Films for (Future) Engineersby nyuad_io | created - 24 Feb 2019 | updated - 4 months ago | Public
A collection (in no particular order) of horizon-expanding films for (future) engineers around the globe.
Titles range from the artistic to sci-fi, from comedies that shine light on humanity's oddities and absurdities to edge-of-seat thrillers and future dystopias. Some are here purely as sources of cultural references, and others are on the list for their cult status or abrasive qualities that help to round off sharp edges. Each is entertaining in its own way, but the larger goal is to collect a cross-section of programs that support critical thinking, puzzling together of clues, projecting into the unknown, and satisfying the sometimes peculiar and far-reaching curiosities of engineers.
The list intentionally includes a minimal number of fantasy, super-hero, and animated titles, as it's very likely those titles are well-known to many already due to the tireless efforts of the global hype machine. The list is US-centric but with an ever-increasing number of international titles.
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1. Johnny Mnemonic (1995)
R | 96 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
A data courier, literally carrying a data package inside his head, must deliver it before he dies from the burden or is killed by the Yakuza.
Director: Robert Longo | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Dolph Lundgren, Dina Meyer, Ice-T
Votes: 73,392 | Gross: $19.08M
2. The Lawnmower Man (1992)
R | 108 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
A simple man is turned into a genius through the application of computer science.
Director: Brett Leonard | Stars: Jeff Fahey, Pierce Brosnan, Jenny Wright, Mark Bringelson
Votes: 37,152 | Gross: $32.10M
3. Hackers (1995)
PG-13 | 105 min | Crime, Drama, Romance
Hackers are blamed for making a virus that will capsize five oil tankers.
Director: Iain Softley | Stars: Jonny Lee Miller, Angelina Jolie, Jesse Bradford, Matthew Lillard
Votes: 71,242 | Gross: $7.56M
4. Dark City (1998)
R | 100 min | Fantasy, Mystery, Sci-Fi
A man struggles with memories of his past, which include a wife he cannot remember and a nightmarish world no one else ever seems to wake up from.
Director: Alex Proyas | Stars: Rufus Sewell, Kiefer Sutherland, Jennifer Connelly, William Hurt
Votes: 203,573 | Gross: $14.38M
5. The Matrix (1999)
R | 136 min | Action, Sci-Fi
When a beautiful stranger leads computer hacker Neo to a forbidding underworld, he discovers the shocking truth--the life he knows is the elaborate deception of an evil cyber-intelligence.
Directors: Lana Wachowski, Lilly Wachowski | Stars: Keanu Reeves, Laurence Fishburne, Carrie-Anne Moss, Hugo Weaving
Votes: 1,939,015 | Gross: $171.48M
6. Demolition Man (1993)
R | 115 min | Action, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A police officer is brought out of suspended animation in prison to pursue an old ultra-violent nemesis who is loose in a non-violent future society.
Director: Marco Brambilla | Stars: Sylvester Stallone, Wesley Snipes, Sandra Bullock, Nigel Hawthorne
Votes: 182,009 | Gross: $58.06M
7. Sin City (2005)
R | 124 min | Crime, Thriller
An exploration of the dark and miserable Basin City and three of its residents, all of whom are caught up in violent corruption.
Directors: Frank Miller, Quentin Tarantino, Robert Rodriguez | Stars: Mickey Rourke, Clive Owen, Bruce Willis, Jessica Alba
Votes: 776,033 | Gross: $74.10M
8. Manufactured Landscapes (2006)
Unrated | 86 min | Documentary
Photographer Edward Burtynsky travels the world observing changes in landscapes due to industrial work and manufacturing.
Director: Jennifer Baichwal | Star: Edward Burtynsky
Votes: 2,994 | Gross: $0.24M
9. Chinatown (1974)
R | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Thriller
A private detective hired to expose an adulterer in 1930s Los Angeles finds himself caught up in a web of deceit, corruption, and murder.
Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Jack Nicholson, Faye Dunaway, John Huston, Perry Lopez
Votes: 331,970 | Gross: $8.49M
10. Alien (1979)
R | 117 min | Horror, Sci-Fi
The crew of a commercial spacecraft encounter a deadly lifeform after investigating an unknown transmission.
Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Sigourney Weaver, Tom Skerritt, John Hurt, Veronica Cartwright
Votes: 895,142 | Gross: $78.90M
11. Blade Runner (1982)
R | 117 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
A blade runner must pursue and terminate four replicants who stole a ship in space and have returned to Earth to find their creator.
Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Harrison Ford, Rutger Hauer, Sean Young, Edward James Olmos
Votes: 781,236 | Gross: $32.87M
12. 2046 (2004)
R | 129 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
Several women enter a science fiction author's life over the course of a few years, after the author has lost the woman he considers his one true love.
Director: Kar-Wai Wong | Stars: Tony Leung Chiu-wai, Ziyi Zhang, Faye Wong, Gong Li
Votes: 59,091 | Gross: $1.44M
13. The Social Network (2010)
PG-13 | 120 min | Biography, Drama
As Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, he is sued by the twins who claimed he stole their idea and by the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.
Director: David Fincher | Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara
Votes: 716,511 | Gross: $96.96M
14. The Martian (2015)
PG-13 | 144 min | Adventure, Drama, Sci-Fi
An astronaut becomes stranded on Mars after his team assume him dead, and must rely on his ingenuity to find a way to signal to Earth that he is alive and can survive until a potential rescue.
Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Matt Damon, Jessica Chastain, Kristen Wiig, Kate Mara
Votes: 870,367 | Gross: $228.43M
15. Back to the Future (1985)
PG | 116 min | Adventure, Comedy, Sci-Fi
Marty McFly, a 17-year-old high school student, is accidentally sent 30 years into the past in a time-traveling DeLorean invented by his close friend, the maverick scientist Doc Brown.
Director: Robert Zemeckis | Stars: Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd, Lea Thompson, Crispin Glover
Votes: 1,224,966 | Gross: $210.61M
16. A.I. Artificial Intelligence (2001)
PG-13 | 146 min | Drama, Sci-Fi
A highly advanced robotic boy longs to become "real" so that he can regain the love of his human mother.
Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Haley Joel Osment, Jude Law, Frances O'Connor, Sam Robards
Votes: 312,906 | Gross: $78.62M
17. Ex Machina (2014)
R | 108 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A young programmer is selected to participate in a ground-breaking experiment in synthetic intelligence by evaluating the human qualities of a highly advanced humanoid A.I.
Director: Alex Garland | Stars: Alicia Vikander, Domhnall Gleeson, Oscar Isaac, Sonoya Mizuno
Votes: 555,906 | Gross: $25.44M
18. Enemy of the State (1998)
R | 132 min | Action, Thriller
A lawyer becomes targeted by a corrupt politician and his N.S.A. goons when he accidentally receives key evidence to a politically motivated crime.
Director: Tony Scott | Stars: Will Smith, Gene Hackman, Jon Voight, Lisa Bonet
Votes: 249,073 | Gross: $111.55M
19. Total Recall (1990)
R | 113 min | Action, Adventure, Sci-Fi
When a man goes in to have virtual vacation memories of the planet Mars implanted in his mind, an unexpected and harrowing series of events forces him to go to the planet for real - or is he?
Director: Paul Verhoeven | Stars: Arnold Schwarzenegger, Sharon Stone, Michael Ironside, Rachel Ticotin
Votes: 337,983 | Gross: $119.39M
20. Moon (2009)
R | 97 min | Drama, Mystery, Sci-Fi
Astronaut Sam Bell has a quintessentially personal encounter toward the end of his three-year stint on the Moon, where he, working alongside his computer, GERTY, sends back to Earth parcels of a resource that has helped diminish our planet's power problems.
Director: Duncan Jones | Stars: Sam Rockwell, Kevin Spacey, Dominique McElligott, Rosie Shaw
Votes: 364,605 | Gross: $5.01M
21. Iron Sky (2012)
R | 93 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy
The Nazis set up a secret base on the dark side of the moon in 1945 where they hide out and plan to return to power in 2018.
Director: Timo Vuorensola | Stars: Julia Dietze, Christopher Kirby, Götz Otto, Udo Kier
22. Brazil (1985)
R | 132 min | Drama, Sci-Fi
A bureaucrat in a dystopic society becomes an enemy of the state as he pursues the woman of his dreams.
Director: Terry Gilliam | Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Kim Greist, Robert De Niro, Katherine Helmond
Votes: 204,021 | Gross: $9.93M
23. Barton Fink (1991)
R | 116 min | Comedy, Drama, Thriller
A renowned New York playwright is enticed to California to write for the movies and discovers the hellish truth of Hollywood.
Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: John Turturro, John Goodman, Judy Davis, Michael Lerner
Votes: 124,580 | Gross: $6.15M
24. Her (2013)
R | 126 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
In a near future, a lonely writer develops an unlikely relationship with an operating system designed to meet his every need.
Director: Spike Jonze | Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Amy Adams, Scarlett Johansson, Rooney Mara
Votes: 628,229 | Gross: $25.57M
25. The Hudsucker Proxy (1994)
PG | 111 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy
A naive business graduate is installed as president of a manufacturing company as part of a stock scam.
Directors: Joel Coen, Ethan Coen | Stars: Tim Robbins, Paul Newman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Charles Durning
Votes: 82,485 | Gross: $2.87M
26. Gattaca (1997)
PG-13 | 106 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller
A genetically inferior man assumes the identity of a superior one in order to pursue his lifelong dream of space travel.
Director: Andrew Niccol | Stars: Ethan Hawke, Uma Thurman, Jude Law, Gore Vidal
Votes: 309,917 | Gross: $12.34M
27. Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (2004)
R | 108 min | Drama, Romance, Sci-Fi
When their relationship turns sour, a couple undergoes a medical procedure to have each other erased from their memories for ever.
Director: Michel Gondry | Stars: Jim Carrey, Kate Winslet, Tom Wilkinson, Gerry Robert Byrne
Votes: 1,022,683 | Gross: $34.40M
28. The Truman Show (1998)
PG | 103 min | Comedy, Drama
An insurance salesman discovers his whole life is actually a reality TV show.
Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Jim Carrey, Ed Harris, Laura Linney, Noah Emmerich
Votes: 1,103,764 | Gross: $125.62M
29. Requiem for a Dream (2000)
R | 102 min | Drama
The drug-induced utopias of four Coney Island people are shattered when their addictions run deep.
Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Ellen Burstyn, Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans
Votes: 854,555 | Gross: $3.64M
30. A Clockwork Orange (1971)
R | 136 min | Crime, Sci-Fi
In the future, a sadistic gang leader is imprisoned and volunteers for a conduct-aversion experiment, but it doesn't go as planned.
Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Malcolm McDowell, Patrick Magee, Michael Bates, Warren Clarke
Votes: 840,961 | Gross: $6.21M
31. The Usual Suspects (1995)
R | 106 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery
A sole survivor tells of the twisty events leading up to a horrific gun battle on a boat, which began when five criminals met at a seemingly random police lineup.
Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Kevin Spacey, Gabriel Byrne, Chazz Palminteri, Stephen Baldwin
Votes: 1,097,092 | Gross: $23.34M
32. Serpico (1973)
R | 130 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
An honest New York cop named Frank Serpico blows the whistle on rampant corruption in the force only to have his comrades turn against him.
Director: Sidney Lumet | Stars: Al Pacino, John Randolph, Jack Kehoe, Biff McGuire
Votes: 126,643 | Gross: $29.80M
33. Print the Legend (2014)
100 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama
Follows the people racing to bring the hot new 3D printing technology to your home, documenting the "Macintosh Moment" of this revolution and exploring what it takes to live the American Dream.
Directors: Luis Lopez, Clay Tweel | Stars: Chris Anderson, Bruce Bradshaw, Craig Broady, Bill Buel
34. General Magic (2018)
TV-PG | 93 min | Documentary
The ideas that dominate the tech industry and our day to day lives were born at a secretive Silicon Valley start-up named 'General Magic', which spun out of Apple in 1990 to create the first handheld personal communicator (or "smartphone").
Directors: Sarah Kerruish, Matt Maude | Stars: Tony Fadell, Andy Hertzfeld, Marc Porat, John Sculley
35. Jiro Dreams of Sushi (2011)
PG | 81 min | Documentary
A documentary on 85-year-old sushi master Jiro Ono, his renowned Tokyo restaurant, and his relationship with his son and eventual heir, Yoshikazu.
Director: David Gelb | Stars: Jiro Ono, Yoshikazu Ono, Masuhiro Yamamoto, Daisuke Nakazama
Votes: 36,767 | Gross: $2.55M
36. Levitated Mass (2013)
88 min | Documentary, Biography, History
The Story of Michael Heizer's Monolithic Sculpture.
Director: Doug Pray | Stars: Mark Albrecht, Rick Albrecht, Kathleen Anderson, John Bowsher
Votes: 176 | Gross: $0.01M
37. Sour Grapes (2016)
TV-14 | 85 min | Documentary, Crime
Documentary about the fine and rare wine auction market centering around a counterfeiter who befriended the rich and powerful and sold millions of dollars of fraudulent wine through the top auction houses.
Directors: Reuben Atlas, Jerry Rothwell | Stars: Laurent Ponsot, Jay McInerney, Jefery Levy, Maureen Downey
38. The China Syndrome (1979)
PG | 122 min | Drama, Thriller
A reporter finds what appears to be a cover-up of safety hazards at a nuclear power plant.
Director: James Bridges | Stars: Jane Fonda, Jack Lemmon, Michael Douglas, Scott Brady
Votes: 31,342 | Gross: $51.72M
39. Looper (2012)
R | 119 min | Action, Drama, Sci-Fi
In 2074, when the mob wants to get rid of someone, the target is sent into the past, where a hired gun awaits - someone like Joe - who one day learns the mob wants to 'close the loop' by sending back Joe's future self for assassination.
Director: Rian Johnson | Stars: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Bruce Willis, Emily Blunt, Paul Dano
Votes: 583,932 | Gross: $66.49M
40. Safety Not Guaranteed (2012)
R | 86 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama
Three magazine employees head out on an assignment to interview a guy who placed a classified advertisement seeking a companion for time travel.
Director: Colin Trevorrow | Stars: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni
Votes: 127,385 | Gross: $4.01M
41. I Heart Huckabees (2004)
R | 107 min | Comedy
A husband-and-wife team play detective, but not in the traditional sense. Instead, the happy duo helps others solve their existential issues, the kind that keep you up at night, wondering what it all means.
Director: David O. Russell | Stars: Jason Schwartzman, Jude Law, Naomi Watts, Mark Wahlberg
Votes: 65,275 | Gross: $12.78M
42. Primer (2004)
PG-13 | 77 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Thriller