The Most Memorable Nerds In Movie History

List Rules
Vote up the nerds who shined when they had a shot in the movie spotlight.

Nerd characters have been around as long as movies themselves, with the trope appearing at least as early as 1925 and continuing into the present day in films from directors including Judd Apatow and Olivia Wilde. The best movie nerds always have a depth to them that sets them apart from one-dimensional portrayals where their sole purpose is to annoy the main character or provide comedic relief.

Whether they're socially awkward, booksmart, scientifically inclined, or some combination of all three, the best nerds in movies leave a mark on audiences with their relatability and real-life vulnerability.


  • Egon Spengler (Harold Ramis) From The 'Ghostbusters' Series
    Photo: Ghostbusters / Columbia Pictures

    No one can deny the longevity of Dr. Egon Spengler, founding member of the Ghostbusters and creator of the proton packs they wield against apparitions. Always speaking matter-of-factly even when it might seem uncalled for, Dr. Spengler is the smartest member of the team and is able to calculate the probability of survival when he suggests breaking one of his own rules.

    Whether he's making new gadgets for the team or investigating a river of ooze just below New York City, Egon always has his nerd flag flying high.

  • 2
    92 VOTES

    Evie Carnahan (Rachel Weisz) From 'The Mummy'

    Evie Carnahan may be clumsy, but she's also a highly intelligent woman navigating the 1920s and beyond - and holding her own in many respects. She uses her skills as a librarian and expert on Egyptian texts and lore not only to push forward the adventure in The Mummy, but also to save her future husband Rick O'Connell (Brendan Fraser) from doom several times.

    Even as she grows into a more confident version of herself, Evie never loses the nerdy edge that put her on the path toward her new life.

  • Hermione Granger (Emma Watson) From The 'Harry Potter' Series
    Photo: Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone / Warner Bros.

    A shining example of Hermione Granger's unrepentant nerdiness comes when she takes the time to correct schoolmates and friends Ron Weasley (Rupert Grint) and Harry Potter (Daniel Radcliffe) on the pronunciation of a levitating spell. Her exasperated instruction, "It's leviOsa, not levioSA!” lets readers and movie viewers alike know exactly where Miss Granger stands when it comes to attention to detail and a drive to educate not only herself, but also those around her in the wizarding world.

    Her strengths throughout the series lie in her ability to find and condense, apply, and translate information in order to save herself and her friends from certain doom. Her nerdiness definitely saves the day more than once.

  • George McFly (Crispin Glover) From The 'Back to the Future' Series
    Photo: Back to the Future / Universal Pictures

    As the nerdy father of Marty McFly (Michael J. Fox), George is awkward, complacent, and pathetic as an adult. However, his tendencies toward sci-fi and "bird-watching" in high school prove he's always been a dorky target for bullies.

    Excellent at his studies, George spends most of high school completing homework for Biff (Thomas F. Wilson) and pining over the lovely Lorraine (Lea Thompson) from afar. It isn't until his son travels back in time that George gathers the courage to stand up for himself while refusing to give up the nerdy hobbies he loves, leading to a better future for the whole McFly clan.

  • Not a single viewer in theaters was properly prepared for the bombshell dropped by Michelle Flaherty in American Pie once she and Jim (Jason Biggs) make their way to prom.

    Shown only as a breathless talker fixated on her time at band camp throughout high school, Michelle is definitely a band nerd with a saucy side. It's that unexpected twist on her geek persona that makes her such a memorable part of a flick full of scenes that cannot be unseen.

  • Naive, awkward, and eager to be one of the guys, Andy's brand of nerdiness is evident in his piles of boxed action figures and comic books, and even in his job selling electronics.

    Although Andy attempts to conform to what he believes to be society's standards for a man, in the end, he maintains his personality and dorkiness - and still gets to fall in love.