an exemplar of the 1930s poetic realist movement."

maj 16, 2012, 12:11 am

I just need to mention this movie: The Boat (Das Boot), a film by Wolfgang Petersen based on the novel by Lothar-Gunther Bucheim. Each of the characters on this U-Boat struggle with their own sense of existence, crumbling in their stamina as they inch closer to the cliff of despair, as they sink from allied depth charges.

dec 1, 2012, 11:03 pm

Hubert Dreyfus in his course, Philosophy in Literature and Film discusses:
Hiroshima Mon Amour(1959) ,
Breathless( 1960, French)
The Third Man( 1949 )

dec 17, 2012, 7:59 pm

There is an other-worldly feeling one gets from movies with existential themes. These tend to be foreign films. Thank you for the suggestions which I will definitely check out, if I can find copies.

nov 13, 2015, 3:30 pm

'The Sunset Limited' directed by 'Tommy Lee Jones' and adapted from the play by 'Cormac McCarthey'. Very tough, and very heavy, but undoubtedly one of my favorite movies.

The entire movie is one long conversation set in a single room between a nihilist scholar/professor (Tommy Lee Jones) and a christian reformed convict ('Samuel L. Jackson'). Tremendously well acted and very powerful.


jun 2, 2016, 3:53 am

...thank you for the above lists...