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23 Awesome Movie Geniuses

Contact (1997)

The Genius: Dr. Eleanor Arrowa

The Awesome: Ellie’s so smart and awesome that she works for SETI – that’s right, she’s an alien hunter.

More than that, Ellie’s so well-regarded that when a space ship is built using designs delivered via a message from space, she’s the one who (wo)mans the mission (albeit after one failed attempt).

Stupidest Moment: Expecting people to believe her when she starts ranting about aliens in space at the film’s close, despite all physical proof pointing otherwise.

The Silence Of The Lambs (1991)

The Genius: Dr. Hannibal Lecter

The Awesome: Lecter’s proof that just because you’re smart, it doesn’t mean you’re nice. In fact, it probably means the complete opposite.

A distillation of evil, Lecter’s cutting intellect is only undermined by the cravenness of his actions. But even when he’s hacking and killing, Lecter does it with intelligence – witness the death pose of one unlucky policeman, which Lecter based on a Francis Bacon painting.

Stupidest Moment: He’s pretty much untouchable in Lambs , but come Hannibal , Lecter’s all over Clarice and willing to chop off his own hand to save her.

Sherlock Holmes (2009)

The Genius: Sherlock Holmes

The Awesome: Holmes isn’t just any detective, he’s one with a staggering amount of smarts. And disguises. And an uncanny ability to unite brains and brawn in a spectacularly concussive manner.

Not only is he book smart, he’s street smart, too; note his capacity to correctly read a person’s character by merely observing them. Plus he’s buff as hell.

Stupidest Moment: Falling for the charms of former lover Irene, who chains him naked to her bed and leaves him there.