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To a lot of people, mathematics and statistics – even at a basic level – are still some of the hardest disciplines to be learned. Numbers and formulas can be very confusing, especially when you don’t understand the purpose of the equations and the WHY behind whatever you study in these subjects. Nevertheless, mathematics and numbers are fundamental to many areas of our life, and an effort to better understand them is always a great initiative.

A great way of starting to understand them is to see how they can be important in our daily life. That said, we created a list of 8 movies in which are all about math and stats. You are going to love them. Take a look!

1. 21

This movie is based on a real story, told first in the book Bringing Down The House. In “21” (2008), a group of MIT students (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) needs to find a way to pay for college.

In order to make that happen, they created a scheme based on statistical techniques that makes them become a winner in the game Black Jack, also known as 21, a card game common in gambling. What happens is that these college students are able to decipher the patterns of the game, leading them to break a Las Vegas casino. And as a result, they get on a winning streak, gathering money to pay for their studies, but also getting them into trouble.

2. Pi

This one is a little bit older (1998). “Pi” tells a story of a genius mathematician who invents a super machine. The computer developed by him is able to unravel some of the biggest secrets of humanity.

Nevertheless, not everything goes that well. This machine inexplicably attracts evil to whomever keeps it, causing a series of problems.

3. A Beautiful Mind

One of the most famous movies on our list, “A Beautiful Mind” (2001) tells a story of John Nash, an acclaimed young mathematician, winner of the Nobel Prize of Economics.

In this movie it is possible to follow the life, challenges and physiological issues – caused by severe schizophrenia – throughout which John becomes successful and recognized for his work.

The movie is a classic, winner of 4 Oscars. It’s worth watching!

4. Good Will Hunting

Also a winner of two Oscars, “Good Will Hunting” (1997) tells a beautiful story of Will Hunting, a young man who used to work as a janitor of MIT.

With a great capability of solving mathematical problems, Will has an extremely rebel personality and because of that he is lost in life. The most interesting part of the movie is the beautiful relationship that emerges between Will and Sean, a psychologist who is willing to help him find his life’s purpose.

5. Fermat’s Room

“Fermat’s Room” (2007) is a horror movie. The movie is about 4 brilliant mathematicians who get stuck in a room, in which they can only leave when they solve an enigma which was left for them.

The problem? The walls of the room start shrinking little by little, with the chance of crushing them if they don’t solve the problem in time. Horrifying, isn’t it?

6. Moneyball

“Moneyball” (2011), shows us how statistics can be important to diverse areas. When everything seemed to be going from bad to worse for the Oakland Athletics in Major League Baseball, manager Billy Beane makes the controversial decision to hire a mathematician as his assistant in order to lead his team to victory.

In a sport that had always been dominated by physical vigor and intuition, how would the results for Oakland change after deciding to rely on statistics to win instead?  Watch to find out!

7. The Man Who Knew Infinity

Click here to watch trailer

“The Man Who Knew Infinity” (2015) shows us the beautiful story of Srinivasa Ramanujan, an Indian self-taught mathematician who made his way up from poverty in India to Cambridge University. One interesting fact is that the young Ramanujan didn’t have much formal education. All that he conquered was through his strong obsession in identifying patterns in numbers, trying to find meaning in them. The work of Ramanujan has greatly contributed to mathematics and physics. And this movie gives you an idea of his work.

8. The Imitation Game

“The Imitation Game” (2014), starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is based on the true story of the life of Alan Turing, a mathematician and computer scientist who was recruited by MI6 during World War II. The film focuses on the efforts of Turing and his team to decipher Nazi codes, including the elusive “Enigma,” which was believed to be unbreakable. Turing’s contributions to computer science, as well as his personal struggles, are highlighted in this film which gives the audience a glimpse into the significant role of Turing’s breakthroughs during the war.

We all know that lists like this one are always hard to create, since there are many great movies out there and it would be difficult to include all the noteworthy films that exist, such as “I.Q.” (1994), which could also be placed on this list.

If you enjoyed these 8 recommendations, share this text on Facebook and suggest other films that could be included here!

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