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The Best Movies About Geniuses 

Ranker Film
Updated October 2, 2019 5k votes 1k voters 68.8k views 46 items

List Rules Movies about geniuses, smart people, inventors, scientists, prodigies, and musicians.

What makes a genius? The theory of relativity, the musical madness of Mozart, the struggles of a person with autism and the miracle of how amazing their minds work, the possibility of time travel, the stroke of genius in an artist able to capture a never before seen image. Numerous films have been made about the work and minds of geniuses from all sorts of backgrounds and different fields.

The movies on this list all detail the life of a genius in one way or another – whether it’s taking more of a historical approach to the life of Albert Einstein in Young Einstein or a biographical approach to the struggles of a man who was a genius, but also had a mental illness like in A Beautiful Mind.

This list discusses the best movies about the life of a genius including: Good Will Hunting, Rain Man, The Time Machine, October Sky, August Rush, Finding Forrester, Phenomenon, Enigma, Bobby Fisher Against the World, and Little Man Tate.

Vote up the film you think is the most genius of all, vote down those you thought were just plain dumb, or add one you love that isn't on the list.
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1
Good Will Hunting is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Matt Damon

Released: 1997

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

Good Will Hunting is a 1997 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, and starring Matt Damon, Robin Williams, Ben Affleck, Minnie Driver and Stellan Skarsgård. Written by Affleck and ...more

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2
A Beautiful Mind is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Ron Howard

Released: 2001

Directed by: Ron Howard

This is also considered one of the best math movies ever made.

A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American biographical drama film based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. The film was directed by Ron Howard, from a screenplay written by Akiva ...more

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3
Ranker Video
Anjelica Pappin added Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong

Released: 2014

Directed by: Morten Tyldum

The Imitation Game is a 2014 historical thriller film directed by Morten Tyldum, with a screenplay by Graham Moore loosely based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. It ...more

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4
Rain Man is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Valeria Golino

Released: 1988

Directed by: Barry Levinson

Rain Man is a 1988 American drama film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Barry Morrow and Ronald Bass. It tells the story of an abrasive and selfish yuppie, Charlie Babbitt, who ...more

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5
Limitless is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Bruce Lee

Released: 2011

Directed by: Neil Burger

Limitless is a 2011 American thriller film directed by Neil Burger and starring Bradley Cooper, Abbie Cornish, and Robert De Niro. It is based on the novel The Dark Fields by Alan Glynn.

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6
Sherlock Holmes is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Tom Islava added Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law, Rachel McAdams

Released: 2009

Directed by: Guy Ritchie

Sherlock Holmes is a 2009 period mystery action film directed by Guy Ritchie, based on the character created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Detective Sherlock Holmes (Robert Downey Jr.) and his ...more

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7
The Theory of Everything... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
carlybobarly added Jeff Rector, Laird Macintosh, Victor Lundin

Released: 2006

Directed by: David de Vos

The Theory of Everything is a 2006 drama film.
8
The Man Who Knew Infinit... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Svetlana Pavlovic added The Man Who Knew Infinity Jeremy Irons, Dev Patel, Stephen Fry

Released: 2016

Directed by: Matt Brown

9
The Martian is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig

Released: 2015

Directed by: Ridley Scott

The Martian is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the novel by Andy Weir. An astronaut (Matt Damon) becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him gone, and must ...more

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10
Amadeus is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Jeffrey Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Christine Ebersole

Released: 1984

Directed by: Miloš Forman

Amadeus - Directors Cut is a 1984 biography drama film written by Peter Shaffer and directed by Milos Forman.

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11
Searching for Bobby Fisc... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Ben Kingsley, William H. Macy, Laurence Fishburne

Released: 1993

Directed by: Steven Zaillian

Searching for Bobby Fischer, released in the United Kingdom as Innocent Moves, is a 1993 American drama film written and directed by Steven Zaillian. The film was his directorial debut, and ...more

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12
The Social Network is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones, Rooney Mara

Released: 2010

Directed by: David Fincher

The Social Network is a 2010 American drama film directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin. Adapted from Ben Mezrich's 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of ...more

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13
August Rush is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Robin Williams, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers

Released: 2007

Directed by: Kirsten Sheridan

August Rush is a 2007 drama film directed by Kirsten Sheridan and written by Nick Castle, James V. Hart, and Paul Castro, and produced by Richard Barton Lewis. Deciding to run away to New York ...more

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14
21 is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne

Released: 2008

Directed by: Robert Luketic

21 is a 2008 American drama film directed by Robert Luketic and stars Jim Sturgess, Kevin Spacey, Laurence Fishburne, Kate Bosworth, Liza Lapira, Jacob Pitts, and Aaron Yoo. The film is inspired ...more

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15
October Sky is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper

Released: 1999

Directed by: Joe Johnston

October Sky is a 1999 American biographical film directed by Joe Johnston, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Chris Cooper and Laura Dern. It is based on the true story of Homer Hickam, a coal miner's ...more

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16
Phenomenon is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Kyra Sedgwick

Released: 1996

Directed by: Jon Turteltaub

Phenomenon is a 1996 American romantic fantasy drama film directed by Jon Turteltaub, written by Gerald Di Pego, and starring John Travolta, Kyra Sedgwick, Forest Whitaker, Robert Duvall, and ...more

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17
Finding Forrester is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Sean Connery

Released: 2000

Directed by: Gus Van Sant

Finding Forrester is a 2000 American drama film written by Mike Rich and directed by Gus Van Sant. An African-American teenager, Jamal Wallace, is invited to attend a prestigious private high ...more

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18
Little Man Tate is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Little Man Tate Jodie Foster, Harry Connick, Jr.

Released: 1991

Directed by: Jodie Foster

Little Man Tate is a 1991 drama film directed by and starring Jodie Foster. The film marked her directorial debut. It tells the story of a seven-year-old child prodigy, Fred Tate, who struggles ...more

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19
Powder is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Jeff Goldblum, Mary Steenburgen, Lance Henriksen

Released: 1995

Directed by: Victor Salva

Powder is a 1995 American fantasy drama film written and directed by Victor Salva and starring Sean Patrick Flanery in the titular role, with Jeff Goldblum, Mary Steenburgen, Bradford Tatum and ...more

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20
Pi is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Mark Margolis, Ajay Naidu, Clint Mansell

Released: 1998

Directed by: Darren Aronofsky

Pi, also titled π, is a 1998 American surrealist psychological thriller film written and directed by Darren Aronofsky in his directorial debut. The film earned Aronofsky the Directing Award at ...more

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21
Pawn Sacrifice is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Pawn Sacrifice Liev Schreiber, Tobey Maguire, Peter Sarsgaard

Released: 2014

Directed by: Edward Zwick

Pawn Sacrifice is an American biographical film directed by Edward Zwick and written by Steven Knight. The film stars Tobey Maguire as Bobby Fischer, Liev Schreiber as Boris Spassky, and Lily ...more
22
The Time Machine is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Jeremy Irons, Guy Pearce, Sienna Guillory

Released: 2002

Directed by: Simon Wells

The Time Machine is a 2002 American science fiction film loosely adapted from the 1895 novel of the same name by H. G. Wells and the 1960 film screenplay by David Duncan. It was ...more

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23
Shine is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Geoffrey Rush, John Gielgud, Lynn Redgrave

Released: 1996

Directed by: Scott Hicks

Shine is a 1996 Australian biographical drama film based on the life of pianist David Helfgott, who suffered a mental breakdown and spent years in institutions. It stars Geoffrey Rush, Lynn ...more

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24
The Royal Tenenbaums is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Gwyneth Paltrow, Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray

Released: 2001

Directed by: Wes Anderson

The Royal Tenenbaums is a 2001 American comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson and co-written with Owen Wilson. The film stars Gene Hackman, Anjelica Huston, Bill Murray, Gwyneth Paltrow, ...more

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25
Real Genius is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Val Kilmer, Chevy Chase, Deborah Foreman

Released: 1985

Directed by: Martha Coolidge

Real Genius is a 1985 satirical comedy film directed by Martha Coolidge. It stars Val Kilmer and Gabriel Jarret. The film is set on the campus of Pacific Tech, a technical university similar to ...more

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