Unreliable Narrator in Movies. Movies where the Narrator is either lying or are themselves wrong about factsby KyaBakwaasHai | created - 01 Jan 2015 | updated - 13 Mar 2015 | Public
Unreliable Narrators Movie. Movies where the Narrator is either lying or are themselves wrong about facts. Some of them are Possible Spoilers!
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1. Detour (1945)
Passed | 68 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Chance events trap hitch-hiker Al Roberts in a tightening net of film noir trouble.
Votes: 13,557 | Gross: $0.02M
The 1945 film noir Detour is told from the perspective of an unreliable protagonist who may be trying to justify his actions.
This movie is the best case of use of an Unreliable Narrator, which upon repeated viewings increases the charm of the movie.
2. The Usual Suspects (1995)
R | 106 min | Crime, Mystery, Thriller
A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which began when five criminals met at a seemingly random police lineup.
Votes: 936,177 | Gross: $23.34M
The 1995 film The Usual Suspects reveals that the narrator had been deceiving the characters in the movie, and hence the audience, by the story he is telling. The character Keyser Soze has something to do with the unreliable narrative.
3. Memento (2000)
R | 113 min | Mystery, Thriller
A man with short-term memory loss attempts to track down his wife's murderer.
Votes: 1,061,268 | Gross: $25.54M
The Narrator himself is not in the know of things happening around him. A Great example of unreliable narrator.
4. Fight Club (1999)
R | 139 min | Drama
An insomniac office worker and a devil-may-care soapmaker form an underground fight club that evolves into something much, much more.
Votes: 1,742,203 | Gross: $37.03M
In the 1999 film Fight Club, it is revealed that the narrator suffers from dissociative identity disorder and that some events were fabricated. The Character Tyler Durden has something to do with the unreliable narrative.
5. Rashomon (1950)
Not Rated | 88 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
The rape of a bride and the murder of her samurai husband are recalled from the perspectives of a bandit, the bride, the samurai's ghost and a woodcutter.
Votes: 140,988 | Gross: $0.10M
In Rashômon (1950), a Japanese crime drama film directed by Akira Kurosawa, adapted from "In a Grove" (1921), uses multiple narrators to tell the story of the death of a samurai. Each of the witnesses describe the same basic events but differ wildly in the details, alternately claiming that the samurai died by accident, suicide, or murder. The term "Rashômon effect" is used to describe how different witnesses are able to produce contradictory accounts of the same event, though each version is presented with equal sincerity and each is plausible when considered independently of the others. The film does not select the "authentic" narrator from the differing accounts: at its conclusion, all versions remain equally plausible and equally suspect.
6. Shutter Island (2010)
R | 138 min | Mystery, Thriller
In 1954, a U.S. Marshal investigates the disappearance of a murderer who escaped from a hospital for the criminally insane.
Votes: 1,047,270 | Gross: $128.01M
The Narrator is lying to himself and to the audience. Great Ending btw.
7. The Sixth Sense (1999)
PG-13 | 107 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A boy who communicates with spirits seeks the help of a disheartened child psychologist.
Votes: 868,127 | Gross: $293.51M
The Narrator himself doesn't know what is happening around him or even to him!!! Classic Unreliable Narrator.
8. Stage Fright (1950)
Approved | 110 min | Film-Noir, Thriller
A struggling actress tries to help a friend prove his innocence when he's accused of murdering the husband of a high society entertainer.
The 1950 Alfred Hitchcock film Stage Fright (1950) uses the device of unreliable narration by presenting the aftermath of a murder in a flashback, as told by the murderer. The details of the flashback provide an explanation which helps convince the innocent main protagonist of the film to help the murderer, believing him innocent.
9. Gone Girl (2014)
R | 149 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
With his wife's disappearance having become the focus of an intense media circus, a man sees the spotlight turned on him when it's suspected that he may not be innocent.
Votes: 793,517 | Gross: $167.77M
Amy and Nick both are unreliable narrators, they are lying to the audience in the full first half of the movie.
10. Possessed (1947)
Approved | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
After being found wandering the streets of Los Angeles, a severely catatonic woman tells a doctor the complex story of how she wound up there.
Votes: 4,258 | Gross: $1.99M
In Possessed (1947), Joan Crawford plays a woman who is taken to a psychiatric hospital in a state of shock. She gradually tells the story of how she came to be there to her doctors, which is related to the audience in flashbacks, some of which are later revealed to be hallucinations or distorted by paranoia
11. Forrest Gump (1994)
PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Romance
The presidencies of Kennedy and Johnson, the events of Vietnam, Watergate, and other history unfold through the perspective of an Alabama man with an IQ of 75.
Votes: 1,681,327 | Gross: $330.25M
In the movie version of Forrest Gump (1994), the title character narrates his life story, and in the process naïvely refers to Apple Computer as a "fruit company" while also assuming that sustaining a "million dollar wound" meant that one would get paid for it. He also states that Jenny's dad treated her well because "he was always kissing and touching her and her sisters."
12. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
PG-13 | 135 min | Biography, Drama
After John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematician, accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish.
Votes: 797,368 | Gross: $170.74M
In the 2001 film A Beautiful Mind, it is eventually revealed that the narrator is suffering from paranoid schizophrenia, and many of the events he witnessed occurred only in his own mind.
13. Hero (2002)
PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Adventure, History
A defense officer, Nameless, was summoned by the King of Qin regarding his success of terminating three warriors.
Votes: 168,830 | Gross: $53.71M
In the 2002 film Hero, the protagonist is identified as an unreliable narrator by the antagonist, who responds by constructing his own alternate version of the false story. In the last part of the film, the protagonist tells the real story, which explains his presence in the current situation.
14. American Psycho (2000)
R | 101 min | Crime, Drama
A wealthy New York City investment banking executive, Patrick Bateman, hides his alternate psychopathic ego from his co-workers and friends as he delves deeper into his violent, hedonistic fantasies.
Votes: 450,479 | Gross: $15.07M
Patrick Bateman makes "Money's" John Self look even more out of shape, when it comes to commenting on the big brands and applying his murderous hands to the unsuspecting and the vulnerable. Yet Ellis's great comment on consumerism and the death of high culture could just be a mirror to our own deluded thoughts, and Bateman nothing more than a sickly funny fantasist.
15. Primal Fear (1996)
R | 129 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
An altar boy is accused of murdering a priest, and the truth is buried several layers deep.
Votes: 170,657 | Gross: $56.12M
One Character is lying to other characters and to the audience too, and everyone fell for his con.
16. The Lone Ranger (2013)
PG-13 | 150 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
Native American warrior Tonto recounts the untold tales that transformed John Reid, a man of the law, into a legend of justice.
Votes: 213,135 | Gross: $89.30M
In the 2013 film The Lone Ranger the narrator, Tonto (Johnny Depp), is identified quickly as potentially unreliable by a child attending a 1930s carnival sideshow during extensive questioning about the events leading to the origin of the Wild West character the child emulates. The child is wearing the costume identified with the fictional Western hero of radio, comics, films, and television. The events related by the narrator vaguely follow an alternative version of character development that occurred during its radio dramas and the beginning of its television series, but with novel disclosures of graphic details that occur as a series of flashbacks portraying the elderly Tonto's memories of the events. Along with the child, the audience is left to make their own judgments about the memories of Tonto.
17. Amarcord (1973)
R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama
A series of comedic and nostalgic vignettes set in a 1930s Italian coastal town.
The title Amarcord apparently translates in Roman dialect as "I Remember", yet this chaotic film is in no way a straightforward recollection of childhood experiences. As Fellini himself once commented: "My films from my past, recount memories that are completely invented." The scatological jokes about belching, and farting coexist with an air of melancholy that's maintained by Nino Rota's evocative music. Fellini constantly draws our attention to the fact that we're watching a piece of fiction: the residents' stories are far from reliable, actors deliver their lines to camera, and the elderly narrator (Luigi Rossi) is interrupted by off-screen disruptions.
18. Big Fish (2003)
PG-13 | 125 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
A frustrated son tries to determine the fact from fiction in his dying father's life.
Votes: 397,939 | Gross: $66.26M
As William retraces his father's steps, revisiting his old stomping grounds and seeking out witnesses to what may or may not have happened, the truth is revealed to be anything but the simple black-and-white affair that any of us expected. What William discovers is that even his father's most over-arching conceits and purely fantastic fictions contain an essence of truth, an essence more valuable than what might be gleaned from a more literal version. Dad, of course, was right: reality is overrated. And all of those impossibly tall tales told over the course of the movie eventually come to resemble some enormous, sweet onion, with endless layers of story to be peeled away before getting to a core of meaning.
19. The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari (1920)
Not Rated | 67 min | Fantasy, Horror, Mystery
Hypnotist Dr. Caligari uses a somnambulist, Cesare, to commit murders.
The deranged mind in Caligari was revealed through flashback. Cinema moving backwards and forward in time, a quantum leap that thrust the oneiric engagement of the viewer within the frame of flickering images from passive observer to a participant who must engage actively in constructing a narrative. The revealed unreliability of the narrative throwing the viewer into an abyss of incomprehension and confusion in movies like Un Chien Andolou. A fractured kaleidoscope where meaning is continually undone and rewoven before the audience’s eyes.
20. High Tension (2003)
R | 91 min | Horror
Best friends Marie and Alexia decide to spend a quiet weekend at Alexia's parents' secluded farmhouse. But on the night of their arrival, the girls' idyllic getaway turns into an endless night of horror.
Votes: 64,606 | Gross: $3.68M
We watch this story through the eyes of Marie (Cécile de France), who goes to stay with Alex (Maïwenn) and her family in a remote French house.
Which is when a serial killer turns up.
Spoiler :- In the film's shocking final twist, Marie is revealed as the serial killer – she merely created a separate persona in her mind to carry out her killings.
The Murder of Roger Ackroyd
TV-14 | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
Poirot comes out of retirement when his industrialist friend is brutally murdered a short while after a local widow who was suspected of killing her husband commits suicide.
In this classic Agatha Christi story there are multiple unreliable narratives. The Murder of Roger Ackroyd was hailed as a cornerstone in the genre and is still known as “one of the most influential crime novels ever written,” as said by Howard Haycraft in 1941.
22. Lolita (1962)
Not Rated | 153 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
A middle-aged college professor becomes infatuated with a fourteen-year-old nymphet.
Votes: 86,515 | Gross: $9.25M
Never straight with himself, let alone the ladies and gentlemen of the jury to whom he is ultimately addressing his words, Humbert Humbert arrived halfway through the 20th century, intent on justifying his appalling crime. Nabokov's syntactical genius is the one true triumph.
23. The Innocents (1961)
Not Rated | 100 min | Horror
A young governess for two children becomes convinced that the house and grounds are haunted.
Votes: 24,641 | Gross: $2.62M
Is it a ghost story, or the tragic tale of a young woman undergoing a breakdown? Believing her two young charges are communing with the spirits of her two dead predecessors, the prim governess of Bly House becomes increasingly panic-stricken and erratic, until she's left with a dead boy in her arms.
24. Heart of Darkness (1993 TV Movie)
100 min | Drama
A trading company manager travels up an African river to find a missing outpost head and discovers the depth of evil in humanity's soul.
Right at the start we're told that Marlow likes to spin yarns. However, his tale of journeying up the Congo, in search first of ivory, and then the infamous Kurtz, is one of the most powerful stories in literature. Whether his story is strictly faithful becomes irrelevant, as Marlow ends up highlighting the moral corruption at the heart of all humans.
25. Money (2010– )
John Self is good at making money, he's due to make a hell of a lot more. The only trouble is... he's better at spending it.
John Self is one of literature's most repulsively addictive narrators. The book might be subtitled "A Suicide Note", but it is in fact a love story, with Self dreaming up ever more extravagant ways to shed his wedge while pursuing entirely corruptible Selina Street, among others. The fact that Self might never have actually existed, revealed towards the end, is Amis's sly take on the death of the self.
26. The Killer Inside Me (2010)
R | 109 min | Crime, Drama, Horror
A West Texas Deputy Sheriff is slowly unmasked as a psychotic killer.
Votes: 32,211 | Gross: $0.21M
It was Jim Thompson, not James M Cain, who put the hard into hard-boiled, the noir into roman noir. He was also one of the first crime writers to take us into the heads of seriously twisted killers, if not out-and-out psychopaths. Deputy Sheriff Lou Ford is regarded as a pillar of the small Texan community he serves. Yet he's in possession of a secret he doesn't even admit to himself. When the bodies start to appear, the net slowly tightens.
27. We Need to Talk About Kevin (2011)
R | 112 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
Kevin's mother struggles to love her strange child, despite the increasingly dangerous things he says and does as he grows up. But Kevin is just getting started, and his final act will be beyond anything anyone imagined.
Votes: 128,173 | Gross: $1.74M
This movie and novel it is based on are is a postmodern masterclass in unreliability, as the principal theme of nature versus nurture trickles through the slow revelations of exactly what Kevin has done. Told in a series of letters by Kevin's mother, Eva, to her estranged husband, Franklin, the reader is never quite sure of whether it was Eva or Kevin who exhibited the most disturbing behaviour. Franklin, meanwhile, is guilty of chronic denial
28. The Adventures of Huck Finn (1993)
PG | 108 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
In Missouri, during the 1840s, young Huck Finn fearful of his drunkard father and yearning for adventure, leaves his foster family and joins with runaway slave Jim in a voyage down the Mississippi River toward slavery free states.
Votes: 7,391 | Gross: $24.10M
In his search of freedom, as he floats down the Mississippi, Tom Sawyer's best friend "Huck" Finn finds himself travelling out of his rational mind. First published in 1884, Twain himself described his controversial masterpiece, as "... a book of mine where a sound heart and a deformed conscience come into collision and conscience suffers defeat".
29. Fallen (1998)
R | 124 min | Action, Crime, Drama
Homicide detective John Hobbes witnesses the execution of serial killer Edgar Reese. Soon after the execution the killings start again, and they are very similar to Reese's style.
Votes: 70,744 | Gross: $25.19M
Homicide detective John Hobbes witnesses the execution of serial killer Edgar Reese. Soon after the execution the killings start again, and they are very similar to Reese's style. The narrator is completely unreliable!
30. Atonement (2007)
R | 123 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance
Fledgling writer Briony Tallis, as a thirteen-year-old, irrevocably changes the course of several lives when she accuses her older sister's lover of a crime he did not commit.
Votes: 234,644 | Gross: $50.93M
Atonement’s Briony Tallis is perhaps too clever for her own good, or anyone else’s. She has a certain talent for tattling and rewriting.
31. The Great Gatsby (2013)
PG-13 | 143 min | Drama, Romance
A writer and wall street trader, Nick, finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby.
Votes: 448,057 | Gross: $144.84M
After a wild summer with Tom, Daisy, and Gatsby, Nick’s account of them and their doings is born out of exasperation, horror, and weariness. And who could blame him?
32. John Dies at the End (2012)
R | 99 min | Comedy, Horror, Sci-Fi
A new street drug that sends its users across time and dimensions has one drawback: some people return no longer human. Can two college drop-outs save humanity from this silent, otherworldly invasion?
Votes: 35,034 | Gross: $0.14M
Like American Psycho, Dave is not sure if he killed someone or not (huh?). Bad trips and possession propel Dave to the end, which may surprise like… everyone.
33. One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
R | 133 min | Drama
A criminal pleads insanity and is admitted to a mental institution, where he rebels against the oppressive nurse and rallies up the scared patients.
Votes: 860,453 | Gross: $112.00M
The Chief is thought to be deaf and mute, but not actually deaf and mute… we’ve been lied to! He’s also a patient in a mental ward.
34. The Perks of Being a Wallflower (2012)
PG-13 | 103 min | Drama, Romance
An introvert freshman is taken under the wings of two seniors who welcome him to the real world.
Votes: 433,315 | Gross: $17.74M
Charlie has some repressed memories and issues to work out. At the end of the book, he has a breakdown that lands him in the psych ward, but everything works out okay, you guys. It’s all okay.
35. Rebecca (1940)
Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance
A self-conscious woman juggles adjusting to her new role as an aristocrat's wife and avoiding being intimidated by his first wife's spectral presence.
Votes: 114,370 | Gross: $4.36M
The narrator of Rebecca spends a large portion of the novel laboring under a gross misapprehension… very mysterious.
36. Room (I) (2015)
R | 118 min | Drama, Thriller
Held captive for 7 years in an enclosed space, a woman and her young son finally gain their freedom, allowing the boy to experience the outside world for the first time.
Votes: 334,892 | Gross: $14.68M
A child who has never been outside of the confines of a single room, Jack’s perspective is both unreliable and completely unique.
37. Silver Linings Playbook (2012)
R | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
After a stint in a mental institution, former teacher Pat Solitano moves back in with his parents and tries to reconcile with his ex-wife. Things get more challenging when Pat meets Tiffany, a mysterious girl with problems of her own.
Votes: 634,400 | Gross: $132.09M
Like Charlie from The Perks of Being a Wallflower, Pat has some serious repressed memories. He is also haunted by Kenny G (?) and has recently been released from a mental hospital.
38. The Tin Drum (1979)
R | 142 min | Drama, War
In 1924, Oskar Matzerath is born in the Free City of Danzig. At age three, he falls down a flight of stairs and stops growing. In 1939, World War II breaks out.
Psych ward resident Oskar is a perpetual child (with adult mental capacity) gifted with a piercing shriek that can shatter glass and a tin drum that he’s a little too obsessed with.
39. Wuthering Heights (1939)
Not Rated | 104 min | Drama, Romance
A servant in the house of Wuthering Heights tells a traveller the unfortunate tale of lovers Cathy and Heathcliff.
Narrator Lockwood is a tricky fellow. He’s telling the story of Wuthering Heights in his diary as told to him by servant Nelly, but in Nelly’s voice and focusing on her perspective only. At one point he records a letter addressed to Nelly from Isabella word-for-word. How does he even remember Nelly’s tale this well pre-tape recorder?
40. Monster a-Go Go (1965)
TV-PG | 70 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
A space capsule crash-lands on Earth, and the astronaut aboard disappears. Is there a connection between the missing man and the monster roaming the area?
A disembodied voice who attempts to make sense of this B-flick's nonsensical plotting is an unreliable narrator.
The plot, such as it is, involves astronaut Frank Douglas, who disappears on a mission. Meanwhile, a strange humanoid monster is discovered...
Spoiler!!! In the final act, it's revealed there was never any monster at all. Huh?
41. At Close Range (1986)
R | 111 min | Crime, Drama
In 1978 Pennsylvania, an absentee father is reacquainted with his estranged teenage sons who become intrigued with his romanticized life of crime.
Votes: 13,306 | Gross: $2.35M
Chris penn is an unreliable narrator in this movie
42. The Locket (1946)
Approved | 85 min | Crime, Drama, Film-Noir
Just before a wedding, the bridegroom hears a complex tale painting his lovely bride as devilish and unbalanced.
The Locket made audacious use of flashbacks from different narrators in a story about a schizophrenic woman who is both a kleptomaniac and a murderer. The woman’s psychosis is revealed through not only a series of flashbacks from different narrators, but at one point, a flashback within a flashback.
43. Secret Window (2004)
PG-13 | 96 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A successful writer in the midst of a painful divorce is stalked at his remote lake house by a would-be scribe who accuses him of plagiarism.
Votes: 174,076 | Gross: $48.02M
Johnny Depp's character throughout the movie is lying to himself as well as us...
44. Wonderland (2003)
R | 104 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
In the police investigation of a brutal crime scene, one man was at the center of it all: legendary porn star John Holmes.
Votes: 20,672 | Gross: $1.06M
David Lind (Dylan McDermott) and Holmes (Val Kilmer) give their POVs on the murders of four drug dealers, and attempt to blame each other for the deaths.
But one of them is surely a murderer, so which one is the unreliable narrator here?
45. Repulsion (1965)
Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, Horror, Thriller