The top 10 mathematical movies of all time – does your favourite make the list?
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Movies that revolve around maths can often teach us about key historical figures, which are rarely boring to learn about. These must-see films have won an array of awards and are the perfect examples of how maths movies can actually be very entertaining.
A Beautiful Mind (2001)
This movie starring Russell Crowe is a sad one, focusing on the life of mathematician John Nash – a Nobel Laureate in Economics and Abel Prize Winner.
It begins with Nash’s days as a graduate at Princeton University and leads into a harrowing journey of self-discovery with plenty of challenges along the way, offering the viewer a lot more than 1+1=2.
Good Will Hunting (1997)
This classic stars Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Robin Williams, being all about a janitor at The Massachusetts Institute of Technology who is a mathematical expert.
The self-taught Will Hunting (Matt Damon) solves a difficult mathematics problem anonymously posted by Professor Gerald Lambeau and, when he is arrested for attacking a police officer, Mr Lambeau makes a deal with him to get help from a psychotherapist to find direction in his life.
The Imitation Game (2014)
Set in 1939, the newly created MI6 recruits Cambridge University mathematics alumnus Alan Turing (Benedict Cumberbatch) to crack Nazi codes, including an unbreakable code – the enigma.
The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)
This biographical drama movie is based on the Indian mathematician Srinivasa Ramanujan, a self-taught mathematician who fails college but is determined to pursue his passion for all things numbers.
The Theory of Everything (2014)
During the 1960s, Stephen Hawking falls in love with Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones) and, after being told that he has just two years to live, begins an ambitious study of time with Jane by his side.
The plot follows the intellectually gifted seven-year-old who is the subject of a custody battle between her maternal uncle and maternal grandmother.
Frank wants her to live a normal life in Florida, unlike his late sister and her mother Diane – making things complicated.
Struggling with autism and the aftermath of his father’s death, Nathan (Asa Butterfield) develops a friendship with a young girl (Jo Yang) while competing at an International Mathematics Olympiad.
Stand and Deliver (1988)
Based on a true story, the movie focuses on a teacher changing the school culture of Latino working-class students when he soon realises their untapped potential.
After accidentally encountering a mysterious number, a maths whizz finds himself a target of Wall Street agents using the number for profits.
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The Oxford Murders (2008)
This mathematics movie revolves around American maths student Martin (Elijah Wood), who transfers to Oxford in hope of getting philosopher Arthur Seldom to look over his thesis.
The shocking murder of Martin’s landlady plunges the clever pair into a mathematical mystery, could an unsolvable maths problem be the answer to her death?
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