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The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too 

Ranker Film
Updated June 20, 2020 22.2k votes 2.3k voters 46.1k views 76 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
The Shawshank Redemption... is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
2
The Green Mile is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Frank Darabont (1999), starring Tom Hanks, Gary Sinise & Sam Rockwell

More The Green Mile 

#19 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #14 of 69 The Best Movies That Are Super Long #96 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies

3
Forrest Gump is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
4
Good Will Hunting is listed (or ranked) 4 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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#29 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies #139 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

5
Saving Private Ryan is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Steven Spielberg (1998), starring Tom Hanks, Matt Damon & Vin Diesel

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#1 of 378 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #2 of 69 The Best Movies That Are Super Longlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
The Sixth Sense is listed (or ranked) 6 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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#4 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #135 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movieslisted on The 50 Highest Grossing '90s Movies, Ranked

7
One Flew Over the Cuckoo... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Miloš Forman (1975), starring Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito & Christopher Lloyd

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#23 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #185 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
The Usual Suspects is listed (or ranked) 8 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 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #167 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
The Matrix is listed (or ranked) 9 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

More The Matrix 

14 Matrix Fan Theories That Will Have You Saying 'Whoa' #57 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

10
Fight Club is listed (or ranked) 10 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 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #28 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books

11
A Beautiful Mind is listed (or ranked) 11 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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#37 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #140 of 299 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

12
Inception is listed (or ranked) 12 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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List of Movies Like Inception #9 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #32 of 69 The Best Movies That Are Super Long

13
Shutter Island is listed (or ranked) 13 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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#5 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #73 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #244 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies

14
Groundhog Day is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Harold Ramis (1993), starring Bill Murray, Andie MacDowell & Michael Shannon

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#70 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies #41 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #33 of 133 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

15
The Imitation Game is listed (or ranked) 15 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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#186 of 378 The 50+ Best War Movies Ever Made, Ranked #174 of 557 The Greatest Film Scores of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

16
The Departed is listed (or ranked) 16 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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All The Evidence Matt Damon's Character In The Departed Is Secretly Gay #25 of 69 The Best Movies That Are Super Longlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

17
The Prestige is listed (or ranked) 17 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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#101 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #94 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies #621 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

18
The Dark Knight is listed (or ranked) 18 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' #1 of 158 The Best Movie Sequels Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
Memento is listed (or ranked) 19 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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#11 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #645 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #10 of 24 The Best Movies with Twist Endings

20
The Truman Show is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Peter Weir (1998), starring Jim Carrey, Paul Giamatti & Ed Harris

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Behind-The-Scenes Stories From 'The Truman Show' #956 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #107 of 133 Movies That Should Never Be Remade

21
V for Vendetta is listed (or ranked) 21 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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#35 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #63 of 355 The Best Rainy Day Movies #306 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies

22
Gladiator is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
23
Interstellar is listed (or ranked) 23 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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#62 of 241 The Best Psychological Thrillers of All Time #810 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movieslisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

24
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
phoenixginahunter added Dir. by Ridley Scott (2015), starring Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain & Kristen Wiig

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#77 of 360 The Best Movies Based On Books #549 of 1,646 The Most Rewatchable Movies #301 of 553 The Greatest Epic Movies Ever Made

25
Alien is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies That Are Pretty Smart, Too
Dir. by Ridley Scott (1979), starring Sigourney Weaver, John Hurt & Ian Holm

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