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The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too 

Ranker Film
Updated April 23, 2020 7.1k votes 1k voters 32.9k views 66 items

List Rules Vote up the best intelligent movies, or those that are smart, clever, etc.

No matter what kind of movies you're into, we can all agree intelligent movies can be a nice change of pace. Regardless of genre, these types of movies give us moviegoers more than simple entertainment—they make us think, opening our eyes to things we may not have previously considered. Simply put, smart and clever movies can evoke emotion within viewers and actually have something to take away once the credits roll. In most other cases, we're simply captivated for a couple hours before turning the TV off or leaving the theater and moving on to something else.

Whether a movie incorporates social commentary or offers perspective different than most of our own, intelligent movies stand the test of time and often go down as the greatest movies of all time. From intelligent sci-fi films to thought-provoking dramas, there's a smart movie out there for everyone, and then some. For instance, consider the mind-bending Inception or the ever-interesting Matrix, not to mention classics like Forrest Gump and Alien. These movies don't just bring sheer entertainment to the silver screen, but they also make us think—maybe even more than we'd like to. Regardless, the intelligent movies to follow cover a broad range of genres and subjects, and ultimately add to the entire experience.

If you're feeling smart and want to test your intelligence, check out some of the popular films below. Of course, also be sure to vote up the best intelligent movies, vote others down, and add your own choices to the list. And if you like these movies, check out our list of great movies about smart people.

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list ordered by
1
Inception is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Christopher Nolan (2010), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy & Marion Cotillard

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2
The Shawshank Redemption... is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
3
Interstellar is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Christopher Nolan (2014), starring Anne Hathaway, Matthew McConaughey & Matt Damon

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#59 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #35 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

4
The Matrix is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Andy Wachowski and Lana Wachowski (1999), starring Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving & Carrie-Anne Moss

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14 Matrix Fan Theories That Will Have You Saying 'Whoa' #189 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
6
Fight Club is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by David Fincher (1999), starring Brad Pitt, Jared Leto & Helena Bonham Carter

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20 Surprising Facts You Didn't Know About Fight Club #7 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #4 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings

7
Memento is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Christopher Nolan (2000), starring Guy Pearce, Carrie-Anne Moss & Joe Pantoliano

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#12 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #11 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings #638 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies

8
Shutter Island is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Martin Scorsese (2010), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams & Mark Ruffalo

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#4 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #74 of 366 The Best Movies Based On Books #15 of 280 The Best Whodunit Movies

9
The Prestige is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Christopher Nolan (2006), starring Scarlett Johansson, David Bowie & Hugh Jackman

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#7 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings #615 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #446 of 804 The Greatest Chick Flicks Ever Made

10
Good Will Hunting is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Gus Van Sant (1997), starring Ben Affleck, Robin Williams & Matt Damon

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#56 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #140 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by M. Night Shyamalan (1999), starring Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton & Haley Joel Osment

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#5 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #1 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endingslisted on The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

12
The Dark Knight is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Christopher Nolan (2008), starring Christian Bale, Michael Caine & Heath Ledger

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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Set Of 'The Dark Knight' #13 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

13
The Imitation Game is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Morten Tyldum (2014), starring Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch & Mark Strong

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14
Arrival is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Denis Villeneuve, starring Amy Adams, Jeremy Renner & Forest Whitaker

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#51 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Made #237 of 366 The Best Movies Based On Bookslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

15
A Beautiful Mind is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Ron Howard (2001), starring Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe & Ron Howard

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#14 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings #1,043 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

16
The Usual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Bryan Singer (1994), starring Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro & Gabriel Byrne

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#10 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #2 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endingslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

17
Eternal Sunshine of the ... is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
18
2001: A Space Odyssey is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Stanley Kubrick (1968), starring Arthur C. Clarke, Leonard Rossiter & Ed Bishop

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#77 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #28 of 191 The Best Alien Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
V for Vendetta is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by James McTeigue (2005), starring Natalie Portman, John Hurt & Hugo Weaving

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20
Ex Machina is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Alex Garland (2015), starring Domhnall Gleeson, Alicia Vikander & Oscar Isaac

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#61 of 250 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #60 of 161 The Best Dystopian And Near Future Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

21
The Truman Show is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Peter Weir (1998), starring Jim Carrey, Paul Giamatti & Ed Harris

More The Truman Show 

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22
Donnie Darko is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Richard Kelly (2001), starring Drew Barrymore, Ashley Tisdale & Jake Gyllenhaal

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23
Gone Girl is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by David Fincher (2014), starring Ben Affleck, Neil Patrick Harris & Tyler Perry

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24
The Green Mile is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Frank Darabont (1999), starring Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise & Sam Rockwell

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#28 of 349 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetime #17 of 1,699 The Most Rewatchable Movies #1 of 293 The Top Tearjerker Movies That Make Men Cry

25
The Departed is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Martin Scorsese (2006), starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson & Alec Baldwin

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