As a computer science teacher, incorporating movies into your lessons can be a fun and engaging way to help students understand complex concepts. Here are 8 movies that are perfect to show in a computer science classroom.
Before showing any of these movies in your computer science classroom, it’s important to vet them to ensure that they are appropriate for your students. Some of the movies on this list may contain mature themes or language, so it’s important to consider the age and maturity level of your students before deciding which movies to show. Additionally, it’s always a good idea to review the content of the movie beforehand to make sure that it aligns with your teaching goals and objectives.
The Imitation Game is a biographical drama film that tells the story of Alan Turing, a British mathematician and computer scientist, who played a key role in breaking Nazi Germany’s Enigma code during World War II. The film highlights the importance of cryptography and computer science in military intelligence.
Alan Turing’s legacy goes far beyond his crucial contribution to the Allied victory in World War II. He is considered one of the fathers of modern computer science, having developed the concept of a universal machine that could compute anything computable. His work laid the foundation for the development of the first electronic computers, and his contributions to the field of artificial intelligence have had a lasting impact.
Furthermore, the film does not shy away from Turing’s personal struggles, including his homosexuality, which was criminalized in the United Kingdom at the time. His persecution and eventual suicide serve as a reminder of the ongoing struggle for LGBTQ+ rights and the importance of fighting discrimination in all its forms.
Hidden Figures is a captivating biographical drama that tells the incredible story of three African American female mathematicians who played a vital role in the early years of the U.S. space program. The movie brings to light the often-overlooked contributions of these brilliant women who helped America win the space race against the Soviet Union.
The film takes us on a journey back in time to the early 1960s when America was in the midst of the Cold War and the space race was at its peak. We get to see how the three women, Katherine G. Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson, rose above the racial and gender barriers of the time to become key players in the space program. Their incredible contributions to the field of mathematics and computer science helped pave the way for future generations of women and minorities in the field.
Through the character of Katherine Johnson, we get a glimpse of the pivotal role that mathematics played in the space program. Her calculations were critical to the success of the first manned mission to space, and her work on the trajectory of John Glenn’s historic orbit around Earth was invaluable. The movie also shows how the women of the West Area Computing unit at NASA, led by Dorothy Vaughan, were pioneers in the field of computer science, using their expertise to help launch the first IBM mainframe computer at NASA.
Tron is a 1982 American science fiction film produced by Walt Disney Productions. The movie was directed by Steven Lisberger and stars Jeff Bridges, Bruce Boxleitner, and David Warner. The film follows the story of Kevin Flynn, a software engineer and video game developer who becomes trapped in a virtual reality world that is run by a rogue AI program called the Master Control Program (MCP). The MCP is a powerful program that is capable of controlling both the virtual world and the real world. Inside the virtual world, Kevin must fight against the programs controlled by the MCP, including the deadly game Grid. The film explores the themes of artificial intelligence, virtual reality, and computer networking, providing a visual representation of computer programming and the inner workings of a computer system.
WarGames is an American thriller film that tells the story of a brilliant teenage computer hacker, played by Matthew Broderick, who inadvertently accesses a military supercomputer and nearly initiates a global nuclear war. The film also stars Ally Sheedy as the hacker’s love interest, and Dabney Coleman as a military official tasked with stopping the hacker’s dangerous actions.
The movie’s intense plot and fast-paced action keep viewers on the edge of their seats while highlighting the importance of computer security and the dangers of hacking. Through this thrilling adventure, the film emphasizes the need for individuals and organizations to take cybersecurity seriously and protect themselves from potential attacks.
In addition to its exceptional cast, WarGames was directed by John Badham and written by Lawrence Lasker and Walter F. Parkes. The film was released in 1983 and has since become a classic in the thriller genre, with its themes still relevant today. WarGames is a must-watch for anyone interested in cybersecurity and computer technology.
The Social Network, directed by David Fincher, is a biographical drama film that recounts the fascinating story of the founding of Facebook by Mark Zuckerberg and his college roommates during their time at Harvard. While the film certainly highlights the importance of entrepreneurship, innovation, and computer programming in modern society, it also delves into the personal relationships and struggles of the characters involved. From the legal battles over ownership of the website to the tensions between friends turned rivals, The Social Network offers a glimpse into the complex world of tech startups and the people behind them. Additionally, the film’s soundtrack, composed by Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross, perfectly captures the mood and energy of the story, adding an extra layer of depth to an already captivating film.
The Matrix is a groundbreaking science fiction film released in 1999 that pushed the boundaries of visual effects and film-making. The film, directed by the Wachowskis, explores the concept of virtual reality and artificial intelligence, taking audiences on a thrilling ride through a simulated world that blurs the line between reality and fantasy. The film presents a unique visual representation of computer programming, simulations, and the internet, which was a major achievement in film-making at the time. The Matrix has since become a cultural phenomenon, inspiring countless imitations and homages in film, television, and other media. Overall, The Matrix is a must-watch for anyone interested in science fiction, film-making, or visual effects.
Ex Machina is a science fiction film that provides a unique perspective on the relationship between humans and artificial intelligence. It not only explores the technical aspects of computer programming and robotics, but also delves deep into the philosophical and ethical questions that arise with the creation of artificial intelligence. The film takes a thought-provoking approach to these issues, encouraging the audience to consider the consequences of creating machines with human-like intelligence. The visual representation of computer programming and robotics is both stunning and informative, providing a glimpse into the inner workings of these complex technologies. The film is a must-see for anyone interested in the field of artificial intelligence, as well as those looking for a captivating and intellectually stimulating cinematic experience.
The Martian is a gripping science fiction film that takes us on an incredible journey to Mars, one of the most fascinating planets in our solar system. The movie follows the story of Mark Watney, a brave astronaut who finds himself stranded on the red planet after a severe storm separates him from his team. As he struggles to survive with limited resources, we see him use his scientific knowledge and problem-solving skills to overcome the challenges he faces in this harsh, unforgiving environment.
The film does a fantastic job of showcasing the importance of scientific problem-solving and engineering in space exploration. We see Watney use his knowledge to grow food, make water, and repair his equipment, all while being stranded millions of miles away from Earth. The movie also highlights the critical role that teamwork and communication play in space missions, as Watney’s team back on Earth works tirelessly to bring him home.