Greetings, thank you for visiting our blog! We all love a good movie and there tons of list all over the Internet about the best movies about superheroes, romance, and other popular themes, however there very few scientific lists. For example, the topic of our today's post.

Let me begin with questions: why do we all hate most of the movies about science, and physics in particular? There several reasons for that:

  1. Some movies are boring. For example, most of the engineering movies depict the process and bear no significant meaning to people who are not majoring in the field;
  2. Movies with physics in them are great for those of us who know the names. Otherwise, this turns into another story about a guy/girl doing some science.
  3. Errors, inconsistencies and mistakes. Let’s be honest, this is what drives us crazy! When you’re up for a good movie and it leaves you with a long list of mistakes, feeling angry and irritated.
  4. Science physics movies are in most cases documentaries, which are a great source of information for your college class, but are not what you’d like to watch in your spare time.

So in order to save you time and nerves, we created a list of physics films, that you may be interested in and in cases of having any non-physicist around, they won’t get bored.

Best Movies for and About Physicists

#1 Apollo 13

They say history is the best teacher, so this movie successfully combines a good life lesson and a reference to NASA lunar project.

This movie tells the story of tragic events back in 1971 when NASA launched Appolo 13, a ship carrying 3 people to the  Moon.

What makes this movie so great? While it tells the story of the lunar mission, it also shows a series of hard decisions one has to make in order to succeed. Apollo 13 also reminds us how the simple mistake in the calculation can not only cost billions but get people killed. 

Apollo 13 is based on real events, so another amazing thing about it is the fact how little bits of information are placed to create a powerful drama. Please note that it was shot back 1995, so it may feel a bit outdated, however, it doesn’t make any worse.

#2 Gravity

Except for the fact that Sandra Bullock played a part in this movie (if there are any other reasons one needs to make a decision to watch this) as well as George Clooney, Gravity is also extremely beautiful in terms of the fact may events are taking place in the open space.

Being sent into the outer space, the ship suffers an extreme damage and the Commander decides to try to save her is there at least any chances of survival. It’s a heartbreaking story where we learn that there are always things we have no control over.

It’s also worth watching to understand that the moment you are about to die, is the moment you want to live the most.

#3 The Theory of Everything

Okay, if you are even thinking of joining the world of physics, you definitely have heard the name of Stephan Hawking.

Why is it SO worth watching? First of all, it goes all the way back to 1960 when Mr.Hawking and his future spouse enjoyed their time in Cambridge. Second, it tells the story of a man who struggles with the fact his body fails him and there is almost nothing he can do about it. Third, this is the real story of an amazing scientist conquering the obstacles on the way to becoming one of the most well-known and praised scientists of all times. This is one of those realistic yet inspiring movies.

This movie not only pays tribute to Mr.Hawking but also shows what a great team world should like. First,  the way this picture was shot. It gives you the warm feeling of an old oil picture. Everything from the landscapes and interior to costumes contributes to that feeling. There is also music and performance that make you drown in the world of  The Theory of Everything.

#4 The Martian

Being Produced by Ridley Scott and featuring Matt Damon, The Martian Hits the list with an average IMDB rating of 8.0.

I do understand why many people struggle with this movie, however, I  need to remind you that it is a sci-fi, based on the book, not a documentary. And yet people keep writing negative reviews saying it is unrealistic. Is it only me who knows sci-fi stands for science fiction.

What makes this movie worth watching? It’s smart, eventful, sometimes funny and quiet self-sarcastic. 

This is a story of a manned mission to Mars being interfered by severe storm when the team is forced to leave the planet and one supposedly dead member behind.

The only half-way home they learn he’s alive and decide to go back to pick him up. Despite the dark tones of the hostile planet, radiation, and loneliness, this movie brings its fair share of funny moments making this movie a good choice to introduce someone to the world of sci-fi.

#5 Another Earth

Okay, I was in doubt over this movie, because it’s not… canonical?  First, it has an element of fantasy to it. Second, it’s highly based on emotion and tragedy.

Okay, let me just give you some information so you could make up your own mind on this one.

The movie begins with a lifetime discovery of the planet, that is a mirror to our planet and is called Earth 2. The same night, 17-year-old MIT astrophysics student, Rhoda causes a car accident where the composer John Burroughs’ wife and son are killed. Rhoda goes to prison for 4 years, while John is left broken and devoted. After she comes out of prison, Rhoda works as a janitor and over a period of some time she decides to apply for a contest in order to win a free ticket to Earth 2. Yet another thing that she decides to do, is to pay Mr.Burroughs a visit and make apologies for the damage she had done. But things go not the way she planned.

If you are looking for something good to watch and are ready to bear the emotional weight of this movie, go ahead.

#6 A Serious Man

A local college professor, Larry Gopnik, living a mediocre life with his wife and a pre-teen son, as well as his brother stuck on their couch. Everything seems okay until the small world begins to fall apart.

The wife asks for a divorce, son turns out to be a weed-liker and the tenure committee seems to have changed their mind.

What makes this movie special, is the fact it appeals to things we never admit. Those fear we have deep in our souls, the traditions we blindly follow and the desperate need to be appraised.

This is one of the few movies about physicists, in particular, a story of small people living their small lives, fighting the life itself. There is nothing superheroic about it, but this is why this movie stands along on our list.

P.S. if you have previous unsatisfying experience with Coen brothers’ production, may well have a similar experience this time.

#7 Interstellar

Following the idea of human race extinction, Christopher Nolan brings us the next movie on our list. 

First, the cast is a-m-a-z-i-n-g! I loved the casting choices so much, I’m pretty sure these were some of the smartest most made. There is also a heart-pounding story of how people lie, cheat and betray to get things done their way and become famous (yes, I know there is nothing new to this side) but hey, there is a humankind at stakes here!

This movie has also one of the most incredible sound work I’ve ever heard. And there are also breathtaking visuals, that keep you mesmerized for quite long even when the movie is over.

Without giving anything important away, let me assure you that it’s a small revolution in the world of sci-fi movies (however a friend of mine keeps arguing the ending is too cheerful, so who knows?). Pssst, you can also get the lover of environmental movies to watch this film in order to start the discussion of the hostile planets and environments they visit and the fact this may be what expects us.

#8 Einstein and Eddington 

And of course, I couldn’t add this movie to the list. first of all, it brings an insight into the relationship between the two great scientists, Albert Einstein and Arthur Eddington.

This movie is worth watching due to its storyline and the fact the war interferes the lives of scientists back in the days. This is not a documentary, but this can turn into a quest for looking for inconsistencies. It also has a great balance between human and science, which makes it easy to watch. The best things about this movie are the fact that among all known movies about scientists, this one depicts the passion for knowledge and undying desire of humans to explain the world around us.

Bonus: Big Bang Theory

Although it’s not a movie, but a TV series, I may safely say this is one of the greatest TV shows nowadays. The story of 4 people who are related to physics, spiced up with scientific jokes, geek revelations, and personal evolution - should we ask for anything else?

So here is our list of movies on physicists and for physicists. Did we miss anything important? Should we add any movie?

Feel free to comment and enjoy your great time watching these movies!