Raiders of the Lost Ark Harrison Ford

They are the explorers, researchers, and geniuses of cinema. They study space, time, and beyond. Be it retrieving ancient artifacts or dissecting alien species, these scientists are eccentric, offbeat, or just downright mad. Over the decades, film has had no shortage of its take on any and every facet of science, the asking and answering of “what”, “how”, and “why”.

Everything from robotics to cloning to time travel, cinema’s portrayal of the men and women who dedicate their life to understanding the world around us has been anything but bland. They can be a comical parody or a serious commentary on humankind, film has a long list of those who discover more about the past, present, and future.

Sometimes with good intentions gone bad, or evil all along, I present 15 of film’s most off-kilter and unconventional scientists, be it in their research or personality, and some of those who just deserve some attention because of the ordeals they have been forced into.

Since this topic has been tackled a few times around the net, I aim to broaden the definition of scientist that goes beyond the stereotypical chemistry set and lab coat. Fields such as technology, archeology, and more will be included.

Additionally, at times I will stretch the definition of film, meaning that if a TV show has made a feature film that includes a particular character, they count. Also, made for TV movies are fair game here in my definition.

So put on your safety goggles and grab your microscopes as we research 15 of cinema’s most unusual scientists.

Honourable Mentions

Doctor Octopus

I want to note that I will be avoiding comic books adaptations. There are just so many and they would dominate this list. So here is a nod to Bruce Banner, Doctor Doom, Doctor Octopus, and more. Furthermore, to make room for others, I want to give an honorable mention to both Doctor Victor Frankenstein and Dr. Strangelove. I know most would not accept this list without their inclusion. So here they are.

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This article was first posted on November 29, 2013