Movies that portray NPD

I found this on Out of the Fog, an excellent resource that covers every personality disorder recognized by the DSM and several other mental disorders as well.

It never occurred to me Lucy from Peanuts is a narcissist but now that I think of it, she displays every trait of NPD, and Charlie Brown is her biggest victim.

Movies Portraying Narcissistic Personality Disorder Traits

A Streetcar Named Desire – A Streetcar Named Desire is a is a 1947 play written by Tennessee Williams, later adapted for film, which tells the story of a woman who displays histrionic and borderline traits, who goes to live with her codependent sister and her narcissistic husband.


Black Swan – Black Swan is a 2010 psychological thriller about a ballet dancer, played by Natalie Portman, who discovers a dark side to herself as she struggles to please her overbearing narcissitic mother, played by Barbara Hershey.


Charlie Brown – Charlie Brown is the lead character in Charles M. Schulz’s classic “Peanuts” cartoons who is generally portrayed as feeling insecure and seeking acceptance. Charlie Brown’s character contrasts with the somewhat narcissistic character of Lucy and their relationship is sometimes used to illustrate the relationship between personality-disordered and non-personality-disordered people.

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

Gaslight – Gaslight is a 1944 MGM suspense thriller set in 19th Century London in which the villain, Gregory Anton (Charles Boyer), in an attempt to cover up his crimes, actively tries to convince his new wife, Paula (Ingrid Bergman) that she is losing her mind. Gaslight gave it’s name to the practice known as Gaslighting.


Mommie Dearest – Mommie Dearest is a 1981 biography of Hollywood Actress Joan Crawford, played by Faye Dunaway, who, according to the account in the movie, exhibited Obsessive Compulsive, Borderline and Narcissistic Traits.


Schindler’s List – Schindler’s List is a 1993 drama which chronicles the suffering of Jews in Nazi-occupied Poland during World War II and Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who rescued over a thousand of them by employing them in his factories. The movie includes a striking portrayal of Amon Göth, a narcissistic SS officer and camp director, played by Ralph Fiennes.


These are just a few examples. There are many others. One that comes immediately to mind is the movie Ordinary People portrays a malignant narcissist in Mary Tyler Moore’s chillingly cold mother, Beth Jarrett. Her son Conrad suffers from severe PTSD and his mother’s coldness and thinly veiled hatred just serves to make things even worse for him.



5 thoughts on “Movies that portray NPD

  1. That’s a fun topic to obsess over a bit.

    There’s a gazillion movies that contain portrayals of narcissists. It’s almost a movie archetype! Practically every gangster picture ever made has at least two – the big boss, and the up-and-coming younger narcissist who kills him and takes over.

    Narcissists can be played for comedy too, as in Horrible Bosses or Big Fat Liar, and even dark comedy, including The Player, and American Psycho.

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    • I agree with you about narcissism being a movie archetype. There are probably thousands of movie that portray narcissists. I could probably do a whole blog about that alone!

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  2. I’ve got a few. Bonnie and Clyde, The Bad Seed- although this one is about a psychopathic kid whose mother finds out when she killed a little boy. TallHotBlond – I saw this on tv months ago and its the mother who is the narcissist. Committed – that one is hard to explain. Drew Peterson-Untouchable, Jodi Arias-Dirty Little Secret. The Baby – 1973 this one is excellent – a teen boy is kept in a baby state by torture, Harm’s Way,
    Ok I think I watch a little too much of narc movies.


    • Those are all good selections.

      A weird one I thought of was “The Little Princess,” a Victorian children’s tale of a sweet, intelligent, empathetic girl who’s father disappeared and whose mother had died, and was sent to live at an English boarding school. The headmistress, was a malignant narcissist who seemed to delight in tormenting Sarah (the “princess”) any way she could once it became clear her father had lost his fortune and could not longer afford her boarding there. Sarah was forced to be a scullery main to earn her keep but never lost her compassion for others.

      Yesterday I also posted about Robin Williams as a psychopathic stalker in “One Hour Photo.” He did seem to have a form of NPD, probably cerebral/”needy” (my own term) that caused him to become pathologically envious, then psychopathically sadistic. Good movie, I won’t spoil more. I highly recommend it.

      There are so many others.

      And don’t forget fairy tales. Almost every fairy tale involves an evil,narcissistic queen, envious stepmother or stepsisters, or sadistic, cannibalistic witches who prey on little children. These characters seem overwhelmingly female in these stories.
      I think I need to write a post about this.

      A while back, I reviewed the movie “We Need to Talk about Kevin,” an interesting film about a psychopathic teen who commits Columbine style killings and who seems bad from the day of his birth. What makes it different is the eternal question running throughout the film: did ambivalent mothering (a mother who never really loved her baby) cause Kevin’s malignant narcissism/psychopathy, or was he just born bad? The question is left open. I don’t personally believe in “bad seeds”, but movies made about them have been convincing enough. Of course there’s also Damien from The Omen, who was of course bad because he was the devil’s child.


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