As the new year begins I’m super excited to spend a month writing posts based around actual reader requests! I’ve done a number of favorite movie posts, but I had stopped for a while because it always takes SO long to get enough feedback to complete them. When an ISTP friend emailed me and asked for a movie favorites list, I thought I’d give it another shot. I’ve spoken to 203 ISTPs in Facebook groups as well as internet forums and in real life to come up with this list.
When it comes to movies, ISTPs like a lot of action, along with well-written characters. One ISTP I communicated with said, “My favorite films all encompass the theme of freedom and exploration. I also love films with many layers to them.” Another ISTP said she liked “gory movies with well developed characters.”
When it came to movie genres, these were the top 5 most mentioned favorites:
#1 – Action/Adventure
#2 – Psychological Thriller
#3 – Science Fiction/Fantasy
#4 – Westerns
#5 – Comedy
Without further ado, here’s the list of the top 25 favorite ISTP films:
#1. Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan follows the story of several World War II soldiers who go behind enemy lines to find Private James Ryan, whose three brothers have been killed in combat. Each man has his own personal journey to live out and his own demons to face as they seek to triumph over an uncertain and dangerous future.
ISTPs usually enjoy a good war movie, and they connect with a story where people have to overcome their fears and dangers to fight for justice. Many ISTPs also have a strong connection to military life, as a large number of ISTPs have served in the military. In fact, currently ISTPs are the only type in the MBTI® manual recommended for the military. ISTPs are rightfully known for being the best type with tools, including weapons, so this may be the justification for that.
This British crime comedy takes you into the heart of the London underworld, following the lives of three groups of characters intent on finding an 86 carat diamond. The film has multiple plots and is complex, gritty, and comedic enough to capture the ISTPs attention.
I can picture many ISTPs appreciating this quote from the character Bullet Tooth Tony;
“You should never underestimate the predictability of stupidity.”
Heat follows the lives of Neil McCauley, a professional thief, and Lt. Vincent Hanna, an LAPD robbery-homicide detective who’s on the hunt for McCauley’s crew. The story is based on the former Chicago police officer Chuck Adamson’s pursuit during the 1960s of a criminal named McCauley, after whom De Niro’s character is named
ISTPs love a good crime drama, and Heat packs enough twists and turns to keep them on the edge of their seats.
“I gotta hold on to my angst. I preserve it because I need it. It keeps me sharp, on the edge, where I gotta be.” – Lt. Vincent Hanna, the Heat
4. Stand By Me
In a small Oregon town, a group of young misfits search for the body of a missing teenager. They desire to be heroes, not only in their own eyes, but in the eyes of their hometown. Their two-day trek brings them face-to-face with dangers both outside and inside their own hearts.
When asking ISTPs for their favorite movie recommendations, one commented about “Stand By Me”, “if you haven’t seen it kill yourself”, while another said it was one of the best movies of the ’80s. So if you haven’t seen it, you might want to give this one a try 🙂
5. 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
ISTPs enjoy a good mind-bending movie, and “The Usual Suspects” provides that with a sly dose of humor to keep things mentally stimulating and entertaining.
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.
7. LA Confidential
Three very different detectives in the corrupt L.A. police force of the 1950s use differing methods to uncover a conspiracy behind the murders of mob boss Mickey Cohen’s gang. This movie is an epic, edge-of-your-seat tribute to tough film noir crime novels. Based on the multi-layered James Ellroy novel.
LA Confidential has enough plot twists and suspense to keep the Ti-dominant mind of the ISTP intrigued and trying to guess what will happen next. As Jenna, an ISTP stated, “most suspense movies I’ve got figured out early enough that I’m bored through most of the movie. LA Confidential was smart enough to keep me interested until the end”
Equilibrium is a dystopian thriller set in the futuristic city-state of Libria. Here, a strict regime has eliminated war by forcing people to suppress their emotions: books, art and music are strictly forbidden and feeling is a crime punishable by death. Cleric John Preston is a leading government agent charged with destroying those who resist the rules. When he misses a dose of Prozium, a mind-altering emotion-hindering drug, he becomes increasingly aware that he must overthrow the new regime.
Earth’s future has been stirred up by disasters, famines, and droughts. A team of astronauts risk their lives in the hopes of ensuring mankind’s survival. They must make the dangerous journey through a wormhole in space to discover a planet that might have the right environment to sustain human life.
Former lawman Wyatt Earp, along with his two brothers and friend Doc Holliday settle in the town of Tombstone in order to lead a profitable and peaceful life. Their peaceful life is short-lived, however, when they come face-to-face with a band of outlaws led by the Clanton brothers. Through a series of events, the story leads us to Arizona’s famed “Shootout at the O.K. Corral”.
My ISTP husband, Daniel, says that Tombstone “is the quintessential story of good versus evil in the face of virtual defeat. As an ISTP I think we all identify with Wyatt Earp and wish we had a friend as good as Doc Holliday.”
11. Lord of the Rings series
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.
12. The Magnificent Seven
An evil bandit named Calvera terrorizes a small Mexican farming village each year. In desperation, several of the village elders send three of the farmers into the United States to search for gunmen to defend them. They end up with the seven; each with his own reasons for being there, and each deadly in his own unique way.
The Magnificent Seven has a lot of interesting characters ranging from the gregarious Steve McQueen to the stoic Charles Bronson. I think it’s safe to estimate that several of the Magnificent Seven were ISTP characters. ISTPs are known for their tactical abilities, including their skills with weaponry and tools. I think many of them might enjoy seeing the seven heroes in their finest moments using talents that many ISTPs also wish they had, or already possess.
13. Star Wars series
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.
14. 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.
Jason Bourne is an ISTP character who definitely makes use of his natural talents in concert with his training to survive and figure out what all he’s forgotten. This leads to an action packed film that will leave all ISTP’s wishing they had the opportunity to use their abilities in a similar (if less life threatening) manner.
15. Thank You For Smoking
“Thank You For Smoking” is a satirical comedy that follows the machinations of Big Tobacco’s chief spokesman, Nick Naylor. Naylor, along with his best friends, Polly Bailey, who works in the Moderation Council in alcohol business, and Bobby Jay Bliss of the gun business make up the self-entitled “Merchants of Death”, and dispute which industry has killed more people. The movie follows Naylor as he spins arguments to defend the cigarette industry while trying to remain a positive role model for his twelve-year-old son.
16. The Great Escape
Based on a true story, “The Great Escape” deals with the largest Allied escape attempt from a German POW camp during World War II. In the story, a group of the best escape artists in World War II history are all placed in an “escape proof” camp. The film follows the POWs as they try to outwit their jailers and dig an escape tunnel. The adventure unfolds as they use boats, trains, planes, and even motorcycles to find their way to freedom.
17. 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.
18. Gran Torino
Gran Torino tells the story of Walt Kowalski, a retired auto worker and Korean war veteran living in Detroit. Recently widowed, Walt lives alone in a crime-infested neighborhood and has a strained relationship with his family. He is grumpy, tough-minded, unhappy, and wants nothing to do with the Hmong family who live next door. His only prized possession is his 1972 Gran Torino that he keeps in mint condition. When his neighbor Thao, a young Hmong teenager under pressure from his gang member cousin, tries to steal his Gran Torino, Kowalski sets out to reform the youth. Over time, Thao’s family faces severe attacks by gangs within the neighborhood, and Kowalski becomes their unofficial protector.
Clint Eastwood is one of the most famous ISTP actors, and as a result, he tends to have a persona and sensibility that many ISTPs can relate to. In his films he portrays many of the traits that ISTPs are famous for; a no-nonsense, logical mind and an ability to think quickly in a crisis.
19. Die Hard
NYPD cop John McClane goes on a Christmas vacation to visit his wife Holly in Los Angeles. While he is at his wife’s Christmas party, a group of bank robbers led by Hans Gruber take control of the building and hold everyone hostage while they plan to perform a heist. John has managed to evade the robbers, but is unable to escape the building. With no police response or way out, he is forced to take matters into his own hands.
John McClane is an ESTP personality type, so ISTPs are going to have a natural sense of understanding and camaraderie with a character like his. He has the natural quick wits, physical intelligence, and in-the-moment tactical abilities that make STPs stand out.
20. American Gangster
In 1970s America, detective Richie Roberts works to bring down the drug empire of Frank Lucas, a heroin kingpin from Manhattan, who is smuggling drugs into the country from the Far East. The ensuing game of cat and mouse that is portrayed is not only intriguing but will entertain to the very end.
21. Fight Club
Fight Club follows the life of a depressed office worker who suffers from insomnia and a nagging feeling of emptiness in his daily life. He meets the reckless, devil-may-care Tyler Durden (Brad Pitt) who takes him under his wing and together they start an underground fight club for men who are fed up with their mundane lives. However, this club evolves and becomes much more sinister than our main character ever dreamed.
ISTPs are very action-oriented people who are underwhelmed by corporate America and the drive to “keep up with the Jonses”. This movie combines dry wit, physical thrills, and taps into a sense of idealism that many ISTPs can relate to.
22. Shaun of the Dead
Shaun has had one of the worst possible days, but it’s just about to get worse when he wakes up to a zombie apocalypse. He decides to take this opportunity to be the hero and save all the people he cares about. All he has to do is survive.
ISTPs have a penchant for the dark, dry humor prolific in “Shaun of the Dead”. While this movie may not boast an ISTP lead, they still enjoy being able to laugh at an offbeat comedy that defies all the typical comedy scenarios.
23. The Godfather
Vito Corleone is the aging leader of the Corleone Mafia Family. His youngest son Michael has returned from WWII just in time to see the wedding of his sister to Carlo Rizzi. All of Michael’s family is involved with the Mafia, but Michael just wants to live a normal life. Drug dealer Virgil Sollozzo is looking for Mafia families to offer him protection in exchange for a profit of the drug money. He approaches Don Corleone about it, but, much against the advice of his lawyer Tom Hagen, Corleone is morally against the use of drugs, and turns down the offer. This does not please Sollozzo, who has the Don shot down by some of his hit men. The Don barely survives, which leads his son Michael to begin a violent mob war against Sollozzo which tears the Corleone family apart.
Ryan Gosling plays a mysterious man who drives for movie productions by day and steers getaway vehicles for armed heists by night. Though a lone wolf by nature, Driver finds himself falling for his beautiful neighbor Irene, a young mother dragged into a dangerous underworld by the return of her ex-convict husband. After a heist intended to pay off Standard’s protection money spins completely out of control, Driver finds himself fighting for the protection of the girl he loves while being tailed by a group of deadly criminals.
Ryan Gosling’s character in Drive is an ISTP and he plays the role to perfection. He’s a lone wolf with a knack for mechanics and a taciturn, dry sense of humor. Like many ISTPs in the movies, he stays calm and disengaged until someone he loves is threatened. At that point, we are able to see why no one should never try to get on an ISTPs bad side.
25. John Wick
John Wick is grieving over the loss of his wife of five years and is surprised to receive a puppy as a last gift from her after her death. Later, the son of his former mob boss steals his car, kills the puppy, and attacks John Wick without realizing that he is his father’s former hit man. When Wick recovers, he sets out to exact his revenge.
John Wick is an ISTP character, and so many ISTPs will relate to his quiet intensity and resolve. ISTPs, while they may seem unemotional, can form very intense bonds with their loved ones. When someone threatens that relationship or memory, the otherwise calm and easy-going ISTP can become a force to be reckoned with, and John Wick is an excellent example of this. ISTPs as a result can identify with him and his plight.
All the movies and characters represented here are the property of their respective studios.