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The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too

Updated February 18, 2021 110.4k votes 7.8k voters 88.2k views106 items

List RulesVote 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 becuase they're movies that make you think. Regardless of genre, these types of movies will 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.  But which one is the best intellectual movie of them all? Vote up your favorite intelligent movies to help them reach the top of the list.

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 if you like these movies, check out our list of great movies about smart people.

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  • Forrest Gump1
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    Forrest Gump

    Tom Hanks, Sally Field

    Released1994

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

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  • The Green Mile2
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    The Green Mile

    Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise

    Released1999

    Directed byFrank Darabont

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  • Saving Private Ryan3
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    Tom Hanks, Matt Damon

    Released1998

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • The Shawshank Redemption4
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    The Shawshank Redemption

    Morgan Freeman, Rita Hayworth

    Released1994

    Directed byFrank Darabont

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  • One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest5
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    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito

    Released1975

    Directed byMiloš Forman

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  • Good Will Hunting6
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    Ben Affleck, Robin Williams

    Released1997

    Directed byGus Van Sant

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  • The Sixth Sense7
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    The Sixth Sense

    Bruce Willis, Mischa Barton

    Released1999

    Directed byM. Night Shyamalan

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  • The Usual Suspects8
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    The Usual Suspects

    Kevin Spacey, Benicio del Toro

    Released1994

    Directed byBryan Singer

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  • A Beautiful Mind9
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    A Beautiful Mind

    Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe

    Released2001

    Directed byRon Howard

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  • Back to the Future10
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    Back to the Future

    Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd

    Released1985

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

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  • Fight Club11
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    Fight Club

    Brad Pitt, Jared Leto

    Released1999

    Directed byDavid Fincher

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  • The Matrix12
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    The Matrix

    Keanu Reeves, Hugo Weaving

    Released1999

    Directed byAndy Wachowski, Lana Wachowski

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  • The Departed13
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    The Departed

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Jack Nicholson

    Released2006

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

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  • Gladiator14
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    Gladiator

    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix

    Released2000

    Directed byRidley Scott

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  • Groundhog Day15
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    Groundhog Day

    Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell

    Released1993

    Directed byHarold Ramis

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  • The Martian16
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    The Martian

    Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain

    Released2015

    Directed byRidley Scott

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  • Catch Me If You Can17
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    Catch Me If You Can

    Tom Hanks, Leonardo DiCaprio

    Released2002

    Directed bySteven Spielberg

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  • Inception18
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    Inception

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy

    Released2010

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

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  • Toy Story19
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    Toy Story

    Tom Hanks, Tim Allen

    Released1995

    Directed byJohn Lasseter

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  • Alien20
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    Alien

    Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt

    Released1979

    Directed byRidley Scott

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  • The Dark Knight21
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    The Dark Knight

    Christian Bale, Michael Caine

    Released2008

    Directed byChristopher Nolan

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  • The Imitation Game22
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    The Imitation Game

    Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch

    Released2014

    Directed byMorten Tyldum

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  • Dead Poets Society23
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    Robin Williams, Ethan Hawke

    Released1989

    Directed byPeter Weir

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  • Shutter Island24
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    Shutter Island

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Michelle Williams

    Released2010

    Directed byMartin Scorsese

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  • Platoon25
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    Platoon

    Johnny Depp, Charlie Sheen

    Released1986

    Directed byOliver Stone

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