These are the Best Movies Based on Real Life Scientists

These are the Best Movies Based on Real Life Scientists

We are undeniably living in an era where stories for cinema are often based on — whether directly adapted or subtly inspired by — real-life monumental events that have shaped history. Movies like Zero Dark Thirty, Hidden Figures, and The King’s Speech are just a few critically and commercially acclaimed stories that brought to life significant periods of human history. Of course, there are films on the other end of the quality-spectrum that, though based on real life, are devoid of authenticity, or fail in terms of accuracy.

One genre that has been a staple in cinema history — and one that we are currently witnessing a boom of sorts — is the biopic, or biographical movie. Taking real historical figures, their stories, and major accomplishments, biopics help audiences dive into the lives of people who changed the world as we know it. The musical biopic, from Ray and Respect to, most recently, Elvis, is one of the most popular subgenres. Another major subgenre is the biopic about real-life scientists. As such, here are the best movies based on a real-life scientists, ranked.

6 The Theory of Everything (2014)
Led by Eddie Redmayne, The Theory of Everything is a balanced renaissance of romance, drama, and honesty on its own merit. The movie, based on the life of renowned English astrophysicist Stephen Hawking, delves deeper into the timeline of Hawkins’ life when he is diagnosed with ALS, which slowly begins affecting his brain and nerves’ basic functions. Despite that, Hawking harbors an ambition to revolutionize the uncharted theories of physics with his intelligence, and simultaneously hopes to cherish the finite days with his love and fellow collegian Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). Interestingly, in an interview with Variety, the real-life Hawking cited that the film was “broadly true,” and was for him largely synonymous with watching himself play the character.

5 The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)
The Man Who Knew Infinity is a treasure trove of the last decade, serving as an epic biographical drama that leaves the theatergoers gut-wrenched as the film inches close to its conclusion. Telling the tale of brilliant Indian mathematician Srinivasan Ramanujan, the movie puts spotlights Ramanujan’s grit at making a mark through his groundbreaking mathematic discoveries after gaining admittance to Cambridge University during World War Ⅰ. The Man Who Knew Infinity, starring Dev Patel as the titular character, remodels impoverished yet brainy Srinivasan’s life into an exceptional genius under the unerring guidance of his mentor G.H. Hardy, played exceptionally by Jeremy Irons.

4 The Imitation Game (2014)
The historical drama The Imitation Game, adapted from the novel Alan Turing: The Enigma, is based on the life of British prodigal mathematician Alan Turning, an alumnus of Cambridge University. The movie serves as a nail-biting plot of a cryptanalyst team decrypting near-impossible Nazi codes that harbors sensitive information about impending German attacks during World War Ⅱ. Indeed, The Imitation Game sets the narrative against time, and sees Benedict Cumberbatch triumphantly portraying Turing. Turing is also accompanied by the brains of Joan Clarke (Keira Knightley), Hugh Alexander (Matthew Goode), and John Cairncross (Allen Leech) in this quest to decode the unbreakable Enigma.

3 Creation (2009)
British romance-drama biopic Creation stars Paul Bettany as Charles Darwin, a naturalist. The film dives broadly into the lives of Emma (Jennifer Connelly) and Charles Darwin, who are leading an unstable life after the untimely demise of their eldest daughter Annie (Martha West). Creation traces the events leading up to the publication of the book titled On The Origin of Species, a scientific journal logging ground-breaking evolutionary discoveries and theories of the planetary species, written by Charles. Jon Amiel directed Creation, offering moviegoers the chance to conclusively ponder over precisely two conflicting thoughts: whether species are a creation of God or descendants of evolution. The movie, however, contrary to its title, leans towards evolution.

2 A Beautiful Mind (2001)
A Beautiful Mind is an American drama loosely based on the life of mathematician Josh Forbes Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics, played by Russell Crowe. The film sees Nash accepting the decrypting assignment from a mysterious man named William Parcher, working with the United States Department of Defense. As such, assignments handed to Nash are largely focused on identifying patterns in magazines and clippings to thwart the Soviets’ schemes. It is eventually revealed that Nash is experiencing episodes of delusion and suffering from Schizophrenia, hinting that every montage is his figment of imagination. While A Beautiful Mind never intended to exhibit the exact life of the mathematician, as highlighted by Grunge, it boded fairly well at depicting the agonies one goes through at the hands of a mental disorder.

1 Hidden Figure (2016)

Hidden Figures, inspired by Margot Lee Shetterly’s novel of the same name, re-narrates the story of NASA’s Black women employees: Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. As portrayed, the characters were the catalyst in the successful accomplishment of Project Mercury, which involved the orbital launch of Astronaut John Glenn. The biopic, starring stellar actors Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe, also brings forward the history of racial and gender discrimination faced by the team at their work. Indeed, the movie is a must-watch as it reinvigorates the message that women are cerebrally equal to men in every aspect.

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