Artistic tendencies: How long have you felt this way, Darth?

As a film chronicles Freud and Jung's battle of wits, Phil Boucher puts 10 artistic moments on the couch

On 27 February 1907, budding psychiatrist Carl Gustav Jung travelled to Vienna to meet Sigmund Freud for the first time. It was to be a momentous occasion: Jung described Freud as "intelligent, shrewd, and altogether remarkable", and for the next seven years the duo developed the intellectual friendship detailed in A Dangerous Method, starring Michael Fassbender, Keira Knightley and Viggo Mortensen.

Sadly, it was not to last. Initially Freud assumed the role of Jung's mentor, but as the young Swiss developed his own theories he began to question Freud's beliefs – most notably his obsession with sexuality as a motivating force.

Jung also disputed Freud's concept of the unconscious mind being little more than a reservoir of repressed thoughts; to Jung, these hidden emotions were something that could be tapped and freed to become a source of immense artistic creativity.

The impact on the arts of this theoretical split has been dramatic: Jung's ideas rapidly inspired artists such as Salvador Dali to plot a course into the previously uncharted dream world of Surrealism, followed by musicians such as The Beatles and Pink Floyd; meanwhile Freud's concepts of repressed mental distress have long been adopted by film-makers and authors searching for a psychologically tormented hero, twisted femme fatale or delusional scoundrel.

Nor does it stop there, as this list of 10 artistic hits influenced by the two great thinkers proves.

'A Dangerous Method' is on general release from Friday

The films of Alfred Hitchcock

Hitchcock created the most famous murder scene in film using little more than a shower curtain and a violin, yet this was just the tip of his psychological genius: in Marnie, Tippie Hedren stars as a dysfunctional kleptomaniac suffering from childhood trauma; Vertigo sees James Stewart suffering from nightmarish flashbacks; while Spellbound features an elaborate dream sequence created by Jungian devotee Salvador Dali, and opens with the words: "Our story deals with psychoanalysis, the method by which modern science treats the emotional problems of the sane."

'Synchronicity', by The Police

It's not just tantric fumblings that float Sting's intellectual boat. Hell no. The Wallsend-born songwriter was heavily influenced by Jung's theory of synchronicity while writing The Police's 1983 album, which bears its name, and is pictured reading Jung's book on the cover artwork. The album also contains a song in two parts called "Synchronicity I" and "Synchronicity II". "Jung believed there was a large pattern to life, that it wasn't just chaos," Sting later explained. "Our song 'Synchronicity II' is about two parallel events that aren't connected logically or causally, but symbolically." Who are we to argue?

'The Sopranos'

Given that he spent his life dealing with a sociopathic mother, morally bankrupt sister and suicidally nervous wife, while simultaneously running a murderous crime empire, it's hardly surprising that Tony Soprano turned to psychotherapy. Yet the show went much further than simple parody: it used extended dream sequences, and Tony's in-therapy stories of ducks landing in swimming pools or stealing his penis as metaphors to reveal his inner torment – even if the sessions with Dr Melfi weren't always successful. Tony once described Freud's Oedipus theory as "that crap about every boy wanting to have sex with his mother".

'Star Wars'

In 1975 George Lucas was desperately struggling to pull together the strands of his imaginary Star Wars world when he stumbled upon Joseph Campbell's book The Hero With a Thousand Faces, which is inspired by Jung's theory of a universally shared subconscious model of what constitutes a perfect hero. Lucas then used Campbell's ideas as a blueprint for the film, with the likes of Obi-Wan Kenobi, Yoda and Luke Skywalker representing such mythic elements as mentor, oracle and deified apotheosis. The same blueprint was also used in The Matrix – although with more PVC and fewer light sabres.

The paintings of Jackson Pollock

Some may claim that Jack the Dripper did little more than haphazardly spill paint around his studio in a drunken rage, yet Pollock's abstract expressionism displays a deep-seated understanding of both composition and colour. It also owes a huge debt to Jungian therapy, as in 1938 the American spent four months in hospital undergoing psychiatric treatment for his alcoholism. Here therapists tried to draw out the root causes of his inner torment by asking Pollock to draw pictures and closely examining the results for signs of unconscious symbolism. This thorough Jungian examination remained with Pollock throughout his career – as, sadly, did his alcoholism.

'Fight Club'

What is Fight Club? On the one hand it's a commentary on alienation in modern consumerist society; on the other it's an excuse for Brad Pitt, to look enviably handsome, tough and cool. Yet it's also an exploration of the Freudian mind, with Edward Norton's insomniac narrator representing a human mind that's allowed the hedonistic impulses of its id to slip free of the restraining influence imparted by its more sensible ego. The narrator projects this wildly roaming Id through the guise of Pitt's rampaging Tyler Durden, who embarks on a mission to fulfill all the narrator's desires. At the climax of the film, the narrator – or ego – manages to regain control of his Brad Pitt-shaped id and destroys every edifice of the insanely egomaniacal world that Tyler has inhabited.

Laurence Olivier's 'Hamlet'

William Shakespeare wrote Hamlet some 250 years before Freud was born, yet when it came to filming his 1948 adaptation of the play, Sir Laurence Olivier relied heavily on the Austrian psychologist's theories to turn the cold and sexless Dane into a virile young man struggling to deal with immense psychological torment – most notably in the strong Oedipal undercurrents present in the scenes between Olivier's Prince and Eileen Herlie's Queen Gertrude. Despite criticism from traditionalists, Olivier's approach paid off: Sir Larry's film was a hit at the box office and won him the Best Picture and Best Actor awards at that year's Oscars.

'Life on Mars'

After months of tortuous clues, the ground-breaking cop show ultimately revealed Gene Hunt's macho Seventies world to be the fantastical construct of Sam Tyler's dying, tumour-riddled brain. In the 1980s sequel, Ashes to Ashes, this concept was then taken a step further, with the retro universe portrayed as a special form of purgatory for dead police officers. Yet by driving a Ford Cortina at high speed into the heart of Tyler's coma-induced fantasies, Life on Mars was effectively basing itself in the concepts of a collective and personal subconscious – ideas created by Freud and Jung.

'Crow', by Ted Hughes

Poets such as Byron, Shelley and Coleridge would have gladly forsaken their last vial of opium to have known about the surrealist dreamworld opened up by Carl Jung. So it was only natural that Ted Hughes drew heavily on Jung's ideas of myth and the collective subconscious to tackle such weighty issues as man's innately foolish nature within his Crow poems, written between 1966 and 1969. By setting free thoughts that frequently remain repressed within the unconscious, Hughes participates in the healthy psychological process Jung calls individuation. Or, at least, that's the theory.

Assassin's Creed

On the surface, this computer game is little more than a feeble excuse to leap across medieval rooftops and elegantly slaughter people. Yet the game also works on a much deeper level and is essentially set within the subconscious memories of a 21st-century barman called Desmond Miles, as he's hooked up to a mind-delving machine known as the Animus. Carl Jung coined the term "animus" to describe one of the two main archetypes of the unconscious mind. The other – the "anima" – is represented by the game's female characters.

Arts & Entertainment

Arts & Entertainment
Customers browse through Vinyl Junkies record shop in Berwick Street, Soho, London

Arts & Entertainment
Who laughs lass: Jenny Collier on stage
ComedyCollier was once told there were "too many women" on bill
Arts & Entertainment
Ian Anderson, the leader of British rock band Jethro Tull, (right) and British guitar player Martin Barre (left) perform on stage

Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?
Arts & Entertainment
Don (John Hamm) and Megan (Jessica Paré) Draper are going their separate ways in the final series of ‘Mad Men’
tvReview: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
Arts & Entertainment
James Franco and Chris O'Dowd in Of Mice and Men on Broadway

Review: Of Mice and Men

Arts & Entertainment

By opportunistic local hoping to exhibit the work

Arts & Entertainment
Leonardo DiCaprio will star in an adaptation of Michael Punke's thriller 'The Revenant'

Fans will be hoping the role finally wins him an Oscar

Arts & Entertainment
Cody and Paul Walker pictured in 2003.

Arts & Entertainment
Down to earth: Fern Britton presents 'The Big Allotment Challenge'

Arts & Entertainment
The London Mozart Players is the longest-running chamber orchestra in the UK
musicThreatened orchestra plays on, managed by its own members
Arts & Entertainment
Seeing red: James Dean with Sal Mineo in 'Rebel without a Cause'

Arts & Entertainment
Arts & Entertainment
Heads up: Andy Scott's The Kelpies in Falkirk

What do gigantic horse heads tell us about Falkirk?

Arts & Entertainment
artGraffiti legend posts picture of work – but no one knows where it is
Arts & Entertainment
A close-up of Tom of Finland's new Finnish stamp

Finnish Postal Service praises the 'self irony and humour' of the drawings

Arts & Entertainment
Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in 2002's Die Another Day

The actor has confessed to his own insecurities

Life & Style
Green fingers: a plot in East London

Allotments are the focus of a new reality show

Arts & Entertainment
Myleene Klass attends the Olivier awards 2014

Oliviers 2014Theatre stars arrive at Britain's most prestigious theatre awards
Arts & Entertainment
Stars of The Book of Mormon by Trey Parker and Matt Stone of South Park

Oliviers 2014Blockbuster picked up Best Musical and Best Actor in a Musical
Arts & Entertainment
Lesley Manville with her Olivier for Best Actress for her role in 'Ghosts'

Oliviers 2014Actress thanked director Richard Eyre for a stunning production
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition iPad app?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe: Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC

    How I brokered a peace deal with Robert Mugabe

    Roy Agyemang reveals the delicate diplomacy needed to get Zimbabwe’s President to sit down with the BBC
    Video of British Muslims dancing to Pharrell Williams's hit Happy attacked as 'sinful'

    British Muslims's Happy video attacked as 'sinful'

    The four-minute clip by Honesty Policy has had more than 300,000 hits on YouTube
    Church of England-raised Michael Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith

    Michael Williams: Do as I do, not as I pray

    Church of England-raised Williams describes the unexpected joys in learning about his family's Jewish faith
    A History of the First World War in 100 moments: A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife

    A History of the First World War in 100 moments

    A visit to the Front Line by the Prime Minister's wife
    Comedian Jenny Collier: 'Sexism I experienced on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    Jenny Collier: 'Sexism on stand-up circuit should be extinct'

    The comedian's appearance at a show on the eve of International Women's Day was cancelled because they had "too many women" on the bill
    Cannes Film Festival: Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or

    Cannes Film Festival

    Ken Loach and Mike Leigh to fight it out for the Palme d'Or
    The concept album makes surprise top ten return with neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson

    The concept album makes surprise top ten return

    Neolithic opus from Jethro Tull's Ian Anderson is unexpected success
    Lichen is the surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus, thanks to our love of Scandinavian and Indian cuisines

    Lichen is surprise new ingredient on fine-dining menus

    Emily Jupp discovers how it can give a unique, smoky flavour to our cooking
    10 best baking books

    10 best baking books

    Planning a spot of baking this bank holiday weekend? From old favourites to new releases, here’s ten cookbooks for you
    Jury still out on Manchester City boss Manuel Pellegrini

    Jury still out on Pellegrini

    Draw with Sunderland raises questions over Manchester City manager's ability to motivate and unify his players
    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    Ben Stokes: 'Punching lockers isn't way forward'

    The all-rounder has been hailed as future star after Ashes debut but incident in Caribbean added to doubts about discipline. Jon Culley meets a man looking to control his emotions
    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    Mark Johnston: First £1 million jackpot spurs him on

    The most prize money ever at an All-Weather race day is up for grabs at Lingfield on Friday, and the record-breaking trainer tells Jon Freeman how times have changed
    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail. If you think it's awful, then just don't watch it'

    Ricky Gervais: 'People are waiting for me to fail'

    As the second series of his divisive sitcom 'Derek' hits screens, the comedian tells James Rampton why he'll never bow to the critics who habitually circle his work
    Mad Men series 7, TV review: The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge

    Mad Men returns for a final fling

    The suits are still sharp, but Don Draper has lost his edge
    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground as there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit

    Google finds a lift into space will never get off the ground

    Technology giant’s scientists say there is no material strong enough for a cable from Earth into orbit