a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Good Will Hunting (1997)
Gus Van Sant (director) / Matt Damon (Screenplay)

A young janitor at MIT solves a (supposedly) difficult problem left on a black board by a Fields medalist. This successful film did make many more people aware of the existence of the Fields medal. However, it has very little mathematical content, promotes the idea that you need to be some sort of mental superhero to be a mathematician, and the moral is: if you try to be a successful mathematician you'll end up going to a psychologist and missing out on all of the important things in life.

The script was written by Matt Damon when he was a student at Harvard (although in the original script, the janitor became a physicist not a mathematician) and was adapted for the big screen with the help of his friend Ben Affleck.

Personally, I liked the parody of this movie on Disney's Recess better!

More information about this work can be found at
(Note: This is just one work of mathematical fiction from the list. To see the entire list or to see more works of mathematical fiction, return to the Homepage.)

Works Similar to Good Will Hunting
According to my `secret formula', the following works of mathematical fiction are similar to this one:
  1. Regarding Roderer by Guillermo Martinez
  2. The Wizard by C.S. Godshalk
  3. Recess (Episode: A Genius Among Us) by Brian Hamill
  4. Against the Odds by Martin Gardner
  5. The Zero Theorem by Pat Rushin (screenplay) / Terry Gilliam (director)
  6. Sophie's Diary by Dora Musielak
  7. Pi by Darren Aronofsky (director)
  8. Hole in the Paper Sky by Howard Kingkade (Screenplay) / Bill Purple (Director)
  9. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar / Akiva Goldsman
  10. Proof by David Auburn
Ratings for Good Will Hunting:
RatingsHave you seen/read this work of mathematical fiction? Then click here to enter your own votes on its mathematical content and literary quality or send me comments to post on this Webpage.
Mathematical Content:
2.6/5 (15 votes)
Literary Quality:
3.38/5 (16 votes)

MotifGenius, Prodigies, Academia, Math as Cold/Dry/Useless, Romance,

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May 2016: I am experimenting with a new feature which will print a picture of the cover and a link to the page for a work of mathematical fiction when it is available. I hope you find this useful and convenient. In any case, please write to let me know if it is because I would be happy to either get rid of it or improve it if that would be better for you. Thanks! -Alex

(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)