List of films about mathematicians
This is a list of feature films that include mathematicians, scientists who use math or references to mathematicians.
Films where mathematics are central to the plot:
- 21 (2008) – A group of MIT current and former students, mostly mathematicians, and a mathematics professor devise a card counting scheme for success at Las Vegas Strip blackjack tables.
- The Bank (2001) – A mathematician discovers a formula to predict fluctuations in the stock market.
- Cube (1997) – Six people, including Leaven, a maths student, awake in a deathtrap based on mathematical principles.
- Fermat's Room (2007) – Three mathematicians and one inventor are invited to a house under the premise of solving a great enigma and told to use pseudonyms based on famous historical mathematicians. At the house, they are trapped in a room. They must solve puzzles given by the host, who calls himself "Fermat", in order to escape the slowly closing walls of the room.
- Gifted (2017) - Family members of a 7-year-old mathematical prodigy (whose mother committed suicide while working on one of the Millennium Prize Problems) cannot agree on whether she should have intensive mathematical training beginning at a young age, rather than attending the local public school.
- Good Will Hunting (1997) – Janitor and super-genius Will Hunting (Matt Damon) begins to turn his life around with the help of psychologist (Robin Williams) and a Fields Medal-winning professor (Stellan Skarsgård).
- I.Q. (1994) – Albert Einstein (Walter Matthau) helps a young man (Tim Robbins) pretend to be a physicist in order to catch the attention of Einstein's niece (Meg Ryan).
- An Invisible Sign (2011) – Mona Gray (Jessica Alba) gives up everything important to her in life, except mathematics, as part of a "deal with the universe" to help restore her father (a mathematician) to health. Years later, Mona teaches the subject, and does her best to help her students contend with their own personal crises.
- Moneyball (2011) – Oakland Athletics baseball team's general manager Billy Beane attempts to assemble a competitive team using statistics.
- The Oxford Murders (2008) – A Student (Elijah Wood) finds out about mysterious killings in Oxford and helped by a professor, they reveal the math patterns used by the killer.
- Pi (1998) – A mathematician searches for the number that underlies all of nature.
- Proof (2005) – A former student (Jake Gyllenhaal) of a recently deceased, brilliant mathematician (Anthony Hopkins) finds a notebook in his office containing a proof of an important theorem, but the mathematician's daughter (Gwyneth Paltrow) claims it is hers. The ensuing dispute is complicated by signs that she may have inherited her father's mental illness and a burgeoning romance.
- Raising Genius (2004) – The film is about a boy (Justin Long) who locks himself in the bathroom to work out math equations on the shower wall.
- Sneakers (1992) – An eclectic team is assembled to steal a code-breaking box developed by a rogue mathematician.
- Travelling Salesman (2012) – The U.S. government hires four mathematicians to solve the most powerful problem ever to plague computer science.
- Moebius (1996) – Topologists including a young girl make contributions to the subway system and other facets of reality in Argentina in this math film with a science fiction and surreal feel.
- X+Y (2014) A teenage mathematical prodigy has difficulty understanding people, but finds comfort in numbers.
- The Imitation Game (2014) A new adaptation of the play "Breaking the Code", tells the story of how Alan Turing develops a machine to solve the codes of the German "Enigma", during World War II.
Mathematician biographical films
Biographical films based on real-life mathematicians:
- Agora (2009) – The life of Hypatia.
- A Beautiful Mind (2001) – A fictional account based loosely on the life of mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe), who made a breakthrough that wins him the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences.
- A Brief History of Time (1991) – A biographical documentary film about the physicist Stephen Hawking, directed by Errol Morris.
- Enigma (2001) – A story of romantic and psychological intrigue set in Bletchley Park during the World War II effort to crack the German Enigma machine.
- A Hill on the Dark Side of the Moon (1983) – A drama film about the professor of mathematics, Sonya Kovalevskaya.
- The Imitation Game (2014) – British mathematician a pioneer in digital computing and artificial intelliengence Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) is tasked with cracking Nazi Germany's Enigma code that would help the Allies win World War II.
- Infinity (1996) – A story about Nobel Prize-winning physicist Richard Feynman (Matthew Broderick).
- N Is a Number: A Portrait of Paul Erdős (1993) – A documentary directed by George Paul 'Duke' Csicsery about the life of Hungarian mathematician Paul Erdős.
- Ramanujan (2014) – A biographical film by Gnana Rajasekaran based on the life of Srinivasa Ramanujan.
- Sofia Kovalevskaya (1985) – Epic film in four episodes, based on a true story of mathematician scientist Sofia Kovalevskaya.
- The Theory of Everything (2014) – The story of the life and hardships faced by theoretical physicist and mathematician Stephen Hawking.
- The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015) – The true story of Indian mathematical genius, Srinivasa Ramanujan, directed by Matthew Brown
Films where one or more mathematicians play the main role, but that are not otherwise about mathematics:
- It's My Turn (1980) – A mathematics professor (Jill Clayburgh) falls in love with her father's bride's son (Michael Douglas).
- The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996) – A math professor (Jeff Bridges) marries a literature professor (Barbra Streisand), but they want different things from the relationship.
- Stand and Deliver (1988) – Based on the true story of math teacher Jaime Escalante, who inspired the students in a school in a Hispanic neighborhood.
- Straw Dogs (1971) – David Sumner (Dustin Hoffman) is an American mathematical physicist who moves to England, where he and his wife are violently harassed by locals.
- A Summer's Tale (1996) – A young mathematician vacationing in Brittany.
- Tall Story (1960) – A college physics and mathematics whiz is also the star basketball player, partly because he has devised equations for making baskets.
- Hidden Figures (2016) – Mathematician Katherine Johnson is featured in this film about the early years of the Mercury Program and NASA.
Films where one or more of the members of the main cast is a mathematician:
- 21 Grams (2003) – An accident changes many lives, including that of a critically ill mathematics professor (Sean Penn).
- Antonia's Line (1995) – A genealogical "line" of five generations of women includes a child prodigy, Thérèse, who grows up to be a mathematician.
- Jurassic Park (1993) – A mathematician (Jeff Goldblum) is among those invited to a theme park with cloned dinosaurs, in order to assess its safety.
- The Lost World: Jurassic Park (1997) – Mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) travels to an auxiliary Jurassic Park site to document dinosaurs.
- Deborah Young (14 September 2015). "'The Man Who Knew Infinity': TIFF Review". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 24 February 2016.
Brown’s screenplay brings math into the dialogue often and without embarrassment.
- Mathematical Fiction: films by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)
- The Mathematical Movie Database by Burkard Polster and Marty Ross
- Mathematics in Movies by Oliver Knill (Harvard University)
- My Math Movie Picks by Brian Harbourne (University of Nebraska–Lincoln)
- Math in the Movies by Arnold G. Reinhold
- Math Becomes Way Cool by Keith Devlin (Mathematical Association of America)
- Top 10 Math Movies (infographic)