Six Movies That Emphasize a Character with O.C.D.

As someone who has OCD himself I figured it would be a good topic for an article.  For those that don’t know the clinical definition of Obsessive Compulsion Disorder, here’s a good one:

Obsessive-compulsive disorder is an anxiety disorder in which people have unwanted and repeated thoughts, feelings, ideas, sensations (obsessions), or behaviors that make them feel driven to do something (compulsions).  Often the person carries out the behaviors to get rid of the obsessive thoughts, but this only provides temporary relief.  Not performing the obsessive rituals can cause great anxiety.

OCD can take many forms but most people know it as people who perform crazy physical acts over and over to get a sense of stability in life.   For example someone might lock and unlock a door 25 times before leaving a house, etc etc.

It hasn’t been the subject of cinema that often but when it has, OCD can provide for some powerful characters.   Here are seven movies with OCD characters

Thanks to this article from Scene Stealers for some help on character descriptions

As Good as It Gets

Jack Nicholson’s Melvin Udall was a neurotic wolverine trapped in a man’s body. Completely isolated from the world due to his nuclear-grade personality disorder, Melvin scared away those he didn’t piss off. Keen on pointing out the deficiencies (perceived or otherwise) of every person he encountered, Melvin was cruel in a blissful way that almost suggested the man didn’t have a choice in the matter. Of course, as the film progressed, Melvin developed some patience for those around him and even discovered a little humanity that had either been lost or willfully discarded decades before. As a result, Melvin learned to feel bad about his nasty tendencies, and the audience learned to feel bad for him.

The Aviator

Before most people knew what O.C.D. was, or perceived of a condition even remotely similar to the actual illness, people knew about Howard Hughes and his crazy lifestyle. When he died and they found Hughes, it’s said that his corpse had long tangled hair, uncut toenails, and weighed in at a mere 90 pounds.  Hughes was deathly afraid of germs.  So much so that in one case Hughes was on a date and on that date he had to use the bathroom.   Hughes returned to dinner 90 minutes later because he had to wait for someone to open the bathroom door out of fear of touching the knob.

Matchstick Men

Roy Waller (played by Nicolas Cage) was only reliable during an operation, and quickly descended into a variety of mental disorders once he was left alone with the rat’s nest that was his mind. Roy was agoraphobic and wildly O.C.D. up to the point that he had a hard time leaving his apartment at times. His particular compulsion involved a freakish paranoia about cleanliness and order. Some of the most entertaining moments of this film revolved around Cage scrubbing his carpet or organizing his wardrobe


  1. Wermine March 6, 2012
  2. Amy March 6, 2012
  3. Remy Carreiro March 7, 2012
  4. Peter March 18, 2013
  5. Megan March 26, 2014

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