5 Phenomenal Movie Psychiatrists

movie_theatre - Phenom 5

Just think of the wild assortment of movie characters that you have seen over the years. Is it any surprise to see that some of them needed a psychiatrist? That is my focus in today’s Phenomenal 5. When putting this together I was surprised at the number of movie psychiatrists that came to mind. It was truly painful to leave a couple of them off, but that is the name of the game. Obviously with so many I wouldn’t consider this the definitive list. But I gladly call each of these movie psychiatrists phenomenal.

#5 – Dr. Malcolm Crowe (“The Sixth Sense”)


Dr. Malcolm Crowe was an accomplished and honored child psychiatrist. But all of his confidence is shattered after a tragic incident involving a former patient. Months after the tragedy he reluctantly begins treating a 9-year old boy whose case is very similar to that of his former patient. The two develop an almost therapeutic relationship that is tender, compelling, but also opens things up to some real eerie suspense. Crowe is a fantastic character and a shining example of what M. Night Shyamalan is capable of. Now if only we could see that side of him again.

#4 – Dr. Leo Marvin (“What About Bob”)


One of my favorite comedies of the 1990s was “What About Bob”. Bill Murray plays a happy-go-lucky man battling all sorts of different phobias. You name it, Bob probably fears it. He is passed on to Dr. Leo Marvin, a psychiatrist who is getting a lot of praise for his work and his successful new book. The problem is he never had a patient like Bob. Bob obsesses over his new doctor to the point of secretly following Dr. Marvin as he vacations with his family. Bob just never goes away and throughout the movie we watch him drive the doctor he loves insane. Richard Dreyfuss is fantastic in the role of Dr. Marvin and his wacky chemistry with Murray is undeniable.

#3 – Dr. Sean Maguire (“Good Will Hunting”)


Knowing Robin Williams and the assortment of roles he has played over his career, you would think he would be a lot more comfortable playing the patient instead of the psychiatrist. Surprisingly though, he is absolutely brilliant as Dr. Sean Maguire in the 1997 drama “Good Will Hunting”. Williams would go on to win the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his portrayal of the caring but aggressive therapist. Will Hunting (Matt Damon) has ran off a number of well-meaning psychiatrists, but when Dr. Sean shows he can take Will’s punishment the lines of communication begin to open up. Williams and Damon share a number of great scenes that drive the film as a whole.

#2 – Dr. Samuel Loomis (“Halloween”)


If you met Dr. Loomis on the streets of Haddonfield, Illinois you would probably think he was the insane one. That is until you saw the trail of grisly murders and terror left by psychotic killer Michael Myers. Dr. Loomis was Michael’s psychiatrist during his 15 years as a patient in Grove Sanitarium. No one knows Michael better than Loomis. When Michael escapes the hospital Loomis uses that knowledge to predict Michael will return to his home town. Boy was he right. Loomis frantically searches the small town while also trying to convince local law enforcement that they have a real problem on their hands. Donald Pleasence is a hoot and he gives Dr. Samuel Loomis a ton of character.

#1 – Dr. Hannibal Lecter (“The Silence of the Lambs”)


Of all the assignments to get as one of your first in the FBI! Agent Clarice Starling is tasked with interviewing the incarcerated Dr. Hannibal Lecter in hopes of gleaning information about a wanted serial killer named Buffalo Bill. Dr. Lecter is a former psychiatrist who had to leave his practice due to problems with cannibalism and some serial killing of his own. Dr. Lecter uses an assortment of creepy mindgames on Agent Starling while at the same time developing a very odd relationship with her. Lecter is disturbing and sometimes downright terrifying. Anthony Hopkins won the Oscar for his performance which is still unsettling and unforgettable.

So there they are. The doctors are in. Which of these psychiatrists would have made your list? Who did I miss? Please take time to share you picks in the comments section below.


37 thoughts on “5 Phenomenal Movie Psychiatrists

  1. Fine list, Keith. I shudder to think about having Lector’s focus of attention, though 😉 I know I’d like to have Dr. Curtis McCabe (Kurt Russell, VANILLA SKY) on my side.

  2. Hi Keith, Happy Father’s Day my friend!

    I haven’t seen #2 & #4 but totally agree w/ the rest. I LOVE Bruce Willis’ understated performance in The Sixth Sense.

  3. Superb list man. I actually often forget Hannibal’s psychiatric background. There is no way any other film psychiatrist could top him, as I find his character to be one of the best in film of all time. He’s so chilling.

  4. Wow! Some varied, excellent choices, Keith. Robin Williams has played a psych twice. Remember him with Robert DeNiro in 1990, Awakenings? And I LOVE Ingrid Bergman in Spellbound as the psychiatrist to a young Gregory Peck….

  5. Great list! Dr. Hannibal Lecter is very controversial, of course, but each of the psychiatrists on your list truly stands out. It may be very far from obvious, but I find Dr Roth (Peter Stormare) in ‘Premonition’ always really spooky, and when I think of any psychiatrists at all in film, ‘Spellbound”s Dr. Constance Petersen comes to mind.

  6. Pingback: Movie Review – Fantastic Voyage (1966)

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