Philosophers in the Movies

I noticed our local cinema is showing The Last Station which is about the last year of Leo Tolstoy’s life. Tolstoy is played by Christopher Plummer and his wife is played by Helen Mirren. The names of these two actors got me thinkng about philosophers portrayed in movies: Plummer, of course, played Aristotle in the film Alexander, and Mirren played Ayn Rand in The Passion of Ayn Rand. But I must admit I’m struggling to come up with many philosophers who have featured on the big screen. There is Derek Jarman’s Wittgenstein of course, and Nietzsche has made an appearance in a coupe of obscure movies such as When Nietzsche Wept and Liliana Cavani’s Beyond Good and Evil. I recall one director recently stating that he would like to make a movie about Socrates, but it actually surprises me that there isn’t one already (or is there?). Given how colourful the lives of philosophers can be (with the notable exception of Kant: that would be a very dull movie indeed!) I’m surprised I’m struggling to recall many films of them. Also, who would make the best philosopher to make a film of, and who would have the starrring role? Brad Pitt as a hunky Socrates (well, you had Keanu Reeves as that Buddha dude), or Ricky Tomlinson as Zizek?

And see for yet more comments…


51 thoughts on “Philosophers in the Movies

  1. I haven't read all the comments so someone may have already noted that there is a long feature film about Jean Jacques Rousseau which also features a substantial depiction of David Hume. Also, Liliani Cavani wrote a scenario for a film about Simone Weil that never got made. I think that Walter Benjamin would make a good subject for a film.


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