20 TV Shows And Movies About Gaslighting, Manipulation, And Narcissism

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20 Shows And Movies About Gaslighting, And Narcissism

Narcissism and gaslighting are two manipulative tactics that can have a profound impact on people’s lives. Interestingly, many movies and TV shows have explored these themes in order to shed light on the devastating effects they can have. This article is going to explore in detail some of the best TV shows and movies about gaslighting, manipulation and narcissism.

From classic films to modern TV series, these works of art offer a glimpse into the minds of those who use these tactics and the impact they have on their victims.

However, before we take deep dive into some of the best films about narcissists and shows about manipulation, let’s know what really is narcissism and gaslighting:

  • Narcissism involves an exaggerated sense of self-worth, a craving for attention, and an inability to understand others’ feelings.
  • Gaslighting is a manipulative tactic aimed at making an individual doubt their understanding of events, wherein the manipulator refutes the individual’s experiences, causing them to question their own memory and mental stability.

These two tactics are often used in tandem, with narcissists gaslighting their victims in order to maintain control over them.

Let’s explore some of the best movies about gaslighting, movies about narcissism, and TV shows about manipulation.

Related: 10 Psychological Thriller Movies on Netflix That Will Keep You Spellbound

20 TV Shows And Movies About Gaslighting, Narcissism And Manipulation

Movies About Narcissism, Manipulation And Gaslighting

1. American Psycho (2000)

Movies about gaslighting

This film  explores the mind of a narcissistic serial killer. Patrick Bateman works a successful investment banker, who is not just wealthy but is incredibly obsessed with his social status and physical appearance. 

However, he also has a dark side that leads him to commit brutal murders. The film is a disturbing look into the mind of a narcissist and features an unforgettable performance from Christian Bale as Bateman, and is one of the best films about narcissists. 

Defining scene: When Patrick Bateman murders his colleague, Paul Allen, with an axe. This scene reveals the extent of Bateman’s narcissism and his violent tendencies.

IMDb Rating – 7.6/10


2. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Movies about gaslighting

A biographical black comedy movie, that explores the life of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who becomes wealthy through illegal activities.

His narcissistic tendencies are highlighted through his constant need for validation and admiration, and he manipulates and gaslights those around him in order to maintain his lifestyle.

Defining scene: When he gives a speech to his employees at Stratton Oakmont, encouraging them to sell a worthless stock to unsuspecting investors. Belfort uses his charisma and charm to manipulate his employees into believing that they are doing something great, when in reality they are committing securities fraud.

IMDb Rating – 8.2/10


3. What Lies Beneath (2000)

Movies about gaslighting

Truly one of the best movies about gaslighting.

A psychological thriller that centres around Claire, played by Michelle Pfeiffer, who begins to suspect that her house is haunted. As she delves deeper into the mystery, she uncovers her husband’s (Harrison Ford) sinister secrets and finds herself in grave danger.

The movie offers a compelling commentary on the concept of gaslighting, where the husband manipulates Claire into believing that her experiences are merely delusions.

Defining scene: When Claire confronts Norman about the ghostly encounters she has been experiencing in their home, and rather than taking her concerns seriously, he downplays her emotions and attributes them to stress. He convinces her that she is imagining things and dismisses her fears as irrational.

This scene highlights his manipulative tendencies and his willingness to disregard his wife’s feelings for his own benefit.

IMDb Rating – 6.6/10


4. The Talented Mr. Ripley (1999)

Movies about gaslighting

One of the most memorable films about narcissists that I’ve watched.

A psychological thriller that explores the narcissistic tendencies of its titular character. Tom Ripley is a young man who becomes obsessed with the wealthy and successful Dickie Greenleaf.

Ripley’s desire to be like Dickie leads him down a dark path of manipulation and murder. The film is a chilling portrayal of a narcissistic individual and features a standout performance from Jude Law as Dickie. Undoubtedly, one of the best films about narcissists.

Defining scene: When Tom Ripley murders his friend Dickie Greenleaf and then assumes his identity, revealing his narcissistic tendencies and his willingness to manipulate and deceive others in order to achieve his goals.

IMDb Rating – 7.4/10

Related: Netflix And Narcissism: 16 Best Movies About Narcissists On Netflix

5. The Girl On The Train (2016)

Movies about gaslighting
Movies about gaslighting

One of the best movies about gaslighting I’ve watched till date. 

A psychological thriller that follows Rachel Watson, played by Emily Blunt, who becomes obsessed with a young couple she sees every day on her train commute. When the woman goes missing, Rachel becomes entangled in the investigation and begins to uncover dark secrets about the couple and her own past.

Defining scene: This scene showcases Rachel’s unravelling mental state when she confronts the man she believes is responsible for the woman’s disappearance. In a fit of desperation and confusion, Rachel attacks him and is subsequently arrested.

This scene highlights Rachel’s instability and her inability to distinguish between reality and her own distorted perceptions. As the film unfolds, the audience is left to question Rachel’s reliability as a narrator and her involvement in the disappearance.

IMDb Rating – 4.0/10


6. Gone Girl (2014)

Movies about gaslighting

This one is truly one of the best movies about narcissism and manipulation, and one of the most memorable films about narcissists that I’ve come across. 

A film that explores the narcissistic tendencies of its female protagonist, Amy Dunne (Rosamund Pike), it tells the story of Amy’s disappearance and the subsequent investigation into her husband, Nick (Ben Affleck).

As the investigation unfolds, it becomes clear that Amy has been manipulating the situation in order to get revenge on Nick. The film is a gripping thriller that offers a disturbing look into the mind of a narcissistic individual.

Defining scene: When Amy Dunne manipulates the media and frames her husband for her fake disappearance, revealing her narcissistic tendencies and her willingness to go to extreme lengths to protect her image.

IMDb Rating – 8.1/10


7. Gaslight (1944)

Movies about gaslighting
Movies about gaslighting

Gaslight tells the story of a woman named Paula who begins to question her sanity after her husband manipulates her into believing that she is losing her mind.

The film is a masterclass in psychological manipulation and features an excellent performance from Ingrid Bergman as Paula.

Defining scene: When Paula discovers that her husband has been manipulating her into believing that she is going insane. She confronts him and realizes the truth about his intentions, leading to a thrilling climax.

IMDb Rating – 6.3/10


8. Fatal Attraction (1987)

Movies about gaslighting

One of the best movies about gaslighting, narcissism and manipulation. The movie tells the story of a married man named Dan Gallagher (Michael Douglas), who has an affair with a woman named Alex Forrest (Glenn Close). Alex becomes increasingly obsessed with Dan and begins to manipulate him into staying with her.

As her behaviour becomes more erratic and dangerous, it becomes clear that Alex is a narcissistic individual who will stop at nothing to get what she wants. The film is a chilling portrayal of the consequences of emotional manipulation and the dangers of falling prey to a narcissistic personality.

Defining scene: When Alex attempts to kill herself and then blames her actions on her affair with the protagonist, revealing her manipulative and gaslighting tendencies.

IMDb Rating – 6.9/10


9. The Truman Show (1998)

Movies about gaslighting

One of the absolute best movies about narcissism. 

The Truman Show is a science fiction drama that explores the life of its protagonist, Truman Burbank, a man who discovers that his entire life has been a reality television show.

His narcissistic tendencies are highlighted through his desire for fame and attention, and he is manipulated and gaslit by the show’s creator.

Defining scene: In an attempt to escape the artificial world created for him, Truman commandeers a sailboat and sets out to sea. As he sails towards the horizon, he encounters a wall that he has never seen before, which he discovers is the edge of the set. 

This scene is a powerful reflection of Truman’s narcissistic tendencies, as his desire for fame and attention is what led him to participate in the show in the first place.

IMDb Rating – 8.2/10

Related: 15+ Best Murder Mystery Movies to Satisfy Your Inner Detective

10. Enough (2002)

Movies about gaslighting

One of the most underrated movies about gaslighting, and even one of the best movies about narcissism. 

A gripping thriller starring Jennifer Lopez as Slim, a woman who marries a seemingly perfect man, Mitch. As the story unfolds, Mitch’s true colours emerge as he becomes violently abusive.

To protect her daughter and herself, Slim goes on the run, changing identities, and ultimately deciding to fight back.

Defining scene: When Slim confronts Mitch about his infidelity. Instead of admitting guilt, Mitch masterfully twists the narrative, suggesting that Slim’s suspicions are baseless, overreactions, or even a figment of her imagination. He belittles her feelings, making her doubt her perception of reality. 

IMDb Rating – 7.6/10

After this list of movies about gaslighting, let’s dive deep into the shows about narcissism and gaslighting. 

TV Shows About Narcissism, Manipulation And Gaslighting

11. Mad Men (2007-2015)

TV shows about narcissism and manipulation

Mad Men is a TV series set in the 1960s that explores the world of advertising and the people who work in it. The show features a number of characters who exhibit narcissistic tendencies, including its protagonist, Don Draper.

Draper is a successful ad executive who is constantly seeking validation and admiration from those around him. He engages in a lot of infidelity because in his mind, he thinks that he deserves to. The whole show gives you a very interesting look into narcissism, manipulation and even gaslighting. 

Defining scene: When Don Draper manipulates and gaslights his colleagues and loved ones in order to maintain his image as a successful ad man, revealing his narcissistic tendencies and his inability to form genuine connections with others.

IMDb Rating – 8.7/10


12. Succession (2018-2023)

TV shows about narcissism and manipulation

Succession is a TV series that follows the lives of the Roy family, a wealthy and powerful media dynasty. The show explores the narcissism of its characters, including patriarch Logan Roy, who manipulates and gaslights his children in order to maintain control of the family business.

Defining scene: During a press conference, Logan Roy brings his son Kendall to the forefront. With the world watching, he uses the opportunity to humiliate Kendall, showcasing his power and dominance over him.

By doing so in such a public and professional setting, Logan not only belittles his son but effectively gaslights him, making Kendall question his worth, competence, and place within the family and company.

IMDb Rating – 8.9/10


13. Big Little Lies (2017-2019)

TV shows about narcissism and manipulation

Truly, truly one of the best TV shows about manipulation, and even narcissism. 

Big Little Lies is a TV series that follows the lives of a group of wealthy women in Monterey, California. The show features a number of characters who exhibit narcissistic tendencies, including the manipulative and controlling Perry Wright.

The series is a gripping drama that offers a disturbing look into the lives of the wealthy and powerful.

Defining scene: When Perry Wright (Alexander Skarsgård) physically abuses his wife, Celeste (Nicole Kidman), in front of their friends. This scene reveals the extent of Perry’s narcissism and his willingness to control and manipulate those around him.

IMDb Rating – 8.5/10


14. You (2018-present)

TV shows about narcissism and manipulation

Again, one of the best and most creepy TV shows about narcissism, and definitely one of the best shows about manipulation. 

A TV series that follows the story of Joe Goldberg, a charming and charismatic man who becomes obsessed with a woman named Beck. As the series unfolds, it becomes clear that Joe is a narcissistic serial killer who will stop at nothing to be with Beck.

The show is a chilling portrayal of a narcissistic individual and features a standout performance from Penn Badgley as Joe.

Defining scene: When Joe murders his girlfriend’s abusive ex-boyfriend and justifies it to himself as a noble act, revealing his narcissistic tendencies and his willingness to commit violent acts in the name of love.

IMDb Rating – 7.7/10

Related: Edge-Of-Your-Seat Entertainment: Top 5 New Thriller Movies On Netflix

15. Ozark (2017-2022)

TV shows about narcissism and manipulation
Shows about narcissism

One of the best television shows about manipulation, without a doubt. 

Ozark follows the story of Marty Byrde, a financial planner who moves his family to the Ozarks to launder money for a drug cartel. Marty’s narcissistic tendencies are highlighted through his desire for control and power, and he manipulates and gaslights those around him in order to maintain his position.

Defining scene: When Marty manipulates his wife, Wendy, into aiding him in his illicit endeavours. Marty paints a picture where their involvement isn’t just about financial survival, but quite literally about life and death.

By strategically blurring the lines between reality and paranoia, he makes Wendy believe that their only way out is through deeper involvement. 

IMDb Rating – 8.5/10


16. Tell Me Your Secrets (2021)

TV shows about narcissism and manipulation

If we are talking about TV shows about narcissism or shows about manipulation, this has to be there. 

A psychological thriller series that revolves around the lives of three characters: Emma, a woman with a mysterious past; John, a former serial predator looking for redemption; and Mary, a grieving mother obsessed with finding her daughter who has been missing for a long time. 

The story intertwines their fates, unravelling dark secrets, complicated moralities, and the thin line between victim and perpetrator.

Defining scene: Mary, desperate to find her daughter, believes that Emma holds the key to her discovery. In her relentless pursuit of the truth, Mary manipulates Emma by oscillating between showing genuine concern and veiled threats.

She gaslights Emma, making her doubt her memories and experiences, suggesting that perhaps she knows more than she believes she does or that she’s suppressing vital information.

IMDb Rating – 7.3/10


17. Dexter (2006-2013)

TV shows about narcissism and manipulation

Dexter is a TV series that follows the life of Dexter Morgan, a blood spatter analyst for the Miami Metro Police Department who also happens to be a serial killer.

Dexter’s narcissistic tendencies are highlighted through his desire to control his dark impulses, and he manipulates and gaslights those around him in order to maintain his double life.

Defining scene: When Dexter manipulates his sister into covering up his crimes. From Dexter’s narcissistic viewpoint, his actions are justified by his unique moral code and self-preservation instincts.

IMDb Rating – 8.7/10


18. Sharp Objects (2018)

TV shows about narcissism and manipulation

Sharp Objects follows the story of Camille Preaker, a journalist who returns to her hometown to investigate a series of murders. Camille’s narcissistic tendencies are highlighted through her constant need for attention and validation, and her mother’s gaslighting only exacerbates her issues.

Defining scene: In the gripping scene, Camille confronts her mother about the twisted secrets that have haunted their family. While Camille wants answers, her mother evades and denies. Their conversation reveals deep emotional wounds and shows the power struggles within their relationship.

IMDb Rating – 8.1/10

Related: Parental Gaslighting: How Parents Gaslight Their Children And Break Their Hearts

19. Dirty John (2018-2020)

TV shows about narcissism and manipulation
Shows about narcissism

One of the best TV shows about manipulation till date. 

“Dirty John” unravels the chilling tale of master manipulator John Michael Meehan, who disguises himself as an anaesthesiologist to ensnare the successful businesswoman, Debra Newell, in his web of deceit.

Through a potent mix of love bombing and gaslighting, Meehan exploits Newell’s vulnerabilities, financially and emotionally. The series brilliantly sheds light on how narcissistic predators can meticulously craft double lives, and how their victims, trapped by trauma bonds, often overlook alarming signs.

Defining scene: When Debra, amidst mounting evidence, finally confronts John, only to be met with his chillingly calm manipulation. This pivotal moment captures the eerie dance of realization, vulnerability, and dominance.

IMDb Rating – 7.3/10


20. Anatomy Of A Scandal (2022)

TV shows about narcissism and manipulation

“Anatomy of a Scandal” delves into the murky world of political privilege, exposing the depths of manipulation, narcissism, and gaslighting at its core.

James Whitehouse (Rupert Friend), an ambitious and charismatic politician, masterfully wears the mask of a dedicated public servant, but beneath the façade lies a man willing to bend the truth and manipulate those around him to maintain his power and reputation.

His narcissism is evident in how he views himself as invincible, belittling others and justifying his own indiscretions, when he is accused of raping Olivia Lytton (Naomi Scott), a parliamentary researcher on his staff, and in the process also manipulates his gullible and trusting wife, Sophie (Sienna Miller).

Defining scene: When confronted about his mistakes, James doesn’t admit fault. Instead, he cleverly shifts the blame, making the person challenging him second-guess themselves. This moment shows his powerful manipulation skills, as he uses his status and charisma to dodge responsibility and dominate others, making them doubt their own truths.

IMDb Rating – 7.0/10

Takeaway

Narcissism and gaslighting are manipulative tactics that can have a devastating impact on people’s lives. The movies about gaslighting, and narcissism and TV shows about manipulation listed above offer a glimpse into the minds of those who use these tactics and the impact they have on their victims.

From classic films modern TV series, these works of art offer a powerful commentary on the human condition and the darker aspects of our psyche.

Related: How To Identify A Narcissist: 9 Common Traits of Narcissism

How many of these movies about gaslighting, movies about narcissism and shows about manipulation and narcissism have you watched? Do let us know your favourite films about narcissists and shows about manipulation in the comments down below!


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