You won't find a section in your local video store devoted to films about psychiatry, as you will for war movies and sci-fi flicks. But the battle for self or sanity makes for compelling drama, which is why psychiatry and mental illness have figured in a slew of Hollywood classics.
For those who want to take a cinematic tour of psychiatry, Entertainment Tonight film critic Leonard Maltin offers an itinerary. Here are his picks for the best films about psychiatry that most people have never seen--but should:
o Private Worlds (1935): One of the first, and still one of the best, with Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer.
o Spellbound (1945): Alfred Hitchcock's absorbing tale of psychiatrist Ingrid Bergman trying to uncover Gregory Pecks hang-ups.
o The Snake Pit (1948): One of the first films to deal intelligently with mental breakdowns and the painstakingly slow recovery process.
o Harvey (1950): James Stewart is brilliant as a tippler whose best friend is a six-foot invisible rabbit.
o The Three Faces of Eve (1957): Joanne Woodward as a young woman with multiple personalities and three separate lives.