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The Best Movies About Geniuses

Updated January 10, 2021 5.6k votes 1.1k voters 73.0k views88 items

List RulesMovies 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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  • Good Will Hunting1
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    Good Will Hunting

    Ben Affleck, Robin Williams

    Released1997

    Directed byGus Van Sant

    Good Will Hunting is a 1997 American drama film directed by Gus Van Sant, and starring Matt...  more
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  • A Beautiful Mind2
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    A Beautiful Mind

    Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe

    Released2001

    Directed byRon Howard

    A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American biographical drama film based on the life of John Nash, a...  more
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  • The Imitation Game3
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    The Imitation Game

    Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch

    Released2014

    Directed byMorten Tyldum

    The Imitation Game is a 2014 historical thriller film directed by Morten Tyldum, with a...  more
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  • Rain Man4
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    Rain Man

    Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman

    Released1988

    Directed byBarry Levinson

    Rain Man is a 1988 American drama film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Barry Morrow...  more
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  • The Theory of Everything5
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    The Theory of Everything

    Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones

    Released2014

    Directed byJames Marsh

    The Theory of Everything is a 2014 British biographical coming of age romantic drama film...  more
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  • The Man Who Knew Infinity6
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    The Man Who Knew Infinity

    Jeremy Irons, Dev Patel

    Released2016

    Directed byMatt Brown

    The Man Who Knew Infinity is a 2015 British biographical drama film directed by Matthew Brown,...  more
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  • Limitless7
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    Limitless

    Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper

    Released2011

    Directed byNeil Burger

    Limitless is a 2011 American thriller film directed by Neil Burger and starring Bradley...  more
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  • Sherlock Holmes8
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    Sherlock Holmes

    Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law

    Released2009

    Directed byGuy Ritchie

    Sherlock Holmes is a 2009 period mystery action film directed by Guy Ritchie, based on the...  more
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  • Amadeus9
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    Amadeus

    Jeffrey Jones, Cynthia Nixon

    Released1984

    Directed byMiloš Forman

    Amadeus is a 1984 American period biographical drama film directed by Miloš Forman and adapted...  more
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  • The Martian10
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    The Martian

    Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain

    Released2015

    Directed byRidley Scott

    The Martian is a 2015 science fiction film directed by Ridley Scott, based on the novel by...  more
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  • Searching for Bobby Fischer11
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    Searching for Bobby Fischer

    Ben Kingsley, William H. Macy

    Released1993

    Directed bySteven Zaillian

    Searching for Bobby Fischer, released in the United Kingdom as Innocent Moves, is a 1993...  more
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  • The Social Network12
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    The Social Network

    Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones

    Released2010

    Directed byDavid Fincher

    The Social Network is a 2010 American drama film directed by David Fincher and written by...  more
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  • October Sky13
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    October Sky

    Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern

    Released1999

    Directed byJoe Johnston

    October Sky is a 1999 American biographical film directed by Joe Johnston, starring Jake...  more
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  • August Rush14
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    August Rush

    Robin Williams, Keri Russell

    Released2007

    Directed byKirsten Sheridan

    August Rush is a 2007 drama film directed by Kirsten Sheridan and written by Nick Castle,...  more
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  • Phenomenon15
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    Phenomenon

    John Travolta, Robert Duvall

    Released1996

    Directed byJon Turteltaub

    Phenomenon is a 1996 American romantic fantasy drama film directed by Jon Turteltaub, written...  more
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  • 2116
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    21

    Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth

    Released2008

    Directed byRobert Luketic

    21 is a 2008 American drama film directed by Robert Luketic and stars Jim Sturgess, Kevin...  more
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  • Finding Forrester17
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    Finding Forrester

    Anna Paquin, Matt Damon

    Released2000

    Directed byGus Van Sant

    Finding Forrester is a 2000 American drama film written by Mike Rich and directed by Gus Van...  more
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  • Powder18
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    Powder

    Jeff Goldblum, Mary Steenburgen

    Released1995

    Directed byVictor Salva

    Powder is a 1995 American fantasy drama film written and directed by Victor Salva and starring...  more
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  • Little Man Tate19
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    Little Man Tate

    Jodie Foster, Harry Connick

    Released1991

    Directed byJodie Foster

    Little Man Tate is a 1991 drama film directed by and starring Jodie Foster. The film marked...  more
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  • Pawn Sacrifice20
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    Pawn Sacrifice

    Liev Schreiber, Tobey Maguire

    Released2014

    Directed byEdward Zwick

    Pawn Sacrifice is an American biographical film directed by Edward Zwick and written by Steven...  more
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  • Pi21
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    Pi

    Mark Margolis, Ajay Naidu

    Released1998

    Directed byDarren Aronofsky

    Pi, also titled π, is a 1998 American surrealist psychological thriller film written and...  more
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  • The Time Machine22
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    The Time Machine

    Jeremy Irons, Guy Pearce

    Released2002

    Directed bySimon Wells

    The Time Machine is a 2002 American science fiction film loosely adapted from the 1895 novel...  more
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  • Real Genius23
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    Real Genius

    Val Kilmer, Chevy Chase

    Released1985

    Directed byMartha Coolidge

    Real Genius is a 1985 satirical comedy film directed by Martha Coolidge. It stars Val Kilmer...  more
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  • Shine24
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    Shine

    Geoffrey Rush, John Gielgud

    Released1996

    Directed byScott Hicks

    Shine is a 1996 Australian biographical drama film based on the life of pianist David...  more
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  • The Royal Tenenbaums25
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    The Royal Tenenbaums

    Gwyneth Paltrow, Alec Baldwin

    Released2001

    Directed byWes Anderson

    The Royal Tenenbaums is a 2001 American comedy-drama film directed by Wes Anderson and...  more
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