Film The Best Movies About Geniuses  

Ranker Film
3.7k votes 723 voters 45.6k views 47 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.
list ordered by

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Good Will Hunting is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Ben Affleck, Robin Williams, Matt Damon 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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A Beautiful Mind is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Ron Howard 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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Anjelica Pappin added Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong 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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Rain Man is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman, Valeria Golino 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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carlybobarly added Jeff Rector, Laird Macintosh, Victor Lundin The Theory of Everything is a 2006 drama film.

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Tom Islava added Rachel McAdams, Robert Downey Jr., Jude Law Sherlock Holmes is a 2009 British–American action mystery film based on the character of the same name created by Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. The film was directed by Guy Ritchie. In the film, ...more

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Robert De Niro, Bradley Cooper, Bruce Lee 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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The Martian is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig 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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The Man Who Knew Infinity is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Svetlana Pavlovic added Jeremy Irons, Dev Patel, Stephen Fry

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Jeffrey Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Christine Ebersole Amadeus - Directors Cut is a 1984 biography drama film written by Peter Shaffer and directed by Milos Forman.

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Ben Kingsley, William H. Macy, Laurence Fishburne 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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Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones, Rooney Mara 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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Kevin Spacey, Kate Bosworth, Laurence Fishburne 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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Robin Williams, Keri Russell, Jonathan Rhys Meyers 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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Mark Margolis, Ajay Naidu, Clint Mansell 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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Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper 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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John Travolta, Robert Duvall, Kyra Sedgwick 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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Anna Paquin, Matt Damon, Sean Connery 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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Jeremy Irons, Guy Pearce, Sienna Guillory 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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Jodie Foster, Harry Connick, Jr. 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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Gwyneth Paltrow, Alec Baldwin, Bill Murray 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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Liev Schreiber, Tobey Maguire, Peter Sarsgaard 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

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Jeff Goldblum, Mary Steenburgen, Lance Henriksen 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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Geoffrey Rush, John Gielgud, Lynn Redgrave 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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Bruce Willis, Alec Baldwin, Kim Dickens Mercury Rising is a 1998 American action thriller film starring Bruce Willis and Alec Baldwin. Directed by Harold Becker, the movie is based on Ryne Douglas Pearson's 1996 novel originally ...more

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yuliankundarto added Claire Danes, Julia Ormond, Catherine O'Hara Temple Grandin is a 2010 biopic directed by Mick Jackson and starring Claire Danes as Temple Grandin, a woman with autism who revolutionized practices for the humane handling of livestock on ...more

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Val Kilmer, Chevy Chase, Deborah Foreman 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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Jennifer Connelly, Val Kilmer, Stephanie Seymour Pollock is a 2000 biography drama film written by Steven Naifeh, Gregory White Smith, Barbara Turner and Susan Emshwiller and directed by Ed Harris.

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Kate Winslet, Mick Jagger, Nikolaj Coster-Waldau Enigma is a 2001 film directed by Michael Apted from a screenplay by Tom Stoppard. The script was adapted from the novel Enigma by Robert Harris, about the Enigma codebreakers of Bletchley Park ...more

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Gwyneth Paltrow, Jake Gyllenhaal, Anthony Hopkins Proof is a 2005 American drama film directed by John Madden and starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Anthony Hopkins, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Hope Davis. It was written by Rebecca Miller, based on David ...more

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A Young Brilliant Mind is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
jacobdnelson added A Young Brilliant Mind

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Meg Ryan, Tim Robbins, Stephen Fry I.Q. is a 1994 American romantic comedy film directed by Fred Schepisi and starring Tim Robbins, Meg Ryan, and Walter Matthau. The original music score was composed by Jerry Goldsmith. The film ...more

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Tim Roth, Bill Nunn, Pruitt Taylor Vince The Legend of 1900 is a 1998 Italian drama film directed by Giuseppe Tornatore and starring Tim Roth, Pruitt Taylor Vince and Mélanie Thierry. It was Tornatore's first English-language ...more

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Bobby Fischer Against the World is a documentary feature film that explores the life of the late chess Grandmaster and 11th World Champion Bobby Fischer. It incorporates interviews with chess ...more

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Tom Cruise, Julianne Moore, Philip Seymour Hoffman Magnolia is a 1999 American drama film written, produced, and directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Jeremy Blackman, Tom Cruise, Philip Baker Hall, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Ricky Jay, ...more

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Matthew Broderick, Patricia Arquette, Željko Ivanek Infinity is a 1996 American biographical drama film about the early life of physicist Richard Feynman. Feynman was played by Matthew Broderick, who also directed and produced the film. ...more

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BorkZorkOrc added David Morrissey, Charles Dance, Emily Watson Hilary and Jackie is a 1998 British biographical film directed by Anand Tucker. The screenplay by Frank Cottrell Boyce is often claimed to have been based on the memoir A Genius in the Family by ...more

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The Devil's Violinist is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Movies About Geniuses
Svetlana Pavlovic added The Devil's Violinist

The life story of Italian violinist and composer, Niccolò Paganini, who rose to fame as a virtuoso in the early 19th Century.

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Greta Radišauskaitė added John Turturro, Emily Watson, Orla Brady The Luzhin Defence is a 2000 film directed by Marleen Gorris, starring John Turturro and Emily Watson. The film centres on a mentally tormented chess grandmaster and the young woman he meets ...more

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Meryl Streep, Taylor Schilling, Aidan Quinn Dark Matter is the first feature film by opera director Chen Shi-zheng, starring Liu Ye, Aidan Quinn and Meryl Streep. It won the Alfred P. Sloan Prize at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. Liu Ye ...more

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Tim Robbins, Ryan Phillippe, Claire Forlani Antitrust is a 2001 thriller film written by Howard Franklin and directed by Peter Howitt. Antitrust portrays young idealistic programmers and a large corporation that offers significant money, ...more

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Mikey Robins, John Howard, David Ngoombujarra Young Einstein is an Australian comedy film directed by and starring Yahoo Serious, released in 1988. It was based loosely on the life of Albert Einstein, but relocated the theoretical physicist ...more

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Kathleen Turner, Christopher Lloyd, Kim Cattrall Baby Geniuses is a 1999 family-oriented comedy film directed by Bob Clark. It stars Kathleen Turner and Christopher Lloyd. The film has the distinction of being the first full-length feature to ...more

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Vincent and Theo

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Homage Beautiful, talented, fiercely unhappy Lucy Samuel, an actress on hiatus from her popular television series, comes home to visit her mother Katherine. There she meets Archie Landrum a Ph.D. in ...more

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Scott Walker: 30 Century Man David Bowie, Sting, Brian Eno Scott Walker: 30 Century Man is a 2006 documentary film about Scott Walker. The film gets its title from the Scott 3 song "30 Century Man". It is directed and co-produced by Stephen ...more

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Daniel Craig, Stephen Rea, Francesca Annis Copenhagen is a 2002 British television drama film written and directed by Howard Davies and starring Daniel Craig and Stephen Rea. It is based in Michael Frayn's 1998 Tony Award-winning play of ...more