Movies and TV Shows With Characters Who Have Bipolar Disorder


These 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. 

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. 

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. 

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. 

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.  

Ride the Tiger It tells the story of accomplished people with bipolar disorder like Patrick Kennedy, Terry Cheney, and Ellen Forney

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.

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.

Andy Irons: Kissed by God It is a documentary about surfer Andy Irons who has bipolar disorder

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. 

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. 

ER (tv series) Abby has a mother with bipolar disorder who comes and lives with her.

Filth A cop who has bipolar disorder tries to get promoted so his wife and daughter will take him back

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

Postcards from the Edge It is based on semi-autobiography of Carrie Fisher who had bipolar disorder

Up/Down Interview with many people who have bipolar disorder in order to eliminate mystery of the mental illness 

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.

A Summer in the Cage A filmmaker chronicles the life of his friend Sam who has bipolar disorder

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

Lust for Life which depicts the struggles of bipolar painter Vincent Van Gogh.

DegrassiA musician named Craig Manning has bipolar disorder. 

The Ghost and the Whale:  A man with untreated bipolar disorder believes his wife was killed by a whale. The movie shows his struggles with mania and depression.

Of Two Minds Interview with three people who have bipolar disorder about their struggles with mania and depression. 

Holby City Zosiah is a surgeon who battles with bipolar disorder. 

Stephen Fry: The Secret Life of the Manic Depressive It features the actor Stephen Fry who has bipolar disorder and explores how the illness affects others.

Neighbours Sam is a successful lawyer with bipolar disorder.  At one point, after going off her medications, she has mood swings. 

Lady Dynamite Maria Branaford tells the story of her life after inpatient hospitalization for bipolar disorder 

Spinning Out  Kate, a figure skater has bipolar disorder and is faced with living with the illness.

The Devil and Daniel Johnston A documentary about a musician and his experiences with bipolar disorder

At Eternity’s Gate looks at the life of Vincent Van Gogh who is believed to have  bipolar disorder.

The Devil and Daniel Johnston is a documentary about Daniel and shows his struggles from childhood through present

Modern Love depicts a woman dealing with  life and the dating world while living with bipolar disorder 

The Informant! Life story of Mark Whitaker who has bipolar disorder and is a key witness for the FBI in a price-fixing conspiracy

God Knows Where I Am A documentary who follows the life of a well-educated homeless mother named Linda Bishop who has bipolar disorder

Dave  an actor who  plays someone with bipolar disorder and he has bipolar disorder himself. (GaTa)

General Hospital  A mob kingpin, Sonny, has bipolar disorder and is portrayed by actor Maurice Bernard who also has bipolar disorder. 

Euphoria Rue struggles from other mental illnesses including bipolar disorder. 

Sylvia Biography of writer Sylvia Plath who had bipolar disorder

The Hours Story of three women including Virginia Wolfe who struggles with depression while writing her novel.


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.

Prozac Nation A journalist student, Lizzie, struggles with depression needing psychiatric care

A Fine Madness

Blue Sky


Splendor in the Grass 

Rocks in My Pockets 

Tamil Films: Aarohanam and 3

INTERESTING READ:   4 Movies That Inaccurately Portray Mental Health


5 thoughts on “Movies and TV Shows With Characters Who Have Bipolar Disorder

  1. 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.

  2. 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.

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