Some movies are able to show us the peculiar nature of the human psyche. One of such films is the 1999 classic Fight Club. That is why we have created this list of movies like Fight Club, for you to bookmark and hopefully watch if you are a fan of the movie. This film by David Fincher is based on a novel of the same name by Chuck Palahniuk. The Narrator is an insomniac office worker, who grows weary of the whims of capitalism. He forms a secret society called the “Fight Club” with a mysterious soap salesman named Tyler Durden.
The club evolves from an underground boxing club where members can pour out the tension and frustration in their respective lives into a secret anarchist society with terroristic ideals. The film explores themes ranging from capitalism, disillusionment with life, and a search for purpose in life. Fight Club’s view on the degradation of Tyler Durden’s mental state is one that has held watchers captive over the last 2 decades, inspiring many of modern movies of today. Here is a list of 12 movies like Fight Club.
List of Movies Like Fight Club
1. Shutter Island (2010)
Shutter Island, similar to movies like Fight Club, explores the broken psyche of its titular character. Directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring Leonardo DiCaprio for what won’t be the last time on this list, Shutter Island is a psychological thriller that follows the story of two U.S. Marshals, Teddy Daniels and Mark Ruffalo’s Chuck Aule, who are sent to an isolated island to investigate the disappearance of a missing person.
Teddy, played by DiCaprio, starts to have intense hallucinations and becomes increasingly suspicious of the staff and patients at the island’s psychiatric hospital, certain that something sinister is being collectively hidden from him. If you’re ready to be taken on a rollercoaster that makes you question what even is real, and what is not, then I suggest you add Shutter Island to your watch-list.
2. The Machinist (2004)
The Machinist is a psychological thriller, directed by Brad Anderson. The film stars Christian Bale who at this point was no stranger to playing characters of this ilk, as Trevor Reznik. Trevor is a machinist who, similar to what we see in movies like Fight Club, he suffers from chronic insomnia and in his case has not slept in over a year. Trevor’s starts to become paranoid, afraid that his co-workers may be plotting against him.
The film follows Trevor as he tries his best to find out the truth about the strange occurrences in his life, while also trying to survive his physical and mental deterioration. The Machinist features a dark and atmospheric tone, and it explores themes ranging from mental health, paranoia, trust and self-inflicted guilt.
3. American Beauty (1999)
Compared to movies like Fight Club and The Machinist, where the mental troubles come from a lack of sleep, American Beauty, directed by Sam Mendes, tells a story of Lester Burnham, whose issues come as he hits middle age. Lester is a suburban father and husband who is unhappy with his family and marriage life and is plunged deep into a midlife crisis.
As a way to fight back against his mundane existence, he risks ripping apart the stability and security of the perfect suburban life which he currently enjoys. American Beauty explores themes of suburban discontent, beauty, and the search for purpose and happiness, and is highly recommended for your viewing pleasure.
4. Taxi Driver (1976)
In the psychological thriller Taxi Driver, directed by Martin Scorsese and written by Paul Schrader, the titular character is Travis Bickle, played by Robert De Niro. Travis Bickle is a lonely and disturbed taxi driver, based in New York City after the Vietnam War. He gradually becomes obsessed with saving a young prostitute named Iris, played by Jodie Foster, by persuading her to quit the life.
Travis becomes even lonelier than ever, as he takes the fight against the city’s pimps and crime-ridden underworld into his own hands, climaxing in an action-packed conclusion. The film is praised for its portrayal of the loneliness of urban life, similar to movies like Fight Club, and alienation from one’s own society. Taxi Driver is regarded as a classic of modern American cinema.
Also Read: Movies like Taxi Driver
5. Memento (2000)
Memento is a neo-noir psychological thriller directed by Christopher Nolan, based on a short story by Jonathan Nolan. The film follows Leonard Shelby, played by Guy Pearce, a man burdened by demons, and in such a way is similar to movies like Fight Club. Guy suffers from short-term memory loss, and is tasked with finding the person responsible for his wife’s murder.
The film is structured in a non-linear fashion, with scenes shown out of chronological order, all building towards a twist ending that even plays on what the audience thinks they know about the movie’s events. A must watch.
Also Read: Movies like Memento
6. Man Bites Dog (1992)
Man Bites Dog is a Belgian black comedy crime film directed by Rémy Belvaux, André Bonzel, and Benoît Poelvoorde. The film follows the adventures of a camera crew that is making a documentary about a charismatic and articulate serial killer, and eventually becomes involved in his crimes, providing assistance when he needs it.
The film acts as a dark commentary on the media’s obsession with violence and making content or entertainment out of everything, no matter how absurd. This is achieved by the blurring of the lines between the characters and the filmmakers themselves. Man Bites Dog, same as movies like Fight Club, was praised by critics for its ability to subvert expectations through its unconventional storytelling.
7. A Beautiful Mind (2001)
Not all mental illness devolves its sufferers into maniacal terrorists or blood thirsty killers, just as in movies like Fight Club and Shutter Island respectively. Some simply rob one of their beautiful memories, love and skill, such is the case in A Beautiful Mind. If you’re intrigued by this then have a look at movies about mental illnesses here.
The film stars Russell Crowe as John Nash and follows his journey from his early days as an up-and-coming mathematician up to his eventual diagnosis and treatment for schizophrenia. The film explores Nash’s struggles with his illness and the difficulties it thrusts upon his relationships with his wife, friends and colleagues. It explores themes such as love, determination, and loss. A Beautiful Mind was praised for the acting performances of its cast, especially Russell Crowe’s.
8. American Psycho (2000)
Just as promised Christian Bale shows up again on this list. Similar to movies like Fight Club, his character experiences bouts of mental turmoil which pushes him to do the unthinkable. American Psycho is a 2000 film directed by Mary Harron and based on the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis. The film stars Christian Bale as Patrick Bateman, a wealthy and successful investment banker who leads a double life as a sadistic and depraved serial killer.
The film, although with a serious subject matter, tries its best to be a satire, acting as commentary on the excess and superficiality of the 1980s, which in turn rid people of their humanity. American Psycho is known for its dark humor, graphic violence, and Christian Bale’s portrayal of a sinister and charismatic serial killer.
Also Read: Movies like American Psycho
9. The Game (1997)
The Game is a psychological thriller film directed by Fight Club’s very own David Fincher and starring Michael Douglas and Sean Penn. The film follows the story of Nicholas Van Orton, a wealthy businessman who is invited to take part in a mysterious game that promises to change his life for the better.
As Nicholas plays the game, he starts to develop bouts of paranoia, as the game gradually begins to seep into aspects of his real life. The film builds towards a tense and unpredictable finale that will challenge Nicholas’ and the audience’s perceptions of the world in which the movie exists, similar to films like Fight Club.
10. Bringing Out the Dead (1999)
Taking on one of these major roles in these sorts of movies seems to be a rite of passage for Hollywood’s leading men. Nicolas Cage proves to be no exception as he stars as he stars as Frank Pierce, who similar to films like Fight Club, is burnt-out and tired. He is a paramedic, who works the night shift in New York City, finds himself cruelly haunted by the ghosts of patients he was unable to rescue from death.
As Frank struggles with sleep deprivation and addiction, he goes out of his way to save a single patient, in the person of Mary Burke. The film is a portrayal of the emotional toll of working in such a high-stress profession. It deals with themes of guilt, redemption, and the search for meaning in one’s life.
11. Lost Highway (1997)
Lost Highway is a 1997 film directed by David Lynch. The film is a dark, psychological thriller similar to movies like Fight Club that follows the story of a jazz saxophonist named Fred Madison, played by Bill Pullman, who is accused of murder and sent to prison. As he serves his sentence, Fred transforms into a completely different person and begins a new life.
The film is noted for its surreal atmosphere, and non-linear narrative. It explores themes of identity, reality, and the nature of consciousness. Lost Highway is considered one of David Lynch’s most experimental films, and is viewed as a modern classic.
12. Joker (2019)
Joker, directed by Todd Philips was a massive detour from the DC interconnected universe, choosing instead to act as a detailed study of the film’s titular character, Arthur Fleck. The film recounts the origins of the iconic DC Comics villain, the Joker.
As he is pushed to the brink by a society that doesn’t understand him, much like in movies like Fight Club, Arthur is transformed into the Joker and embarks on a violent rampage in protest against the society which he has found himself within. This film is known for its intense and haunting portrayal of mental illness, especially by Joaquin Phoenix, and was a commercial and critical success.
Here are a few movies like Fight Club that didn’t make the list that you can also check out:
- The Beach
- Office Space
- Donnie Darko
- Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind