ByViktorio Serdarov, writer at
A proud Bulgarian and a passionate film, comics and gaming fan! If you like my posts please share them or leave a comment!
Viktorio Serdarov

Cinema has always been associated with blockbusters and glamour. However, sometimes directors go beyond conventional storytelling and incorporate, interpret and analyze different ideologies and philosophical doctrines in their films.

Consequently, this list features 8 of these movies which masterfully explore themes that often filmmakers don't often comment on. All movie synopsis descriptions and quotes are courtesy of IMDb.

1. Blade Runner (1982)

Director: Ridley Scott

What's it about: A blade runner must pursue and try to terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.

Major themes explored: The philosophy of religion and moral implications of human mastery of genetic engineering in the context of classical Greek drama and hubris, mortality and cyberpunk culture.

A quote to remember:

"I've seen things you people wouldn't believe. Attack ships on fire off the shoulder of Orion. I watched C-beams glitter in the dark near the Tannhäuser Gate. All those moments will be lost in time, like Time to die."

2. The Seventh Seal (1957)

Director: Ingmar Bergman

What's it about: A man seeks answers about life, death, and the existence of God as he plays chess against the Grim Reaper during the Black Plague.

Major themes explored: The existence of God, death and the meaning of life.

A quote to remember:

"I am Death... I have been for a long time at your side... are you prepared?"

3. I Heart Huckabees (2004)

Director: David O. Russell

What's it about: A husband-and-wife team play detective, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, the happy duo helps others solve their existential issues, the kind that keep you up at night, wondering what it all means.

Major themes explored: The meaning of life and existence, nihilism, ontology, epistemology, reductionism, holism and coincidence.

A quote to remember:

"Once you realize the universe sucks, you got nothing to lose"

4. Rope (1948)

Director: Alfred Hitchcock

What's it about: Two young men strangle their "inferior" classmate, hide his body in their apartment, and invite his friends and family to a dinner party as a means to challenge the "perfection" of their crime.

Major themes explored: Anti-existentialism, homosexualism, Freudism, philosophy of the Übermensch.

A quote to remember:

"After all, murder is, or should be, an art"

5. La Dolce Vita (1960)

Director: Federico Fellini

What's it about: A series of stories following a week in the life of a philandering paparazzo journalist living in Rome.

Major themes explored: "Café society" - the diverse and glittery world rebuilt upon the ruins and poverty of the Italian postwar period and mass consumer society.

A quote to remember:

"Don't be like me. Salvation doesn't lie within four walls. I'm too serious to be a dilettante and too much a dabbler to be a professional. Even the most miserable life is better than a sheltered existence in an organized society where everything is calculated and perfected."

6. The Fountainhead (1949)

Director: King Vidor

What's it about: An uncompromising, visionary architect struggles to maintain his integrity and individualism despite personal, professional and economic pressures to conform to popular standards.

Major themes explored: Individualism, American architecture, ethics and political principles.

A quote to remember:

"Man cannot survive except through his mind. He comes on earth unarmed. His brain is his only weapon. But the mind is an attribute of the individual, there is no such thing as a collective brain. The man who thinks must think and act on his own. The reasoning mind cannot work under any form of compulsion. It cannot not be subordinated to the needs, opinions, or wishes of others. It is not an object of sacrifice."

7. Waking Life (2001)

Director: Richard Linklater

What's it about: A man shuffles through a dream meeting various people and discussing the meanings and purposes of the universe.

Major themes explored: Personal philosophy and the infinite possibilities of dreams.

A quote to remember:

"They say dreaming is dead, no one does it anymore. It's not dead it's just that it's been forgotten, removed from our language. Nobody teaches it so nobody knows it exists. The dreamer is banished to obscurity. Well, I'm trying to change all that, and I hope you are too. By dreaming, every day. Dreaming with our hands and dreaming with our minds. Our planet is facing the greatest problems it's ever faced, ever. So whatever you do, don't be bored, this is absolutely the most exciting time we could have possibly hoped to be alive. "

8. My Night at Maud’s (1969)

Director: Éric Rohmer

What's it about: The rigid principles of a devout Catholic man are challenged during a one-night stay with Maud, a divorced woman with a flamboyant personality.

Major themes explored: The existence of God and morality in contemporary society.

A quote to remember:

"Personally, I very much doubt that history has any meaning. Yet I wager that it has, so I'm in a Pascalian situation. Hypothesis A: Society and politics are meaningless. Hypothesis B: History has meaning. I'm not at all sure B is more likely to be true than A. More likely the reverse. Let's even suppose B has a 10% chance of being true and A has 80%. Nevertheless I have no choice but to opt for B, because only the hypothesis that history has meaning allows me to go on living. Suppose I bet on A, and B was true, despite the lesser odds. I'd have thrown away my life. So I must choose B to justify my life and actions. There's an 80% chance I'm wrong but that doesn't matter. "


Which philosophical film from the list is your favorite or you can't wait to watch it?


Latest from our Creators