Best Movies Based on Real-Life Scientists

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We are undeniably living in an era where some stories for cinema are often based on — whether directly adapted or subtly inspired by — real-life monumental events that have shaped history. Movies like Zero Dark Thirty , Hidden Figures , and The King's Speech are just a few critically and commercially acclaimed stories that brought to life significant periods of human history. Of course, there are films on the other end of the quality spectrum that, though based on real life, are devoid of authenticity, or fail in terms of accuracy. One genre that has been a staple in cinema history — and one that we are currently witnessing a boom of sorts — is the biopic, or biographical movie .

Taking real historical figures, their stories, and major accomplishments, biopics help audiences dive into the lives of people who changed the world as we know it. One major subgenre is the biopic. This year a huge biopic called Oppenheimer directed by Christopher Nolan featured a number of real-life scientists, though it wasn't the first to explore the concept.

Updated on August 11th, 2023, by Federico Furzan : This article has been updated with additional content to keep the discussion fresh and relevant with even more information and new entries.

11 The Theory of Everything (2014)

the theory of everything redmayne thewlis

Led by Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything is a balanced renaissance of romance, drama, and honesty on its own merit. The movie, based on the life of renowned English astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, delves deeper into the timeline of Hawkins’ life when he is diagnosed with ALS, which slowly begins affecting his brain and nerves’ basic functions.

Despite that, Hawking harbors an ambition to revolutionize the uncharted theories of physics with his intelligence and simultaneously hopes to cherish the finite days with his love and fellow collegian Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). Interestingly, in an interview with Variety, the real-life Hawking cited that the film was “broadly true,” and was for him largely synonymous with watching himself play the character.

10 Temple Grandin (2010)

temple grandin claire danes

In one of the best performances of her career, Claire Danes played real-life American scholar Temple Grandin. Temple Grandin is a great depiction of the ordeal Grandin had to go through in order to be taken seriously as a specialist in the basics of cattle management.

Autism was the condition through which people belittled her. Besides having Danes as a fantastic lead, Temple Grandin is also a great portrayal of female resilience and a heartwarming film that never disappoints.

9 The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

The Man Who Knew Infinity patel irons

The Man Who Knew Infinity is a treasure trove of the last decade, serving as an epic biographical drama that leaves the theatergoers gut-wrenched as the film inches close to its conclusion. The film tells the tale of brilliant Indian mathematician Srinivasan Ramanujan.

It spotlights Ramanujan’s grit at making a mark through his groundbreaking mathematic discoveries after gaining admittance to Cambridge University during World War Ⅰ. The Man Who Knew Infinity , starring Dev Patel as the titular character, remodels impoverished, yet brainy Srinivasan’s life into an exceptional genius under the unerring guidance of his mentor G.H. Hardy, played exceptionally by Jeremy Irons.

8 Tesla (2020)

Ethan Hawke Tesla

In 2020's biopic Tesla , we explore the life of the real-life enigma of Nikola Tesla. All through the performance of an impeccable Ethan Hawke who goes skin-deep when trying to embody such a twisted frame of mind.

The life of the genius who practically invented electrical power is depicted through the relationships Tesla suffered through, which ultimately turned him into a mysterious scientist who still doesn't get the recognition he deserves.

7 The Imitation Game (2014)

Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing in The Imitation Game

The historical drama The Imitation Game , adapted from the novel Alan Turing: The Enigma, is based on the life of British prodigal mathematician Alan Turning, an alumnus of Cambridge University. The movie serves as a nail-biting plot of a team decrypting near-impossible Nazi codes that harbor sensitive information about impending German attacks during World War Ⅱ.

Indeed, The Imitation Game sets the narrative against time and sees Benedict Cumberbatch triumphantly portraying Turing. Turing is also accompanied by the brains of Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode), and John Cairncross (Allen Leech) in this quest to decode the unbreakable Enigma, as he's also going through an emotional ordeal regarding a hidden secret.

Related: 8 Biopics That Were Criticized by the Real-Life Figures They Were About

6 Creation (2009)

Paul Bettany Creation

British romance-drama biopic Creation stars Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin, the famous naturalist. The film dives broadly into the lives of Emma (Jennifer Connelly) and Darwin, who are leading an unstable life after the untimely demise of their eldest daughter Annie.

Creation traces the events leading up to the publication of the book titled On The Origin of Species, a scientific journal logging ground-breaking evolutionary discoveries and theories of the planetary species, written by Charles. Jon Amiel directed Creation , offering moviegoers the chance to conclusively ponder over precisely two conflicting thoughts: whether species are a creation of God or descendants of evolution. The movie, however, contrary to its title, leans towards evolution.

5 October Sky (1999)

october sky gyllenhaal dern

An inspiring story of emotional power that tells a real-life story that not many people know about. October Sky is based on the memoir of real-life NASA specialist Homer Hickam, and it tells the story of Hickam's prominence in going against the will of the town and his family to become fascinated with rocket science.

Of course, in 1957 only the Soviet's first iteration of Sputnik had gone to outer space and this couldn't be considered inspiring. Hickam, with the help of his friends and the support of his science teacher, thrives and becomes the town's most interesting teenager when he starts building a rocket of his own. The masterful direction by genre icon Joe Johnston is one of his best. This was one of Jake Gyllenhaal's first noteworthy performances.

4 Hidden Figures (2016)

hidden figures cast

Hidden Figures , inspired by Margot Lee Shetterly’s novel of the same name, re-narrates the story of NASA’s Black women employees: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. As portrayed, the characters were the catalyst in the successful accomplishment of Project Mercury, which involved the orbital launch of astronaut John Glenn.

The biopic starring stellar actors Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe, also brings forward the history of racial and gender discrimination faced by the team at their work. Indeed, the movie is a must-watch as it reinvigorates the message that women are cerebrally equal to men in every aspect.

3 Gorillas in the Mist (1988)

gorillas in the mist weaver

In Michael Apted's Gorillas in the Mist , the scientist whose life we discover through a truly endearing film, is Dian Fossey, the environmentalist who until she was brutally murdered, fought for the conservation of mountain gorilla habitats in the Congo.

Played by Sigourney Weaver in an award-winning performance, Fossey was a fierce lady who faced dangers from two sides: the one with the wild animals who she trusted more than anything, and the one with the humans who cowardly ended her life too soon. The scenes involving Fossey interacting with gorillas are impressive.

2 A Beautiful Mind (2001)

A Beautiful Mind crowe connelly

A Beautiful Mind is an American drama loosely based on the life of mathematician Josh Forbes Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics, played by Russell Crowe. The film sees Nash accepting the decrypting assignment from a mysterious man named William Parcher, working with the United States Department of Defense.

As such, assignments handed to Nash are largely focused on identifying patterns in magazines and clippings to thwart the Soviets' schemes. It is eventually revealed that Nash is experiencing episodes of delusion and suffering from schizophrenia, hinting that every montage is his figment of imagination. While A Beautiful Mind never intended to exhibit the exact life of the mathematician, it boded fairly well at depicting the agonies one goes through at the hands of a mental disorder.

1 Oppenheimer (2023)

Oppenheimer Cillian Murphy

In Christopher Nolan's Oppenheimer , we explore the life of theoretical physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer during the peak of his life when he participated in The Manhattan Project and eventually masterminded the plan for creating an atomic bomb. The film heavily focuses on Oppenheimer's intimate life as he always fought misconceptions and ideological obstacles.

Ultimately, the film shows his success in creating the most lethal object of the 20th century, but it also shows how his image was darkened by the security hearings in which he was formally accused of being a closeted communist. This is Nolan's most dramatic film to date, so fans of his spectacle-based films will surely be confused at how Oppenheimer plays out. But in the end, it's a masterful adaptation of events that actually took place.

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The Best Movies About Real Scientists

Ranker Film

The fascinating world of science has inspired countless films throughout the years, including some that are based on the lives of scientists. These biographical movies not only illuminate the extraordinary contributions that these individuals have made to their fields but also offer captivating insights into their personal journeys and the challenges they faced. With elements of drama, romance, and adventure, these films not only entertain but also celebrate the scientific spirit that drives human progress. 

The scientist-movie selection covers a wide range of subjects and eras, showcasing the multifaceted nature of scientific discovery. Each film delves into the heart of a scientist's story, highlighting their struggles, triumphs, and the impact of their groundbreaking work. Viewers are given a glimpse of the determination, perseverance, and brilliance that these pioneers displayed, as well as the emotional and intellectual challenges that colored their lives. 

For instance, The Imitation Game presents the story of Alan Turing, a brilliant mathematician who played a crucial role in breaking the Enigma code during World War II, while grappling with his own personal demons. Likewise, A Beautiful Mind explores the life of John Nash, a gifted mathematician who battled schizophrenia while making significant contributions to game theory. The Theory of Everything delves into the life and work of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, depicting his fight against motor neuron disease and the development of his groundbreaking theories in cosmology. These exceptional films are just a few examples of how movies about scientists capture the essence of these pioneering intellects and their achievements. 

The best movies about scientists not only provide engaging entertainment but also serve as inspiring tributes to the indomitable human spirit in the quest for knowledge and understanding. By portraying the lives and works of these remarkable individuals, these biographical movies enable audiences to appreciate the invaluable contributions that scientists have made to society and the world at large. 

The Imitation Game

The Imitation Game

In this riveting historical drama, audiences delve into the life of Alan Turing, a British mathematician, and logician who played a crucial role in breaking the infamous German Enigma code during World War II. The film elegantly interweaves Turing's personal struggles with his groundbreaking work, highlighting his complex relationships and tragic persecution due to his homosexuality. This compelling story is a testament to Turing's sheer brilliance and unparalleled contribution to modern-day computer science.

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The Man Who Knew Infinity

The Man Who Knew Infinity

An extraordinary cinematic masterpiece, this film revolves around the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a self-taught mathematical genius from India. It showcases his abundant talent, determination, and passion for numbers as he gets enrolled at Cambridge University during World War I. Overcoming numerous obstacles and prejudice in a foreign land, the audience is captivated by the deep bond that forms between Ramanujan and his mentor, G.H. Hardy. With breathtaking performances, this movie sheds light on the power of perseverance and the beauty of friendship.

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A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind

This emotionally-charged biopic tells the inspiring story of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics whose groundbreaking theories were often overshadowed by his battle with schizophrenia. The movie explores how Nash's loving wife Alicia supports him through unimaginable hardships while striving to maintain her own sanity. With raw and heart-wrenching performances, this film is bound to leave a lasting impact on anyone who watches it.

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The Theory of Everything

The Theory of Everything

Based on the incredible journey of renowned physicist Stephen Hawking, this movie follows the young genius as he faces the brutal diagnosis of ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis) while pursuing groundbreaking discoveries in the field of cosmology. Simultaneously, it narrates the unwavering love story between Hawking and Jane Wilde set against all odds. With powerful acting and awe-inspiring storytelling, this film demonstrates the true meaning of resilience and transcending one's limitations.

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Hidden Figures

Hidden Figures

A heartwarming tribute to the unsung heroes of NASA, this movie highlights the remarkable contributions of three African-American female mathematicians during the early years of the American space program. Faced with racial and gender discrimination, these exceptional women navigated their way through adversity while playing pivotal roles in sending astronaut John Glenn into orbit. Through captivating storytelling and strong performances, this film showcases the power of determination and perseverance.

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The Secret of Nikola Tesla

The Secret of Nikola Tesla

This fascinating biopic delves into the life and groundbreaking work of inventor and visionary, Nikola Tesla. It portrays his never-ending quest for knowledge and innovation, as well as the rivalry between him and Thomas Edison over electrical systems. This film not only illuminates the immense impact Tesla had on modern technology but also reveals his eccentricities accompanied by his genius.

best biography movies on scientists

Best movies about famous scientists that aren't Oppenheimer

Oppenheimer cleaned up at the Oscars this year, so what better time to look back at the best biopics based on history's most influential scientists?

A promotional image for the Oppenheimer movie. Cillian Murphy (playing J. Robert Oppenheimer) stands in front of an explosion.

1. Hidden Figures

2. einstein and eddington, 3. october sky, 5. the imitation game, 6. temple grandin, 8. gorillas in the mist, 9. ammonite, 10. the man who knew infinity.

One of the most talked-about releases of 2023 was "Oppenheimer", a biopic about the man who invented the nuclear bomb, directed by Christopher Nolan. Not only did it rake in nearly $1bn at the box office , it scooped up seven Oscars at the 96th Academy Awards , including gongs for best picture and best actor for Cillian Murphy's portrayal of J. Robert Oppenheimer.  

Biopics that focus on famous scientists often must tread a fine line of explaining the science while humanizing the faces behind the discoveries. Here we reflect on 10 of the most significant, influential, and/or accurate science biopics over the past decades.

Read more about J. Robert Oppenheimer

  • 8 wild stories about J. Robert Oppenheimer, the 'father of the atomic bomb'
  • Who was J. Robert Oppenheimer? Biographer Kai Bird delves into the physicist's fascinating life and legacy
  • 'The night turned into day': How Manhattan Project scientists reacted to the world's first atomic bomb test

Still from the science biopic Hidden Figures (2016)

  • Age rating: PG

Released in 2016, Hidden Figures follows three Black women working as mathematicians at NASA during the space race. The women highlighted include Katherine Johnson, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughan. Each with their own specialties, we see them fight and work through the systemic racism present in the industry to have real impacts on human spaceflight. 

One of the most well-known biopics in recent years, Hidden Figures (loosely based on a book by the same name) rightly served the almost meta purpose of highlighting Black women who truly had been lost to history. The setting and stories at NASA Langley Research Center in Hampton, VA are mostly recognized to be true, with some changes made to serve the story. 

This film is a fantastic watch for all ages, and even young kids can be drawn into the pacing and relatable characters. Highly recommended for all viewers.

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Still from the science biopic movie Einstein and Eddington (2008 TV Movie).

  • Age rating: 12

Originally released as a BBC Two drama, Einstein and Eddington has been widely overlooked despite its stellar cast and storytelling. Starring David Tennant as Sir Arthur Eddington and Andy Serkis as Albert Einstein, this film tells the story of the introduction of Einstein’s General Theory of Relativity to the world, and Eddington’s relationship therein. Eddington was instrumental in assisting with the first indirect test of General Relativity during a solar eclipse in 1919. This was a particularly turbulent time in physics as Einstein’s theories and Eddington’s observations were contrasting long-accepted Newtonian physics laws. 

A key story in the film centers on Eddington’s romantic feelings for his best friend at Cambridge, which has never been confirmed by historical records. Regardless, this film is a fantastic retelling of a snapshot in physics history against the backdrop of the First World War. While it might be a bit slow for younger audiences, the stellar acting and fascinating story make this a must-see for fans of science and history. 

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Still from the science biopic movie October Sky (1999).

Along the theme of rocket research, October Sky tells the story of four young men from West Virginia who are inspired to take up rocketry after the launch of Sputnik 1. Based on the memoir “Rocket Boys”, this film is a classic coming-of-age story that inspires across recommendations. It beautifully and honestly depicts life in the late 1950s coal mining regions of the Appalachians. 

The film is based on the true story of Homer H Hickam Jr, the son of a coal miner who fought against expectations to become an engineer at NASA, generally faithful to the book and life depicted therein, despite the omission of Wernher von Braun’s Nazi associations. 

Though this film was released in 1999, it remains an inspirational classic for families and folks of all ages.

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Still from the science biopic movie Agora (2009).

  • Age rating: 12A

Reaching far back in the annals of history, Agora is an English-language Spanish film that tells the story of Hypatia, a woman in late 4th century Roman Egypt who challenges the heliocentric model of our solar system . Starring Rachel Weisz, the film is not without its criticism for anachronistic portrayals and misleading attributions of inventions and theories to Hypatia due to the lack of historical evidence. However, this intensely cerebral drama holds themes that are still relatable today, specifically to women in STEM fields. 

With some violence and intense themes, Agora is not recommended for everyone, but its unique subject and portrayal of science in ancient times makes this a worthy viewing.

Still from the science biopic movie The Imitation Game (2014).

The Imitation Game recounts the famous story of the Enigma Machine developed during World War II to decrypt Nazi communications. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, the film follows the life of Alan Turing, noted for his work at Bletchley Park and contributions to the machines built. In addition to mathematics and cryptography, the film pays tribute to Alan Turing himself and the challenges he faced in the first half of the 20th century. 

Notably, Alan Turing was prosecuted for homosexuality and underwent chemical castration before dying of suicide in 1954. While a significant amount of liberties are taken with respect to Turing’s personal life and personality, the film nonetheless contributed to the passing of the Policing and Crime Act 2017 (the “Alan Turing law”) which serves as an amnesty law for men who were cautioned or convicted under historical legislation that outlawed homosexual acts in England and Wales. 

This award-winning film is generally acceptable for all ages though the themes may be intense for younger viewers. 

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Still from the science biopic movie Temple Grandin (2010 TV Movie).

Starring Claire Daines, Temple Grandin is a 2010 film which examines the life and work of Temple Grandin, a woman with autism who revolutionized treatment of livestock. Based on her own memoirs, this film beautifully examines the stigma of autism and women in scientific fields. Critically well received and winner of multiple awards, Grandin herself praised Danes’ performance as if “going back in a weird time machine”. 

Grandin is currently a professor of Animal Sciences at Colorado State University and a prominent advocate for autism rights and neurodiversity movements. 

Rated PG, this film would be an excellent watch for older children interested in studying and working with animals though caution must be given as the subject matter includes cruel treatment of animals.  

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Still from the science biopic movie Tesla (2020).

Chronicling the life of famous inventor Nikola Tesla, Tesla examines the ups and downs of inventions and business. Ethan Hawke brings a fantastic performance in an otherwise straightforward biographical film. Hitting the highlights of Tesla’s life and career, the film misses out on nuance and drama, but is a decent watch for those interested.  

It’s generally appropriate for all ages and may be an interesting watch for young inventors, though realizing there is a significant portion focusing on relationships. The film takes some interesting directorial choices but overall is a faithful adaptation of his life, winning the Alfred P. Sloan award at Sundance Film Festival in 2020.

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Still from the science biopic movie Gorillas in the Mist (1988).

  • Age rating: 15

Reaching back a few decades, this film is ripe for a rediscovery despite its success at the time. Gorillas in the Mist tells the story of primatologist and conservationist Dian Fossey, following her career change and move to Africa to study rare mountain gorillas. Fossey’s work explored the communication and social behavior of these gorillas, capturing the attention of National Geographic. However, the attention also highlights the poaching crisis of gorillas, turning Fossey into an anti-poaching activist. 

A good amount of the racial imagery in the film is not appropriate and if made in this day and age, one imagines a different approach would be taken. Despite some critics examining the rather neutral treatment of Fossey and her personality, the film is notable for its dozens of award nominations, particularly highlighting Sigourney Weavers’ performance and how it integrated the gorillas both live and artificial. 

The film is fairly violent and distressing, but highlights an important moment in history for the study of mountain gorillas and anti-poaching movements. 

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Still from the science biopic movie Ammonite (2020).

The romantic drama Ammonite examines the personal life and struggles of Mary Anning, a fossil collector and paleontologist in the mid-1800s. Starring Kate Winslet as Mary Anning, and Saoirse Ronan as her friend and eventual lover Charlotte Murchison, the film predominantly explores their romantic relationship in the backdrop of seaside fossil collecting in Dorset. 

From a scientific point of view, the film is illuminating to how fossils were discovered, examined, sold, and donated, often ignoring the work (particularly of women) who unearthed them. While there is no historical evidence of Anning’s sexuality, it can’t be discarded as queer history has often been told through a heterosexual lens. Regardless, Mary Anning was a pivotal paleontologist who made dozens of discoveries in Jurassic marine fossil beds along the English Channel. She was frequently, and almost completely, overlooked due to her being a woman at this time. Her story is a fascinating one, and any stories highlighting her contribution to paleontology must be lauded. 

This film is a beautiful, slow drama with the brutal English coast and life in the Victorian era playing a key role. There is a significant amount of nudity and sex so it is not recommended for younger viewers.

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Still from the science biopic movie The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015).

Starring Dev Patel, The Man Who Knew Infinity explores the life of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan and his life moving from poverty in Madras, India to Cambridge University during World War I. Under the tutelage of Professor G. H. Hardy, played by Jeremy Irons, Ramanujan became a notable theoretical mathematician. His friendship and relationship with Professor Hardy is the key drama in the film, and the struggles of maintaining a life in a new country while sustaining relationships back home. 

With real-life mathematicians collaborating with the film, it’s praised for its accurate portrayal of mathematics and professional mathematicians, often drawing comparisons to Good Will Hunting. It is generally appropriate for all audiences and is a beautiful portrayal of the lives of famous mathematicians.  

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Erin Macdonald holds a PhD in Gravitational Astrophysics from the University of Glasgow, and currently works as a writer, producer, and science consultant in Los Angeles. She recently published Star Trek: My First Book Of Space, a baby board book and also wrote and narrated the Audible Original The Science Of Sci-Fi which made the Top 10 Bestseller List in March 2020. She has written a number of videos for the YouTube channel Extra Credits on science in video games. Additionally, she has been a contributing author to publications such as StarTrek.com, SyFy Wire, and LiveScience speaking on space, science, and the intersection with science fiction. She is also the science advisor for the entire Star Trek franchise, a job which started in 2019 and continues to this day.

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best biography movies on scientists

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Best movies about scientists

best biography movies on scientists

Last week, I settled into a cinema seat to watch “Oppenheimer,” the last masterpiece by Christopher Nolan. Walking out three hours later, the movie stuck with me, just like a catchy tune you can’t shake off. It wasn’t just the story of the man behind the atomic bomb that gripped me. It was the stark reminder of how science, mixed with ambition, can be at the same time awe-inspiring and frightening.

Oppenheimer made me think: Some of the world’s greatest scientists, with all their genius, can let their swollen egos overshadow the bigger picture. Yet, films like this nudge me toward wanting to be a better scientist. So, I started thinking about other movies about scientists that inspired me. And here they are, my top 6 picks .

6. Oppenheimer (2023)

Oppenheimer as an example of scientists in movies

Synopsis: During the Second World War, physicist J. Robert Oppenheimer takes the lead in the top-secret Manhattan Project. With a team of eminent scientists by his side, he dedicates years to the creation of the world’s first atomic bomb. Their efforts culminate on July 16, 1945, with the bomb’s first successful detonation. Shortly after, the U.S. drops two atomic bombs on the cities of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, resulting in the death of hundreds of thousands of Japanese civilians. Following these devastating events, Oppenheimer grapples with profound personal and political challenges. His prior Communist ties and his reservations about nuclear weapons put him under intense scrutiny (see the trailer here ).

Why It’s Inspiring: The film shows how science, ambition, politics, and powerful discoveries are deeply intertwined. As scientists, we hope to make big discoveries, but there’s no sure way to tell if they’ll turn out good or bad. And once we find something new, it’s not just ours anymore; it’s up to the world, mostly the politicians, to decide what happens next. After watching the movie, I felt uneasy. The huge power of the atomic bomb reminded me of today’s rapid advancements in AI.

5. The Imitation Game (2014)

 Example of scientists in movies

Synopsis: During World War II, Alan Turing, a gifted mathematician, is recruited to join a secret mission to crack the Nazi’s seemingly unbreakable Enigma code. He teams up with a group of scholars, linguists, chess champions, and intelligence officers at Bletchley Park to create a machine to decipher the encrypted Nazi communications. Despite the hurdles and the pressure, they persist, and their hard work starts to pay off, unlocking the secrets of the enemy’s plans (see the trailer here ).

Why It’s Inspiring: Alan Turing’s work during the Second World War proved crucial to the Allied victory. By deciphering the German Enigma code, Turing and his team at Bletchley Park provided the Allies with invaluable intelligence, enabling them to anticipate German movements and strategies. Yet their prowess remained in the shadows, and instead of recognition, Turing suffered terrible persecution for his homosexuality. The movie sheds light on Turing’s genius and perseverance amidst societal pressures.

4. Gorillas in the Mist (1988)

 Example of scientists in movies

Synopsis: In the 1960’s, Dian Fossey, a passionate primatologist, embarks on a journey into the remote rainforests of Rwanda to study the endangered mountain gorillas. Establishing the Karisoke research center in the Virunga Mountains, Fossey creates a unique bond with the gorillas, particularly with one called Digit. She becomes their fierce protector, fighting poaching and habitat destruction. But she faces enormous challenges, from the resistance of local communities to the isolation of her field camp (see trailer here ).

Why It’s Inspiring: In the face of current concerns for our planet and its ecosystems, Gorillas in the Mist and Dian Fossey’s story are incredibly modern and ahead of their time. The gorillas in their beautiful habitat are incredibly touching and the atrocities they have suffered revolting. Dian Fossey’s scientific work, filled with deep care and love for nature, is truly inspiring.

3. The Theory of Everything (2014)

Synopsis: The Theory of Everything follows the extraordinary life of physicist Stephen Hawking. While completing his doctorate at Cambridge University, Stephen falls deeply in love with one of his classmates, Jane Wilde. But soon he receives the devastating diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (ALS), and doctors give him a mere two years to live. His physical abilities rapidly diminish, but his determination and pioneering spirit remain intact. Defying all the odds, Stephen and Jane forge an enduring marriage, weathering the trials of his physical decline and her unwavering role as partner and caregiver (see the trailer here ).

Why It’s Inspiring: What an unbelievable story celebrating human potential and spirit! This film testifies to the unstoppable will of an individual who, despite the worst physical limitations, has continued to expand our understanding of the universe.

2. Hidden Figures (2016)

best biography movies on scientists

Synopsis: In the midst of the space race in the 1960s, Hidden Figures reveals the untold story of three brilliant African-American women working at NASA: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. Employed as “computer-women” in a segregated division, they have to face the racial and sexual discrimination of their white male colleagues. But despite these obstacles, their work proves indispensable to achieving aeronautical breakthroughs (see trailer here ).

Why It’s Inspiring: It’s a beautiful film with fantastic actresses (Octavia Spencer, Taraji Henson, Kirsten Dunst) and actors (Kevin Costner). It’s a fun and easy watch but also uplifting and thought-provoking. The most enjoyable way to re-motivate yourself if you feel you need a little boost.

1. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

best biography movies on scientists

From the name of my blog, you might have seen this one coming :

Synopsis: A Beautiful Mind tells the story of John Nash, a brilliant mathematician whose groundbreaking work on game theory has catapulted him to academic stardom. However, his promising career takes a tumultuous turn when he is plagued by paranoid schizophrenia, weaving a complex web between his groundbreaking mathematical discoveries and the haunting illusions his mind conjures up. Nash’s difficulties blend closely with his personal life, affecting his relationships and academic endeavors (see the trailer here ).

Why It’s Inspiring: I recall vividly when John Nash was awarded the Nobel Prize in Economics. It showed the world that even an intellect of the highest caliber could suffer through the challenges of mental disorder. Nash’s disclosure of his condition humanized his genius and contributed to the normalization and acceptance of mental health problems. The film is a poignant portrait of his life, and so is the book from which it is adapted . If you’re looking for an inspiring read, go and get it.

Same, same but different

After rewatching these films, my life seems pretty straightforward. I don’t face serious physical or mental health problems, segregation or poacher attacks. But, like everyone else, I have my own struggles.

Seeing how the scientists in these films overcame their problems gives me the strength to face my own. Their stories show we can all push through hard times. I hope that you too will feel stronger after watching about them.

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Best Movies Right Now

Science Legends: Movies About Famous Scientists

By: Author Kaye

Posted on December 16, 2023

Ever wondered about the daily lives of the scientists? Fret not! Witness their lifeway exploration from their groundbreaking discoveries to their personal struggles as we bring you these movies about famous scientists .

Continue your science exploration experience with these sci-fi movies !

You might also enjoy these posts:

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In this post:

Movies About Famous Scientists

Famous scientists are like the rock stars of the science world. They're the brilliant minds who made groundbreaking discoveries and inventions, revolutionizing our understanding of the universe. People like Albert Einstein, Marie Curie, and Charles Darwin are celebrated for their contributions to physics, chemistry, and biology, and their work continues to shape science and our lives today.

Check out these movies about famous scientists :

Biographies - Icons of History

  • Amazon Prime Video (Video on Demand)
  • Rick Manning (Director) - Barbara Tabach (Writer) - Scott Harris (Producer)

Biographies – Icons of History (S2 E1  –  Leonardo Da Vinci)

As a scientist and engineer, he conceived numerous contemporary innovations like the bicycle, aircraft, and even the helicopter. He gained fame as an architect, botanist, and astronomer.

George W Carver - His Life and Work

  • George Washington Carver (Actor)

George W Carver – His Life and Work

Recognized as the ‘peanut man' due to his groundbreaking work on discovering more than 300 applications for peanuts, this is the remarkable journey of George Washington Carver, celebrating his numerous accomplishments, educational contributions, and inventions.

Born into slavery, Carver serves as an inspirational testament to the potential for success through diligence, optimism, and quality education, transcending racial and ethnic barriers.

Radioactive

  • Rosamund Pike, Sam Riley, Aneurin Barnard (Actors)

Radioactive

Catch Rosamund Pike in the extraordinary, factual account of Marie Curie and her groundbreaking Nobel Prize-winning contributions that reshaped our world.

Genius - Charles Darwin

  • Charles Darwin (Actor)

Genius – Charles Darwin

Presenting exclusive footage from Charles Darwin's residence, this documentary narrates the life of an exceptional individual who transformed the landscape of scientific thought and bequeathed an invaluable heritage to humanity.

The film delves into Darwin's personal experiences, the influence of his work in his era, and its relevance in today's world.

Genius, Season 1

  • Samantha Colley, Seth Gabel, Antonio Banderas (Actors)

The personal affairs of the 20th century's most brilliant figure, Albert Einstein (portrayed by Geoffrey Rush), were marked by intense and tumultuous relationships.

Benjamin Franklin: A Film by Ken Burns, Season 1

  • Peter Coyote, Mandy Patinkin, Carolyn McCormack (Actors)

Benjamin Franklin: A Film by Ken Burns

Ken Burns presents a comprehensive four-hour documentary on Benjamin Franklin, delving into the extraordinary life of a prominent 18th-century figure.

a photo collage of famous scientists

  • Armand Assante, Vincent Cassel, Fancisco Ovalle (Actors)

The Man Who Unlocked the Universe

Produced by Lola Tillyaeva (Lola Till) and Timur Tillyaev, this narrative revolves around Ulugh Beg, a renowned astronomical genius and visionary leader. He transformed medieval Samarkand into a prominent hub of scientific knowledge, a century and a half prior to Galileo's telescope invention.

Embark on an awe-inspiring cinematic voyage through his life, from princely beginnings to a fate that celestial signs had foretold.

Johannes Kepler - Storming the Heavens

  • Christian Twente (Director) - Susanne Utzt (Writer) - Gruppe 5 Filmproduktion (Producer)

Johannes Kepler – Storming the Heavens

Today, we primarily remember Johannes Kepler for his renowned laws governing planetary motion. However, the journey of his revelations is a dramatic tale rivaling the works of Shakespeare.

Initially a mathematician, Kepler's breakthroughs have earned him the title of the pioneer of contemporary natural sciences.

Famous People of the World - Famous Scientists - Antoine van Leeuwenhoek

  • Irina Konovalova (Director)

Famous People of the World – Famous Scientists – Antoine van Leeuwenhoek

Despite the absence of prestigious titles and formal scientific education, his insatiable curiosity and an extraordinary work ethic more than made up for it.

Two and a half centuries ago, an ordinary haberdasher ventured into an uncharted realm, where the tiniest life forms resided. This self-taught investigator's name was Anthony van Leeuwenhoek.

Sir Isaac Newton: The Gravity of Genius: Host: Jack Perkins

  • Greystone Communications Inc (Director)

Sir Isaac Newton: The Gravity of Genius: Host: Jack Perkins

This documentary explores the life of Sir Isaac Newton, the trailblazer who established the fundamentals of calculus and formulated the principles of gravity.

Gain insight into the remarkable scientific mind whose personal life was marked by solitude and unhappiness.

The Story of Louis Pasteur

  • Paul Muni, Josephine Hutchinson, Anita Louise (Actors)

The Story of Louis Pasteur

The life story of the innovative French microbiologist who played a pivotal role in transforming agriculture and healthcare.

If you enjoyed this list of movies, I have a monthly membership for parents and educators that want to teach or supplement lessons with shows and movies.

best biography movies on scientists

“I'm all about geeking out with my kids over movies about famous scientists. It's like introducing them to real-life superheroes with lab coats! Watching the trials and triumphs of Marie Curie, Albert Einstein, or Jane Goodall not only entertains but also inspires curiosity and a love for discovery. It's a cinematic front-row seat to the cool stories behind groundbreaking minds that can spark a passion for science in my little ones.” – a Homeschooling parent

With Homeschooling with Shows and Movies membership, you will get resources every month, including:

  • List of This Month’s Suggested Themes
  • List of Monthly Observances
  • List Of Movies for Unit Study
  • Unit Study Resource
  • Seasonal Activities (minimum of three)
  • (BONUSES) Resources for you, the teacher

These resources are worth it if you'd like to easily incorporate shows and movies into your homeschooling.

Grab your membership here. 

What to expect in these movies about famous scientists?

In these films about renowned scientists, you can anticipate a journey into the remarkable lives of these brilliant minds. From their groundbreaking discoveries to the personal struggles and triumphs that shaped their legacies, you'll gain a deeper understanding of the human stories behind their scientific achievements.

Prepare to be inspired by their dedication, curiosity, and the lasting impact they've had on our understanding of the world.

Which subjects are included in studying the life of famous scientists in an elementary school setting?

Studying the lives of famous scientists in an elementary school setting encompasses a range of subjects to provide a well-rounded understanding. Some of the subjects that are typically covered include:

  • Science: Exploring the scientific discoveries and contributions of the specific scientist.
  • History: Placing the scientist's work in the historical context of their time.
  • Biography: Learning about the scientist's life, upbringing, and personal challenges.
  • Mathematics: Understanding any mathematical concepts or equations developed by the scientist.
  • Ethics and Values: Discussing the ethical considerations and values associated with scientific research.
  • Presentations: Encouraging students to present their findings or projects on the scientist's life and work.

What themes are found in movies about famous scientists?

Movies about famous scientists often delve into the theme of curiosity and the relentless pursuit of knowledge. They explore the challenges these brilliant minds faced, both in their research and in their personal lives.

These films also highlight the idea that science is a deeply human endeavor, with its triumphs, failures, and the enduring impact on our understanding of the world.

Related Questions:

Who is the most famous scientist.

Determining the “most famous” scientist can be subjective, but one of the most widely recognized and influential scientists in history is Albert Einstein. His theory of relativity revolutionized physics, and his name is synonymous with genius.

However, there are many other notable scientists like Isaac Newton, Charles Darwin, and Marie Curie, each with their own significant contributions to the world of science.

What is the most supreme of all the sciences?

Determining the “king of all sciences” is subjective and depends on one's perspective. Some might argue for physics, often considered the fundamental science that studies the laws governing the universe. Others might champion biology for its exploration of life and evolution.

In the end, the most supreme science is the one that resonates with your interests and sparks your curiosity.

How has the scientist's legacy continued to shape science and society today?

The scientist's legacy is like a ripple effect in science and society. Their discoveries often serve as the foundation for further research, advancements, and innovations, influencing fields far beyond their own.

In society, their work can inspire new generations of scientists and drive progress in areas from technology to healthcare, leaving an enduring mark on the world.

What personal qualities or traits do you think contributed to the success of scientists?

The success of scientists often hinges on qualities like insatiable curiosity, resilience, and the ability to think creatively.

Their determination to tackle complex questions, combined with a deep passion for their work, enables them to overcome challenges and make groundbreaking discoveries that shape our understanding of the world.

Were there any controversies or debates surrounding Newton's findings?

Newton's groundbreaking work stirred up quite a bit of controversy in his time. His ideas on light, gravity, and the laws of motion were met with skepticism and debate among his contemporaries, but over time, they not only withstood scrutiny but also became the cornerstone of modern physics.

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30 Best Movies About Scientists

best biography movies on scientists

David Shankbone , CC BY 3.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

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1. hidden figures.

best biography movies on scientists

Bill Ingalls , Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

2. A Beautiful Mind

3. creation.

best biography movies on scientists

Ryan Coleman, photography.ryancoleman.ca , CC BY-SA 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

4. The Imitation Game

5. the man who knew infinity.

best biography movies on scientists

Ministry of Information & Broadcasting (GODL-India) , GODL-India , via Wikimedia Commons

6. The Theory of Everything

7. gorillas in the mist, 8. awakenings.

best biography movies on scientists

Boris van Hoytema from Amsterdam, The Netherlands , CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

9. Never Cry Wolf

10. the story of louis pasteur.

best biography movies on scientists

trailer screenshot (Warner Bros.) , Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

11. The Martian

12. the social network.

best biography movies on scientists

Raffi Asdourian , CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

13. Contact

14. the man who invented christmas.

best biography movies on scientists

Dick Thomas Johnson from Tokyo, Japan , CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

15. The Fly

16. the fifth element.

best biography movies on scientists

The Conmunity – Pop Culture Geek from Los Angeles, CA, USA , CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

17. The Andromeda Strain

18. the right stuff.

best biography movies on scientists

Christopher Michel , CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

19. The Man Who Fell to Earth

20. the abyss.

best biography movies on scientists

Photo by Pietro Jeng from Pexels

21.  Agora

22. madame curie.

best biography movies on scientists

https://www.filmaffinity.com/es/film374592.html , Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

23. Inherit the Wind

24. einstein’s big idea.

best biography movies on scientists

Unknown (Mondadori Publishers) , Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

26. The Road to Wellville

27. fat man and little boy.

best biography movies on scientists

BFS Man from Webster, TX, USA , CC BY 2.0 , via Wikimedia Commons

28. The Odyssey

29. october sky, 30. measuring the world.

best biography movies on scientists

Photo by Obregonia D. Toretto from Pexels

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best biography movies on scientists

Olbers' Paradox and Electromagnetic Waves

Solar geoengineering: the key against climate change, openmind books, scientific anniversaries, things you didn't know about einstein, featured author, latest book, 5 biographical movies about scientists.

On May 24th 2015, Nobel prize winner and game theory expert  John Forbes Nash   passed away at age 86.  His tragic death had an outstanding media impact for 2 reasons: First, because of the dramatic circumstances of his death, and second, thanks to his mainstream notoriety acquired through the movie “ A Beautiful Mind ” that portrayed part of his life and his fight against mental-health challenges.

BBVA-OpenMind-5 Biographical Movies About Scientists

 1. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

A film that won 4 Academy Awards; one for Best Picture. From  John Nash ‘s  perspective, ‘ A Beautiful Mind ‘ helped raise awareness about schizophrenia worldwide. ( IMDB )

2. Gorillas in the Mist (1988)

Sigourney Weaver plays the part of zoologist and ethologist  Dian Fossey   who dedicated her life to studying gorillas in the Virunga mountains (Rwanda). She also lead projects for the protection and conservation of primates. ( IMDB ).

3. Creation (2009)

Creation tells the inner struggle experienced by naturalist Charles Darwin  when he was about to publish “On The Origin of Species “, a piece that denied the creation of the universe by God; a conflict between his scientific vocation and his love for his very religious wife. ( IMDB ) .

4. The Theory of Everything (2014)

Eddie Redmayne (Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in this movie) plays the world-renown theoretical physicist and A Brief Story of Time author  Stephen Hawking . The Theory of Everything deals with Hawking’s diagnosis of motor neuron disease, and his success in the field of physics ( IMDB ).

5. The Imitation Game (2014)

Benedict Cumberbatch ( The Hobbit , Sherlock …) portrays mathematician, cryptanalyst and computing pioneer  Alan Turing .  Thanks to his exceptional mind, Turing helped the allies win WWII. ( IMDB ).

Do you know any other biopics about scientists that you could recommend?

Related publications

  • Alan Turing and the Dream of Artificial Intelligence
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Environment, leading figures, mathematics, scientific insights, more publications about openmind, comments on this publication.

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Top 5 Movies About Real-Life Scientists to Watch After the Oppenheimer Film

Standing in a long tradition, oppenheimer is the latest box office hit to chronicle the achievements of a renowned scientist. here's a roundup of five other movies about scientists..

Oppenheimer movie logo and poster

The release of  Oppenheimer , Christopher Nolan’s sprawling study of the man known as “the father of the atomic bomb,” has propelled the world-shifting work of a scientist to cinema’s front stage.

Tracking the life of J. Robert Oppenheimer through his time as director of the Manhattan Project and beyond, the film explores the complexities of its protagonist’s character and conscience alongside the thorny union of science and morality.

5 Movies About Scientists

If that tangled, three-hour drama left you with an urge to curl up on the couch for a few more science-centric movie nights, here’s a list of the best biopics on other intellectual giants.

1 . The Theory of Everything  (2014)

Based on the life of acclaimed British physicist Stephen Hawking (played by Eddie Redmayne),  The Theory of Everything  follows his efforts to revolutionize our understanding of nature despite debilitating illness.

As a young student at the University of Cambridge, just beginning to formulate a theory of how the cosmos may have formed from a black hole, he is diagnosed with ALS, a degenerative motor neuron disease, and given two years to live. The film primarily centers on his relationship with Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones), a poetry student who vows to support him through his inevitable decline.

Though he beats the odds (Hawking would live another 55 years, until his death in 2018), as his condition deteriorates, their marriage is strained. And, even as he starts using a wheelchair and loses the ability to speak, he continues to search — as he would all his life — for the namesake theory of everything: a single, still elusive equation capable of unifying all physical forces.

Read More: These 7 Famous Physicists Are Still Alive Today

2. The Imitation Game (2014)

More likely than not, you’re reading these words on a device made possible by British mathematician Alan Turing, the subject of this 2014 release. Commonly credited as the “father of computer science,” Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) was integral to the Allied push to crack the Nazi “Enigma code” during World War II.

The film depicts Turing’s work at Bletchley Park, the English country house where he and his team of cryptographers devised an innovative machine (a precursor to modern computers) for deciphering enemy communications. Some experts believe their effort shortened the war by up to two years and saved millions of lives.

However, at the film’s emotional core is Turing’s struggle with his homosexuality — then a crime in the U.K. (“gross indecency,” according to the Criminal Law Amendment Act) for which he was convicted in 1952. In 2013, Queen Elizabeth II posthumously pardoned Turing, who died by suicide in 1954.

3 . Hidden Figures (2016)

Movies in this genre often revolve around a single (and typically male) ego.  Hidden Figures,  in contrast,   stars a trio of women: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan and Mary Jackson (Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe ), three Black mathematicians employed by NASA as “computers” in the early 1960s, as American scientists and politicians rushed to launch the country’s first astronauts.

It was at once the Space Age and the tail end of segregation — an era of rapid technological progress and sluggish social change. The heroines confront acts of discrimination, great and small, but their brilliance eventually shines through.

In particular, their contributions to Project Mercury (which placed astronaut John Glenn in orbit) raised them to positions of prominence and influence in an organization that once deemed them inferior.

Read More : 8 Amazing Black Scientists and How They Changed History

4. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

Another tale of genius tinged with malady,  A Beautiful Mind  is loosely based on Nobel laureate John Nash’s struggle with mental illness.

His promising career as a young mathematics professor at MIT is jeopardized by prolonged schizophrenic episodes, during which Nash (played by Russell Crowe) suffers from frightening delusions and spends his days cracking imagined Soviet codes in newspapers.

With the help of his wife, Alicia (Jennifer Connelly), Nash learns to manage the hallucinations and resumes his studies, establishing himself as a successful and respected mathematician at Princeton University. His groundbreaking work on game theory earned him the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences in 1994.

5. Tesla (2020)

The Serbian-American inventor Nikola Tesla was by all accounts an eccentric man, and  Tesla  is an aptly eccentric account of his life.

Much of this fanciful film harks back to the “war of the currents,” a notorious rivalry between Tesla (played by Ethan Hawke), who advocated alternating current (AC), and Thomas Edison ( Kyle MacLachlan ), his one-time employer, who championed direct current (DC). In one scene — just to give some idea of the degree of artistic license at play here — the two resolve an argument by smearing ice cream cones on each other’s faces.

As Tesla fights for his revolutionary system of energy transmission, the movie also explores his (often troubled) relationships with other notable contemporaries, including entrepreneur George Westinghouse, investment banker J.P. Morgan and Morgan's daughter Anne, who narrates.

Read More: The 10 Greatest Scientists of All Time

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The 13 Best Movies About Scientists and Experiments

best biography movies on scientists

If you buy something using our links, we may earn a commission at no extra cost to you. Thanks for your support!

Scientific exploration represents the intellectual pursuit of the unknown. It's a quest for knowledge that has driven many to obsession or even madness, especially when failure looms increasingly overhead.

All kinds of films have been made about enigmatic characters who dedicate their lives to science and experiments. Such films tend to be sci-fi thrillers, but there are also compelling dramas and hilarious comedies that bring fresh energy to the premise.

Here are my picks for the best movies about scientists and their experiments, spanning the gamut of genres but all still worth watching for their own special reasons.

13. Junior (1994)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Ivan Reitman

Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, Danny DeVito, Emma Thompson

Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi (1h 49m)

4.7 on IMDb — 39% on RT

Directed by one of the best comedic directors in history, Junior is a cautionary tale of scientific experimentation if there ever was one.

Our story finds two scientists, Dr. Alex Hesse (played by Arnold Schwarzenegger) and Dr. Larry Arbogast (played by Danny DeVito), who have created a new pregnancy drug to cure infertility.

Unfortunately, bureaucratic red tape threatens to derail the duo's experiment: due to ethical reasons, they can't test the drug on real human subjects. So, Alex decides to take the drug himself—and despite precautionary measures, even he couldn't predict what happens next.

Yes, that's right: we're kicking off this list with a movie about Arnold Schwarzenegger impregnating himself! Don't worry, as most of the other films on this list will be more serious. But if you're looking for an easy-to-watch comedy, don't let Junior 's poor critical reception deter you.

best biography movies on scientists

12. The Andromeda Strain (1971)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Robert Wise

Starring James Olson, Arthur Hill, David Wayne

Mystery, Sci-Fi, Thriller (2h 11m)

7.2 on IMDb — 67% on RT

Directed by Robert Wise, The Andromeda Strain is a classic film to watch if you're interested in movies about scientific experiments.

Dr. Jeremy Stone (played by Arthur Hill) is tasked with leading a team of scientists to contain the spread of an extraterrestrial organism that lands on Earth. However, it soon becomes clear throughout their experiments that they're way out of their depth...

Based on the phenomenal novel by sci-fi extraordinaire Michael Crichton, the film adaptation was lauded for its suspense and its creative use of split-screens long before it was widely used.

best biography movies on scientists

11. I Origins (2014)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Mike Cahill

Starring Michael Pitt, Steven Yeun, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey

Drama, Mystery, Romance (1h 46m)

7.3 on IMDb — 52% on RT

PhD student Ian Gray (played by Michael Pitt) is studying the evolution of the human eye. One day, while attending a college party, he meets a woman with the most beautiful eyes he has ever seen.

Later, several years in the future, what begins as a purely scientific study turns into something much more: an experimental investigation into the origins of the human soul.

Directed by the unconventionally meditative Mike Cahill, I Origins is an underrated sci-fi drama that's well worth your time.

10. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Ron Howard

Starring Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly

Biography, Drama (2h 15m)

8.2 on IMDb — 74% on RT

Directed by Ron Howard, A Beautiful Mind follows the life of Nobel Prize-winning mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr. (played by Russell Crowe), who was a real person and commonly known as John Nash.

Demonstrating himself to be a brilliant scientist and economist, Nash not only gains the attention of the CIA, but eventually starts working there to help advance the field of cryptography.

However, paranoid delusions gradually start to blur the lines between his personal life and reality. Russell Crowe went on to win the Oscar for Best Actor in a Leading Role for A Beautiful Mind .

best biography movies on scientists

9. The Nutty Professor (1996)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Tom Shadyac

Starring Eddie Murphy, Jada Pinkett Smith, James Coburn

Comedy, Romance, Sci-Fi (1h 35m)

5.7 on IMDb — 64% on RT

The second (and last) comedy on our list is another terrific adaptation of a classic piece of literature: Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde , which was written by Robert Louis Stevenson back in 1886.

Exactly 110 years after publication, Stevenson's novella was given a comedic spin with The Nutty Professor .

In a bid to win the heart of his dream woman, Sherman Klump (played by Eddie Murphy) is desperate to lose weight. So, he conducts an experiment using his vast knowledge of biochemistry.

While he does successfully lose an enormous amount of weight, it comes at a terrible cost... The Nutty Professor stars Eddie Murphy in an impressive seven roles, and it's a laugh-out-loud affair.

best biography movies on scientists

8. Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Rupert Wyatt

Starring James Franco, Freida Pinto, John Lithgow

Action, Drama, Sci-Fi (1h 45m)

7.6 on IMDb — 82% on RT

Planet of the Apes started as a novel in 1963, which was turned into a film series in 1968, then rebooted into another film series in 2011 starting with Rupert Wyatt's acclaimed Rise of the Planet of the Apes .

Will Rodman (played by James Franco) is a chemist who's experimenting on chimpanzees with an innovative new serum that's one step closer to finding a cure for Alzheimer's disease. However, the serum has unforeseen effects on the primates...

Featuring Andy Serkis as ape leader Caesar using revolutionary performance capture technology, Rise of the Planet of the Apes is one of the best cautionary tales of science gone awry.

Remaking this iconic franchise was a risky decision given that there was a previous reboot attempt in 2001 with Planet of the Apes , which went nowhere due to all kinds of production difficulties. Fortunately, Wyatt pulled it off and the resulting series is just fantastic.

7. Hidden Figures (2016)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Theodore Melfi

Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monáe

Biography, Drama, History (2h 7m)

7.8 on IMDb — 93% on RT

Directed by Theodore Melfi, Hidden Figures is a biographical film that brings us an incredible story that should've been told long ago. Fortunately for us, we get to experience it now.

The narrative follows three women scientists: Dorothy Vaughan (played by Octavia Spencer), Katherine Goble Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson), and Mary Jackson (played by Janelle Monáe).

Despite their instrumental contributions to America's success during the Space Race, these women were buried and remained unrecognized for years. Why? Simply for being African-American.

Hidden Figures is the tough but inspiring journey of how these women worked to gain the respect that they deserved without ever giving up even in the face of constant discrimination and harassment.

best biography movies on scientists

6. The Theory of Everything (2014)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by James Marsh

Starring Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Tom Prior

Biography, Drama, Romance (2h 3m)

7.7 on IMDb — 80% on RT

Stephen Hawking is a man who needs no introduction, but in case you've been living under a rock for the past several decades, suffice it to say that he was one of the most brilliant minds of modern science.

In The Theory of Everything , we get to see his genius on display as he excels at the University of Cambridge, where he published all kinds of groundbreaking works on theoretical physics.

However, perhaps more interestingly, we're given insight into his tumultuous personal life and the challenges he faced as a victim afflicted by ALS (a neurodegenerative disease that affects muscle control).

With a heart-melting score and stunning performances from Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones, The Theory of Everything truly encapsulates the human desire to understand the world we're born into.

best biography movies on scientists

5. Contact (1997)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Robert Zemeckis

Starring Jodie Foster, Matthew McConaughey, Tom Skerritt

Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi (2h 30m)

7.5 on IMDb — 68% on RT

Based on the 1985 novel by Carl Sagan, Robert Zemeckis adapted the grounded sci-fi drama to great success.

Dr. Eleanor "Ellie" Arroway (played by Jodie Foster) is a SETI scientist who makes a breathtaking discovery: an alien transmission.

After establishing contact with extraterrestrials using radio waves, Arroway leads an experiment to create a machine according to the instructions of said extraterrestrial communicators.

While Contact is mostly interesting for its thought experiment of a premise than its characters, the result is still one of the most intriguing movies about a scientific experiment. If you're in search of a realistic take on sci-fi concepts, you can't miss this one.

best biography movies on scientists

4. Annihilation (2018)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Alex Garland

Starring Natalie Portman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Tessa Thompson

Adventure, Drama, Horror (1h 55m)

6.8 on IMDb — 88% on RT

When writer-director Alex Garland is at the helm of a film, you know you're in for an experience unlike any other. He's had his ups and downs, but when he's hot, the results are unforgettable.

Annihilation follows a group of women scientists of varying fields who are tasked with investigating the origins of a supernatural entity that has arrived on Earth. The thing is, previous explorers either haven't returned or have come back changed in some way...

Starring Natalie Portman and Jennifer Jason Leigh, they venture into the enigmatic quarantined zone called "The Shimmer" to collect data and uncover what's causing the mutation of plants and animals.

With Annihilation , Alex Garland successfully crafted another worthy entry into his filmography and the cosmic horror canon.

best biography movies on scientists

3. The Imitation Game (2014)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Morten Tyldum

Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode

Biography, Drama, Thriller (1h 54m)

8.0 on IMDb — 90% on RT

Cryptanalyst Alan Turing is well-known today as the father of theoretical computer science and artificial intelligence, but that wasn't always the case. In fact, he was ostracized while he was alive for being gay.

In this superb film directed by Morten Tyldum, we get to see the fantastic legacy he left behind, as well as his role in ending one of the most gruesome conflicts in history: World War II.

During WW2, the Nazis communicated using messages that were encrypted by their Enigma machine. Alan Turing was approached by British intelligence officers in 1939 and hired to break the Enigma codes, as he was the only one with enough expertise to do it.

Benedict Cumberbatch's performance as the man who almost single-handedly decided the fate of World War II with his brilliant brain is both insightful and gut-wrenching.

best biography movies on scientists

2. Awakenings (1990)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Penny Marshall

Starring Robert De Niro, Robin Williams, Julie Kavner

Biography, Drama (2h 1m)

7.8 on IMDb — 84% on RT

Penny Marshall's drama Awakenings isn't just well-written, well-acted, and emotionally affecting—it's based on a true story.

Dr. Malcolm Sayer (played by Robin Williams) is a neurologist studying catatonia. When he begins implementing a new treatment of L-DOPA in coma patients, he's initially disappointed by the results. However, there's eventually a breakthrough when one patient suddenly wakes up.

For the first time in years, Leonard Lowe (played by Robert De Niro) is able to see the world through his own eyes again.

As Dr. Sayer uncovers the reason behind Leonard's sudden awakening, the two of them fear that this experiment may not last. In fact, it may very well be a race against the clock. In the end, Awakenings is an underrated gem that will absolutely have you in tears.

best biography movies on scientists

1. Oppenheimer (2023)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Christopher Nolan

Starring Cillian Murphy, Emily Blunt, Matt Damon

Biography, Drama, History (3h)

8.5 on IMDb — 93% on RT

Why is Oppenheimer at the top of this list? Maybe it's recency bias. Or maybe it's the massive cult-like following the film had pre-release. Or maybe it's the glowing reviews that came after its release.

All combined, Oppenheimer still sticks out in my mind as the best film about a scientist and his experiments.

J. Robert Oppenheimer (played by Cillian Murphy) is a brilliant theoretical physicist who's headhunted to lead a team of scientists tasked with creating the world's first atomic bomb.

Oppenheimer is tense and suspenseful as director Christopher Nolan employs his trademark nonlinear narrative style to create total immersion in Oppenheimer's race against time and persecution.

The film is doubly effective as a cautionary tale, which is why I'm ranking it at number one. Oppenheimer is cinema's best depiction of a scientist haunted by his greatest achievement and tormented by his own legacy.

Oppenheimer's most impressive experiment came at massive cost: the fate of the entire world. Few films have managed to establish stakes so monumental and deliver a climax worthy of said stakes.

best biography movies on scientists

best biography movies on scientists

Top biographical films about scientists

A trailer recently dropped for Christopher Nolan’s next film, Oppenheimer , depicting the eponymous scientist and his role in the creation of the atomic bomb. As a Nolan film, it’ll likely be an epic in every sense of the word – but it’ll also likely be a strong entry in the canon of films about scientists and their lives. There have been many great films in this field (although some do have looser relationships to history than others), so to mark the conversation about Oppenheimer , here are a few of my recommendations if you fancy learning a bit about famous scientists at the cinema.

A Beautiful Mind (Ron Howard, 2001)

In an Academy Award-nominated performance, Russell Crowe plays John Nash, a mathematician who made significant advances in game theory and won the Nobel Prize in Economics. It sees Nash arrive at Princeton with a scholarship for mathematics, developing what would ultimately become the Nash equilibrium, his work at MIT and the Pentagon studying encrypted telecommunications, and his romance with one of his students. But it also paints a terrifying picture of Nash’s battles with schizophrenia, using fictional characters and set-pieces to disorientate the viewer like the mathematician.

Hidden Figures (Theodore Melfi, 2016)

One of the smash hits of 2016, Hidden Figures takes us back to the Space Race, and follows three black female mathematicians – Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughn, and Mary Jackson – who use their knowledge to help the US effort to put a man in space while facing racial discrimination. Despite the hideously cringeworthy line “at NASA, we all pee the same colour”, the film is a really engaging watch and one that recognises three figures whose role in one of humanity’s greatest achievements had been hitherto unknown.

The Theory of Everything (James Marsh, 2014)

Perhaps the most famous film about a scientist, Eddie Redmayne won an Oscar for his portrayal of Stephen Hawking. Like A Beautiful Mind , the film charts Hawking’s student days and his conception of theories that would change science, as well as his relationship with his wife and his battles with illness. For many viewers, Hawking is probably the most famous popular scientist (helped, in no small part, by his appearances in The Simpsons , Futurama and The Big Bang Theory ), and this film is a wonderful example of the combining of advanced science with an intimate look at the figure who pioneered them.

Awakenings (Penny Marshall, 1973)

Here’s a bittersweet but really touching film, and one that I think deserves far more attention. Based on the neurologist Oliver Sack’s memoir of the same name, the film follows Malcolm Sayer (a character based on Sacks, played by Robin Williams) who discovers the beneficial effects of a drug called L-Dopa in 1969. He administers it to patients who are catatonic after the sleeping sickness epidemic, helping them ‘awaken’. Tragedy arises, though, as Sayers and the patients learn the cure is only temporary… A biography in all but name, Awakenings showcases both the promise of science and, sadly, its limits.

Agora (Alejandro Amenábar, 2009)

I want to wrap up with something completely different, and a film that takes us back to the late fourth century. Rachel Weisz plays Hypatia, a mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer in Roman Egypt, who finds flaws in the heliocentric knowledge of the day while working to save classical writing from potential destruction. Now, I have to be honest here – much of the film was criticised for its historical inaccuracy, and it’s unlikely that Hypatia would have made all the discoveries and advances attributed to her. But I raise it here because it really foregrounds questions about the need to interrogate received knowledge, an important idea for scientists to keep in mind.

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Entertainment

Feb 28, 2019 at 07:38 PM

9 Biopics On Scientists You Need To Watch To Understand The Workings Of A Genius Mind

Movies are sometimes a wonderful avenue to absorb information and understand a world that you may not be a part of, but one that affects you at every level. 

Like the world of science, discovery, and inventions, that changed the very course of the world we inhabit today. So here are movies inspired by the life of some of the most brilliant scientists we know: 

1. The Imitation Game

Based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges, this thrilling historical drama starred Benedict Cumberbatch as a cryptoanalyst who decrypted German intelligence codes during the Second World War. The entertaining biopic benefitted from an extremely riveting story and an enthralling performance by Cumberbatch. 

best biography movies on scientists

2. A Beautiful Mind

Based on the life of Nobel Laureate John Nash, this is easily one of the most famous biographical movies ever made, and rightfully so. Starring Russel Crowe in the lead role, the movie won four Academy Awards. It is considered as a hauntingly beautiful exploration of what life is like when living with a mental illness.

best biography movies on scientists

3. Temple Grandin

One of the most empathetic movies to deal with the subject of autism, the semi-biographical drama was based on the life of American professor Mary Temple Grandin. Her invention helped revolutionize the handling of livestock to make it a more humane process. The absorbing narrative ensured the story was relatable without resorting to dramatic clichés. 

best biography movies on scientists

4. Hidden Figures

Based on Margot Lee Shetterly’s non-fiction book of the same name, the movie brings forth the story of African-American female mathematicians who were crucial to the success of NASA’s Project Mercury, among other missions. Engaging, heartwarming, and most importantly, a significant retelling of an important section of American history, the movie is easily one of the most entertaining biographical dramas on the list. 

best biography movies on scientists

5. The Theory Of Everything

Based on the life of theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking, this romantic biographical drama was adapted from Jane Hawking’s memoir  Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen. This bittersweet love story was expertly woven together with pleasant humor and solid performances by Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. 

best biography movies on scientists

6. The Man Who Knew Infinity

Based on the life of Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, the film stars Dev Patel in the lead role. The movie showcases the story of how a mathematical genius from an impoverished background manages to break ground in the field of mathematics under the right guidance. It was a conventional story of an inspiring tale, elevated further by Dev Patel and Jeremy Irons’ fine performances. 

best biography movies on scientists

7. Creation

A slightly fictionalized account of Randal Keynes’s Darwin biography Annie’s Box , the movie dealt with Charles Darwin’s personal life, particularly the conflict between his wife’s ideologies and his theory of evolution. A complex and sentimental story, the movie was a gentle foray into Darwin’s personal agony. 

best biography movies on scientists

Unlike the later biographical drama The Theory Of Everything , this BBC Television film dealt with Hawking’s life, primarily his struggle against motor neuron disease and his research for the beginning of time. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch in the lead role, this was an inspirational portrait of an incredible true story. 

best biography movies on scientists

Starring Rachel Weisz in the lead role, this historical biopic was based on the life of female mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer Hypatia, set in the late 4th-century Roman Egypt. An outstanding performance was Weisz helped turn this ambitious and dramatic story into a relatable and encouraging tale. 

best biography movies on scientists

These are movies that managed to perfectly marry fact with fiction and present stories that were engaging and inspiring in equal measures. 

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Movies about scientists

In the top there are new films of 2023, a plot description and trailers for films that have already been released.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 4.7
Genre ,
Country

A young NASA JPL scientist is abducted by extraterrestrials but when no one believes his story he becomes obsessed with finding proof which leads him on a journey of discovery.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 9
Genre , ,
Country ,

The story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 4.2
Genre , , , ,
Country , , ,
Duration01:41

When a hunter sent back to the prehistoric era runs off the path he must not leave, he causes a chain reaction that alters history in disastrous ways.

Movies about aliens

Markimdb: 7.2
Genre ,
Country , , Singapore, Hong Kong, United Arab Emirates,

Growing up poor in Madras, India, Srinivasa Ramanujan Iyengar earns admittance to Cambridge University during WWI, where he becomes a pioneer in mathematical theories with the guidance of his professor, G.H. Hardy.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 6
Genre , ,
Country , United Arab Emirates
Duration01:36

Hoping to alter the events of the past, a 19th century inventor instead travels 800,000 years into the future, where he finds humankind divided into two warring races.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 6.2
Genre , ,
Country , , , ,

The story of Nobel Prize winner Marie Curie and her extraordinary scientific discoveries—through the prism of her marriage to husband Pierre—and the seismic and transformative effects their discovery of radium had on the 20th century.

Films about alien abduction

Markimdb: 6.6
Genre , ,
Country ,
Duration02:29

The six-member crew of the International Space Station is tasked with studying a sample from Mars that may be the first proof of extra-terrestrial life, which proves more intelligent than ever expected.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 7.6
Genre , ,
Country , , ,
Duration01:36

When Seth Brundle makes a huge scientific and technological breakthrough in teleportation, he decides to test it on himself. Unbeknownst to him, a common housefly manages to get inside the device and the two become one.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 8.6
Genre , ,
Country , ,
Duration02:49

Interstellar chronicles the adventures of a group of explorers who make use of a newly discovered wormhole to surpass the limitations on human space travel and conquer the vast distances involved in an interstellar voyage.

Disturbing movies

Markimdb: 7
Genre , , ,
Country
Duration01:56

Life for former United Nations investigator Gerry Lane and his family seems content. Suddenly, the world is plagued by a mysterious infection turning whole human populations into rampaging mindless zombies. After barely escaping the chaos, Lane is persuaded to go on a mission to investigate this disease. What follows is a perilous trek around the world where Lane must brave horrific dangers and long odds to find answers before human civilization falls.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 6.3
Genre , ,
Country ,
Duration01:59

A special-ops team is dispatched to fight supernatural being that have taken over a European city.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 7.6
Genre , , ,
Country , ,
Duration02:10

A group of scientists in San Francisco struggle to stay alive in the aftermath of a plague that is wiping out humanity, while Caesar tries to maintain dominance over his community of intelligent apes.

Movies about time travel

Markimdb: 7
Genre , ,
Country
Duration02:27

Data—arguably the world’s most valuable asset—is being weaponized to wage cultural and political wars. The dark world of data exploitation is uncovered through the unpredictable, personal journeys of players on different sides of the explosive Cambridge Analytica/Facebook data story.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 7.6
Genre , ,
Country ,
Duration02:00

A brilliant plastic surgeon creates a synthetic skin that withstands any kind of damage. His guinea pig: a mysterious and volatile woman who holds the key to his obsession.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 7.7
Genre , ,
Country , ,
Duration02:03

The Theory of Everything is the extraordinary story of one of the world’s greatest living minds, the renowned astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, who falls deeply in love with fellow Cambridge student Jane Wilde.

Jungle Movies

Markimdb: 6.7
Genre , ,
Country , United Arab Emirates
Duration01:46

As an epidemic of a lethal airborne virus - that kills within days - rapidly grows, the worldwide medical community races to find a cure and control the panic that spreads faster than the virus itself.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 5.3
Genre , , ,
Country , Luxembourg

In the not-too-distant future: after a global catastrophe has wiped out nearly all of humanity on Earth, an elite astronaut from Space Colony Kepler must make a decision that will seal the fate of the people on both planets.

best biography movies on scientists

Mark
Genre ,
CountryRussia

Avenue, university and even an asteroid bear his name. Academician Sakharov is known all over the world: someone as the creator of the hydrogen bomb, someone as an outstanding public figure and human rights activist. All his life Andrei Sakharov lived between two fires - science and humanism - and this dualism formed the basis of the film. The picture will show the scientist as he saw himself, through his dialogues with the Conscience.

Movies about mathematicians

Markimdb: 6.4
Genre ,
Country , ,

2038: George Almore is working on a true human-equivalent AI, and his latest prototype is almost ready. This sensitive phase is also the riskiest as he has a goal that must be hidden at all costs—being reunited with his dead wife.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 5.6
Genre , , ,
Country

A lone scientist in the Arctic races to contact a crew of astronauts returning home to a mysterious global catastrophe.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 6.6
Genre , ,
Country
Duration02:10

Yale University, 1961. Stanley Milgram designs a psychology experiment that still resonates to this day, in which people think they’re delivering painful electric shocks to an affable stranger strapped into a chair in another room. Despite his pleads for mercy, the majority of subjects don’t stop the experiment, administering what they think is a near-fatal electric shock, simply because they’ve been told to do so. With Nazi Adolf Eichmann’s trial airing in living rooms across America, Milgram strikes a nerve in popular culture and the scientific community with his exploration into people’s tendency to comply with authority. Celebrated in some circles, he is also accused of being a deceptive, manipulative monster, but his wife Sasha stands by him through it all.

Book Movies

Markimdb: 8.2
Genre , ,
Country
Duration02:15

At Princeton University, John Nash struggles to make a worthwhile contribution to serve as his legacy to the world of mathematics. He finally makes a revolutionary breakthrough that will eventually earn him the Nobel Prize. After graduate school he turns to teaching, becoming romantically involved with his student Alicia. Meanwhile the government asks his help with breaking Soviet codes, which soon gets him involved in a terrifying conspiracy plot. Nash grows more and more paranoid until a discovery that turns his entire world upside down. Now it is only with Alicia's help that he will be able to recover his mental strength and regain his status as the great mathematician we know him as today..

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 6.4
Genre , , ,
CountryRussia

At the height of the Cold War, a Soviet spacecraft crash lands after a mission gone awry, leaving the commander as its only survivor. After a renowned Russian psychologist is brought in to evaluate the commander’s mental state, it becomes clear that something dangerous may have come back to Earth with him…

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 6.4
Genre , , ,
Country

Based on real life transcripts culled from conversations between FBI analyst Bill Hagmaier and serial killer Ted Bundy that took place between 1984 and 1989, No Man of God details the complicated relationship that formed between the two men during Bundy’s final years on death row.

Movies about fantastic worlds

Markimdb: 4.2
Genre
Country , , , Bolivia,

A scientist blames the head of a large company for an ecological disaster in South America. But when a volcano begins to show signs of erupting, they must unite to avoid a disaster.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 7
Genre , ,
Country ,
Duration02:05

With the world now aware of his dual life as the armored superhero Iron Man, billionaire inventor Tony Stark faces pressure from the government, the press and the public to share his technology with the military. Unwilling to let go of his invention, Stark, with Pepper Potts and James 'Rhodey' Rhodes at his side, must forge new alliances – and confront powerful enemies.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 4.1
Genre ,
Country
Duration01:50

In the near future, when communications go offline at a remote nuclear power plant isolated in the desert, a young safety inspector, Abby Dixon, is forced to fly out to bring them back online. Once inside the facility, mysterious clues and strange behaviors cause Abby to have doubts about the sanity, and perhaps identities, of the two employees onsite.

Films about investigators

Markimdb: 3.8
Genre , ,
Country

A group of young Miskatonic University scientists invent a time machine, only to learn that they are being manipulated by mysterious, unseen forces from another dimension.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 3.7
Genre , , , ,
Country
Duration00:30

Doom: Annihilation follows a group of space marines as they respond to a distress call from a base on a Martian moon, only to discover it’s been overrun by demonic creatures who threaten to create Hell on Earth.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 4.7
Genre , ,
Country ,

Dr. Emma Collins and her team are spending their third summer on the island of Little Happy studying the effect of climate change on the great white sharks who come to the nearby nursery every year to give birth. Along with the last two inhabitants of this former fishing village, their peaceful life is disrupted when a "scientific" team led by her ex-boyfriend and marine biologist Richard show up looking for three bull sharks who we soon learn aren't just any bull sharks.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 5.2
Genre ,
Country
Duration01:30

14,000 year-old "Man from Earth" John Oldman, now teaching in northern California, realizes that not only is he finally starting to age, but four students have discovered his deepest secret, putting his life in grave danger and potentially destroying the world's most popular religion.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 5.7
Genre ,
Country ,
Duration02:07

Ageing assassin, Henry Brogen tries to get out of the business but finds himself in the ultimate battle—fighting his own clone who is 25 years younger than him, and at the peak of his abilities.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 5.4
Genre , ,
Country , , ,
Duration02:35

While James More is held captive by terrorists in Somalia, thousands of miles away on the Greenland Sea, his lover Danny Flinders prepares to dive herself in a submersible into the deep bottom of the ocean, tormented by the memories of their brief encounter in France and her inability to know his whereabouts.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 6.7
Genre
Country ,
Duration02:00

An astronomer becomes obsessed with searching the cosmos for signs of life beyond Earth which leads to a shocking discovery.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 5.2
Genre , , , ,
Country
Duration02:00

Vampires have just made themselves public! Now a group of documentarians have been granted access to spend some time with them and learn how they live and coexist with humans. But as reality sets in, the crew realize they are in for far more than they bargained for.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 5.8
Genre ,
Country
Duration01:49

The newly married Elizabeth arrives with her new husband, the scientist Henry, at a magnificent house. He tells her that she can do there anything she pleases, except to enter a certain closed room.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 8
Genre , , ,
Country
Duration02:22

When an unexpected enemy emerges and threatens global safety and security, Nick Fury, director of the international peacekeeping agency known as S.H.I.E.L.D., finds himself in need of a team to pull the world back from the brink of disaster. Spanning the globe, a daring recruitment effort begins!

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 6.5
Genre , ,
Country
Duration02:41

An extremely wealthy elderly man dying from cancer undergoes a radical medical procedure that transfers his consciousness to the body of a healthy young man but everything may not be as good as it seems when he starts to uncover the mystery of the body's origins and the secret organization that will kill to keep its secrets.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 6.8
Genre ,
Country ,
Duration01:53

A story centered on the friendship between a boy and a dolphin whose tail was lost in a crab trap.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 3.5
Genre ,
Country

A storm is coming. No one could predict it. No one can measure it. Now one family must survive it. You can't come in from the cold.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 6.1
Genre , , ,
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Duration02:34

Three years after the demise of Jurassic World, a volcanic eruption threatens the remaining dinosaurs on the isla Nublar, so Claire Dearing, the former park manager, recruits Owen Grady to help prevent the extinction of the dinosaurs once again.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 7.4
Genre ,
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Duration02:45

A disgraced, 75-year-old ex-sheriff, whose life ends at the hands of corrupt cops, is brought back to life and given a second chance by a pair of young tech scientists, as a 35-year-old with unpredictable near-superhuman abilities.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 6
Genre , ,
CountryIceland, Luxembourg,
Duration02:28

In the wake of a nuclear war, a young woman survives on her own, fearing she may actually be the proverbial last woman on earth, until she discovers the most astonishing sight of her life: another human being. A distraught scientist, he’s nearly been driven mad by radiation exposure and his desperate search for others. A fragile, imperative strand of trust connects them. But when a stranger enters the valley, their precarious bond begins to unravel.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 6.3
Genre , ,
Country ,
Duration02:11

A private investigator helps a former flame solve the murder of her wealthy grandfather, who lived in a sprawling estate surrounded by his idiosyncratic family.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 5.8
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Duration02:23

A corporate risk-management consultant must determine whether or not to terminate an artificial being's life that was made in a laboratory environment.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 5.4
Genre , , ,
Country , ,
Duration01:36

The Umbrella Corporation’s deadly T-virus continues to ravage the Earth, transforming the global population into legions of the flesh eating Undead. The human race’s last and only hope, Alice, awakens in the heart of Umbrella’s most clandestine operations facility and unveils more of her mysterious past as she delves further into the complex. Without a safe haven, Alice continues to hunt those responsible for the outbreak; a chase that takes her from Tokyo to New York, Washington, D.C. and Moscow, culminating in a mind-blowing revelation that will force her to rethink everything that she once thought to be true. Aided by new found allies and familiar friends, Alice must fight to survive long enough to escape a hostile world on the brink of oblivion. The countdown has begun.

best biography movies on scientists

Genre , ,
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Two low-level astronomers must go on a giant media tour to warn humankind of an approaching comet that will destroy planet Earth.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 7.3
Genre , ,
Country , ,
Duration02:28

When Alita awakens with no memory of who she is in a future world she does not recognize, she is taken in by Ido, a compassionate doctor who realizes that somewhere in this abandoned cyborg shell is the heart and soul of a young woman with an extraordinary past.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 5.3
Genre , , , ,
Country , ,
Duration02:06

When a kid accidentally triggers the universe's most lethal hunters' return to Earth, only a ragtag crew of ex-soldiers and a disgruntled female scientist can prevent the end of the human race.

best biography movies on scientists

Markimdb: 4.5
Genre , , ,
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The best movies about scientists

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0 / 30 Fotos

Christopher Nolan's biographical thriller tells the story of American scientist J. Robert Oppenheimer and his role in the development of the atomic bomb.

1 / 30 Fotos

This biographical drama is about three female African-American mathematicians—Katherine Goble Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson—who worked at NASA during the Space Race. They also had to deal with racial and gender discrimination at work.

2 / 30 Fotos

Set at the University of Cambridge, this movie looks at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his first wife, Jane Wilde.

3 / 30 Fotos

Directed by Ridley Scott and starring Matt Damon, this sci-fi film recounts an astronaut’s lone fight to survive on Mars after being abandoned, as well as NASA’s efforts to rescue him and return him to Earth.

4 / 30 Fotos

Starring Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly, this movie tells the real-life story of mathematician John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics, who suffered with schizophrenia.

5 / 30 Fotos

'The Imitation Game' recounts the famous story of the Enigma Machine developed during World War II to decrypt Nazi communications. Starring Benedict Cumberbatch, the film follows the life of Alan Turing, noted for his contributions to the machines built.

6 / 30 Fotos

In this Christopher Nolan film, a farmer and ex-NASA pilot is tasked with piloting a spacecraft, along with a team of researchers, to find a new planet for humans for when Earth becomes uninhabitable.

7 / 30 Fotos

The romantic drama 'Ammonite' examines the personal life and struggles of Mary Anning, a fossil collector and paleontologist in the mid-1800s.

8 / 30 Fotos

Starring Sigourney Weaver, 'Gorillas in the Mist' tells the story of primatologist and conservationist Dian Fossey, following her career change and move to Africa to study rare mountain gorillas.

9 / 30 Fotos

Starring Liam Neeson, this biopic details Alfred Kinsey’s life as a pioneer in the field of sexology. One of the earliest known attempts to scientifically analyze and investigate human sexual behavior was his 1948 article, 'Sexual Behavior.'

10 / 30 Fotos

In this drama, the accomplished pathologist Dr. Bennet Omalu uncovers the truth about brain damage in football players who suffer repeat concussions during a normal game.

11 / 30 Fotos

'October Sky' depicts the true story of Homer H. Hickam Jr., a coal miner’s son who decided to pursue rocketry after the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957. He later worked for NASA.

12 / 30 Fotos

Starring Claire Danes, this movie examines the life and work of Temple Grandin, a woman with autism who revolutionized the treatment of livestock. Based on her own memoirs, this film showcases the stigma of autism and women in scientific fields.

13 / 30 Fotos

This sci-fi horror follows the story of an eccentric scientist, played by Jeff Goldblum, who slowly transforms into a fly-hybrid creature after one of his experiments goes awry.

14 / 30 Fotos

Brought to life by Ethan Hawke, the movie chronicles the life of famed inventor Nikola Tesla, and the ups and downs of inventions and business.

15 / 30 Fotos

In 'Contact,' alien intelligence transmits an image of three pages of encrypted symbols. Scientists are stumped in their attempts to connect the pages.

16 / 30 Fotos

Starring Dev Patel, this movie explores the life of mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan and his life moving from poverty in Madras, India ,to Cambridge University during World War I.

17 / 30 Fotos

This biopic stars Rachel Weisz as Hypatia, a late 4th century mathematician, philosopher, and astronomer in Roman Egypt who challenges the heliocentric model of our solar system. In the midst of religious strife and social turbulence, Hypatia fights to preserve ancient knowledge.

18 / 30 Fotos

This British biographical drama covers Charles Darwin’s relationship with his wife Emma and his memories of their eldest daughter, Annie, while writing 'On the Origin of Species.'

19 / 30 Fotos

'The Road to Wellville' tells the true story of one unusual health facility, run by the eccentric Dr. John Harvey Kellogg. Yes, the guy from the cereal!

20 / 30 Fotos

After the death of her husband, Marie Curie's commitment to science remains strong as she tries to explain previously unknown radioactive elements. But it soon becomes evident that her work could lead to tragedy.

21 / 30 Fotos

Another Oppenheimer biopic! 'Fat Man and Little Boy' stars Paul Newman and Dwight Schultz as the men behind the Manhattan Project and the creation of the atomic bombs.

22 / 30 Fotos

This film was inspired by the real-life story of John T. Scopes, a schoolteacher who was criminally accused of presenting Darwin’s theory of evolution to his students in Dayton, Tennessee, in 1925.

23 / 30 Fotos

'Awakenings' tells the true story of a doctor who, in 1969, discovers the beneficial effects of the then-new drug L-Dopa. He applies it on catatonic patients who survived the 1917–1928 epidemic of encephalitis lethargica. The patients then awaken after decades of being in catatonic state, having to deal with a new time.

24 / 30 Fotos

Starring David Bowie, this film is based on Walter Tevis’ 1963 novel of the same name and follows an alien who lands on Earth in search of a way to transport water to his planet. However, he finds himself at the mercy of human vices and corruption.

© Getty Images

25 / 30 Fotos

Directed by and starring Matthew Broderick, 'Infinity' follows the early life of Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman.

26 / 30 Fotos

This biopic focuses on the pioneering French microbiologist Louis Pasteur, who helped revolutionize agriculture and medicine.

27 / 30 Fotos

The film follows Polish-French physicist Marie Curie as she begins to share a laboratory with her future husband, Pierre Curie, in 1890s Paris.

28 / 30 Fotos

Based on Michael Crichton’s 1969 novel of the same name, this movie follows a group of scientists investigating a dangerous extraterrestrial organism.

Sources: (Live Science) (IMDb)

See also: The world's most phenomenal female scientists

29 / 30 Fotos

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The best movies about scientists

These movies will educate, entertain, and inspire you.

The best movies about scientists

01/08/23 | StarsInsider

MOVIES Science

M ovies can capture our imagination, take us to different worlds, and reveal great people, and their visionary minds. In this gallery, we'll explore the best movies about scientists ever made, which offer views into the intriguing areas of science , as well as some of the most extraordinary real-life people who have impacted our knowledge of the world.

From fiction to biopics, grab your popcorn and prepare for stories about intellectual curiosity, scientific advancements, and the quest for information. Click on!

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15 Best Biopics on Netflix Right Now

 of 15 Best Biopics on Netflix Right Now

Biopics have now become a hot genre because there’s something about real-life stories of certain individuals that lure filmmakers. It may be an entire lifetime of a person or just a few crucial years that act as an amazing storyline for a film. It’s no surprise why biopics are able to do so well. Extraordinary stories of successful people or people who had a deeper cause to serve society, all of these inspire us to live a better life. But these stories become more impactful when they are based on the lives of real individuals. Some make us believe in ourselves and our goals while some restore our faith in humanity. The good news is that a great number of these movies are already available on Netflix. So all you have to do is scroll down and choose one of the few biopic movies that we have listed. Here’s the list of really good biopic movies on Netflix that are available to stream right now.

15. Roxanne Roxanne (2017)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed and written by Michael Larnell, ‘Roxanne Roxanne’ is an autobiographical musical drama film that stars Chanté Adams, Mahershala Ali, Nia Long, and Elvis Nolasco. Roxanne Shante, a young rapper from New York, has already made her reputation as one of the most feared battle emcees in the 80s. Whoever had seen her perform knew that she was all set to become a hip-hop legend. ‘Roxanne Roxanne’ recounts Shante’s inspiring story as she worked tirelessly to provide for her family and achieved musical success in the process.

14. Come Sunday (2018)

best biography movies on scientists

This film is based on an episode of the public radio series called ‘This American Life’. The biopic is about an internationally renowned pastor who went by the name Carton Pearson. When Carton defied the morals of the church and started preaching that there is no hell, he found himself being ostracized by his own church and the Christian community who labeled him as an unorthodox non-conformist. The film has a lot of mixed opinions when it comes to the reviews because it goes against the religious values of a lot of people. But don’t let the reviews fool you, this film is great and has some amazing cinematography with acting.

13. Milk (2008)

best biography movies on scientists

Starring Sean Penn and James Franco, ‘Milk’ tells the life story of Harvey Milk starting from his 40th birthday all the way up to his death. The film traces his journey as he struggles to fight for gay rights in the country as an activist and later becomes California’s first gay elected official. The biopic also highlights his relationships with two men along the way and how the death of one really moves him. ‘Milk’ is an extremely moving film and will make you truly feel the struggles of Harvey Milk and all the gay activists of that era.

12. First They Killed My Father (2017)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Angeline Jolie , this one is the true story of a 5-year-old girl named Loung Ung and her struggles with her family when the Khmer Rouge had taken over Cambodia in the year 1975. Their terrorizing rule led to the death of over 2 million Cambodians. The film shows how Ung and her siblings were sent to Labor Camps and were trained to become soldiers at such a young and delicate age. This film holds a great amount of historical accuracy and clearly, a lot of effort has been into portraying Loung Ung’s story. It does not focus too much on showing the violence and gore prevailing at that time and instead shows the underlying terror and chaos during the time which makes this one a great watch.

11. Christine (2016)

best biography movies on scientists

Christine Chubbuck was a TV reporter back in the 70s. This film tells her story by narrating her struggles as a working woman, pressures from her home and also her own depression . This film has been quite under the radar but deserves more appreciation. It tends to get inside your head with its depressing characters and storyline with uncomfortable slow burn throughout. Note that this movie can be triggering for those who are already going through something but overall, it’s a very good movie with some brilliant acting.

10. Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed (2021)

best biography movies on scientists

Featuring Bob Ross, Steve Ross, Vicky Ross, and John Thamm, ‘Bob Ross: Happy Accidents, Betrayal & Greed’ is a biographical documentary film directed by Joshua Rofé. As the name suggests, the movie revolves around the rise of the titular protagonist, a brilliant painter and television host, who spread love, joy, and happiness to the millions of viewers glued to his programs on their television screens from around the world. With great success came significant financial burdens. While offering a touching overview of Bob’s inspiring life, the film immediately turns its attention towards the battle for his business empire that saddened and infuriated a lot of his fans.

9. Baggio: The Divine Ponytail (2021)

best biography movies on scientists

Written by Ludovica Rampoldi and Stefano Sardo, ‘Baggio: The Divine Ponytail’ is a biographical sports film that stars Andrea Arcangeli, Valentina Bellè, and Thomas Trabacch. The Letizia Lamartire directorial recounts the inspiring life story of Roberto Baggio, a former footballer who dedicated 22 years of his life to the sport. From successes to his failures and regretful mistakes, the movie captures everything. It also introduces viewers to the man behind closed doors and his relationship with his loved ones. Roberto’s affinity to Nichiren Buddhism and his adherence to its philosophy is also deeply discussed.

8. Sergio (2020)

best biography movies on scientists

Greg Barker’s ‘Sergio’ is a biographical drama movie produced by Wagner Moura, Brent Travers, and Daniel Dreifuss. The film focuses on Sérgio Vieira de Mello, a United Nations diplomat who, after working tirelessly on several international political programs for more than three decades, decides to do something about the American invasion of Iraq in 2003. Despite warnings not to visit Baghdad in the middle of conflict, Sérgio tries to negotiate the withdrawal of American troops so that the country can achieve freedom. However, his attempts do not go as planned as he gets trapped in the basement of a hotel after a terrorist attack.

7. Mank (2020)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by David Fincher, ‘Mank’ is a black-and-white biographical drama film that revolves around the development of the popular 40s film ‘Citizen Kane’ and its screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz. It is set in the 1930s and offers an exciting insight into the Hollywood of the time. However, the films’ focus remains on the development of the iconic movie and challenges faced by Herman along the way.

6. The Dirt (2019)

best biography movies on scientists

Written by Rich Wilkes and Amanda Adelson, ‘The Dirt’ is a biographical comedy-drama film that is based on Neil Strauss’s book ‘The Dirt: Confessions of the World’s Most Notorious Rock Band.’ After spending several crucial years of his early life with his abusive mother, Frank Carlton Feranna Jr. ventures into the outside world in search of his father and eventually stumbles upon the purpose of his life. When he met Tommy Lee in 1980, the musician shared his plan to form a new band, and the two joined hands to include other members in the team. After the inclusion of Mick Mars and Vince Neil, the Mötley Crüe was formed and, in just a few years’ time, became one of the most popular rock bands on the planet.

5. Dolemite Is My Name (2019)

best biography movies on scientists

Featuring stand-out performances by Eddie Murphy, Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, and Craig Robinson, ‘Dolemite Is My Name’ is a biographical comedy film written by Scott Alexander and Larry Karaszewski. It revolves around a struggling artist named Rudy Ray Moore, who is desperately trying to get his music on the air in the 1970s. Unfortunately, he has had little success, and his future is still clouded in uncertainty. However, on one ordinary night, an unexpected encounter with a homeless man changes Rudy’s life as he discovers his true calling and ends up entertaining the world, albeit in his own humble and small way.

4. A Futile and Stupid Gesture (2018)

best biography movies on scientists

Inspired by Josh Karp’s 2006 non-fiction book of the same name, ‘A Futile and Stupid Gesture’ is a biographical comedy-drama film written by John Aboud and Michael Colton. The David Wain directorial follows Douglas Kenney, who, along with his classmate Henry Beard lays the foundations of a monthly magazine named the National Lampoon. The duo leaves the life-transforming opportunity of attending law school for their ambitious goal and, with Douglas’ big vision, manages to change the American comedy scene in innovative ways.

Read More: Best Christian Movies on Netflix

3. Schumacher (2021)

best biography movies on scientists

Directed by Hanns-Bruno Kammertöns, Vanessa Nöcker, and Michael Wech, ‘Schumacher’ is a German sports documentary film that focuses on the inspiring career of the titular protagonist and features Corinna Schumacher, Sebastian Vettel, Mika Häkkinen, Jean Todt among many others. The movie offers an intimate understanding of German Formula One racing driver Michael’s personal and professional life using unseen videos, archive footage, and interviews. From his early go-kart career to the struggle with the death of Ayrton Senna, ‘Schumacher’ paints a moving portrait of the legendary racer with an accurate depiction of his failures, successes, and fears.

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2. Barry (2016)

barry-tiff

Directed by Vikram Gandhi, ‘Barry’ is a drama movie that centers upon Barack Obama’s college days and gives viewers a unique perspective on his life. In the early 1980s, the 44th President of the United States reached New York as a 21-year-old exchange student to Columbia University, where he made friends with his roommate, Will. Barack participated in debates about philosophy and American society and took an active interest in political affairs. ‘Barry’ gives viewers an intimate understanding of what Obama was like during his early 20s and offers a closer look at the interests that eventually made him the leader he is today.

Read More: Best Black Movies on Netflix

1. The Most Hated Woman in America (2017)

best biography movies on scientists

Tommy O’Haver’s ‘The Most Hated Woman in America’ is a biographical drama film that stars Melissa Leo, Peter Fonda, Sally Kirkland, and Rory Cochrane. The film centers upon Madalyn Murray O’Hair, an activist, atheist, and proponent for the separation of church from the state who fiercely advocated for his beliefs despite the challenges in her path. Unfortunately, she gets kidnapped in the mid-90s along with her son Garth and granddaughter Robin by people who detest her ideas which eventually ends tragically.

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best biography movies on scientists

Biographical - Scientists and Inventors

Benedict Cumberbatch in Hawking (2004)

2. The Theory of Everything

Benedict Cumberbatch in The Imitation Game (2014)

3. The Imitation Game

Madame Curie (1943)

4. Madame Curie

Jeremy Irons and Dev Patel in The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

5. The Man Who Knew Infinity

Russell Crowe and Al Pacino in The Insider (1999)

6. The Insider

Russell Crowe in A Beautiful Mind (2001)

7. A Beautiful Mind

Sigourney Weaver in Gorillas in the Mist (1988)

8. Gorillas in the Mist

Paul Bettany in Creation (2009)

9. Creation

Liam Neeson in Kinsey (2004)

12. Sister Kenny

Viggo Mortensen, Keira Knightley, and Michael Fassbender in A Dangerous Method (2011)

13. A Dangerous Method

You Don't Know Jack (2010)

14. You Don't Know Jack

Alan Rickman and Yasiin Bey in Something the Lord Made (2004)

15. Something the Lord Made

Claire Danes in Temple Grandin (2010)

16. Temple Grandin

Nilbio Torres in Embrace of the Serpent (2015)

17. Embrace of the Serpent

Winona Ryder and Peter Sarsgaard in Experimenter (2015)

18. Experimenter

Galileo (1975)

19. Galileo

Alan Dobie in Danton (1970)

20. Biography

Alexander fleming.

Paul Muni in The Story of Louis Pasteur (1936)

21. The Story of Louis Pasteur

Edward G. Robinson in Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940)

22. Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet

Spencer Tracy in Edison, the Man (1940)

23. Edison, the Man

Henry Fonda, Don Ameche, and Loretta Young in The Story of Alexander Graham Bell (1939)

24. The Story of Alexander Graham Bell

Mickey Rooney in Young Tom Edison (1940)

25. Young Tom Edison

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best biography movies on scientists

10 Sci-Fi Movies With Very Little Social Commentary

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While many think that it is famous for all its lasers, aliens, and flashing lights, the sci-fi genre is one of the best at exploring important and relevant themes and offering intrinsic social commentary on issues that befall people in the modern day. From dystopian futures to intergalactic adventures, many of the very best science-fiction films excel because of their cutting commentary. However, sometimes the lasers, lights, and aliens are all fans really want from the genre .

Ranging from Steven Spielberg adventure classics to action-packed blockbusters of the 2010s, and even to several dramas to park the social commentary in lieu of a more central focus on humanity, these 10 science fiction movies offer all the aesthetic divinity of the genre with none of the at times overwhelming thematic might.

10 'Predator' (1987)

Directed by john mctiernan.

Dutch (Arnold Schwarzenegger) holding a rifle in the jungle from Predator

In addition to being an enduring mixture of science-fiction and horror, Predator also stands as one of the defining action movies of the 1980s, making it no surprise that it is focused on machismo, muscles, and machine guns more so than social musings . Starring Arnold Schwarzenegger in one of his most iconic roles, it follows a squad of American commandos on a rescue mission in Central America where they find themselves being hunted by an advanced alien warrior.

While the hypercritical may be quick to judge it as brainless, brawny, and bombastic, Predator has embedded itself in the hearts of millions of fans as pure, unbridled action cinema imbued with plenty of sci-fi splendor. Renowned for its compact yet creative action sequences, its moments of tension, and its famous movie monster , Predator is surface-level entertainment done exceptionally well.

Watch on Hulu

9 'Guardians of the Galaxy' (2014)

Directed by james gunn.

Zoe Saldana, Chris Pratt, Bradley Cooper, Dave Bautista and Vin Diesel in 'Guardians of the Galaxy'

Still standing as one of the best expansions the MCU has executed thus far, 2014’s Guardians of the Galaxy presented the blockbuster franchise with an opportunity to stray into pure sci-fi adventure without sacrificing any of the vibrant fun the saga is famous for. It follows Peter Quill / Star Lord ( Chris Pratt ), an intergalactic bandit who becomes entwined with several other roguish characters as they try to beat a tyrannical warlord to obtain one of the Infinity Stones.

With a narrative heavily influenced by the spaghetti Westerns of yesteryear and a vivacious appetite for quirky and endearing comedy, Guardians of the Galaxy is one of the most entertaining movies of its decade. While there are some heavier underlying themes, such as familial abuse, the sci-fi action-adventure plays as a fun-loving spectacle that offers the most amusing of viewing experiences .

Guardians of the Galaxy

Watch on Disney+

8 'Predestination' (2014)

Directed by the spierig brothers.

'Predestination' is based on complicated theoretical paradoxes

One of the most underappreciated films of the 2010s, Predestination is a mind-boggling and complex sci-fi thriller that explores the full brain-melting possibilities of time-travel with unforgettable results. Starring Ethan Hawke and Sarah Snook , it follows a temporal agent sent back to 1975 to prevent a bombing attack in New York carried out by an elusive, time-jumping criminal. While on the case, he meets with a tormented soul with a haunted past and offers him a chance to confront the ex-lover who ruined his life.

While it engages with topics of transgenderism, terrorism, and identity, Predestination excels solely as a character-driven and twisty sci-fi thriller written with deftness and intelligence and realized with a commanding confidence. Fun and fast in some parts, while mind-bending and even disturbing in others, Predestination is sci-fi narrative fare at its most ambitious and entrancing.

Predestination (2014)

Watch on Amazon

7 'Looper' (2012)

Directed by rian johnson.

looper-joseph-gordon-levitt-joe-bruce-willis-old-joe

An intriguing mixture of science-fiction, action, and crime, Looper sees Rian Johnson operating at his brilliant best. It follows Joe ( Joseph Gordon-Levitt ), a hitman for the mob who kills targets sent back in time from the future. However, when his older self is sent back to be assassinated, Joe’s hesitation leads to a desperate fight for survival that sees a farm girl and her young son embroiled in his violent life.

While Looper offers an exploration of the human psyche, particularly linked to notions of consequence and predetermined fate, it contains very little in the way of social commentary. As such, it is a fantastic film for sci-fi fans and even action or crime lovers who want to enjoy an intriguing, contemplative, and masterfully constructed film that refrains from addressing societal issues with too much force .

Watch on Netflix

6 'Edge of Tomorrow' (2014)

Directed by doug liman.

Rita & William, wearing mech-suits, kneeling and looking ahead in the film Edge of Tomorrow

Initially titled “Live. Die. Repeat.”, 2013’s sci-fi action flick Edge of Tomorrow has become something of a modern classic with its exciting thrills and its perfect execution of a time-loop narrative . It stars Tom Cruise as Major William Cage, a cowardly public affairs officer who is sent into combat to cover an attack on the invading alien race known as mimics. When he becomes trapped in a time-loop, he turns to war hero Rita Vrataski ( Emily Blunt ) to capitalize on the unlikely advantage.

Intelligently written, well-acted, and striking a perfect balance between action, drama, and fun, Edge of Tomorrow eschews overbearing social commentary in favor of a stunning and fast-paced sci-fi adventure . While it doesn’t neglect the inherent thematic commentary that comes with time-loop movies, it uses its premise more as a means to provide impeccable action than to delve into character angst and issues of humanity.

Edge of Tomorrow

Rent on Apple

5 'Moon' (2009)

Directed by duncan jones.

moon-sam-rockwell

Just because a science fiction film isn’t intrinsically focused on being a skewering social commentary doesn’t mean that it can’t still be a contemplative and thematically weighted picture that gives the audience plenty to think about. Case in point, 2009’s criminally underrated masterpiece, Moon . The contained sci-fi mystery follows a lone miner stationed on the far side of the moon who, as he nears the end of his contract, makes a shocking discovery that calls into question everything he understands about his mission and himself.

Sam Rockwell commands the screen with his dual performances, while Duncan Jones thrives in what was his directorial debut. Tightly packed with intriguing ideas, shifting moods, and a thrilling yet poignant story, Moon offers plenty for thinking viewers without embracing much of the stringent social commentary sci-fi typically imbues its stories with.

Watch on PlutoTV

4 'Gravity' (2013)

Directed by alfonso cuarón.

Sandra Bullock as Ryan Stone in her space-suit looking at an object offscreen in Gravity

Winning seven Academy Awards from 10 nominations, Gravity is one of the essential viewing experiences of the 2010s as a taut and thrilling sci-fi drama. While it maintains a strong focus on themes such as human connection, the will to live, and isolation and depression, the film explores these ideas from a strictly character-centric perspective rather than as an observation on modern society .

Hinging on a sublime performance from Sandra Bullock , it follows an engineer on her first space mission who must make a desperate voyage to a space station when her vessel is damaged by debris while she is on a spacewalk. Gripping, relentlessly suspenseful, and flawlessly acted, Gravity is an enormous technical feat of film-making and a brilliantly realized story. It even garnered praise from several astronauts for its overall accuracy.

3 'E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial' (1982)

Directed by steven spielberg.

Elliot and E.T. ride the bike across the moon

Steven Spielberg ’s iconic picture is not only the pinnacle of sci-fi adventure, but is also one of the most defining films in Hollywood history . Its warm charm and its mesmerizing sense of wonder have seen it stand as a beautiful classic for over 40 years, but so too has the timelessness granted to it by its desire to stray away from contemporary social commentary or heavy-handed political themes.

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial instead thrives as a heartwarming realization of the unlikeliest of friendships between a young boy and a stranded alien. Spielberg is able to conjure a riveting sci-fi adventure amid what is fundamentally a touching display of childhood and camaraderie. Its incorporation of familial themes surrounding Elliot ( Henry Thomas ) is present, but the film can be easily enjoyed as pure escapist sci-fi fun that is both profoundly sweet and emotionally powerful .

E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Rent on Amazon

2 'Inception' (2010)

Directed by christopher nolan.

Cobb sitting down and looking at his totem while holding a gun in Inception

An incredibly dense story that masterfully executes its complex exposition with elegance and efficiency, Inception is a breathtaking science fiction blockbuster with such an enormous plot that to add social commentary would make for an overwhelming viewing experience . The film follows a dream-infiltrating thief who secures work by stealing ideas from the rivals of his contractors. However, when he is hired to plant a destructive idea in the mind of an employer’s business competitor, he orchestrates an elaborate ploy to embed the idea deep in his target’s subconscious.

Visually awe-inspiring and completely innovative and unique, it is a stroke of genius on Christopher Nolan ’s part that Inception is not only comprehensible, but able to juggle engrossing subplots as well. It is one of the most meticulously crafted films of the 21st century thus far and a staggering, near-perfect sci-fi action-thriller that fires on all cylinders.

1 'Back to the Future' (1985)

Directed by robert zemeckis.

Doc holds a controller next to Marty, both with shocked expressions, in 'Back to the Future'

The ultimate time travel movie and still a defining masterpiece of sci-fi adventure cinema, Back to the Future blends its heavy genre elements with touches of comedy, romance, and teenage angst to intoxicating effect. It famously follows Marty McFly ( Michael J. Fox ), a 17-year-old from 1985 who, when he travels back in time 30 years, finds himself mingling with his parents at high school and having to play matchmaker for the incredulous George McFly ( Crispin Glover ) in order to ensure his own existence.

Defined by its gleeful spirit and its astounding narrative construction, as well as the note-perfect performances from all involved, Back to the Future evades hard-hitting social commentary in favor of pure escapist fun . Its sequels are similarly brilliant, making the Back to the Future trilogy a defining pillar of sci-fi cinema and one of the most endearing and wondrous titles in Hollywood history.

Back to the Future

NEXT: The 50 Best Sci-Fi Movies of All Time, Ranked

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Five Science Fiction Movies to Stream Now

In this month’s sci-fi picks, life on Mars, a social dystopia set in near-future London and a meet-cute after a spaceship accident.

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Aristotle Athari and Zosia Mamet stand, facing each other, in a hazy photo with a background of planets, in the movie “Molli and Max in the Future.”

By Elisabeth Vincentelli

‘Mars Express’

Rent or buy it on most major platforms .

The French director Jérémie Périn’s impressive debut feature is set on Mars, which is now habitable under extensive domes, but this animated movie isn’t about terraforming or life on the red planet. Rather, Périn explores the tensions among humans, robots, androids and newcomers called “organics.” And he does it with an action-packed, often violent noir thriller (this is not a film for young children).

The central character is the private detective Aline Ruby (voiced by Morla Gorrondona in the English dub), who is hired to locate a missing cybernetics student. In the process, she and her robot sidekick, Carlos (Josh Keaton), uncover a far-reaching conspiracy that involves some powerful people.

Pretty standard stuff in terms of plot mechanics, but “Mars Express” undergirds its suspenseful, skilfully directed set pieces with weighty philosophical concerns, like the meaning of personhood and the quest for increased autonomy. The world building is superb, with such thoughtful details as a minibar that automatically shuts off when it senses the presence of someone in recovery, a patch that allows for telepathic communication, and students making extra money in “brain farms.”

Note that except on Amazon, which lists French and English audio, “Mars Express” only seems to be available dubbed; it’d be great to have wider access to the subtitled original cast, led by Léa Drucker as Aline.

‘The Kitchen’

Stream it on Netflix .

Speaking of world-building: The term is often used in relation to settings that are distant in space or time, and quite remote from our present circumstances. “The Kitchen” is a social dystopia set in near-future London so the differences with our reality are relatively minor, but they are very effectively deployed. The directors Daniel Kaluuya and Kibwe Tavares ground their story in two issues of great interest to millions, if not billions of people: the scarcity of housing and the difficulty of maintaining familial bonds in a fraught environment.

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