Movies & TV Shows with Bipolar Disorder Characters

moviesThese movies and television shows are not in any particular order.  Some are fictional and other movies are more factual including some biographies. 

Some of them do a better job of depicting someone who struggles with bipolar disorder. 

  • Touched with Fire:  Two poets who have bipolar disorder meet in a psychiatric hospital and fall in love. Ref
  • Infinitely Bipolar Bear: Cameron takes care of his two  daughters while his wife attends graduate school out of town.
  • Silver Linings Playbook: Pat has bipolar disorder and has moved in with his parents after he is discharged from a psychiatric hospital.
  • Mr. Jones: Mr. Jones has bipolar disorder. During one of his manic episodes he jumps up on stage during a concert and ends up being arrested.  He also struggles with suicidal depression. Ref
  • The Hours: Virginia, who has experienced several nervous breakdowns and suffers from bipolar disorder, feels trapped in her home, intimidated by servants and constantly under the eye of her husband who has begun a publishing business, Hogarth Press, at home to stay close to her. Ref
  • Shameless: Ian, like his mom Monica, has been diagnosed with BIPOLAR DISORDER and  he currently refuses to visit the doctor and does not believe he needs to take medication. For these reasons his behavior has been erratic and out of control, worrying his family. Ref Ref
  • Michael Clayton Arthur is the lead attorney in a class-action case.  His struggle with bipolar disorder makes things harder for his colleague, Michael, as they deal with the case. Ref
  • Call Me Anna Patty Duke plays herself in this movie.  Growing up she struggled with bipolar disorder, but was not diagnosed until 1982.  Patty Duke’s Biography
  • My Friend Paul: Paul is diagnosed in prison with bipolar disorder.  After he is released, he moves in his friend and filmmaker Jonathan. However, Paul’s manic rantings threaten the filmmaker’s own equilibrium and  he begs Paul to return to the psychiatric hospital. Ref
  • The Informant! Struggling with bipolar disorder, Mark confesses to the FBI that he and his company are doing illegal business. The stresses of having to wear a wire and organizing surveillance cause his meltdown.
  • The Flying Scotsman: This story is based on Graeme Obree, an amateur cyclist, who struggles with crippling bipolar disorder.
  • In the Best Interest of the Children A woman struggling with bipolar disorder while raising her five children eventually leads to the children being taken away from her.
  • Shine Biography about pianist David Helfgott who had bipolar disorder and spent years in mental institutions.  Ref 
  • Surviving Family As Terry struggles to rebuild her relationship with her older sister, she learns that her niece has been diagnosed with bipolar disorder. Her aunt helps her  begin to come to terms with the truth behind her mother’s life and death, and her father’s alcoholism. Ref
  • Sweethearts Arliss meets Jasmine on a blind date at a coffee house, but it turns out Jasmine has bipolar disorder and is  carrying a gun contemplating suicide.
  • Black Box (tv series)Catherine Black  is a famous neurologist who secretly has bipolar disorder  and the only person who knows is her psychiatrist who has been a maternal figure for Catherine  since her mother, who also suffered from bipolar disorder, committed suicide. Ref
  • Homeland  (tv series) Carrie is a CIA officer who, like her father, struggles with  bipolar disorder. Her dad also has bipolar disorder.  Although her family knows, she is able to keep her illness a secret from others for a long time during the season.
  • Empire (tv series) Andre, the oldest of the the Lyon family has bipolar disorder. He’s power hungry and hopes to run the empire some day. Leah, Dwight’s deceased mother, also had bipolar disorder Ref
  • The Big C (tv series)  Sean, Cathy’s brother, suffers from bipolar disorder starts and taking medications because he wants to be more stable for his unborn child.  He was homeless and refused treatment up until then. Ref
  • ER (tv series) Abby has a mother with bipolar disorder who comes and lives with her.
  • Law and Order SVU  (tv series) Elliot’s mother has bipolar disorder and he finds out his daughter has it too when she has a manic phase and ends up prison.
  • Six Feet Under (tv series)  Billy, Brenda’s brother, has bipolar disorder
  • Shutter Island Marshalls, while investigating  a psychiatric hospital come  across Daniels who might have killed his bipolar disorder wife after she supposedly killed their three children. Ref
  • Next To Normal a mother struggles with  bipolar disorder and attempts to not let it affect her family Ref
  • Manic  Chad has bipolar disorder and forms a friendship with Lyle while in a psychiatric facility. The two make plans to go to Amsterdam with the money from Chad’s trust fund.
  • SKAM,  a Norwegian show. Season 3 shows the character of Even Beck Næsheim who is bipolar and experiences a manic and depressive episode and struggles with dealing with it around others
  • Rookie Blue One of the detectives has bipolar disorder
  • Empress hotel  It is a documentary where ten homeless people are living in a hotel and all have some sort of mental illness.

Below are other movies that are believed to be about bipolar disorder. However, the viewer has to come to that conclusion on their own based on the plot of the movie and its characters.

A Fine Madness

Blue Sky


Splendor in the Grass 

Rocks in My Pockets 

Prozac Nation

Tamil Films: Aarohanam and 3




About Michelle Clark Bipolar Bandit

I am a strong advocate for the mentally ill and have been since I was first approached by a lawyer in a psychiatric facility as a teenager. He wanted me to help him fight how the mentally ill are mistreated. I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder at the age of 17 after a full blown manic episode. Before that, I suffered from debilitating depression for 4 years. My goals are to help others by sharing my story and providing tips to deal with mania and depression. I often write blogs related to advocating for people like myself. I want to encourage, inspire, and educate those with #bipolar disorder and other mental illnesses and also include inspirational #quotes. I founded the group Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses and the page Mental Health Advocates United and have several social media sites that are related to bipolar disorder and/or advocacy. If you are an advocate or would like to be, I hope you join our FB group: Advocates for People with Mental Illnesses
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5 Responses to Movies & TV Shows with Bipolar Disorder Characters

  1. Bradley says:

    Thank you, thank you. I’ve bookmarked this list and am ready to get some popcorn and sit and watch a bit.

  2. mymusebipolarity says:

    Thank you for this post!
    I have watched a couple of these and it’s great to see how other people (even if it’s fiction most of the time) cope with bipolar disorder. I will try and watch the whole list.

  3. Alecc says:

    Another show is SKAM, a Norwegian show. Season 3 shows the character of Even Beck Næsheim who is bipolar and experiences a manic and depressive episode and struggles with dealing with it around others.

  4. Ricky Murgia says:

    You should add “Lust for Life” which depicts the struggles of bipolar painter Vincent Van Gogh.

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