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10 Best Mind Control Movies of All Time

May 12, 2017
7 min read

Movies about mind control are rare. But the filmmakers who have tried to explore the concepts of mind control and brainwashing have given us some really interesting pieces of work. They expand their wings of imagination and make films that leave us with a lot to think about. As much as the scientific world has progressed human brain still remains, to a large extent, a mystery to us. And that’s why the films that are made on topics relating to human mind are very fascinating. Here’s the list of top mind control movies ever. You can watch some of these best mind control movies on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime. Some films on this list are erotic mind control movies, while others are about brainwashing.

10. Dreamscape (1984)

The story of a a young psychic on the run from himself is recruited by a government agency experimenting with the use of the dream-sharing technology and is given the inverse task of planting an idea into the mind of the U.S. president.  It is a movie that was well ahead of its time; it may not have the execution of some of the recent sci-fi films but it still is pretty damn good watch.

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9. Open Your Eyes (1997) 

Say, you’ve a perfect life with friends and family and you’re content with it. Suddenly an accident changes everything and leaves everyone that you loved, for dead. What you’ll do? Wouldn’t you give everything to  get back those precious moments? Directed by Alejandro Amenabar, this Spanish film tells the story of a rich playboy who meets with an accident and is arrested for a murder and then commits suicide. He then wakes up in the future with artificial memories. Revered by critics and audiences alike for its intelligent story, it caught the attention of Tom Cruise who produced its equally successful American Remake – ‘The Vanilla Sky’.

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8. Total Recall (1990) 

Dennis Quaid, just like a few other normal human beings, lives a normal life, with his beautiful wife for company. But at night, he gets these strange dreams about a mysterious lady in a mysterious place. Discouraged by everyone, upon asking about his dreams, he reaches out to Rekall, a company who specialises in planting memories for fantasy. But as the procedure starts, Quaid starts getting flashes of a subdued memory. And all of a sudden, his world does not seem to be the one he practically lived his entire life. Or so he believed. Based on Philip K Dick story, which incidentally served as a prequel to the ‘Minority Report’, ‘Total Recall’ was considered to be way ahead of its time.

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7. The Truman Show (1998)

‘The Truman Show’ is about a man who doesn’t know is that his life is actually the focus of a reality TV show aired since his birth, that he’s the star, his hometown is a giant set piece, and everyone around him is an actor going by a script. In a way, his whole life is being controlled so as to entertain TV audiences. It wouldn’t really be an exaggeration to note that ‘The Truman Show’ is practically an experiment with truth. The movie in multiple ways questions our existence. Peter Weir probably tries to metaphorically delineate the horrors of our civilization that is increasingly being controlled through the usage of technology.

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6. The Manchurian Candidate (1962)

‘The Manchurian Candidate’ concerns the brainwashing of the son of a prominent right-wing political family, who becomes an unwitting assassin in an international communist conspiracy. With the way how terrorism is spreading its wings across the world, this film is even more relevant now than it was in 1962. A film that leaves you with a powerful message and plenty to think about.

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5. Inception (2010)

When you speak of movies about mind control, can you leave ‘Inception’ out of your discussion? Directed by Christopher Nolan, it is an amalgamation of the genres sci-fi, mystery and heist. Explaining the movie is really a bad idea, as the movie keeps growing into an enormous dream sequence with layers in between — which ultimately is a method to control the mind and steal secrets out of it —  yet brilliantly keeps the viewer engrossed into the complex plot.

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4. The Matrix (1999)

‘The Matrix’ inherently is about machines taking over the world and using humans as a source of energy. The human mind is also controlled by the machines and are made to believe that they exist in a world, that is actually virtual. It is a film that for the first time introduced the rather terrifying concept of simulated reality and in effect asked a number of vital philosophical questions about humanity and its actual purpose. Till today, not every question that the film asks has been answered.

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3. Upstream Color (2013)

‘Upstream Color’ is follows Kris, who is attacked one night, and hypnotized, using a grub with hypnotic properties, administered by a thief. She follows the thief’s instructions to give him everything. When she wakes up she finds out that she’s lost her job, her finances are destroyed. Months later, she meets Jeff and is immediately drawn towards him. It’s next to impossible to what ‘Upstream Color’ is about, but on a broader perspective it explores the symbiotic relationship between man, animal and nature through personal journey of two individuals to self discovery after they have been stripped off everything they know and posses. Metamorphically, ‘Upstream Color’ is multi-layered, but primarily it’s about the things that are outside and beyond our control.

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2. A Clockwork Orange (1971)

Stanley Kubrick’s dystopian crime drama delves deep into the sheer madness and chaos inherent in human psyche. The film’s protagonist Alex DeLarge is a psychopathic maniac with an insatiable taste for violence. In the classic Kubrician style, the film questions morality and human psychology in the most eerily profound and disturbing manner. The “Ludovico Technique” is a form of mind control that causes the subject, in this case the thug anti-hero Alex, to feel sickness and pain whenever he has a violent or anti-social impulse. This backfires because of Alex’s association with the music of Ludwig van Beethoven to ultraviolence, an unintended side effect means that he has the same physical reaction to the music alone, which is exploited later by a man whose wife Alex had raped.

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1. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2003)

It is a love story. It is also a science fiction. But you may wonder how is the film about mind control. I will explain how. In a sentence, the film’s story is about two people who after their relationship turns sour undergo procedure to have each other erased from their memories. When you think about it, erasing your memories is in a way trying to take control of your own mind — which is what Joel and Clementine are trying to do in the film. Whatever way you look at it, ‘Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless mind’ will remain one of the most fascinating films ever made.

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