With the sexy-yet-cerebral 'A Dangerous Method,' starring Viggo Mortensen as a certain Viennese doctor, now in theaters, Moviefone asks: Where would movies be without pervasive sexual subtext, surreal dream sequences and daddy issues? The once-shocking ideas of Sigmund Freud -- like repression of childhood traumas, hysteria and extremely symbolic dreams -- have flourished in cinema, where pop psychology handily explains every crazed slasher. These gloriously overwrought Freudian films allowed actors and production designers to go more than a little mad. Ahead, the most Freudian films ever put to celluloid.
Gallery | Freudian Movies
Dead of Night (1945)
The most famous segment in this classic British horror anthology features a ventriloquist and his sinister dummy, but the story connecting them all concerns one man who has a recurring dream, one that ends in murder, as he tells his unfortunate psychiatrist.
Hitchcock and Freud were a match made in heaven, with so many of his characters suffering from some kind of paralyzing psychological hang-up. Here, psychiatrist Ingrid Bergman can't help falling for her troubled patient, Gregory Peck, who's either a murderer or just suffering from a severe trauma. Don't miss the famous dream sequence designed by Dali.
The Snake Pit (1948)
In this then-groundbreaking look at mental illness, housewife Olivia de Havilland has an inexplicable breakdown and is committed to an institution. She suffers from paranoid delusions and doesn't recognize her own husband. Her contortions are nowhere as extreme as Keira Knightley's in 'A Dangerous Method,' but she does have a tendency to bite when provoked.
The Dark Past (1949)
Freudian analysis meets film noir: A mobster (William Holden) takes a psychiatrist hostage and during the siege, the roots of his psychosis are uncovered and a highly symbolic dream decoded as the police close in.
It's the mother of all horror movies, for a reason: Hitchcock's most famous chiller features a guy with one helluva an Oedipal complex. The coda, in which a psychiatrist very clinically explains Norman Bates's issues to his victim's loved ones is probably the only part of the movie that feels dated today.
Montgomery Clift as Freud? We'd love to see it, but this movie has never been issued on DVD. According to Clift biographer Patricia Bosworth, the real Freudian drama was behind the scenes, where Clift and director John Huston clashed constantly. Rumors circulated that the often-drunk Clift had to be hypnotized to remember his lines. Huston's denied he was behind them, telling the actor, "You're paranoid, boy."
Pressure Point (1962)
Sidney Poitier plays a prison psychiatrist who recognizes that model prisoner Bobby Darin (yes, the famous '50s and '60s crooner, who received an Academy Award nomination for this role) is really an antisocial psychopath. Their sessions are highly charged, especially since Darin's character is a Nazi sympathizer who resents having a black doctor. Darin's highly symbolic dreams including a surreal vision of being helplessly.washed down a sink.
8 1/2 (1963)
Federico Fellini delivers a smorgasbord of richly metaphoric dream sequences that blur with reality in the life of one frustrated, oversexed film director: In one, Guido is stuck in a traffic jam in a tunnel, then he's soaring perilously over a beach, secured only by a rope around his ankle. And in one of the most Freudian of scenes, his mother kisses him full on the mouth before turning into his wife. A shrink would have a field day with this guy.
The President's Analyst (1967)
In this mod, go-go '60s comedy, James Coburn plays the president's psychiatrist. Since he's privy to state secrets, he quickly becomes the target of international assassins. Turns out you can't be paranoid enough when you're psychoanalyzing the leader of the free world.
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1970)
Barbra Streisand uncovers past lives. Lots of singing ensues. Freud would probably roll his eyes but the more mystically inclined Jung -- who gave us the idea of the collective unconscious -- might dig it.
The Seven Percent Solution (1976)
Sherlock Holmes is tricked into seeing Freud (a very droll Alan Arkin) in this battle of the super brains, who then join forces to solve a mysterious abduction. Freud cures Holmes of his pesky heroin addiction, but isn't happy until he's uncovered the root of his problems, which, naturally, stems from a major childhood trauma.
Dressed to Kill (1980)
This lurid Hitchcock mash-up follows a shrink (Michael Caine) whose attractive female clients are being targeted by a bewigged slasher. The solution is pure 'Psycho,' (with a twist) as is the post-murder-spree explanation for it all.
Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure (1989)
Among the many awesome historical dudes Bill and Ted encounter in their jaunt through the past is Sigmund Freud, who immediately diagnoses two giggly girls at a modern-day mall as suffering from hysteria.
Final Analysis (1992)
Did someone say Hitchcockian? This thriller only wishes it had half the class of the master's 'Vertigo.' Actually, it reminds us more of 'Blind Date,' since Kim Basinger's got the same drinking issues. Maybe the whole cast should have had their heads examined before signing onto this one.
[Top Photo: Sony Picture Classics]
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