All for the sake of science: 20 films about scientists

The stereotypical image of a scientist – a half-crazy, feral freak in glasses, hatching incredible ideas, is infinitely far from reality. Real physicists, chemists, mathematicians and other scientists, although they were passionate about their work, managed to love, transfer knowledge to students, fight obscurantism. In our list of the best films about scientists, you will find an excellent biopic showing how great discoveries were made.

Sakharov. Two Lives (2021)

Andrei Sakharov is a unique figure in the history of Russian science. Being one of the creators of the hydrogen bomb and occupying a privileged position in the Soviet system, he ventured to speak out in defense of humanist values ​​and human rights. The biographical drama through dialogues with Conscience will tell how the two fates of Sakharov developed – a successful nuclear physicist and an implacable dissident.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Alexey Usoltsev, Chulpan Khamatova, Agata Super, Andrey Sakharov …

Country:
Russia

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0

Age restrictions:
16+


Ammonite (2020)

The plot of the new film about science shows a fictional episode from the life of a real person. One of the first paleontologists, Mary Anning makes a living looking for and selling ancient fossils. An acquaintance asks the heroine to give shelter to a young girl who has come to the sea to improve her health. A close emotional connection is established between the two women, which develops into something more.

Original title:
Ammonite

Genre:
Drama, romance, biography

Actors:
Sarah White, Liam Thomas, Sam Parks, Kate Winslet …

Country:
UK, Australia, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 6.5

Age restrictions:
18+


Tesla (2020)

The brilliant inventor Nikola Tesla works under the guidance of another scientist, Thomas Edison, but does not find proper application for his own ideas. Trying to bring his achievements to life, Tesla finds love, he has influential patrons. The hero manages to create a company and become a competitor to Edison. The confrontation between the two men of science becomes especially tense during the legendary “war of the currents”.

Original title:
Tesla

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Ethan Hawke, Kyle MacLachlan, Eve Hewson …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 5.3, IMDb – 5.0

Age restrictions:
12+


Aeronauts (2019)

An interesting feature film about scientific experiments and an irresistible craving for knowledge of the world. A meteorologist who dreams of making a real breakthrough in science and an adventurer who is passionate about flying in hot air balloons find each other. Together, a couple of enthusiasts set off on a dangerous journey in a balloon to places where no one has yet reached.

Original title:
The Aeronauts

Genre:
Adventure, biography, drama, romance

Actors:
Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Himesh Patel …

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 6.6

Age restrictions:
16+


Dangerous Element (2019)

A dramatic biopic about the life and scientific accomplishments of Nobel laureates Pierre and Marie Curie. A married couple of physicists in their laboratory is engaged in research of radioactive metals, and in the process of work they get to know each other better. Great discoveries will not only advance science, but will also lead to terrible consequences – from radiation sickness in Marie Curie to the bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

Original title:
Radioactive

Genre:
Biography, drama, romance

Actors:
Rosamund Pike, Sam Riley, Simon Russell Beale, Anya Taylor-Joy …

Country:
UK, France, USA, China, Hungary

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 6.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Mind Games (2018)

An extraordinary film with a high rating about brilliant scientists, based on the book by Simon Winchester. A well-known professor from Oxford is working on the creation of the first ever explanatory dictionary of the English language. A large-scale task requires the coordinated work of many people. One of the main performers and authors of thousands of dictionary entries is a retired surgeon imprisoned in a psychiatric hospital .

Original title:
The Professor and the Madman

Genre:
Thriller, drama

Actors:
Mel Gibson, Sean Penn, Natalie Dormer…

Country:
Ireland

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Current War (2017)

At the end of the 19th century, the era of steam is gradually becoming a thing of the past – electricity is about to become the main engine of progress. The influential “electrical tycoon” Thomas Edison hopes to introduce DC technology everywhere, but the eminent engineer George Westinghouse believes that AC current has much more promise. A real intellectual war is unfolding between two great minds.

Original title:
The Current War

Genre:
Biography, history, drama

Actors:
Benedict Cumberbatch, Tom Holland, Michael Shannon …

Country:
USA, Russia, UK

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 6.5

Age restrictions:
12+


Genius (TV series, 2017 – 2018)

A serial film about the great scientist Albert Einstein – the creator of the theory of relativity. A modest clerk from the patent office, who dreams of teaching at the university and a doctorate, gradually moves towards his goal, overcoming difficulties. The discoveries of a genius will completely change the scientific picture of the world. The second and third seasons of the series are dedicated to the biographies of the artist Pablo Picasso and the singer Aretha Franklin.

Original title:
Genius

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
Samantha Colley, Seth Gable, Antonio Banderas …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 8.3

Age restrictions:
16+


Hidden Figures (2016)

The biographical drama based on real events earned positive reviews from the audience and won the award for fighting the system at the MTV awards. After the USSR launched the first man into space , NASA is making every effort to give a worthy answer. Among the new talents brought in to collaborate are three African-American mathematicians. Women have to perform important calculations, and at the same time dispel gender and racial stereotypes.

Original title:
Hidden Figures

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monet, Kevin Costner …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.8

Age Limits :
12+


The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

An interesting film about scientific discoveries is based on the biography of Indian self-taught mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan. A simple laborer showed amazing mathematical abilities. The talented guy first began to help accountants, and then received an invitation from the British to go to Cambridge and apply his outstanding gift for the benefit of science.

Original title:
The Man Who Knew Infinity

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Jeremy Irons, Dev Patel, Malcolm Sinclair …

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.3, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
12+


Altamira (2015)

An amateur archaeologist explores a cave with his nine-year-old daughter . Amazing drawings left by primitive people are found on the walls . The scientist seeks to convey a grandiose discovery to the whole world, but the authenticity of the drawings is in doubt both in scientific circles and among church hierarchs. For many years, a talented researcher will have to live with the stigma of a deceiver.

Original title:
Altamira

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
Antonio Banderas, Golshifte Farahani, Allegra Allen …

Country:
Spain

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.2, IMDb – 6.0


Stephen Hawking Universe (2015)

A young astrophysicist writes a dissertation on black holes and builds a relationship with his girlfriend. A terrible diagnosis threatens the life and career of a genius, but fortitude and modern technology help to cope with the disease. A wheelchair-bound physicist who communicates with the world through a voice synthesizer will come up with grandiose theories and write great books. The biopic about the scientist received the approval of Stephen Hawking himself and an Oscar for Best Actor.

Original title:
The Theory of Everything

Genre:
Biography, romance, drama

Actors:
Eddie Redmayne, Felicity Jones, Charlie Cox …

Country:
UK, Japan, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.9, IMDb – 7.7

Age restrictions:
16+


The Imitation Game (2014)

British intelligence has been tasked with a strategically important task – to crack the Nazi Enigma cipher machine. An almost impossible mission is entrusted to a group of cryptographers. The team is headed by the outstanding mathematician Alan Turing. However, the brilliant scientist copes poorly with the role of a leader – impudence and arrogance prevent him from building normal relations with colleagues.

Original title:
The Imitation Game

Genre:
Thriller, drama, military, biography

Actors:
Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode…

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 8.0

Age restrictions:
16+


Healer: Avicenna’s Disciple (2013)

Top films about scientists and inventors continue the story of a talented medieval young man who went in search of medical knowledge. Wandering around the world, the hero meets both skillful healers and outright charlatans. The pursuit of truth, full of interesting meetings and risky adventures, leads the young man to the east to the famous Avicenna.

Original title:
The Physician

Genre:
Adventure, history

Actors:
Tom Payne, Ben Kingsley, Emma Rigby…

Country:
Germany

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
16+


Challenger (2013)

The tense American drama tells the story of one of the most famous technical disasters – the crash of the Space Shuttle Challenger. Different departments shift the blame for the incident on each other, preventing the true causes of the tragedy from being clarified. An independent researcher, one of the greatest minds of our time, physicist Richard Feynman, is taken to understand what happened.

Original title:
The Challenger

Genre:
Drama, history

Actors:
Joanne Whalley, Brian Dennehy, William Hurt…

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 7.3


Measuring the World (2012)

German biographical film about science based on the novel by Daniel Kelmann. Two brilliant scientists – the mathematician Karl Gauss and the encyclopedist Alexander von Humboldt – could have lived the typical lives of representatives of their time, but the craving for new knowledge turned their lives upside down. Two prominent intellectuals make discoveries, have discussions, and one day meet each other at a scientific congress.

Original title:
Die Vermessung der Welt

Genre:
Adventure, drama

Actors:
Albrecht Schuh, Baldanpurev Sambuu, Agi Ariunseychan Davaachu …

Country:
Germany, Austria

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 5.8

Age restrictions:
16+


Temple Grandin (2010)

Temple Grandin was diagnosed with autism at an early age. A serious illness did not prevent the talented girl from getting an excellent education, defending a dissertation on animal husbandry and becoming one of the world’s most respected specialists in the humane treatment of livestock. The leading actress was awarded as the best actress, receiving the Screen Actors Guild Award, the Emmy and the Golden Globe.

Original title:
Temple Grandin

Genre:
Drama, biography

Actors:
Claire Danes, Julia Ormond, David Strathairn …

Country:
USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 8.0, IMDb – 8.3


Origin (2009)

An excellent film about scientific research, it is worth watching to see the dramatic twists and turns in the life of Charles Darwin. A specialist in the field of biology publishes the book “The Origin of Species”, causing outrage among church hierarchs and the conservative public. The hero is ready to discuss with any opponents, but Darwin’s pious wife also opposes the new theory.

Original title:
Creation

Genre:
Drama, melodrama, biography

Actors:
Paul Bettany, Jennifer Connelly, Benedict Cumberbatch…

Country:
United Kingdom

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.0, IMDb – 6.7

Age restrictions:
12+


Agora (2009)

In the Roman Empire , Christianity strengthens its positions. The followers of the new cult are merciless towards pagan traditions and the legacy of ancient thinkers. In the city of Alexandria, where the famous Hypatia, a philosopher and mathematician, works, a conflict flares up between Christians and pagans. The victorious followers of Christ intend to destroy the library with a unique collection of ancient manuscripts. The dramatic film with a high audience rating caused outrage among religious scholars and was never released in Italy.

Original title:
Agora

Genre:
Drama, adventure, history

Actors:
Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac …

Country:
Spain, Malta, Bulgaria

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 7.2

Age restrictions:
12+


Einstein and Eddington (2008)

In Europe, the flames of the First World War are about to flare up . Correspondence begins between the British astronomer Arthur Eddington and the German physicist Albert Einstein. The two geniuses have intense discussions and discuss the latest scientific theories, although in wartime they risk being accused of treason. The search for truth turns out to be more important than political conflicts.

Original title:
Einstein and Eddington

Genre:
Drama, biography, history

Actors:
David Tennant, Richard McCabe, Patrick Kennedy …

Country:
UK, USA

Rating:
Myreleasedate – 7.6, IMDb – 7.3

Age restrictions:
16+


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Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

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