The best movies about geniuses are always the ones that are based on the true stories of incredible people. It’s captivating and inspiring to watch brilliance in any shape of form. But the best is to watch figures who actually existed have their extraordinary feats be put onscreen.
Here are the Top Genius Movies Based on True Events
1. Theory of Everything
The Character: Stephen Hawking played by Eddie Redmayne
Movie Plot: The life story of the famous physicist and cosmologist Stephen Hawking who endures a severe medical condition that nearly kills him and leaves him permanently disabled.
Director: James Marsh
Also Starring: David Thewlis, Emily Watson, Charlie Cox and Felicity Jones
What Stephen Hawking has been through is horrifying and he’s still managed to come out on top and succeed. With his debilitating illness it would have made sense for him to give up at some point and no one would have blamed him. True courage and true brilliance. Not to mention his groundbreaking discoveries that have changed our thought on the universe forever.
The Character: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played by Tom Hulce
Movie Plot: Set in a mental asylum where a fellow composer and contemporary of Mozart retells his own personal vendetta against Mozart and admits he played a pivotal role in his death.
Director: Milos Forman
Also Starring: F. Murray Abraham, Jeffrey Jones and Simon Callow
Maybe number 2 on this list but he is the number 1 composer/musician ever to have lived, EVER. Centuries later his music is still around. And if you play his music to your infant/child, they get smarter? Unlike the music these days that actually robs you of intellect……Mozart = Genius.
3. A Beautiful Mind
The Character: John Nash played by Russell Crowe
Movie Plot: Tells the story of John Nash, a mathematician who conceives “Game Theory”, a revolutionary model that has influenced economics, biology, politics, business and more. However, he suffers from Schizophrenia.
Director: Ron Howard
Also Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany, Josh Lucas, Christopher Plummer, and Ed Harris
Myself, being an Economics graduate I can vouch for the complexity of the theorem that John Nash published. Game Theory. In simplified terms, he turned the way nature, including people and animals, compete, challenge, contest and interact with one another into mathematical formulas.
4. The Imitation Game
The Character: Alan Turing played by Benedict Cumberbatch
Movie Plot: During World War II, the allies are losing and need to break the German coded communication known as “Enigma”. One man pioneers the idea to create a machine to beat a machine and in the process makes what is now known as the first computer.
Director: Morten Tyldum
Also Starring: Kiera Knightley, Rory Kinnear, Matthew Goode, Mark Strong and Charles Dance
First of all, this movie was astonishing. It has a brilliant score and is wonderfully acted adding some good ol’ British wit along the way. It’s in the genius list because if this man didn’t do what he did, World War II is estimated to have kept raging for an extra two more years and cost another 14 million lives.
The Character: David Helfgot played by Geoffrey Rush
Movie Plot: The life of Australian pianist David Helfgott from child prodigy to a scholarship to London’s Royal College of Music and his struggle with mental illness.
Director: Scott Hicks
Also Starring: Noah Taylor and Armin Mueller-Stahl
Mental illness is a cruel creature and its internal torture is often overlooked or under-estimated. For someone to suffer the way David did yet still impact the world with his astonishing musical prowess is one of pure inspiration. I watched him perform in 2013 when he came to town and he was mesmerizing.
The Character: Steve Jobs played by Ashton Kutcher
Movie Plot: The tech genius’s meager beginnings and rise, becoming one of the most influential people in the world.
Director: Joshua Michael Stern
Also Starring: Dermot Mulroney, Lukas Haas, J. K. Simmons, Matthew Modine, and James Woods
You can never overstate or exaggerated the impact Steve Jobs has had on human evolution and civilization. His accomplishments have changed the way we live for the better. More information and more convenience with his devices means so much more than what most think. Our world has a whole is smarter, with anything we want to know at our fingertips.
The Character: Mahatma Gandhi played by Ben Kingsley
Movie Plot: The incredible true story of the Father of India. His pacifying ways that almost nearly kill him but reclaim his country from the British sealing his fate in history.
Director: Richard Attenborough
Also Starring: Martin Sheen,
While every other country to date that was under foreign rule has come to independence through blood and violence. Gandhi chose another way – peace, both inner and outer. He is the father of India and with good reason. His example inspires world peace to this day.
8. Thirteen Days
The Character: John F. Kennedy played by Bruce Greenwood
Movie Plot: A look into the events and decision that take place in the White House under the Presidency of JFK during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
Director: Roger Donaldson
Also Starring: Kevin Costner, Ed Lauter, and Steven Culp
I idolize JFK. He was a war hero, a senator, a president, an author, a pilot, a husband and a father. He pretty much singlehandedly (with his brother RFK’s help) averted nuclear war with the Russians during the Cuban Missile Crisis.
The Kennedys’ had it all, the looks, the smarts and the confidence and used their talents for the good of their people and country. I feel that world events since their deaths may have turned out for the better had they not been assassinated.
9. Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
The Character: Nelson Mandela played by Idris Elba
Movie Plot: The life story of the remarkable, late South African President Nelson Mandela
Director: Justin Chadwick
Also Starring: Naomie Harris
Mandela’s genius lies in this forgiveness. The brutality and trauma he suffered at the hands of his oppressors would have been unspeakable. Yet, he turns around forgives them, becomes President of his country, liberates his people and sets a precedence for every other global leader to come.
10. The Good Shepherd
The Character: Edward Wilson, Sr. played by Matt Damon
Based Upon: James Jesus Angleton
Movie Plot: The men that were apart of the birth of the CIA and the circumstances that brought about its need.
Director: Robert De Niro
Also Starring: Robert De Niro, Billy Crudup, William Hurt, Alec Baldwin,
This guy, James Jesus Angleton, is unbelievable. There would be no CIA without him. The CIA!
I hope you agree with this list of the top genius movies, if you think I’ve missed any, feel free to comment below!
photo credit: Benedict Cumberbatch at the London Evening Standard Theatre Awards 2014 via photopin (license)
photo credit: Steve Jobs” via photopin (license)
photo credit: President John F. Kennedy via photopin (license)
The Character: Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart played by Tom Hulce