The Dumbest Geniuses In Movie History

Over 600 Ranker voters have come together to rank this list of The Dumbest Geniuses In Movie History
Voting Rules
Vote up the characters who make enough idiotic choices that you're not sure they're as smart as they seem.

Even the smartest people make dumb decisions. These stupid movie geniuses may be intelligent enough to build a time machine or figure out impossible mathematical equations, but that doesn’t mean they use their brilliance in every situation life throws at them. 

It’s the smart characters who are actually dumb that make the biggest mistakes. Perhaps their ego turns them cocky, or they simply lack common sense. These dumb movie geniuses almost caused WWIII, caused the loss of innocent lives by ignoring quarantine protocol, and nearly let an asteroid wipe out the Earth.

Which smart characters (who are actually dumb) do you think made the biggest mistakes? Vote up the smartest dumbest movie geniuses. 

  • 1
    248 VOTES

    Eddie Mora - 'Limitless'

    Eddie Mora (Bradley Cooper) is a struggling, down-on-his-luck author in the 2011 film Limitless . He takes an experimental substance called NZT and instantly has access to the full capabilities of his brain, which results in a four-digit IQ. He quickly finishes up his novel. He also figures out how to take a small sum of money, invest it, and turn it into millions of dollars.

    Despite his supreme intelligence, Mora totally forgets to pay back the $100,000 loan from the Russian mob that he used as seed money. The syndicate comes after him and winds up getting a taste of the NZT. Mora is forced to deal with a new enemy that's now just as intelligent as he is.

    248 votes
  • 2
    147 VOTES

    Rory Adams - 'Life'

    In the 2017 science fiction horror movie Life, a team of astronauts finds a soil sample from Mars. It contains signs of extraterrestrial life. One of the cells from the sample turns out to be a single-celled organism, which proves that there is life on Mars. The organism is nicknamed "Calvin."

    When crew member Hugh (Ariyon Bakare) is set upon by Calvin, Rory (Ryan Reynolds) panics and ignores quarantine protocol in an attempt to save his colleague. This is a really dumb decision by an elite engineer who should know better. Calvin takes out Rory by entering his mouth and eating his organs. Now larger and stronger in size, Calvin escapes through a vent, with devastating consequences for the entire crew. 

    147 votes
  • 3
    197 VOTES

    Q - 'Skyfall'

    Q is the technology expert and gadget whiz in the Bond movies. His genius technology always seems to save 007 whenever he finds himself in trouble However, even Q doesn't have a perfect track record. 

    In the 2012 Bond installment Skyfall, Q (Ben Whishaw) plugs an unknown laptop from a former agent into MI6's network. A virus is then unleashed, completely obliterating the system. A technological wizard like Q should have known better and checked out the laptop before hooking it up. 

    After the hack, cyberterrorist and Bond villain Raoul Silva (Javier Bardem) says of Q, "Not such a clever boy."

    197 votes
  • 4
    143 VOTES

    Dr. Millburn - 'Prometheus'

    Ok, let's be fair. Millburn (Rafe Spall), the biologist on board the titular spacecraft Prometheus, might not be quite as dumb as legions of angry sci-fi fans have made him out to be. Sure, he saunters on up to a sinister-looking alien goo-snake and starts petting it, leading to what (from the perspective of audience members) is a predictably gory demise. But we should remember that Millburn doesn't know he's in a horror movie. He thinks he's just a scientist discovering a new life form, and any animal handler will tell you that it's usually best to treat creatures gently.

    Even so, maybe don't just reach out to touch an organism you've never seen before, which could very easily be at least as dangerous as a rattlesnake (and turns out to be much more so). Millburn may have earned his PhD, but when it comes to common sense, he should have taken a few more courses.

    143 votes
  • 5
    141 VOTES

    Louis Creed - 'Pet Sematary' 

    Okay, yes, extreme grief can be partly blamed for causing a really smart person to make two really stupid decisions. Dr. Louis Creed (Dale Midkiff) is a pediatrician. His son Gage (Miko Hughes) is hit by a truck. Louis has already received not one, but two warnings regarding the pet cemetery by his house. First, a ghost tells Louis not to go into the cemetery because the ground is "sour." Then, his neighbor Jud (Fred Gwynne) helps to resurrect the family's departed cat by burying it at the cemetery. However, he warns Louis about the graveyard, noting that "sometimes, dead is better." And when the pet does return, it is... clearly not the same as it was before its passing. 

    Nonetheless, Louis blithely buries Gage in the cemetery in hopes that he too will resurrect. Of course, Gage returns as a murderous psychopath. Then, even though he sees what the cemetery did to his son, the doctor still puts his wife there after her passing. Definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result. 

    141 votes
  • When Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) meets Sean Parker (Justin Timberlake), legendary Napster founder and all-around cool guy, he's instantly transfixed. Parker is everything that Zuckerberg wants to be, and he lets the smooth talker wine and dine him, even though his best friend and business partner, Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), sees right through Parker's facade.

    Zuckerberg, a true genius with a powerful creative vision, can't see Parker is bad news. Zuckerberg betrays Saverin, even tricking the co-founder into signing away almost his entire Facebook stake. It's not until a coke bust occurs that Zuckerberg realizes how bad Parker is for his business. Saverin (and the also-screwed-over Winklevoss twins) ultimately sue Zuckerberg and get their money.

    145 votes