In this NYT interview, Philip “Stanford Prison Experiment” Zimbardo gives his list:
1. “Madame Curie,” 1943
2. “The Seven-Per-Cent Solution,” 1976
3. “Awakenings,” 1990
4. “The Insider,” 1999
5. “The Imitation Game,” 2014.
Not a very impressive list. But that’s the point, I guess: there haven’t been many good movies about scientists. I was racking my brains and the only obvious omission from this list was Young Frankenstein. Also A Beautiful Mind, but maybe that wasn’t very good, I don’t know. Actually, of all the 5 movies on the above list, the only one I actually saw was The Seven-Per-Cent Solution, back when it came out. It was ok, but nothing special. Certainly not half as good as The Bad News Bears, which came out in that same year. On the other hand, maybe it’s more watchable than Young Frankenstein, which may not have aged well.
Anyway, back to movies about scientists: Are we missing any good ones? Or even any OK ones? Does Moneyball count?
Hmmm, there was The R. A. Fisher Story. Overall not a very significant film, but I remember the stirring climax, that courtroom scene where the great statistician and biologist stands up and gives a stirring speech to the jury, explaining once and for all why cigarette smoking does not cause cancer.
Or maybe that was the Donald Rubin Story? Or the Joseph Fleiss Story? Or the Ingram Olkin Story? Or the Arnold Zellner Story? Or . . .?
Anyway, that’s all we have until “Second Chance U” and “The New Dirty Dozen” come out. They’ll rocket up to #1 and 2 on anybody’s list of top science flicks.
P.S. One commenter mentions Dr. Strangelove. I’d say that’s the winner.
And then I was thinking about The Man With Two Brains, which I’m pretty sure is way better than any of the other scientist movies mentioned above.