a list compiled by Alex Kasman (College of Charleston)

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Good Will Hunting (1997)
Gus Van Sant (director) / Matt Damon (Screenplay)
(click on names to see more mathematical fiction by the same author)

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. Sophie's Diary by Dora Musielak
  6. The Zero Theorem by Pat Rushin (screenplay) / Terry Gilliam (director)
  7. Pi by Darren Aronofsky (director)
  8. Hole in the Paper Sky by Howard Kingkade (Screenplay) / Bill Purple (Director)
  9. Proof by David Auburn
  10. A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar / Akiva Goldsman
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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(Maintained by Alex Kasman, College of Charleston)