9 Movies Make You Want to be Better at Math

Many think of mathematics as a field best left to those who are born to understand it, but that is far from the truth. The thing about math is that it is used by both geniuses and laymen alike for a variety of purposes.

Since it’s the language with which one can understand more of the universe, there are plenty of stories about those who are very much into it and those who somehow got use out of it.

These are not just stories about numbers, but also about people and their lives. While numbers do play a role, it’s their struggles and relationships that truly make their stories compelling.

There are plenty of movies that end up telling those stories, and here are some of the best ones to be inspired by.


This is based on the true story of the MIT Blackjack Team and the emergence of “card counting”. A group of MIT students and a math professor get interested in blackjack and formed a team to win big money in Las Vegas.

By using process of elimination and certain mathematical strategies, card counters can predict the next cards that may come up and play accordingly, turning a game of chance into that of skill.

A Beautiful Mind

This is loosely based on the early life of John Forbes Nash Jr., a Nobel Laureate in Economics known for his work on game theory. Most of the film explores his struggles with schizophrenia and the impact it had on his friends and his wife Alicia.

As he gradually learns to deal with his hallucinations and paranoid delusions, he soon earns back the trust of the people around him and does his best mathematical work yet.

The Bank

It is once said that a trader learns the flow of the stock market by intuition and experience. However, Jim Doyle doesn’t think so and believes that the ups and downs of the market can be accurately predicted.

Upon coming up with his formula, he is then sought by Centabank CEO Simon O’Reilly, who takes Doyle under his wing in order to make the most of his breakthrough. But as Jim Doyle learns more on how “greed is good”, corruption soon creeps in.


Based from the events of World War II and the quest to break the infamous Enigma code, the story is about cryptanalyst Tom Jericho and how he helps the codebreaking team in Bletchley Park to crack the German code.

Meanwhile, he is beset by the memories of his ex-girlfriend Claire while he worked with her roommate Hester. Along the way, they uncover something horrific and must deal with a betrayal in their midst as a war continues underway.

Good Will Hunting

Twenty-year-old Will Hunting is a genius, but he works as a janitor in the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. His intellect and self-education is such that while a professor struggled with a difficult problem, Will solved it in his spare time when he saw it written on the board at night.

The film then follows the young man’s journey to uncover his true self, struggles with his inner demons, and the people around him trying to bring him out of his shell.


The Imitation Game

Another movie set in World War II, this is about the life of British mathematician and cryptanalyst Alan Turing, based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges.

It is told through Turing’s perspective during his interrogation by the police, starting from his days in boarding school to when he first joined the team in Bletchley Park.

While he contributed greatly to the war effort with his breakthroughs in solving the Enigma code, he also lived in a time when his homosexuality was considered illegal and taboo.


Professional sports had always been a game best played by feel, and a big budget doesn’t hurt either. However, baseball general manager Billy Beane doesn’t have the latter with his Oakland Athletics.

But an idea then hits him that would revolutionize how professional sports teams are managed.

By using sabermetrics to pick undervalued talent to increase their performance despite financial limitations, the Oakland A’s were able to rack up 20 consecutive winsóan American League record.


The debut film of the director Darren Aronofsky, this is a psychological thriller about a mathematician’s quest to decipher the true nature of the number that seems to be found in all of natureópi.

As he digs deeper into the true meaning of the number, he struggles with severe headaches, hallucinations, and a deepening madness that is slowly overtaking him.


The daughter of a brilliant mathematician gone mad and his former student fight over a notebook containing proof to an important theorem.

While he seeks to understand the logic behind all the gibberish in the notes, she claims the proof to be hers. Along with the dispute are signs of her father’s illness in her and growing feelings towards the man she is struggling with.