This week I finally got enough responses to round up a list of the top 25 favorite ISTJ movies. This list has been slowly progressing over the course of a couple of months, probably because ISTJs don’t seem as active on MBTI forums and groups as some of the other types. I really appreciate the ISTJs who helped me with their recommendations and favorites!
ISTJs are sharp thinkers with very eclectic taste when it comes to movies – almost every category was represented as a favorite, although romances were very rarely picked. The general idea I got from the ISTJs I spoke with was that they enjoyed film for entertainments sake. They wanted something that surprised them and kept them mentally intrigued, but they weren’t looking for something that needed extensive analyzation. They watch movies to relax and be entertained, not to contemplate or soul-search. Of course, this could vary from person-to-person; this general idea was just brought up frequently. When it came to movie genres, here were the favorites:
- Science Fiction
So without further ado, let’s get to the favorites!
1. Lord of the Rings
The Lord of the Rings follows the adventures of Hobbits, Men, Elves and more as they try to destroy the One Ring, which had been lost for centuries, and is now being hunted by evil forces from Mordor. It’s up to Frodo Baggins and his friends to destroy the ring, fight evil and defeat the forces of the Dark Lord Sauron.
Why ISTJs Love It: The Lord of the Rings features an epic journey, and the relentless struggle between good and evil. The heroism and selflessness that each of the good characters embody is something that appeals to the noble values of the ISTJ. Rebecca Ann, an ISTJ, says “The Lord of the Rings is a tale of good finally winning, but only after it seems all hope is completely lost, and that really speaks to me as a flawed human being. It’s based on a set of books written by a man who created several different languages, millennia worth of history and genealogies, and a multitude of races. In other words, these films are rich in every sense of the word. Peter Jackson wasn’t perfect at bringing the original trilogy to life, but he did a tremendous job.”
2. Star Wars
Star Wars is an epic masterpiece of cinema – telling the story of good versus evil in the unforgettable way only Sci-Fi can. Star Wars follows young Luke Skywalker as he joins forces with a Jedi knight, a reckless pilot, a wookee and two droids on an adventure to save the universe from the Empire’s evil forces.
Why ISTJs Love It: ISTJs showed a great appreciation of science fiction, and Star Wars is one of the quintessential sci-fi masterpieces of our time. Star Wars features heroes and villains in epic battles, putting their own needs aside to focus on exterminating the evil, destructive forces of the dark side. This good versus evil component was a common theme throughout many ISTJ movie picks. Morally ambiguous movies were often ignored in favor of movies with a clear hero and villain. This may be part of the reason that ISTJs enjoy Star Wars.
3. The Bourne Series
Jason Bourne has been salvaged from the ocean by an Italian fishing boat. He doesn’t know who he is, where he comes from, or where he’s going. Eventually he begins to remember smaller details of his life, and realizes he has unique talents in fighting, language, and self defense. Bourne, and his new friend Marie travel from country to country in search of his new identity. But, someone else is not happy to find out he’s alive, and is frantically trying to track him down.
Why ISTJs Love It: ISTJs love figuring out the surprising twists and turns in the Bourne movies. They also appreciate that Jason Bourne questions the morals and ethics of what’s he doing. Fast-paced thrills, excitement, and edge-of-your-seat fun are always a special treat for ISTJs.
4. Batman: The Dark Knight
The Dark Knight is a gripping story that follows the efforts of Batman and Lieutenant Jim Gordon as they set out to dismantle the remaining criminal organizations that plague the city streets. While their partnership proves to be effective, they soon find themselves prey to a reign of chaos unleashed by a rising criminal mastermind known to the citizens of Gotham as The Joker.
Why ISTJs Love It: The Dark Knight has continually received the best ratings of any superhero movie by every type I’ve talked to so far. There’s something about the intricacy of the Dark Knight and it’s exploration of human character that makes it so much more satisfying than your typical superhero movie. It’s complex, thrilling, and will keep just about anyone on the edge of their seat.
5. Pride and Prejudice
Pride and Prejudice tells the story of the five Bennet sisters, who have spent the entirity of their lives being told to marry rich husbands so that they can support their family. They are not from the upper class, and their house in Hertfordshire will be inherited by a distant cousin if Mr. Bennet dies. When the wealthy bachelor Mr. Bingley and his best friend Mr. Darcy arrive in town for the summer, the shy and beautiful Jane falls in love with Mr. Bingley, and Elizabeth finds Mr. Darcy a snobbish and proud man, and she swears to loathe him forever.
Why ISTJs Love It: ISTJs enjoy movies that take them back to a different place and time. They consistently listed classics as favorites (although only a couple made this list). Pride and Prejudice takes the viewer back in time to a period of ballrooms and grand estates. It’s picturesque and romantic without being cheesy or over-the-top. There’s a mixture of humor and a sense of homage to an older, more eloquent time and place.
Inception tells the story of Don Cobb, a ‘mind thief’ who has the ability to enter people’s dreams and steal their secrets. His skill has put him in high-demand by the corporate espionage world, but it has also cost him the people he loves most. Cobb gets a chance to start over with his life if he can successfully plant an idea in someone’s mind. If he succeeds, it will change everything – but a dangerous enemy anticipates Cobb’s every move.
Why ISTJs Love It: Inception is a brilliant psychological thriller with a lot of questions that delight the logical mind of the ISTJ. Don Cobb’s effort to find redemption and re-connection with his family is something that many ISTJs will feel sympathetic towards as well.
7. Resident Evil
In Resident Evil, a virus has escaped in a secret facility called “The Hive,” turning the staff into ravenous zombies and releasing the mutated Lab “Animals” that they were studying. A commando military team is sent in to shut down the lab’s supercomputer and close the facility before the virus infects the rest of the world.
Why ISTJs Love It: Many ISTJs love fast-paced thrillers and science fiction, and Resident Evil delivers on both accounts. There’s plenty of action, intrigue, and excitement in this series of movies. I haven’t seen this movie myself, and I can’t find an ISTJ to give me a good explanation of why they particularly like this movie other than that ‘it’s fun!’. So there’s your analysis
Alien follows a commercial crew aboard the deep space towing vessel, Nostromo. They are on their way home when they pick an SOS warning from a distant planet. What they don’t know is that the SOS warning is not like any other ordinary warning call. Picking up the signal, the crew realizes that they are not alone and that there is an alien stowaway hiding on the cargo ship.
Why ISTJs Love It: ISTJs listed science fiction as their favorite movie genre (of course there were some ISTJs who didn’t like sci-fi, but the majority did). Alien is one of the most suspenseful, well-thought-out sci-fi movies you can find anywhere.
9. Star Trek
A novice crew is about to embark on their maiden voyage on board the USS Enterprise. Their path takes them on a collision course with Nero, a Romulan commander who is filled with vengeance, determined to destroy the federation one planet at a time. If humanity is to survive, a rebellious young officer named James T. Kirk and a stoic logical Vulcan named Spock must look beyond their rivalry and find a way to defeat Nero before it is too late.
Why ISTJs Love It: Again, sci-fi is always a special treat for ISTJs, and Star Trek doesn’t disappoint. An ISTJ I know said, “Star Trek really makes you think. It’s more about the science and less about being a space opera.” Many typologists also believe that Spock is an ISTJ which may add some interest and fun for ISTJ viewers.
10. The Matrix
Computer programmer Thomas A. Anderson is made to question reason and reality when he learns he has been living in a program created by gigantic machines who feed off of human beings body heat and electrochemical energy. In order to set humanity free, he will have to face many enemies by using technologies and self-trust.
Why ISTJs Love It: The Matrix is a mind-bending science fiction epic that provides plenty of thrills for an ISTJ audience. Featuring two introverted leads (Neo and Trinity) and a plot full of twists and turns and surprises, the Matrix is a favorite for many – but ISTJs were especially fond of this story.
11. Kill Bill
“The Bride” was the deadliest assassin of the Deadly Viper Assassination Squad, until one day when she decided to leave the business, assume a new identity, and get married. Sadly, on the day of her marriage, her old “friends” – O-Ren Ishii, Vernita Green, Budd, and Elle Driver, not to mention her boss, Bill – find her and assassinate everyone in the ceremony while Bill shoots her in the head, putting her in a coma. After four years, the Bride awakens from her coma and she seeks vengeance on the people who betrayed her.
Why ISTJs Love It: ISTJs often mentioned loving a good revenge story, and you can’t get much better than Kill Bill for a good revenge masterpiece. ISTJs are also known for having an offbeat sense of humor, and this movie has a quirky, somewhat demented sense of humor that many ISTJs will enjoy.
12. Oceans 11
Recently paroled con artist Danny Ocean wants to score the biggest heist history has ever known. He pulls together an eleven member team, including Frank Catton, Rusty Ryan and Linus Caldwell. Their target? The Bellagio, the Mirage and the MGM Grand. All these casinos are owned by the ruthless Terry Benedict. It’s not going to be easy, as they plan to get in and out with $150 million.
Why ISTJs Love It: ISTJs love the idea of the “perfect” plan. They love to create a carefully constructed idea and execute it – that’s exactly what Danny Ocean does in Ocean’s 11. This movie is packed with humor and excitement for a fun, popcorn-ready piece of entertainment.
13. The Usual Suspects
After a truck hijack in New York, five conmen are arrested and brought together for questioning. As none of them are guilty, they plan a revenge operation against the police. The operation goes well, but then the unexpected influence of a legendary mastermind criminal called Keyser Söze throws everything out of balance. Each con man has wronged Söze at some point and must pay back their wrongdoing now. The payback job leaves 27 men dead in a boat explosion, but the real question arises: Who actually is
Why ISTJs Love It: Part of the reason that ISTJs love this movie may have to do with the carefully executed planning that takes place by Keyser Söze. It is also not without a sense of humor. One ISTJ I spoke with said that he prefers movies that make you think but don’t take themselves too seriously – I think the Usual Suspects is a good example of one such movie.
In 14th Century Scotland, William Wallace, a Scottish rebel, leads an uprising against the cruel English ruler Edward the Longshanks. Longshanks wishes to inherit the crown of Scotland for himself. Wallace creates a legend of himself, with the courageous defense of his people and attacks the English. Wallace and his team fight to make Scotland free once and for all, along with the assistance of Robert the Bruce.
Why ISTJs Love It: The fight for good to triumph over evil in the face of adversity is always a popular choice for the ISTJ “duty fulfillers”. They have a strong sense of morality and admire selflessness and standing up for others. Braveheart also hearkens back to another time and place, which Si-dominant types enjoy. They love movies that allow them to “time travel” to other eras in the past.
15. Dead Poets Society
Brand new English teacher, John Keating, is just starting out his career at an all-boys preparatory school known for its exceedingly high standards. His students, including the painfully shy Todd Anderson, and his roommate, find inspiration in his unorthodox methods and his encouragement to go against the status quo.
Why ISTJs Love It: Dead Poets Society shines a light on individuals fighting to succeed and find inspiration while simultaneously trying not to disappoint their parents expectations and standards. ISTJs are very responsible and can often struggle with a desire to meet expectations and pursue their own individuality. They may connect with some of the characters in this movie for that reason. Other than that, it’s just good entertainment!
16. Harry Potter series
The Harry Potter series follows the daring adventures of wizarding wonder, Harry Potter, and his delightful friends and intriguing mentors. Going from a miserable, lonely existence as a mistreated orphan to a famed wizard at Hogwarts, Harry discovers the meaning of honor, friendship, and selflessness as he faces his dangerous enemy, Lord Voldemort.
Why ISTJs Love It: Harry Potter is an unforgettable fantasy that shows the epic battle between good and evil in the wizarding and “muggle” worlds. Harry Potter and his friends consistently show selflessness, bravery, courage, and a strong sense of inner morality that many ISTJs will admire.
Insidious is the gripping story of a family in search of help for their son, Dalton. Dalton fell into a coma after a mysterious incident in the attic. They will soon discover that there is much more to this endless sleep than meets the eye as they discover the paranormal, and re-engage with the past; the key to getting their son back once and for all.
Why ISTJs Love It: Horror movies ranked second in the favorite movie genres of ISTJs. Insidious “succeeds as a shock-a-minute fright fest with plenty of atmosphere and dread.” (IGN DVD review). I haven’t seen this movie myself, so if you’re an ISTJ and you have some insight into why this movie got so many votes let me know!
18. The Shawshank Redemption
The Shawshank Redemption tells the story of Andy Dufresne, a banker who is wrongly convicted of a double-homicide he didn’t commit. After he is sentenced to life in prison, he befriends Red, the prison “entrepreneur”. Together, they form an unlikely bond and Andy proves that no chains or cell doors can imprison the power of the mind.
Why ISTJs Love It:
The Shawshank Redemption is a prison movie with moral integrity and highly developed characters. ISTJs mentioned that they enjoyed the refusal of Andy Dufresne to give up and find a way to both mental freedom and actual escape.
19. Singin’ in the Rain
Singin’ in the Rain follows the lives of Don Lockwood and Lina Lamont, a famous on-screen pair who are just embarking on the change from silent films to films with sound. When Don and Lina’s latest film is transformed into a musical, Don has the perfect voice for the songs. But even with the best efforts of a diction coach, Lina’s voice is still atrocious. Kathy Selden, an aspiring actress, is brought in to dub over Lina’s voice, and Don falls madly in love with her. Will Don and Kathy’s romance cause trouble for their careers? Will Kathy get the “break” she so greatly desires?
Why ISTJs Love It: ISTJs have a fondness for the classics and movies that take them back to another time and place. Singin’ in the Rain is pure feel-good Hollywood escapism, full of unforgettable musical numbers, timeless humor, and exquisite technicolor movie magic.
20. The Fugitive
Dr. Richard Kimble is a well-known surgeon based out of Chicago who returns home from work one night to find his wife Helen has been murdered. The killer, a one-armed man, manages to escape before police arrive. With a lack of evidence pointing to the one-armed man, Kimble is arrested and charged with murder. On his way to prison, the bus he is in crashes, giving him the opportunity to escape. Kimble decides to find out who the real killer was and why his wife was murdered. Meanwhile, a US Marshal named Samuel Gerard and his team are relentless in searching for Kimble and arresting him.
Why ISTJs Love It:
The Fugitive gives us a view of someone unwilling to give up, unwilling to give into despair and hopelessness. Dr. Richard Kimble is relentless in his search for his wife’s killer, facing insurmountable odds to find justice. ISTJs can get behind a man like this and appreciate his quiet integrity and resolve.
Six total strangers awaken one day to find themselves alone inside a giant cube with thousands of possible rooms. Together, they use their given skills and talents to survive the deadly traps which guard many of the colored cubic rooms.
Why ISTJs Love It: Cube is a smart sci-fi/horror piece that keeps the viewer mentally intrigued and in suspense. ISTJs mentioned that they enjoy movies that don’t have an easily-readable plot – they want something that surprises them. Cube does just that.
22. Back to the Future
Marty McFly’s life isn’t looking so great. His father, George, is always bullied by his supervisor Biff Tannen and his mother, Lorraine, is an overweight alcoholic. One day, Marty gets a call from his scientist friend “Doc” Emmet Brown telling Marty to meet him at Twin Pines Mall at 1:15 AM. There, the Doctor unveils a time machine that runs off of plutonium built into a DeLorean. Marty accidentally activates the time machine, which sends him back to 1955 where he accidentally gets in the way of his teenage parents meeting. Marty must find a way to convince Doc that he is from the future, reunite his parents, and get back to the future.
Why ISTJs Love It: Back to the Future is classic, fun-filled entertainment chock full of laughs, time-travel, and light-hearted fun. I have actually never seen this, so I’m pulling all this from other people’s thoughts on the movie. Basically, it’s fun and entertaining and that’s why ISTJs like it. Does that work?
Se7en follows the story of two homicide detectives tracking down a sadistic serial killer who chooses his victims according to the seven deadly sins. Detective David Mills, a hopeful but naive rookie finds himself partnered with veteran Detective William Somerset. As a team, they trace the killers every step, never quite making it on time to stop his horrific murders. The victims pile up rapidly, and all the while the two detectives are moving closer to a gruesome fate neither of them could have predicted.
Why ISTJs Love It: Se7en is a mentally intriguing story that keeps the logical ISTJ mind searching for the next clue and trying to uncover the mystery as the detectives do. It’s a smart movie that is also exciting and ISTJs enjoy having a good balance between being mentally stimulated and entertained.
Gettysburg captures the three-day battle that was a turning point in the Civil War. Shown from the perspectives of both sides, Gettysburg highlights the fight for Little Round Top, and Pickett’s Charge. Based upon the novel ‘The Killer Angels’.
Why ISTJs Love It: ISTJs are often history buffs (I hope this isn’t stereotyping), and their use of introverted sensing gives them an appreciation of the past and all we’ve learned from it. Gettysburg makes you really feel like you’re seeing a part of history up close. It takes you inside the world of the people who fought on both sides of the Civil War.
25. Rio Bravo
The sheriff of a small town in southwest Texas must maintain custody of a murderer whose brother, a powerful rancher, is trying to help him escape. After a friend is killed trying to muster support, he and his deputies – a disgraced drunk and an old cripple – must find a way to hold out against the rancher’s hired guns until the marshal arrives.
Why ISTJs Love It: ISTJs enjoy a good western. Something about being taken back in time to the wild west and the good gunslingers versus the black-hat bad guys is always entertaining. ISTJs enjoy a story of good versus bad, especially when the odds are stacked against the good guy.