Our Favorite Engineering Movies. What Are Yours?
Roopinder Tara posted on December 29, 2016 |

Here are a few more movies to add to our previous list of favorite movies for engineers. They have been chosen by our staff at ENGINEERING.com and by members of our online community at ENG-TIPS.com

What are your favorites? Please list them in the comments below or take our movie survey. You can add your favorite or vote for one we have listed. To keep our focus, movies should have some science/math/engineering angle.

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

2001: A Space Odyssey(1968)

This movie comes up a lot in any discussion of movies with engineers—and with good reason. What would you expect from author Arthur C. Clarke, who graduated with honors in math and physics from King’s College in London? By the way, find the next letters in the alphabet for each of the letters in HAL,the ominous onboard computer, and get another very real computer company. What was Clarke trying to tell us?

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

The Matrix (1999)

Humans trapped in a virtual reality. It's not bad considering the reality is you are only a power source for the evil computers that have overtaken the earth. Yes, we know evil computers occur ad nauseam in movies, but this one is worth watching for its movie technology—and the coolest fight scenes.

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

The Terminator (1984)

Sublime sci-fi cautionary tale totally lost on engineers who will spend the whole movie thinking how they would design a better robot. Again, a future where humans must prevail against computers of the future. Perfect typecasting for a robotic actor but a springboard for a future governor. Luckily, California has survived him.

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

Ex Machina(2015)

Man makes an AI woman. Warning, you will fall in love with Swedish-born Alicia Vikander and start worrying about robots’ rights.

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

Weird Science (1985)

Two high school dweebs, AKA future engineers, dream of the perfect woman. Why not use their computer to make one?

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

The Core (2003)

Another journey to the center of the Earth, but with more special effects than Jules Verne had in his day. This time they must save the earth, which is about to stop spinning.

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

No Highway in The Sky (1951)

The engineer as a hero. How often does that happen? James Stewart, an aeronautical engineer, frets that his company's airliner is at risk due to metal fatigue. Overruled by management, he must prove it before a crash.

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

The Man in the White Suit (1951)

A classic about a chemist who makes a suit that will not stain. Happy to never have to change his clothes again, he is thwarted by Big Detergent.

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

21 (2008)

Applied arithmetic. MIT math geniuses beat the house with blackjack math. By the way, the Kevin Spacey character is not Jon Hirschtick, founder of SOLIDWORKS. Though a MIT math genius, and someone who admits to beating Las Vegas at blackjack, Hirschtick is real. The Spacey character is not.

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

Pi (1998)

Genius does not always end well. A reclusive Max Cohen uses a supercomputer and is on the verge of discovering along-sought-after pattern in numbers. Like pi, or the pattern behind stock market behavior, it’s coveted by evil Wall Street traders who come after him along with a Torah scholar who thinks Max has unlocked the word of God.

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

Math of the highest order. The story of Srinivasa Ramanujan, a poor Indian without a formal education who went to Cambridge to teach its mathematicians a thing or two about infinite series. He would have made more discoveries had he not been killed by British food.

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

Primer (2004)

Engineers start building a computer and end up with a time machine. Oh, well. Who needs another computer?

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

The Martian (2015)

A mechanical engineer and also a botanist, Mark Watney has the misfortune of being stranded on Mars with almost nothing but his ingenuity. So believable that it doesn’t even seem to be sci-fi. Try not to dwell on what he grows potatoes in.
Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

Gravity (2013)

Sandra Bullock and George Clooney are trapped in space. One of them makes it.

Image courtesy of IMDB.
Image courtesy of IMDB.

Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977)

Science and government meet aliens, excruciating in its revelation. Also involves potatoes.

To add your favorite movie for engineers, or vote on the the ones we've listed, please take our Engineering Movie Survey.

Recommended For You