The world of mathematics gathers fascination among many scientist, engineers, and also filmmakers. It is very interesting to see how some films have mathematical concepts as the core elements of the plot. 

Below we display a  list of the top 7 films about mathematics. Check them out if you want to watch a good film and enjoy this scientific discipline!


1. "A Beautiful Mind" (Howard 2001)

We start with a pretty mainstream film.

‘A Beautiful Mind’ is an American movie based on the book by Sylvia Nasar, which, at the same time, is based on the  life of John Nash. He was a mathematician born in the 20’s, that developed important aspects regarding Game Theory, specifically the Nash equilibrium. Basically, it was about the benefits of different parties when it comes to decision making that involves what the other party wants (explained very summarized). His concepts eventually important in economics.

The film focuses a lot on the schizophrenic disease that Nash had, but it also explains how he came up with the stated theories and how he thought about them. It is a good drama, with some elements of thriller.

2. "Pi" (Aronofsky 1998)

This film is a must in this list, since it is very focused on mathematics.

‘Pi’ is an American neo-noir film that, like most of the films by Darren Aronofsky, is about a main character obsessed for something. In this case, finding all the digits of the Pi number.

This main character finds himself in a mathematical exploration that touches upon many different aspects. Eventually, he invests all his physical and mental wellness in this journey, to the point that it is not psychologically healthy.

It is very interesting to see how he studies and talk about these mahtematical facts; for instance, the nature of the Golden Ratio.

3. "21 Blackjack" (Luketic 2008)

This American film features a student that gets involved in a group of other students and a teacher that use mathematical methods to keep count of cards when playing Blackjack. This way, they can know when to bet, so they go to Las Vegas and make a lot of money.

Although mathematics are not as present as other films in the list, there are some good scenes where they talk about interesting theoretical concepts. Furthermore, the way they apply them to play a cards game makes this film quite unique, besides the fact that it is based on real events. Entertaining if you like thriller and action films as well.

4. "The Man Who Knew Infinity" (Brown 2015)

This is a British film, based on the book with the same name by Robert Kaniel, which is based on the real story of Srinivasa Ramanujan. Set before World War I, it tells the story of an mathematician from India that, after working in minor jobs in a context of poverty,  is accepted in the University of Cambridge. There he faces issues, regarding health problems and racial prejudices from his new colleagues, but he manages to keep going with advanced research in mathematics.

Not only it is interesting to see how the main character develops theories and mathematical concepts, but the film is also an encouraging message of empowerment and fight for what you love.

5. "Fermat's Room" (Piedrahita & Sopeña 2007)

‘Fermat’s Room’, “La habitación de Fermat” in the original title, is a Spanish film within the thriller genre. A group of four people are presented an enigma, which turns out to be a shrinking room that they have to try to escape from. The interesting thing is that they have to use mathematics to solve this enigma. This discipline is very present in the theme of the film. The title itself is a reference to the famous mathematician Pierre de Fermat. Moreover, the plot exposes some interesting mathematical concepts, like the Goldbach conjecture. All this combined with intense thriller atmosphere make this film worth watching.

6. "Agora" (Amenábar 2009)

Yes, here we try to act according to pluricultural values. Until here, the list displayed films about male mathematicians. The topic about the reasons for the bigger number of male scientist in history is worth being discussed, but not here.

Even so, there are also films about female mathematicians, and ‘Agora’ is a good example.

This Spanish film tells the story of Hipatia, a greek mathematician of the ancient Alexandria.

It shows mathematical aspects the way they were studied and taught back then, specially the mathematical discoveries by Hipatia, related to the elliptical movement of the Earth. Furthermore, in terms of values and historical awareness, the film helps the audience see the injustice of that age, by exposing how Hipatia, because she was a woman, was prosecuted and not allowed to be a scientist.

7. Coming soon!