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Friday Night at the Movies

Friday Night at the Movies – Assignment for Psychiatric Nursing

Purpose: To gain a greater understanding of mental illness by observing, identifying and describing dramatizations of psychiatric disorders displayed in modern films. There have been many excellent portrayals of mental illness in films. This assignment is meant to give nursing students a deeper understanding of psychiatric disorders and treatment of mental illness.

Goals: (1) Identify specific mental disorders portrayed in films  (2) Observe dramatizations of psychiatric disorders (3) Describe characteristics and signs and symptoms of specific disorders (4) Describe various treatments for mental illness (5) Explore personal feelings regarding psychiatric nursing


Watch three different movies or films that dramatize various psychological or mental disorders. Use your own words. Be sure to give credit to all sources used including the film itself, websites, books, movie reviews, etc. in a works cited page. If you don’t watch the movie – don’t hand in a paper! Answer each question with at least three sentences. Do this is essay format and include headings. Typed – 12 font – black ink – space and 1/2 or double spaced. Use this worksheet to record your notes. Include the following:

  • Name of Movie or film:
  • Producer:
  • Director:
  • Four or five of the secondary actors in the movie and their characters:
  • Actors who played main character(s):
  • Date of movie release and the date you actually watched or reviewed this film

List ALL characters that displayed a psychiatric disorder or mental illness (be aware that often the secondary characters or therapists may also have a psychiatric disorder of some type):

Character/Actor                                                                    Disorder Portrayed in Film

  1. Name:
  2. Name:
  3. Name:
  4. Name:
  5. Name:

Definition and signs and symptoms of each disorder (include source of information):

  1. Disorder:


  1. Disorder:


  1. Disorder:


  1. Disorder

Did the movie dramatize any psychological treatments, counseling methods or pharmaceutical treatments?


What type of psychological treatments or modalities were described or dramatized in this film? (Counseling, electro-shock, lobotomy, pharmaceuticals, etc.)


Summary of the movie (Include the setting, opening scene, plot, highlights, climax, resolution and ending):



Was the climax or ending troubling or violent in any way? What happened?


What feelings did you have while you watched this movie? (Anger, frustration, sadness, freight, anxiety)


Describe one scene that was particularly interesting to you as a nursing student:


Did this Film give you a better understanding of psychiatric nursing – why or why not?


Would you recommend this movie? Why or why not?

Works cited (list all websites, books, the film and other sources in proper bibliography form – alpha order)





Recommended movies:

One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest; Shutter Island; As Good As It Gets; Awakenings; Girl Interrupted; Ordinary People; A Beautiful Mind; 28 days; Traffic; The Green Mile; Catch Me If You Can; One Hour Photo; Psycho; Amadeus; Sleeping with the Enemy; Gone With the Wind; Anger Management; What About Bob.; Patch Adams; I am Sam;  Rain Man; Restoration; Communion; Analyze This; Quills; The Sixth Sense; Prince of Tides; Hannibal; Dark Knight; K-Pax; The Dream Team; Sleepers; The Notebook; Final Analysis; The Madness of King George.   Some movies are in the library and can be checked out for a week – there are many on net-flicks. Sometimes more than one person has a psychiatric disorder in a movie – look for that.

*Use quotation marks if the information is a direct quote from a book or website – don’t try to reword something and pass it off as your own. DO NOT HAND IN A PROFESSIONAL MOVIE REVIEW FROM THE INTERNET! (Those who plagiarize in any way will receive a zero on this assignment) We have seen most of these movies and we have read the reviews. So please use your own words and be creative.

Last Updated on February 10, 2019

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