Artisan Entertainment

10+ Movies Fans Loved But Could Only Watch Once

Not all movies warrant a repeat viewing. In fact, some films are so sad, so disturbing, or just so weird that audiences can't begin to stomach another go-around.

Below are 10+ movies that fans loved but could only watch once.

Fair warning, some of these will require a strong will and an even stronger stomach! But they all make for a good watch!



Amistad is one of the few films on this list that's based on a true story. It tells the incredible tale of a group of African slaves who mutinied and took their colonial aggressors hostage, reclaiming their freedom.

This film is a powerful depiction of an incredibly ugly chapter in world history.

*12 Years a Slave*.

It's impossible to watch this movie without crying, let's just say that upfront.

The film is a must-see for sure, but it definitely is not something that one can watch over and over again.

*Inland Empire*.

This movie is a letter to Hollywood in all the best and worst ways.

The film is confusing, but somehow it all makes sense at the same time. However, there are a terrifying amount of haunting scenes that will definitely give you some kind of nightmare.

It's an amazing film but after you watch it once, you never need to watch it again.


James Wan is the closest thing that we've seen to Wes Craven in close to 20 years. He revolutionized the horror genre with Saw but, without a doubt, his pièce de résistance is Insidious.

Most people have a hard enough time finishing this film, let alone undergoing a repeat viewing.

*Eternal Sunshine Of The Spotless Mind*.

Focus Features

Have you ever wished that you could have your memories of a painful event erased? That's the concept of Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.

It's an incredibly intricate psychological romance that will have you questioning reality as well as your own sanity.

*The Stanford Prison Experiment*.

IFC Films

Take a moment and Google the Stanford Prison Experiment — what you read will shock you. This was a social psychology experiment designed to assess the impact of incarceration on the human psyche.

It had to be cut short because of the amount of abuse that ended up taking place between "inmates" and "guards." The film is actual footage of the experiment taking place and it can be incredibly hard to watch the degradation of the participants.

*American History X*.

The impactfulness of American History X is perhaps more relevant now than it ever was.

Its message is conveyed through acts of overt racism, brutality, anger, and violence. There isn't a person alive who shouldn't see this film at least once.


Okay, stay with me here.

This is not a normal superhero movie. This film is about the last days of a man who is full of emotional and physical scars and dealing with PTSD, who doesn't even want to live anymore.

While fans praised the movie for its execution of both the story and the character, it is a movie that they will all have trouble trying to watch again.

*The Lighthouse*.


So let me be the first one to say that I am not typically a fan of arthouse films and The Lighthouse is about as arthouse as they come.

The acting performances by Pattinson and Dafoe, however, are staggering — if only I could tell you what the movie was actually about...


Studio Canal

While the movie is incredibly well done and the actors all give memorable portrayals, the entire movie is based on a horrific assault scene.

While the cinematography and storytelling are nothing short of breathtaking, it might take you years to find your breath again! This movie is definitely a one shot film.


Columbia Pictures

Of all the films on this list, 8MM has one of the lowest approval ratings, not because of its quality, but because the subject matter is so utterly disturbing.

This film is not for the squeamish or the faint of heart. It will change you.


I already mentioned how James Wan is a horror revolutionary but there'd be no The Conjuring or Insidious were it not for Saw.

Wan's low budget masterpiece introduced the world to the torture genre of horror films.



Do you know how some movies just make you feel uncomfortable right from the beginning? You know something's wrong but you just can't put your finger on it — like a splinter in your mind.

That's Parasite in a nutshell.

*There Will Be Blood*.

Paramount Vantage

There's a very strong argument to be made that Daniel Day-Lewis is the greatest actor who ever lived.

And while There Will Be Blood may also be his most important work, the pace of the film, coupled with the heavy dialogue, makes it difficult for repeat viewings.


School shootings continue to happen at alarming rates. It is truly a heartbreaking event in every way.

Elephant details a school shooting, and while it is extremely hard to stomach, the entire film is very factual. The movie is meant to act as a mirror to the issues we face in society.

But you will have trouble watching it a second time.

*Revolutionary Road*.

Unpopular opinion: this is one of Leonardo DiCaprio's best movies.

He and Kate Winslet are married, and the movie portrays the trials they face together as they lead very unhappy lives. While it is a gorgeous piece of filmmaking, the content of the movie will make you so depressed you may not want to revisit it.


Windy Hill Pictures

If you're looking for a film that turns classic horror conventions on its head, look no further than Hereditary.

Toni Collette turns in an Oscar-worthy performance but the nightmares that follow will make you hesitant to subject yourself to a second viewing.

*Black Hawk Down*

While people love the movie, it's impossible to ignore the fact that it is told from the very biased viewpoint of the American soldiers.

But what will make you not want to watch it a second time? No one wins in this movie. It is a horrifying look into war and how no one ever comes back from it completely.

*Schindler's List*.

Universal Pictures

Some films are so painful, so deeply and utterly disturbing, that they make us question what it even means to be human.

Schindler's List is a story that everyone needs to hear, although many won't be able to stomach it more than once.

*Vanilla Sky*.

Vanilla Sky is one of the weirdest movies you're ever likely to see. It's a polarizing film that leaves a strange taste in many peoples' mouths.

In order to fully absorb it all, it requires a second watch. Sadly, not many people ever make it that far.

*The Other Boleyn Girl*.

BBC Films

While this movie is incredibly well done and the performances are wonderful to behold, the way the women are treated in this movie is very hard to watch.

The fact that it is a true story makes it even worse.

*The Green Mile*.

Warner Bros.

I'm not usually one to get overly emotional in movies. That said, The Green Mile affected me in ways I didn't know were possible.

The film is a spectacle but is without a doubt one of the saddest, most heartbreaking stories ever told.

*Requiem For A Dream*.

Artisan Entertainment

Attention parents! If you're looking for a film that will help ensure your children never do drugs — make them watch Requiem for a Dream.

It's one of the most deeply unsettling portrayals of the dangers and the depths of drug culture. I don't know anyone who's watched this more than once.

*We Need To Talk About Kevin*

This movie is a horror film, no matter how much it is described as a thriller.

It explores the fears of parenthood and what happens when those fears come to pass. It will be so hard for you to watch the first time that you won't bother with a second viewing.

*Precious: Based on the Novel ‘Push’ by Sapphire*

While this is definitely a masterpiece of a film, the raw vulnerability we are forced to sit through is definitely not for everyone.

We have to sit through abuse, neglect, and assault. It's not a movie to watch more than once.


Killer Films

Obviously, this movie is not a happy one.

It is full of traumatic experiences, almost every scene is hard to watch, and even the dark humor is hard to listen to.

While it is definitely worth the viewing, fans can't stomach watching it a second time.

*Spring Breakers*

This movie will definitely give you an out-of-body experience, that is for sure.

It stays in your mind, and while it didn't receive the best reviews, it is worth the watch (one time, anyway) for the misguided young adults who can't seem to make sense of their life.

*The Hurt Locker*

If there is one movie that shows the emotional and psychological traumas of war, it is this one.

While the movie continues to be raved about even today, that doesn't mean it is easy to watch the first time. So, chances are, a second viewing is out of the question.