Skip to content


25 Great Psychedelic Movies That Are Worth Your Time

02 February 2015 | Features, Film Lists | by Esther Zeilig

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Psychedelia in film is characterized by distortion (both in image and in sound), experimentation in narrative and editing, and sometimes drug-inspired hallucinations. Like the psychoactive drugs which produce heightened sensory perceptions and distortion, psychedelic films present to their audience an unfamiliar and/or dream-like view of reality.

The following films use cinematography, narration, editing, sound design, and music to create worlds of distortion. Whether the film is depicting drug-induced madness or creating an atomsphere of existential confusion, these films somehow experiment with the audience’s sensory perceptions in order to uproot the viewer from reality. These films welcome (or in some cases, force) the audience to interact with a plethora of psychedelic imagery, sounds, and/or narration.


1. Un Chien Andalou (1929) dir. Luis Buñuel

Un chien andalou (1929)

Even though Buñuel’s classic surrealist short film precurses psychedelia, the distorted narrative and dream-like imagery give it a psychedelic presence that influenced many films later on. His film is a perfect example of surrealism, a style of art which utilizes symbolism and the irrationality of the unconcious mind.

Un Chien Andalou was Buñuel’s first film, and was written in conjunction with Salvador Dalí, the prominent surrealist painter. The film opens with a barber slicing open a woman’s eye, as if to suggest to the viewer to symbolically throw off preconcieved notions and to see with new eyes.

The 20 minutes that follow are set to fragments of Wagner’s “Liebestod,” a dramatic piece of opera from Tristan und Isolde, that never quite comes to climax, making the film even more unnerving. Buñuel confuses his viewer by jumping back and forth in time with subtitles that proclaim “Eight years later” or “Sixteen years ago.”

There is no overt plot, but rather an amalgam of surrealistic images. We are presented with distorted religious symbology, such as ants crawling out from a stigmatic hand of the protagonist (a young unnamed man played by Pierre Batcheff), and dream-like scenarios- for instance, the young man dragging a piano topped with a dead donkey carcass and two priests in his pursuit of a young woman (Simone Mareuil).

Such images, surrealistic in nature, create a distorted sense of reality, a quality found in many psychedelic films.


2. The Red Shoes (1948) dir. Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger


Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger’s classic film The Red Shoes incorporates Expressionistic sets and costumes, subjective point of view shots, and passionate performances to tell the story of a young woman, dancer Victoria Page (Moira Shearer), torn between her love for a young man and her love of dance.

The dance sequence performed toward the end of the film captivates the viewer with its mesmerizing, painted landscapes and POV shots which sublty bring Victoria’s subconcious thoughts and fears to the forefront.

Victoria “Vicky” Page is a young talented ballet dancer, eager to join a company. She meets the fierce Boris Lermontov (Anton Walbrook), director of a renown ballet company. After realizing her talent in a small production of Swan Lake, Lermontov casts Vicky in his ballet of The Red Shoes, based on the Hans Christian Andersen fairy tale of a young woman whose red shoes possess her to dance to death.

Vicky then meets the young composer of the ballet, Julian Craster (Marius Goring) and the two fall in love, to the distress of Lermontov. Vicky is soon caught between the two men, forced to choose between the love of her life and her passion for her art.

Powell and Pressburger’s glorious Technicolor illuminates the passions of the film’s characters. The Oscar-winning sets provide an hallucinatory backdrop to the exceptional dance sequence, which brings Vicky’s fiery and tormented emotions to the limelight. The subtle POV shots during this sequence add to the psychological drama, and bring the viewer even further into Vicky’s mind.

A precursor of psychedelic filmmaking, The Red Shoes fuses hallucinatory elements into a mainstream film, which makes it a classic that continues to inspire modern filmmakers, such as Martin Scorsese and Brian de Palma.


3. Daisies (1966) dir. Věra Chytilová

daisies movie

Made during the Czech New Wave film movement by Czechoslovakia’s first female film director, Daisies is a revolutionary experimental film. Without following any real plot, the film is led by two impish young women as they whip up fun for themselves (and cause trouble in the process).

Věra Chytilová turns social mores on their head, as her two heroines, both named Marie (Jitka Cerhová and Ivana Karbanová) frolic through the film without a care. The two Maries laze around in bikinis and lingerie, create drunken mayhem at a nightclub, and destroy a fancy banquet, among other subversive acts.

The film explores different film stocks, spontaneous eruptions into collage, and otherwise consistently plays with the medium of film itself, creating a highly self aware piece of art. Banned upon release, the film depicts a destructive playfulness that Czech authorities apparently found dangerous. There is a political undertone to the film with World War II film stock intercut amongst the characters’ antics. Daisies stirs up the audience with its Puckish protagonists and psychedelic imagry and editing.


4. Point Blank (1967) dir. John Boorman

Point Blank (1967)

John Boorman’s neo-noir thriller, Point Blank is an hypnotic film of a man’s thirst for revenge. The pacing, color choices, and atmospheric music, led by Lee Marvin’s deadpan portrayal of Walker, yields a mesmerizing experience for the viewer.

Shot and left for dead on Alcatraz Island, Walker returns to San Francisco to take revenge and claim his half of a crime he helped commit. With the help of the mysterious Yost (Keenan Wynn), Walker sets off on his journey for retribution.

Along the way, he finds that the man who wronged him, Reese (John Vernon) not only stole his money and left him on Alcatraz, but he stole his wife Lynn (Sharon Acker), who is now a depressive, emotionless wreck living in guilt for double crossing Walker. After Lynn overdoses on sleeping pills, Walker finds Lynn’s sister Chris (Angie Dickinson) who helps him get closer to Reese.

The film’s pacing, which goes from a slow and moody atmosphere to periods of intense violence and action creates a lulling hypnosis which the viewer is then startled from. Color plays a role in the atmospheric tone of the film- for example, Lynn’s silver grey apartment reflects her drab unfeeling character, riddled with guilt.

Walker’s suits change color based on his location, giving him a mysterious chameleon-like quality. The story ends where it begins, on Alcatraz Island, leaving the film ambiguous as to whether the events that occur are a dream, reality, or if Walker is in fact a ghost.


5. 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968) dir. Stanley Kubrick

2001 a space odyssey

Stanley Kubrick’s science fiction masterpiece is an awe-inspiring, brilliant piece of art. The film’s stunning visuals combined with the grandeur of the classical music scores and György Ligeti’s haunting, dissonant avant garde music produces a filmic experience like no other. Kubrick’s exploration of the history and future of humankind excites the viewer’s senses as it leads us to confront the great unknown of space and time.

The film opens with the dawn of man as we witness the first protohumans utilizing tools for the first time in history. Through a graphic match cut, the prehuman tool becomes a spacecraft and we are transported to the future as humans have evolved and are now masters of their tools. The space craft is on a mission to investigate a mysterious object recently uncovered on a lunar crater.

A giant black monolith, also discovered on Earth by the protohumans earlier in the film, looms in this crater. We are to rediscover this black monolith again in the film. Next, we are on the Discovery One, a spaceship headed for Jupiter. Dr. David Bowman (Keir Dullea), Dr. Frank Poole (Gary Lockwood), and three other astronauts, in a state of cyrogenic slumber, are on a secret mission guided by the ship’s talking computer, HAL 9000 (voiced by Douglas Rain).

At this point, man loses control of his tools, as the computer’s intelligence superceeds that of the astronauts. Pitted against HAL, Bowman manages to take control of the ship and continues on the mission alone, traversing the wild unknown.

The film’s Beyond the Infinite sequence with its streaks of light in space and Ligeti’s dissonant chorus produce an intensely psychedelic experience. 2001’s enigmatic ending leaves the viewer spellbound and speechless. Kubrick exquisitely captures man’s existential journey into uncharted territory.


6. Easy Rider (1969) dir. Dennis Hopper


One of the America’s first counterculture films, Easy Rider captures the lifestyle of the hippie movement and how it interacts with the mainstream. Director Dennis Hopper and producer Peter Fonda also star in this pop culture hit as two hippie motorcyclists traveling through the American Southwest into the deep South. The film is not only historic in its depiction of the counterculture, but also in its realistic drug scenes (the actors actually injested the drugs their characters are shown using).

Wyatt (Peter Fonda) and Billy (Dennis Hopper) sell cocaine to a dealer and use their earnings to fund their roadtrip to New Orleans for the upcoming Mardi Gras celebration. Along the way, the two pick up a hitchhiker who lead them to a commune, filled with young hippies practicing free love and shared living.

Continuing on their journey, the two are arrested in a local town for “parading without a permit.” There, Wyatt and Billy meet George Hanson (Jack Nicholson), a drunkard lawyer in jail. George helps them out of jail and the three of them resume their pilgramage to Mardi Gras. The three are confronted with the ignorant, “square” communities in the South, who see the trio’s presence as a threat.

The film does an amazing job capturing the sociopolitical climate of the time. We see firsthand how feared the hippies were to mainstream culture, and how the counterculture was driven by a yearning for freedom. The scenes depicting drug use, especially the cemetary sequence in which Wyatt and Billy drop acid with two prostitutes, Karen (Karen Black) and Mary (Toni Basil), give the film an intense and disorienting component.

The unscripted LSD scene involves jump cuts, displaced, fear-filled and remorseful dialogue, and a mix of distorted imagery, such as the use of a fish-eye lense and close-ups of the sun. The psychedelic scenes mixed with the documentary style realism gives the film a palpable sense of the time.


7. Zabriskie Point (1970) dir. Michelangelo Antonioni


One part documentary-like realism, one part fanciful psychedelic desert trip, Antonioni’s American film offers its audience various aspects of life during the height of the counterculture. Although not critically well received, Antonioni’s cult classic remains a milestone of psychedelic filmmaking with its beautiful desert landscapes, hypnotic fantasy sequences, and a tailor made soundtrack from artists such as The Grateful Dead and Pink Floyd.

The plot is pieced around two young adults, Mark (Mark Frechette) and Daria (Daria Halprin), who meet in Death Valley. The film opens at a students’ protest meeting, where Mark is in attendance, with the overarching question of what makes a revolutionary. We follow Mark as he watches his friends in this group get tear-gassed, beaten, and one student shot by the police in a protest.

A police officer is shot and Mark is their suspect after he runs from the scene. He steals a small plane at a local airport and flies to the desert. Meanwhile, Daria is driving through a ghost town on her way to Pheonix to meet her corporate boss (and perhaps also her lover), Lee (Rod Taylor). Mark spots Daria’s car in the sky and flies down to meet her. The two cavort through the desert together before facing the dim realities that lie before them in civilization.

Antonioni’s film captures the recklessness of youth in this film that explores revolution and America’s counterculture. The dream-like scenes (including a sensual desert love scene that erupts into an orgy of sand covered bodies) transport this film from realism into earthy psychedelia.


8. The Devils (1971) dir. Ken Russell


Ken Russell’s controversial 1971 film incorporates sexually explicit hallucinatory sequences into this story based on the supposed demonic possessions in that took place in 17th Century Loudon, France.

An order of Ursuline nuns begin to exhibit wild, uncontrolled behavior thought to be led by Urbain Grandier (Oliver Reed), a proud priest, who has recently gained political control of Loudon. Sister Jeanne des Anges (Vanessa Redgrave), the sexually repressed hunchback Mother Superior of the convent becomes infatuated with Grandier, and her striking sexual fantasies haunt her guilty conscious.

Once word of Grandier’s secret marriage to another woman reaches Jeanne, she collapses into fits of hysteria and claims to have been possessed by the Devil through Grandier. Other nuns in the convent also claim to be possessed and the convent explodes into a frenzy of sexual outbursts and bizarre public exorcisms.

Russell boldly depicts the effects of sexual oppression mixed with religious mania. The censored scenes of the “demonic possessions” include a psychedelic orgy of naked nuns “raping” a statue of Christ and Sister Jeanne masturbating with a human bone. The uncut version of The Devils is a mind blowing, audacious exploration of ecstasy (both religious and sexual).



Pages: 1 2 3


Other Brilliant Movie Posts On The Web

Like Our Facebook Page and Get Daily Updates
  • Brian Lussier

    Two points. First, the protohuman’s tool in 2001 does not transform into a space station. This has been talked about by those who’ve worked with Kubrick: it’s meant to be an unexploded space bomb, floating in space. A reference to the idea that man’s weapons have become more sophisticated, since the “tool” during the Dawn of Man sequence was used as a weapon. Second, Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas is a horribly bad film, Terry Gilliam’s worse to date! Some people think it’s art because it does fit Gilliam’s style, but he did not make a great film out of it, just a weird, overly convoluted mess of a film that masks its own irrelevence behind its weirdness, people mistakenly thinking it is greater than what it is. If you were going to put that on the list, you should have put David Cronenberg’s The Naked Lunch. A far superior film!

    • chaosthetic

      “…just a weird, overly convoluted mess of a film that masks its own irrelevence behind its weirdness, people mistakenly thinking it is greater than what it is.” sounds psychedelic enough to me….

      • Brian Lussier

        Psychedelic, yes. But the title of the article is “GREAT psychedelic films”. If he’d just said “Psychedelic Films”, I would have agreed. But the term “Great” disqualifies it. At least to me. Sorry, we can’t all agree.

        • chaosthetic

          i’m pretty sure ‘esther’ is a woman. but then again, we can’t all agree

        • Nothing is either good or bad, but thinking makes it so. Don’t think about it. Problem solved.

        • Jarek Draven

          The irony is that it’s one of a handful of films that actually belong on the list. lol

    • Sam Henry

      I was kind of bummed Into the Void made it and not Beyond the Black Rainbow.

      • Nick

        u deserve more upvote

      • Jack Leiter

        I read this list and the first movie I thought of was this. What a GREAT movie. So underrated.

    • Alex Nasaudean


    • bb

      Fear and Loathing was a mess but at least it was an entertaining one. Naked Lunch is pretty much unfilmable, Cronenberg did what he could but the movie was a bore. I don’t think even Lynch could do that book justice on screen.

    • Angela Lignos

      I just watched A Clockwork Orange last night. It should be on this list. Train Spotting as well and The Wall. My list of add ons goes on and on……….

      • Brian Lussier

        I don’t know. Clockwork Orange is my 2nd favorite film of all time, so clearly I have very high regard for it. In fact, it may be my second favorite, but I consider it to be the best film ever made. I just have a capacity to separate favorite from best, even if both remain subjective. But I don’t consider A Clockwork Orange Psychedelic. Definitely agree on The Wall, however, and I was also just thinking of both Beatles films Magical Mystery Tour and Yellow Submarine.

      • CORMAC___NJ

        I don’t agree that the Wall is psychedelic. It’s weird for sure, and includes some parts that might qualify (e.g. the opening scene), but in general I see it more as a unique vision flowing from the chronically-depressed mind of Roger Waters than belonging to any genre.

        • Psychedelic Piper

          Agreed, especially considering that musically “The Wall” is one of Pink Floyd’s least psychedelic albums, if you can even call it psychedelic at all. Only some of the imagery in the film would qualify, as you said.

          • Jason LeClair

            No the Wall is very psychedelic.

          • Psychedelic Piper

            Visually, but not musically. Listen to Pink Floyd’s “The Piper at the Gates of Dawn” album, as well as Syd Barrett’s first solo album “The Madcap Laughs”, and then try telling me The Wall is “very psychedelic”.

          • Jason LeClair

            I hate early Pink Floyd and despise syd barrett. The wall is the most psychedelic movie ever made.

          • Psychedelic Piper

            You wouldn’t know the meaning of the word psychedelic even if it hit you right in the face. Nothing about “The Wall” is mind-manifesting or mind-expanding. It’s a psychological music/art film, yea, but that doesn’t make it psychedelic just because you tripped with your buddies on mushrooms watching it back in high school. Syd Barrett’s music, to me and many others, will always be a true reflection of the psychedelic experience, and the most boundless reflection of what the human psyche is capable of creatively. Anyway, great job replying a year late. I really could care less what you think.

      • shaun h

        Definitely Clockwork Orange

    • Angela Lignos

      Lost Highway

      • Brian Lussier


    • HLLH

      Fear and Loathing worse than Baron Munchausen?? Have you seen Baron Munchausen? One of the worst films of all time and fuck no, Fear is one of Gilliam’s best.

      • Benjamin Dietze

        I beg your pardon, but “The Adventures of Baron Munchausen” has the rare distinction of scoring 100% from professional critics on Rotten Tomatoes, and it’s the one film that most Gilliam fans will cite as their favorite of his works. The production team went through Hell, but fans and critics alike love the film.

        If Gilliam’s “Brazil” pretty much is the “Citizen Kane” of the second half of the century, then “Munchausen”, while a bit more accessible plotwise, is the “2001” of fantasy films: Pretty much the fantasy to end all fantasy, just like Kubrick’s “2001” is the sci-fi to end all sci-fi, or like “Lawrence of Arabia” is the adventure film to end all adventure films.

        “Munchausen” is pretty much Terry’s vision about the struggle between imagination and rationality, and about what the Age of Enlightenment could’ve been when it was still young, whereas “Brazil” is what cold, purely instrumental reason has made out of modernity and the Enlightenment several centuries down the road. If “Brazil” is Terry’s vision of our very real modern Hell, then “Munchausen” is his vision of Heaven or what could’ve been.

        But as much as critics in general praise “Munchausen” as one of the most ingenious fantasy films ever made nonetheless, general audiences and many critics will prefer “Brazil” over
        “Munchausen” when it comes to Terry’s films while Terry’s fans go for
        “Munchausen” for being more pure Gilliam. It’s a lot like how “Solaris” is the Tarkovsky film for the masses while Tarkovsky fans prefer “Stalker” for being more pure Tarkovsky.

    • That’s just you opinion. In the end everything is mistaken for being grater then what it is. Maybe that’s the point of the film….ever consider that? Its all just a meaningless swirling mess of color and sound with no meaning! You are creating the “meaning”, the good and the bad in your mind. wake up.

      • Scott Parker

        it is a tale

        Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,

        Signifying nothing.

    • Matthew Levin

      Brian, god I agree with you 100%. Whenever someone tells me how great Fear & Loathing is, I just lose my shit. It’s so poorly made and convoluted as you said. People need to read the book, and forget the movie.

    • TheAmericanManual

      This is a great comment. Terry is great, but the only thing that LasVegas did (very successfully) is bring a drug trip to the audience: you actually get nauseous and loose perspective. Extraordinary.

      The Imaginarium
      12 Monkeys

  • Auxerre

    No “The Saragossa Manuscript”? No “Koyaanisqatsi”? Kind of throws the entire list into question.

  • Sam Henry
    • Rup Kamal Kutum

      How did TOC missed this gem? Ya and Blueberry also.

      • Joel Zachariah

        mo offense man … i loved beyond the black rainbow but i seriously though blueberry was a joke ..

    • Tim McC


    • How come this gem was not released in Europe on DVD or Blu‐Ray? Why …

    • Both of these gifs come from BTBR? It’s not release in region B. Fuck!

    • Greg Lawrence

      Totally! Along with Begotten.

    • PsyGoblin

      Thanks for sharing this. Haven’t made it through the whole thing yet as it’s a pretty heavy watch but It’s blowing my mind. I’ll probably watch this many, many times.

  • Alex Nasaudean

    No films by David Lynch, no Asian movies? Seriously?

    • Rup Kamal Kutum

      There’s lot of Asian movies that would have made the list and I have just finished watching confessions (2010) which is just awesome with great soundtrack, certainly deserves to be in the list.

    • eyeresist

      No Häxan?

  • Jeremy Stretch Armstrong

    Most of Aaronofsky’s films coul have made this list. The Fountain, Pi, Black Swan.

  • Hailey Bowen

    Where’s Blueberry? It was incredible! Also the most realistic portrayal of a trip I have ever seen! Definitely deserves to be on this list.

  • zaba
  • Alexandre Macchi
    • Mike Janowski

      Yup, that’s cycle-delik!

  • Joost

    Lucifer rising needs metioning too

    • Peter Fiachry

      Great film and soundtrack

      • Troy Lucas

        No. He was simply referring to the ruler of the underworld.

    • V.C. Privitera

      Inauguration of the Pleasure Dome
      Invocation of my Demon Brother
      —Those are my Personal Favorite Kenneth Anger Films
      Meshes of the Afternoon by Maya Deren is also another great psychedelic feast for the senses.

  • killQuin .

    Good to see some love for “A Field in England”….

  • Robb Frank

    im so tired of seeing requiem for a dream on all these “great movie” lists. that movie fucking blows and by no means is it psychedelic

    • okcsteve

      embrace the psychedelic nature of it being on so many lists

    • Mike Janowski

      You, sir, have absolutely no taste in film. Requiem for a Dream is the only movie that has caused me to question my own drug use. It features tremendous performances by all the actors, especially Ellen Burstyn, and the choice of Aranovsky to cut the film up into four “seasons” resonates with me. Sorry, you got no taste.

      • drock7

        taste is taste. but don’t think i’ve ever hear anyone said that movie blows

        • 666threesixes666

          that movies about skag… dirty fucking skag…

        • kathy

          That movie TOTALLY blew

        • garden variety

          It blows and was obnoxious

          • Nathan Reiber

            I don’t think the film is vulgar so much as it’s subject is vulgar. Any other approach would have been disingenuous. The film certainly doesn’t seem to revel in its excesses that would be obnoxious. Rather, it’s a pretty disturbing film. There is no pleasure to be had in viewing it (except maybe in pieces, to appreciate the superb art direction). That seems to me to be the point.

      • Caption Oblivious

        Ass to ass.

      • vibe runner

        >>Requiem for a Dream is the only movie that has caused me to question my own drug use.

        I saw it as a screener in Rotterdam and it didn’t make me question my (very heavy) drug use because I wasn’t sticking 2nd-hand needles into the veins on my dick.

      • Maxie Pad

        I agree with Mr. Frank. The movie blows. And it made me question nothing other than my decision to waste eight bucks and two hours of my time.

      • garden variety

        It was a shit film feeding off of the pretentiosly gothic or weak impulsive abusers.
        It wad a bad trip but not psychadelic

      • Kosta Jovanovic

        Damn, a sad story you have and a bad taste it seems

    • 666threesixes666

      beyond the black rainbow…
      the qatsi trilogy….

      • Have to watch Qatsi. Thanks

    • Rup Kamal Kutum

      @robbfrank:disqus I hated that too, Pi is the only movie made by afronosky that I liked.

    • Erick Renan

      I liked the movie, but it wasn’t that good.

    • Russell Alderton

      its a terrible film. agreed.

    • Yvonne Ritson

      It blows. Jared Leto is majorly over-rated also, a film I have tried to watch several times- as it is so highly attested- yet every-time, nadda.

      I also feel the same about steak, and fear and loathing in….

      • TheAmericanManual

        Jared is a great actor, actually. He (or his agent) suck at accepting roles/directors/contracts. I feel bad for him.

  • Austin Roberts

    David Lynch?

    • okcsteve

      He is pretty good, but I think he tries a little too hard to be psychedelic or whatever you want to call it.

  • city zen

    pink floyd the wall

    • Road Less Traveled


  • Maria

    What about “Enter the void” by Gaspar Noe, 2009, it is about DMT. “Behind the green door” by Mitchell brothers’, 1972, its a erotic movie but definitively Psychedelic and also any Jodorowsky movie is Psychedelic. To disagree, “Un Chien Andalou” is a surrealistic movie and 2001 definitively is not Psychedelic…

    • Szlartibartfaszt

      Enter The Void is on the list, nr. 24.
      Holy Mountain is nr. 12

    • Szlartibartfaszt

      Behind the green door, nr. 11

    • TJ Francis

      did you even read through the damn list? lmao

      • Jarek Draven

        To be fair, they actually may not have. They might not have even noticed that there is more than one page. IMHO the “next page” buttons are in a REALLY stupid place on this website– because they appear UNDERNEATH all of the stupid “share this on social media” links– which often appear at the BOTTOM of the article, on many sites.

        While there’s no need to break up short articles in the first place, if they’re going to do it, they REALLY should make the “next page” buttons more prominent. They may be losing quite a number of page views to crappy site design.

    • HLLH

      The term “psychedelic” means something like to show the mind, so it’s pretty subjective, I find 2001 very psychedelic.

      • Jarek Draven

        Literally I believe the term is closer to “mind manifesting”

        Psyche = Mind Delos = manifest

        But let’s be even more clear– the word “psychedelic” did not exist before psychedelic drugs. It was specifically invented to describe this type of drug, and their strange effects.

        Yes, psychedelics can manifest differently for each person… though IME there is some common ground.

        But I’ve spent lots of time talking to psychedelic enthusiasts, including quite a number of discussions about movies, specifically. And a few of the movies on this list (for example “The Holy Mountain”) are recommended again, and again, and again, by the people who are heavily into these drugs, and the psychedelic experience.

        However, some of the other movies on this list, I have literally NEVER heard mentioned within that context, and I personally would not consider to have a psychedelic aesthetic at all.

        But if you think 2001 is “very psychedelic”…. remind me to never go to your dealer, because your drugs must suck. lol

        • HLLH

          lol, nice one, what other movies they recommend?

  • Alvaro Mar

    Psychodelic movie??? Dune!!!!! Smell like DMT.
    I lived this scene in a trip, but a little diferent…

    • Jim Wexler

      Don’t look Now
      The Shout
      No Survivors Please
      Clockwork Orange

    • Psychedelic Piper

      Jodorowsky’s “Dune” would have been a real psychedelic spectacle. Lynch’s “Dune” was one of his worst.

    • Joel Zachariah

      after watching jodorwsky’s documentary i seriously lost all previous feelings for this one …

  • okcsteve

    This is in excellent piece of writing. Reminds me of back when the internet did not suck. I will look for more of your stuff in the future.

  • Justin Wiemer

    The Color of Pomegranates?

  • Don Ash

    Eraserhead?, Barbarella? Fantastic Voyage? Modesty Blaize? How I Won The War? The Trip? The Bedsitting Room?, El Topo? Head? Drugstore Cowboy? the Man With X Ray Eyes? Jan Savenkmajer’s Alice? Repulsion? No Corman films.?? The Science Of Sleep? The Fall? …..

    • Not popular enough it seems.

    • HLLH

      He listed Holy Mountain instead of El Topo, I think he did this thing of restricting the list to one film per director.

      • V.C. Privitera

        El Topo is more of a “SURREAL” film….NOT Psychedelic….HOLY MOUNTAIN is PSYCHEDELIC.
        I would’ve chosen Santa Sangre myself, but Holy Mountain is Pure Psychedelic Cinema….Jodorowsky states this himself.

        • HLLH

          That makes sense.

    • Caption Oblivious

      Jacobs ladder

  • Munchrat

    Where is ‘200 Motels’?
    That is the movie that pioneered much of the techniques used in the psychedelic genre…

  • Patrick Taylor

    I find about half of this list of “psychedelic” films to be
    questionable. What is 2001 doing on there? Nothing psychedelic about
    slit-scan video sequences. All kinds of popular films were using the
    technique at the time. Boring, Mr. Kubrick. Boring.
    Why wasn’t The Trip (1967 Roger Corman)
    on the list, or even one of my 60s-cheese favorites, Psych-Out. (1968
    Richard Rush)
    The Monkees/Frank Zappa collaboration, Head (1968 Bob Rafelson) should really be on this list, prominently. Truly under-appreciated film.
    And, if you’re going to have 1970s B-grade sci-fi films on
    the list, then you should include Sssssss (1973 Bernard L. Kowalski) for
    it’s fantastic snake-venom trip sequence alone. You really need to
    revise this list.

    • HLLH

      Tell me your top ten 1960s slit-scan video sequences, else zip it.

      • Patrick Taylor

        I’ve no desire (or time) to sit through that much tacky stuff. Oh and “HLLH” (whomever you actually are) don’t be rude!

      • Jarek Draven

        Nah… even if that was exaggeration or hyperbole, his point is still excellent, and 100% true, as far as I’m concerned.

        2001 is not a psychedelic film. I don’t think a number of films on this list are terribly psychedelic. And/or they’re psychedelic in some mild way, some lame way, or some way that was surpassed by many other (better) films.

        Is a film like 2001 important in the history of cinema? Of course. Is it one of the best psychedelic films ever made? Not even ALMOST.

    • V.C. Privitera

      I completely agree for Roger Corman’s “The Trip”
      Honestly, once I saw that film, it made me think differently about 2001: A Space Odyssey; only in terms of the Special Effects.
      While both films are completely different, I think The Trip deserves more credit than it gets….
      1.) Being filmed in 1967 [the Peak of the Counter-Culture & the Summer of Love]
      2.) Jack Nicholson wrote the script [nuff said]
      3.) While there are certain sequences that are Laughable, “The Trip” really is an Honest-Take on what an LSD experience can be like……aside from the Dennis Hopper/Merry-Go-Round scene, but the “Love-Making” sequence is definitely Psychedelic.
      After the Film was over, I couldn’t help but think that maybe Kubrick isn’t the Genius everyone makes him out to be. NOT to say he isn’t one of the Masters of Cinema, but there’s a lot going on in just this “little” unknown film (for todays standards).
      The Special Effects and Sequences really do add to the aesthetics of raw psychedelia’.
      The only problem I had with the film, was surprisingly Bruce Dern…..I LOVED that he passed on the Joint when they were passing the joint around in the circle; thinking: “Man, he’s the cool one of the group…” but then when Fonda is walking around the House tripping his ass off, Dern’s character was getting on my nerves and would definitely ruin anybody’s acid trip.
      The fact he would get in Fonda’s face and ask these random questions……I mean, come on, I know he’s trying to help or guide the guy, but to that extent would give a person a bad trip, especially on their first acid trip

      • Benjamin Dietze

        Honestly, I hated “The Trip” just as much as “Head” by The Monkees once I’d seen them. Much too cheap and conventional for my tastes, and undeserving of their respective hypes. Both “Easy Rider” and “Ein großer, graublauer Vogel” (aka “Bottom” or “A Big, Grey-Blue Bird”) were much better at what “The Trip” was trying to achieve, and “The Bed-Ritting Room” at what “Head” tried to be.

    • Benjamin Dietze

      How come you supposedly know “so much” about psychedelic films and don’t know that “2001” was and still is a favorite with hippies and stoners who would go see it several times just to time their acid trip right in time with the iconic Stargate sequence and the surreal apartment scene at the end, and would lie down on their backs in front of the projection screen in groups to make it all an even trippier experience? “2001” is still known as a hippies and stoner film for that legendary hippy group phenomenon in theaters alone.

      • Patrick Taylor

        Did I say I know “so much?” I have an opinion, just like everybody here does. To me, watching 2001 is like watching paint peel. My first time watching it was stoned, in a pot-filled theatre. I’m sure some of the hippies were into watching paint peel. Whatever. The term ‘hippie’ was originally derogatory. It meant the same thing a ‘hipster.’

  • bullshitlicker

    requiem for a dream is just boaring.

    • Rosie Spaceboy

      It’s “just” boaring? Hunting boars is pretty impressive in my book. What else does a movie have to do these days, eh?!

  • Patriota Sa Severa

    Scanner Darkly ? No ? Waking Life ? No ? Eraserhead ? No ?

  • Trannøn Gøble

    The Trip (1967) with Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper? One of the greatest!

  • Wolfgang

    Why the hell Enter the Void is not the #1?

    • Sean Luke McCard

      They are not ranked. They are presented in chronological order based on release date.

      • Wolfgang

        Oh, i didn’t notice that… thanks!

  • Mariam MH

    Haven’t seen it yet .. but I think A Clockwork Orange should be on this list

  • Pingback: My World()

  • shaun h

    Surely Naked Lunch belongs on this list.

  • Jose Alberto Hermosillo

    Natural Born Killers, Fantasia?

  • Cinema Phenomenology

    If Idi i smotri, 2001 and La Planète Sauvage are included I think something like Yellow Submarine,The Objective, 2046, Arizona Dream, Sunshine, Alice in Wonderland (Disney), Charlie and the Chocolate factory would fit

  • Qualiarella18

    pls, join this cinema forums 😉

  • Adrian Smith

    What about
    The Fountain
    The Fall
    Clockwork Orange?

    All amazing films

  • V.C. Privitera

    THANK YOU to the Author of this List.
    I pride myself as a Psychedelic-Film Enthusiast and surprisingly there quite a few on here I’ve yet to see or even hear about, especially the last one with Ben Wheatley. I LOVED “KILL LIST”
    I know that MAJORITY of the comments are blasting the Author for either NOT adding this or that or for even putting a film in here that most don’t consider “Psychedelic” at all, but PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE!!!
    You NEED to understand the difference between “Psychedelic” & “Surreal”
    While yes, Films by Jodorowsky are always considered Psychedelic, he’s a Surrealist more than a Psychedelic filmmaker….BUT!!! For those mentioning El Topo, that film is Surreal, while HOLY MOUNTAIN is Psychedelic; just read up on the film and Jodorowsky’s words himself that he made that film for psychedelics.
    I always say that the problem with lists is that there’s always wayyyyy too many to choose from to really make a list of such. You could argue all day long about what’s missing, but in the end, this is this particular’s AUTHOR’s “Short List,” it’s not like it’s 26 or 27 Great Psychedelic Movies….so don’t harass the dude for trying.
    I really enjoy reading the Comments that offer suggestions of a plethora of other films that aren’t mentioned and that’s what’s great about these Sites and Lists.
    Oh this guy doesn’t know dick about this or that, or why not mention this one or that one.
    Make your own list and post it and don’t be a dick about it.

  • Jack Leiter

    Add Beyond the Black Rainbow to your viewing list. Its a visually stunning film with a perfect soundtrack that came out a few years ago. It deals with loosing your sanity and escape from a literal hell.

  • tompaine99

    Yellow Submarine? 200 Motels? The Man Who Fell To Earth? The Magic Christian?

  • cabal23

    Awful list. No Holy Mountain.

  • michaeldal65

    My God!!!! Where the hell’s TOMMY? The final word on “psychedelic”.

  • Under the skin

  • Mario Gp

    “Enter the void” was a draining experience. I had to force myself to finish it. You have to be mentally prepared for the chore.

  • Munchausen, RedLine and maybe Opfergang

  • John Davidsson

    Only god forgives

  • Scot Mellor

    Saragossa Manuscript?!

  • Tom Kidd

    I agree with “Behind the Green Door” for the most part, but I rewatched it recently and it needs a tighter editing of the audience’s participation scenes near the end. Otherwise, it qualifies.

  • K.C. Fahel

    No “Magical Mystery Tour”? No “Head”? Yet you have “Fantastic Planet”, a movie I’ve seen several times since my teens and have never thought of it as psychedelic.

  • acgogo

    “The Devils” is a rarely seen gem. A brilliant performance by everyone involved. Only Ken Russel could have risen to this type of excess and made it gorgeous and entertaining. The only film where you’ll see a person burned at the stake – in closeup without CGI.

    See: Russell’s “The Music Lovers”

    • V.C. Privitera

      Absolutely Agreed!
      Ken Russell’s The Devils is without a doubt one of the Greatest Films EVER!
      There’s really nothing that compares or is even in the same ballpark…
      I always say “The Devils males A Clockwork Orange seem like Sesame Street”
      Quite ironic & unique that both films came out in the same year, both sparking so much Controversy with their Explicit Content & Extremism.

  • acgogo

    Much is said of “2001” but, before HAL and the whole acid trip ending, there is that, I think, beautifully directed tense scene between the American and Russian scientists where every line is a study in pre- ‘Detente” Soviet/American scientific polite non-cooperation that demonstrates that tense state of near mutual annihilation which defined American politics of the 1960s.

  • Pingback: The 10 Most Popular Taste of Cinema Lists of 2015 « Taste of Cinema()

  • Pingback: The 10 Most Popular Taste of Cinema Lists of 2015 |

  • Pingback: The 10 Most Popular Taste of Cinema Lists of 2015 - How to do everything!()

  • Russell Alderton

    serious spoiler alert in the reviews!

  • Gavin Lawson

    You can’t have ‘The Devils’ without having the film that inspired that style of historical sci-fi, ‘Fellini’s Satyricon’, a collective dream-hallucination of our fragmentary ancient psyches, all wrapped up in a psychedelic imaginary projected from our deep unconscious.

  • Sourav Deb

    The mention of A Field in England made me happy.

  • garden variety

    Dead man is awesome, maybe the most underated film ever.
    Good to see it on here.
    The woman’s apartment in point blank hardly makes it psychadelic. It just had a great look, same with zabriskie but not psychadelic.
    Your list gets minus two “points”

  • handytrim

    Yellow Submarine.

  • Klaus Dannick


  • Wayne You Nerd

    Natural Born Killers?

    Doom Generation?


    They’re not psychedelic enough?

  • Ohhh noo, where’s “Spun”?

  • Pingback: As melhores listas de filmes | Layer Lemonade()

  • Brian Christgau

    Andrzej Zulawski’s POSSESSION certainly belongs on this list!

  • Frank N. Blunt

    Must distinguish between psychedelic & transcendence, like breaking the chains of social norms. Sometimes the inspiration, vision, & journey doesn’t have to be drug-induced.

  • Ultra Woodman
  • Klaus Dannick

    Performance (1970) is sorely missing from this list.

    Also, the films Walkabout and Apocalypse Now strike me as more psychedelic than some of the other entries on this list.

  • fantail31

    Vanishing Point. Beyond The Valley Of The Dolls. Barbarella. Whats New Pussycat.

    • K.C. Fahel

      BTVOTD was more SICK-adelic. LOL

  • Wendt Alan


  • Some thoughts about some of these films:

    Un chien Andalou: the eyeball-slitting sequence is scarily realistic because it used a close-up of a real eyeball; that of a cow from a slaughter yard. I missed the reference to stigmata when i first saw it. Of course, i was eighteen and that was fifty years ago…

    The Red Shoes: Inspired by a Hans Christian Anderson story in which the magical red shoes force the dancer to continue dancing continually, until she asks a woodman to chop off her feet.

    Easy Rider: I was in the appropriate demographic at the time; i went to see it to see what the hoopla was about – there is no there there. If you gotta have motorcycles in your culture-clash film, Electra Glide in Blue is a lot better film, from about the same time.

    The Wicker Man: So far as i have been able to discover, there is not an uncut print of this film available – even the longest-running print available is something like ten minutes short of the original running time, and there are even shorter ones. Great film, anyway. See it if you haven’t.

  • Strange Color of Your Body’s Tears, Only God Forgives

  • uma singh

    today news telugu
    Nice post. And it is very clear and informative. Thank you for sharing your ideas with us.

  • bring down the shadow govt

    Strange Colour Of Your Bodies Tears, Horrors of Malformed Men and Japanese Hell 1999, El Topo and Holy Mountain, Female Convict Scorpion series, War Witch, The Trip, The Void, Branded,

  • awruk

    what a crap

  • Francisco Dilon

    Apocalypse Now!

  • I’d definitely add Liquid Sky to the list.

  • tommy amoeba

    This list is sorely lacking in Fellini and though he has much visually wilder creations, my choice would be La Strada which Dylan has cited as an inspiration for Mr. Tambourine Man, itself a strong contender for psychedelia ground zero. I can see that influence in these lyrics:
    Yes, to dance beneath the diamond sky with one hand waving free
    Silhouetted by the sea, circled by the circus sands
    With all memory and fate driven deep beneath the waves
    Let me forget about today until tomorrow.

  • tommy amoeba

    A rather trippy Japanese movie from 1977 called House belongs on this list as well as something by Tarkovsky, though I’m having a hard time narrowing it down so that may be why he was left off: Solaris, Stalker, The Mirror, Sacrifice, just sooo many contenders…

  • EasyAndy

    Never thought of The Wicker Man as a psychedelic film.

  • Nathan Duthoy

    Yellow submarine and. Head, The Trip

  • Pingback: Here's 8 Psychedelic Movies That Are Worth Your Time ~ Psy Minds()


    Good list, great stuff.

  • Elliott

    _Performance_ starring James Fox & Mick Jagger has for decades been for me the most authentic cinematic portrayal of a psychedelic experience. And a lot more. Too many of these “psychedelic” movies are just creepy. 🙂

  • Pingback: Psychedelic Art Movies – eWallpapers()

  • Pingback: Psychedelic Art Movie – eWallpapers()

  • mudsharkbites

    No doubt many will want to add to this list. What about:
    Sweet Movie – Dušan Makavejev
    Tetsuo: The Iron Man – Shinya Tsukamoto
    Paprika – Satoshi Kon
    For that matter, what about I, Pet Goat? –

  • jim

    Needs more Gaspar Noe. Irreversible