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Top Science Movies


This is a list of top science movies, as rated by your About Guide for Chemistry. I've included my rationale for liking these movies and I made sure to include a few that relate to chemistry. I imagine you can determine my age with high accuracy, given my choices of flicks.

1. Weird Science

John Hughes movie is a classic already (1985). There's not a whole lot of science in the movie, but it's still at the top of my list for its entertainment value. Rated PG-13.
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2. Dr. Strangelove

This is the fireball from the Badger nuclear test.
Department of Energy, Nevada Site Office
or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. Fluoridation is a communist plot, right? Stanley Kubrick's 1964 movie is definitely better than Weird Science, but a teensy bit depressing. Rated PG.
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3. Real Genius

Yes, much of the appeal of this movie for me has to do with Val Kilmer. I greatly enjoy this movie and wish it was more widely available. It's only available in VHS format. (1985) Rated PG.

4. The Atomic Cafe

Duck and cover!
U.S. Federal Civil Defense Administration
Duck and cover! This is a collection of archival film clips from the dawning of the Atomic Age. The US government propaganda makes for some interesting black humor. I think it's my training at a National Lab that causes me to be so amused by this film. Not Rated.
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5. The Absent-Minded Professor

Robert Stevenson's 1961 Disney classic is due to be re-released in January 2003. It's one of Disney's best and a zillion times better than the remake, Flubber. However, rumor has it that the computer enhanced color of the 2003 release detracts from the original film (which is no surprise). I prefer the original black and white format. Rated G.
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6. The Andromeda Strain

I enjoyed Michael Crichton's book even more than the movie, but this 1971 thriller is a faithful adaptation. There is a lot more science to this film than any other on my list, with the exception of The Atomic Cafe. Rated G.
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7. Love Potion #9

This 1992 romantic comedy actually features main characters who are chemists! There isn't any serious science, but the film is silly and sweet. Rated PG-13.
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8. Prince of Darkness

John Carpenter's 1987 horror flick looks at the science of evil. I think this is an excellent movie, although I can't watch it over and over again like some of films I have ranked higher. There's actual science embedded within its plot. Rated R.
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9. Project X

Jonathan Kaplan's 1987 movie takes a look at the ethical considerations of animal experimentation. Matthew Broderick delivers an excellent performance. Rated PG.
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10. Manhattan Project

This is a photo of the U.S. nuclear test "Dakota" during Operation Redwing, June 26, 1956.
Nuclear Weapon Archive
I watch this 1986 movie whenever I start feeling an urge to write an article outlining how to build a bomb (atomic or otherwise). John Lithgow's performance is excellent; the movie is not, but it makes this list as an object lesson. Rated PG-13.
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