Messing with Your Head: 10 Best Altered Memory Movies & Where to Watch Them

Messing with Your Head: 10 Best Altered Memory Movies & Where to Watch Them
Image credit: Tri-Star Pictures, Paramount Pictures

Memory manipulation is only fun as long as it doesn’t happen to you. For your fun, here are ten best movies where others’ memories were altered, ranked by fans.

10. 50 First Dates (2004)

Not every memory manipulation movie must be grim and depressing, and 50 First Dates is the perfect proof. When a man falls in love, he doesn’t anticipate the woman of his dreams having a short-term memory loss. But so what? He’s willing to remake the first impression on her time and time again, hoping she’ll finally remember him.

You can watch 50 First Dates on Netflix, Apple TV, and Prime Video.

9. The Butterfly Effect (2004)

Altering memories works rather well with altering the very reality we live in, don’t you find? A young man suffering unexplainable blackouts during the most important and dark events in his life tries using a journal to battle his disturbing condition. Instead, he finds out he can now manipulate the past, changing the future as a result, too.

You can watch The Butterfly Effect on Netflix and Prime Video.

8. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)

Is it technically the second chance if you can’t even remember the first one?.. After meeting the girl of his dreams, a young man slowly realizes that he used to know her. Furthermore, they used to date — but when their relationship went sour, they chose to erase each other from their memory. So, is it a second chance or just fate?

You can watch Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind on Max, Netflix, Apple TV, and Prime Video.

7. Men in Black (1997)

On a far less disturbing note, erasing memories becomes much more fun when the protagonists are the ones doing it. In Men in Black, the special agents dealing with the plentiful aliens living on Earth must keep the latter’s existence a secret. For that, they have unique tools that wipe anyone’s last minutes of life from their memory.

You can watch Men in Black on Max, Netflix, and Prime Video.

6. Total Recall (1990)

But messing with your head is highly unwise, as proven by the Total Recall’s protagonist who decides to implant someone else’s memories into his own for fun. His fun quickly turns into a harrowing chain of events as he can’t distinguish himself from his alter-ego anymore — and needs to figure out why he is suddenly hunted.

You can watch Total Recall on Netflix and Prime Video.

5. The Bourne Identity (2002)

Many people say their past haunts them, but few can claim it hunts them. Jason Bourne definitely can: he’s bullet-riddled, can’t remember who he used to be, and has a tail of assassins behind him. Thankfully, he seems to have phenomenal physical skills; sadly, they can only save him for so long if he stays ignorant.

You can watch The Bourne Identity on Netflix and Prime Video.

4. Blade Runner ( 1982)

Can memory manipulation be considered morally correct if it’s performed on artificially created beings whose sole purpose is to serve humans? A blade runner tasked with hunting down several rogue replicants — artificial humans — struggles with answering this question, but what he should really question is his own memory.

You can watch Blade Runner on Max, Netflix, and Prime Video.

3. Shutter Island (2010)

When you dive, you better dive deep — unless it’s insanity we’re talking about. Two US Marshals go to a distant island that houses the asylum ward to investigate a patient’s disappearance. Instead, they end up trapped like flies in a web of lies, memory games, and mind-boggling revelations about the island’s true nature.

You can watch Shutter Island on Netflix, Apple TV, and Prime Video.

2. Memento (2000)

You didn’t seriously expect an altered memory movie list to not have at least one Nolan movie, did you? Troubled with short-term memory loss, a man tries to solve his wife’s murder using pictures and tattoos to memorize important clues. Be wary, because Memento is perhaps the most mind-bending film you can experience.

You can watch Memento on Netflix, Apple TV, and Prime Video.

1. Inception ( 2010)

Of course, there could never be only one Nolan movie here, what were you thinking? In Inception, the brilliant mind thief is tasked with quite the opposite: he must plant an idea in someone’s head. He’s personally invested into it, too, because if he succeeds, he might just recover everything he’s lost… Or what he thinks he’s lost.

You can watch Inception on Hulu, Max, Netflix, Apple TV, and Prime Video.