What Films Provoke Profound Questions?

Previously, I hit on the topic, using the Dark Knight, of movies that challenge your morals and values. The ones that make you question why you relate to or despise decisions that a character made based on your own beliefs, and how you would respond in the same scenarios. Then this weekend, I thought of some more movies that also have the same effect.

Thought Provoking Films

The Brave One
What is so wrong with a person who takes out the criminal element? If this person knows the criminal is guilty beyond a shadow of a doubt, and knows that the likelihood of the criminal to harm others long before the legal system can catch up with them is high, how is society harmed by a good vigilante?

V for Vendetta
How easy would it be for the government to be buying the media into saying just what they want them to? Does it take a seemingly mad person and violence to open society’s eyes and spur political revolution?

The Island
Although not created the “natural” way, who would be able to determine if a clone had a soul, and if it deserved rights? Would your conscious be clear knowing that another existence of yourself was made to be used and destroyed for your benefit alone?

A.I. – Artificial Intelligence
Is it possible that machinery could be created to mimic all the things (thoughts, emotions) that make us human? Could it be programmed to not only mimic, but actually feel these things? Is it possible to love something without a heartbeat or soul?

How much honesty is too much? Is there such a thing as too much honesty? Why do we ask questions that we know we really do not want the answers to, but feel driven to ask anyway?

Boleyn Girl
Who was the better woman? The one that gave herself to someone who she knew could never fully be his because she loved him, or the one that used herself as a bargaining chip to get what she wanted? In societies with a separation of church and state, why does society get bent out of shape when a politician does something morally offensive in their personal relationships? Could their choice in spouse/lover affect their ability to do their job?

Your Favorite Films

So how about you? What movies have you watched that have really made you leave the theater (or your couch) scratching your head and pondering the deep why and what if types of questions? Or what other questions (and maybe answers) did you come up with from watching the movies I listed above? Please let me know in the comments…

Group Writing Project

Also, I have submitted this post in the Group Writing Project over at ProBlogger.net. If this title attracted your attention, or you have an awesome post title on your blog, drop by and submit it.

A continuation of this topic can be found in More Films Provoking Profound Questions.


  1. says

    American History X; for obvious reasons. That was such a fantastic movie that never gets the credit it deserves. It of course raises a lot of questions? Can criminals be re-habilitated? When do you cross the line from being a xenophobe into being a racist?
    Also, A Clockwork Orange. Same thing: can someone truly be rehabilitated? Come to think of it, any Stanley Kubrick movie makes you think.

  2. says

    Though there are probably many, in addition to what you have listed The Breakup springs to mind. I saw it at a time when I was so over my job and needed a push to finally search for a new one. This made me think about the time I was wasting and made me get my A into G.

    O and The Truman Show for obviious reasons. Movies like that creep me out.

  3. says

    Great content and topic for the Group Writing Project.

    Maybe the movie, and book, that recently challenge my moral beliefs more is_The kite runner_. My position risks to be not polically correct. Both in the book and in the movie, at the beginning I was angry with Amir because he didn’t help his friend Hassan. And i was angry with myself. From the moral perspective, I would defend my friend, but from the personal perspective (what would I do in the same situation?) I have some doubts on my courages. Just for my sister I know I would for sure risk to defend her, for other people?

    Then _Truman show_. How many questions it raise about true human relationships?

    And the italian tv movie on judge Borsellino , the one killed by mafia in july 1992 soon afterwards the murder of Falcone. In 1992 I was just 16 y.o. and lived in north of Italy. They became the hero of my adolescence.

  4. says

    I’m a loser and I’ve not seen any of these movies. However, can we ever “love something without a heartbeat or soul?” Yes. And I spend enough in batteries to prove it!

  5. says

    Great post for the writing project! I am also a loser and need to see more of these movies. One of these days I will get Netflix! I have seen Closer and do agree that it is quite thought-provoking. How can people be so destructive? And is it always best to tell your significant other absolutely everything? I’ll add these movies to my to-see list!

  6. says

    Came in via Problogger – I do like how you pretty much answer the question you set in the title in your first paragraph. Films that challenge your morals and values seem to be the ones that are profound.

    Although I’m not sure how deeply The Dark Knight challenges all of our morals and values. I did read your post on that, and liked it. Things can only challenge you when you’re aware of the challenge. A lot of The Dark Knight confused me.

  7. says

    Also here via Problogger. The Brave One premise reminds me of the TV show Dexter. Dexter is a serial killer who kills serial killers. I haven’t seen the Brave One so I’m going on your short description here.

    The Island made me think that’s for sure. Must watch it again.

    Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was very thought provoking for me.

  8. Kw says

    A japanese film called “Afterlife” is one of the thought-provoking and profound films I’ve ever seen.

    Roger Ebert did a fantastic review of the film when it was first released, which was how I first heard of it.
    I’m not sure if it was ever released to DVD, it was released to VHS. The concept being that after you die, you go to this form of purgatory and look back over your life, choosing the one moment from your life which you will spend your afterlife in. So you must pick the one moment when you were most happy, content, proud.

  9. says

    I found your site through Blogcatolog. I dugg and Stumbled.

    The Dark Knight was a thought provoking movie. I think that’s when movie is at its best. It brings you to a new level of awareness.

    Great list and I added V for Vendetta to my Netflix list.

  10. TheHIV says

    I disagree with V for Vendetta I dont find it to be a particularly profound movie, (though it was fun to watch), I would go with 1984 or something like that, maybe Brazil, but I D K.

  11. TheHIV says

    Oh and if you want to see a profound and thought provoking movie watch The Sea Inside. I swear you wont regret it.

  12. says

    I dugg, stumbled and even del.icio.us’d your article. I thought it had a good lead in and some excellent examples yet left enough room open for user involvement/comments. I thought it was interesting how you picked what I would consider, some of the less obvious thought provoking movies as well.

    Maybe you should follow it up with the most thought provoking TV shows?


  13. laura says

    Good post re: American History X. For me, the Shawshank Redemption, Out of Africa (hey, it was the 80s), My Brilliant Career (great book, too), The Departed.

  14. says

    Thank you to everyone who has responded. Once I have some time to indulge in more movies, I will be checking out some of your suggestions. :)

  15. says

    Thanks for this great post, it immediately made me want to watch VENDETTA again. I do believe that stories and movies alike can point us to some incredible truths, questions and moral dilemmas, and I found that the movies I enjoy the most often have this quality of being thought provoking or somewhat “philosophical”.

    There’s this great sequence in SE7EN in the middle of the third act, where the killer talks about why he committed his crimes. And the amazing twist of emotion and logic is that you tend to agree with him.

    There were some great movies mentioned by all of you, and I will surely check out those, I haven’t already seen. If I may add and recommend: Magnolia, Fight Club, The Matrix and Memento offer some greatly valuable reflections.

    And as strange as it may sound I stand in great awe of The Incredibles. Not only because it is a cinematic masterpiece. But because of this very by-the-way scene, where IncrediMom tells her son: “Everyone is special” — “Which is another way of saying ‘no one is’.”

  16. says

    @FincherFanatic: I will have to add Se7en to my next list. That was a disturbing, thought provoking film. Fight Club as well, especially when he is talking about our dependence on stuff.