True Tales of Numbers: 6 Math-Centric Films That Tell Real Stories

Ali
7 min readDec 4, 2023
“Film is not thought, it is perceived.” — Merleau Ponty.

Watching movies allows people to, although for a brief moment, step out of the limits and boundaries of their lives and step into the lives of others. Especially in this day and age where it is increasingly difficult to focus on one thing at a time, I find watching a movie to be one of the rare things I can sit down and do for at least two hours.

That is why I have listed below six math movies that have been adapted from real stories. A disclaimer, however, many creative liberties have been taken in the following movies. Although they were made in hopes of chasing a real-life occurrence, they are not purely non-fiction.

The existential philosopher Merleau Ponty says, “Film is not thought, it is perceived.” That’s why I know many will wish they, even for a moment, could live the lives of those in the below movies.

Many of these beautiful movies made were based on books. You might want to read the books first or after the movie!

Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race

Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game

A Beautiful Mind : A Biography of John Forbes Nash, Jr.

The Imitation Game: Alan Turing Decoded
I have also compiled more math movies on Abakcus and you can see them here.

Hidden Figures

Watch Hidden Figures | IMDB Score: 7.8

“Hidden Figures”explores the story of three African-American women working at NASA in the 1960s, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. It is the story of their struggle to live humane lives in spite of constant racism and sexism.

Although the trailer may look cliche, many scenes, such as a woman having to walk hours to use the restroom just because she is black, or the head of NASA, Al Harrisson, breaking a restroom sign reading The Colored Woman’s Bathroom, are incredibly original. Furthermore, the basis of the Soviet vs American Space Race has been brilliantly incorporated.

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Ali

Math Teacher. Content Curator. Soccer player. Maradona fan. Mostly write about the lectures I love to learn better. alikayaspor@gmail.com