Table of Contents
Hey everyone, in this article I will share a list of the best biology movies and documentaries for students. All of these books are enlisted according to their IMDB rating. You can watch these movies along with your current study, it will help you keep you entertained during exam pressure. All of these movies are related to science and biotech.
1. Planet Earth II
Planet Earth II is a 2016 British nature documentary series produced by the BBC as a sequel to Planet Earth, which was broadcast in 2006. David Attenborough narrates this highly-acclaimed series exploring the natural world of the planet. Each episode explores a different habitat, focusing on how living creatures deal with the challenges posed by each environment.
2. Planet Earth
Planet Earth is an Emmy Award-winning Documentary film by David Attenborough. It has 11 episodes, the most expensive nature documentary series ever commissioned by the BBC, and the first to be filmed in high definition. It describes habitats and biomes residing on the Earth along with footage revolving around climatic change and natural surroundings.
3. Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park is a 1993 American science fiction action film directed by Steven Spielberg and produced by Kathleen Kennedy and Gerald R. Molen. In Steven Spielberg’s massive blockbuster, paleontologists Alan Grant (Sam Neill) and Ellie Sattler (Laura Dern) and mathematician Ian Malcolm (Jeff Goldblum) are among a select group chosen to tour an island theme park populated by dinosaurs created from prehistoric DNA. While the park’s mastermind, billionaire John Hammond (Richard Attenborough), assures everyone that the facility is safe, they find out otherwise when various ferocious predators break free and go on the hunt.
4. Into the Wild
Into the Wild is a 2007 American biographical adventure drama film written, co-produced, and directed by Sean Penn. Christopher McCandless (Emile Hirsch), son of wealthy parents (Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt), graduates from Emory University as a top student and athlete. However, instead of embarking on a prestigious and profitable career, he chooses to give his savings to charity, rid himself of his possessions, and set out on a journey to the Alaskan wilderness.
5. Earth (2007)
Earth is a 2007 nature documentary film which depicts the diversity of wild habitats and creatures across the planet. The film begins in the Arctic in January of one year and moves southward, concluding in Antarctica in December of the same year. A global journey reveals how animal mothers struggle to raise their young in an increasingly dangerous environment. In the Arctic, a polar bear and her two newborn cubs must find food across the quickly melting ice. In Africa, an elephant and her calf begin an arduous journey in search of water, but a pride of lions guards the pool. A humpback whale must keep her calf safe over thousands of miles as they migrate from the equator to Antarctica.
Gattaca is a 1997 American dystopian science fiction film written and directed by Andrew Niccol in his filmmaking debut. Vincent Freeman (Ethan Hawke) has always fantasized about traveling into outer space, but is grounded by his status as a genetically inferior “in-valid.” He decides to fight his fate by purchasing the genes of Jerome Morrow (Jude Law), a laboratory-engineered “valid.” He assumes Jerome’s DNA identity and joins the Gattaca space program, where he falls in love with Irene (Uma Thurman). An investigation into the death of a Gattaca officer (Gore Vidal) complicates Vincent’s plans.
7. Cane Toads: An Unnatural History
Cane Toads: An Unnatural History is a 1988 documentary film about the introduction of cane toads to Australia. Cane toads were introduced to Australia with the aim of controlling a sugar cane pest, the cane beetle, but they over-multiplied and became a serious problem in the Australian ecosystem. It is often humorous, and is used in high schools and colleges as a complement to curricula in biology, ecology, environmental science, anthropology, geography, and communication. It was filmed in Cairns and Gordonvale in Queensland. The film was nominated for a BAFTA Film Award for Best Short Film. It is distributed in the United States by Radio Pictures.
8. How to Survive a Plague
How to Survive a Plague is a 2012 American documentary film about the early years of the AIDS epidemic, and the efforts of activist groups ACT UP and TAG. It was directed by David France, a journalist who covered AIDS from its beginnings. France’s first film, it was dedicated to his partner Doug Gould who died of AIDS-related pneumonia in 1992. The documentary was produced using more than 700 hours of archived footage which included news coverage, interviews as well as film of demonstrations, meetings and conferences taken by ACT UP members themselves. France says they knew what they were doing was historic, and that many of them would die. The film, which opened in select theatres across the United States on September 21, 2012, also includes footage of a demonstration during mass at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in 1989.
9. The Botany of Desire
The Botany of Desire: A Plant’s-Eye View of the World is a 2001 nonfiction book by journalist Michael Pollan. Pollan presents case studies that mirror four types of human desires that are reflected in the way that we selectively grow, breed, and genetically engineer our plants. The tulip, beauty; cannabis, intoxication; the apple, sweetness; and the potato, control.
10. Fantastic Fungi
Fantastic Fungi is a 2019 American documentary film directed by Louie Schwartzberg. The film combines time-lapse cinematography, CGI, and interviews in an overview of the biology, environmental roles, and various uses of fungi.
11. The Story of Louis Pasteur
The Story of Louis Pasteur is a 1936 American black-and-white biographical film from Warner Bros., produced by Henry Blanke, directed by William Dieterle, that stars Josephine Hutchinson, Anita Louise and Donald Woods, and Paul Muni as the renowned scientist who developed major advances in microbiology, which revolutionized agriculture and medicine. The film’s screenplay—which tells a highly fictionalized version of Pasteur’s life—was written by Pierre Collings and Sheridan Gibney, and Edward Chodorov (uncredited). Muni won an Academy Award for Best Actor, while Collings and Gibney won for Best Screenplay and Best Story. The film was nominated for Best Picture.
French chemist and microbiologist Louis Pasteur (Paul Muni) is on a quest to cure the ailments of the 19th century. But he’s thwarted at every turn by skeptical fellow scientists, chief among them Dr. Charbonnet (Fritz Leiber). He draws scorn when he supports the germ theory, advocating that doctors should wash their hands and sterilize their instruments before working on patients. But Pasteur perseveres, and when anthrax becomes a scourge, he holds the key to solving the epidemic.
12. The Physician
The Physician (German: Der Medicus) is a 2013 German historical drama film based on the novel of the same name by Noah Gordon. The film, co-written and directed by Philipp Stölzl, focuses on an orphan from an 11th-century English town whose mother died of side sickness. The boy vows to study medicine and decides to travel to Persia.
13. The Madness of King George
The Madness of King George is a 1994 British biographical historical comedy-drama film directed by Nicholas Hytner and adapted by Alan Bennett from his own 1991 play The Madness of George III. It tells the true story of George III of Great Britain’s deteriorating mental health, and his equally declining relationship with his eldest son, the Prince of Wales, particularly focusing on the period around the Regency Crisis of 1788–89.
Aging King George III (Nigel Hawthorne) of England is exhibiting signs of madness, a problem little understood in 1788. As the monarch alternates between bouts of confusion and near-violent outbursts of temper, his hapless doctors attempt the ineffectual cures of the day. Meanwhile, Queen Charlotte (Helen Mirren) and Prime Minister William Pitt the Younger (Julian Wadham) attempt to prevent the king’s political enemies, led by the Prince of Wales (Rupert Everett), from usurping the throne.
14. Darwin’s Struggle: The Evolution of the Origin of Species
Documentary telling the story of how Charles Darwin came to write `On the Origin of Species’. In the 20 years he took to develop his ideas into a book, Darwin went through a personal struggle every bit as turbulent as that of the natural world he observed.
Annihilation is a 2018 science fiction horror film written and directed by Alex Garland, based on the 2014 novel of the same name by Jeff VanderMeer.
Lena, a biologist and former soldier, joins a mission to uncover what happened to her husband inside Area X — a sinister and mysterious phenomenon that is expanding across the American coastline. Once inside, the expedition discovers a world of mutated landscapes and creatures, as dangerous as it is beautiful, that threatens both their lives and their sanity.
Lucy is a 2014 French science fiction action film written and directed by Luc Besson for his company EuropaCorp.
When a boyfriend tricks Lucy (Scarlett Johansson) into delivering a briefcase to a supposed business contact, the once-carefree student is abducted by thugs who intend to turn her into a drug mule. She is surgically implanted with a package containing a powerful chemical, but it leaks into her system, giving her superhuman abilities, including telekinesis and telepathy. With her former captors in pursuit, Lucy seeks out a neurologist (Morgan Freeman), who she hopes will be able to help her.
17. The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks (2010) is a non-fiction book by American author Rebecca Skloot. It was the 2011 winner of the National Academies Communication Award for best creative work that helps the public understand topics in science, engineering or medicine.
In 1951, cancerous cells from Henrietta Lacks led to breakthroughs that changed the face of medicine forever. Aided by writer Rebecca Skloot, Deborah Lacks embarks on a quest to learn about the mother she never knew.
18. The Big Year
Three men find that they have come to a turning point. Stu (Steve Martin) faces a late-life crisis, Kenny (Owen Wilson) is in the grip of a midlife crisis, and Brad (Jack Black) is wallowing in a no-life crisis. Determined to kick-start their stagnant lives, Stu, Kenny and Brad decide to enter a prestigious contest. During the course of one calendar year, the three friendly rivals criss-cross North America in a quest to count more species of birds than anyone else.
For an ambitious medical student like Paula, being chosen to take part in a prestigious anatomy course taught by a legendary professor is a dream come true. But Paula’s delight quickly turns to sheer horror, when she finds a young man she met only days before lying in front of her on the dissecting table. She soon discovers that a centuries-old secret society, one known for its ruthless research on live humans, is headquartered at the same renowned institute where she is studying.
20. Gemini Man
Gemini Man is a 2019 American action thriller film directed by Ang Lee. The film follows a retiring hitman who is targeted by a much younger clone of himself while on the run from the government.
Henry Brogan is an elite 51-year-old assassin who’s ready to call it quits after completing his 72nd job. His plans get turned upside down when he becomes the target of a mysterious operative who can seemingly predict his every move. To his horror, Brogan soon learns that the man who’s trying to kill him is a younger, faster, cloned version of himself.
Downsizing is a 2017 American science fiction comedy-drama film directed by Alexander Payne, written by Payne and Jim Taylor, and starring Matt Damon, Christoph Waltz, Hong Chau, and Kristen Wiig. It tells the story of Paul and Audrey Safranek, a couple who decide to undertake a newly invented procedure to shrink their bodies so they can start a new life in an experimental community. Audrey refuses the procedure at the last minute and Paul has to reassess his life choices after befriending an impoverished activist.
Mild-mannered therapist Paul Safranek and his wife, Audrey, decide to undergo a process in which scientists shrink people down to miniature size to live in small communities. The irreversible procedure allows the people to gain wealth and a life of leisure while helping to cut down on the consumption of natural resources. As Paul gets to know his new neighbors and surroundings, he soon learns that living in a tiny suburb comes with its own set of huge problems.
Splice is a 2009 science fiction horror film directed by Vincenzo Natali and starring Adrien Brody, Sarah Polley, and Delphine Chanéac. The story concerns experiments in genetic engineering being done by a young scientific couple, who attempt to introduce human DNA into their work of splicing animal genes.
Geneticists Clive (Adrien Brody) and Elsa (Sarah Polley) specialize in creating hybrids of species. When they propose the use of human DNA, their pharmaceutical company bosses forbid it, forcing them to conduct experiments in secret. The result is Dren, a creature with amazing intelligence and physical attributes. At first, Dren exceeds their wildest dreams, but as she begins to grow at an accelerated rate, she threatens to become their worst nightmare.
Blueprint is a 2003 German drama film directed by Rolf Schübel. It is based on the 1999 novel by Charlotte Kerner. The film raises the ethical issue of human cloning.
Iris Sellin (Potente) is a world-famous pianist and composer who finds out that she is suffering from multiple sclerosis, a degenerative nerve disorder that will gradually stop her being able to perform. She asks a friend, Dr. Martin Fischer (Thomsen), a revolutionary reproductive researcher, to assist her in creating her clone so that she can pass her music onto her daughter. Even though cloning of humans is illegal, Dr. Fischer agrees so that he will forever be known as the first. The procedure is a success and Iris gives birth to Siri (Potente). Siri closely resembles her mother in both facial features and musical talent.
When Siri finds out at the age of thirteen that she is her mother’s clone, her whole world falls apart. The once very close and sweet relationship between mother and daughter turns into an emotional struggle. They fight for the same man, compete with their musical careers, and nearly pay with their lives.
In order to escape the disappointment of her own existence, Siri later moves to Canada where she starts a lonely life away from civilization in the woods photographing deer. But fate grants her the possibility of release from her self-imposed isolation when she meets Greg (Hilmir Snær Guðnason), a charming architect who brings love back into Siri’s life and even paves the way toward reconciliation between mother and daughter.
Creation is a 2009 British biographical drama film about Charles Darwin’s relationship with his wife Emma and his memory of their eldest daughter Annie, as he struggles to write On the Origin of Species.
Devastated by the death of his beloved daughter, Annie, Charles Darwin (Paul Bettany) sinks into a deep depression, and cannot bring himself to finish his book about evolution. Though Annie’s death has broken Darwin’s faith in God, it has galvanized that of his wife, Emma (Jennifer Connelly). Darwin’s associates urge him to finish his revolutionary work, while Emma strongly objects, leaving Darwin with an agonizing choice.
25. The Andromeda strain
The Andromeda Strain is a 1971 American science fiction thriller film produced and directed by Robert Wise. Wayne as a team of scientists who investigate a deadly organism of extraterrestrial origin. With a few exceptions, the film follows the book closely.
Chilling tale about a US research satellite carrying a deadly extraterrestrial microscopic organism that crashes into a small town in Arizona. A group of top scientists are hurriedly assembled in a bid to identify and contain the lethal stowaway. Based on the novel by Michael Crichton.
Elysium is a 2013 American science fiction action film written, produced and directed by Neill Blomkamp.
In the year 2154, humanity is sharply divided between two classes of people: The ultrarich live aboard a luxurious space station called Elysium, and the rest live a hardscrabble existence in Earth’s ruins. His life hanging in the balance, a man named Max (Matt Damon) agrees to undertake a dangerous mission that could bring equality to the population, but Secretary Delacourt (Jodie Foster) vows to preserve the pampered lifestyle of Elysium’s citizens, no matter what the cost.
Awakenings is a 1990 American drama film based on Oliver Sacks’s 1973 memoir of the same name. It tells the story of a fictional character, neurologist Dr. Malcolm Sayer, who is based on Sacks and played by Robin Williams.
The story of a doctor’s extraordinary work in the Sixties with a group of catatonic patients he finds languishing in a Bronx hospital. Speculating that their rigidity may be akin to an extreme form of Parkinsonism, he seeks permission from his skeptical superiors to treat them with L-dopa, a drug that was used to treat Parkinson’s disease at the time.
Contagion is a 2011 American thriller film directed by Steven Soderbergh.
When Beth Emhoff (Gwyneth Paltrow) returns to Minnesota from a Hong Kong business trip, she attributes the malaise she feels to jet lag. However, two days later, Beth is dead, and doctors tell her shocked husband (Matt Damon) that they have no idea what killed her. Soon, many others start to exhibit the same symptoms, and a global pandemic explodes. Doctors try to contain the lethal microbe, but society begins to collapse as a blogger (Jude Law) fans the flames of paranoia.
29. The Amazing Spider Man
Abandoned by his parents and raised by an aunt and uncle, teenager Peter Parker (Andrew Garfield), AKA Spider-Man, is trying to sort out who he is and exactly what his feelings are for his first crush, Gwen Stacy (Emma Stone). When Peter finds a mysterious briefcase that was his father’s, he pursues a quest to solve his parents’ disappearance. His search takes him to Oscorp and the lab of Dr. Curt Connors (Rhys Ifans), setting him on a collision course with Connors’ alter ego, the Lizard.
30. Altered Carbon
More than 300 years in the future, society has been transformed by new technology, leading to human bodies being interchangeable and death no longer being permanent. Takeshi Kovacs is the only surviving soldier of a group of elite interstellar warriors who were defeated in an uprising against the new world order. His mind was imprisoned for centuries until impossibly wealthy businessman Laurens Bancroft offers him the chance to live again. Kovacs will have to do something for Bancroft, though, if he wants to be resurrected. Bancroft’s request of Kovacs is to solve a murder — Bancroft’s. “Altered Carbon” is based on Richard K. Morgan’s cyberpunk noir novel of the same name.
31. Orphan Black
Sarah is a street-wise woman with a troubled past as an English orphan who bounced around foster homes before being taken in by Mrs. S, who uprooted her and her foster brother, Felix, to North America. She has made bad decisions in her life but always strives to do right by daughter Kira. When Sarah witnesses the suicide of Beth, a woman who looks like her, she decides to steal Beth’s identity — boyfriend and money included — in an attempt to begin a new life for herself and Kira, with whom Sarah hopes to reunite. But assuming Beth’s life — Sarah eventually learns that Beth was her clone — doesn’t go as smoothly as she anticipates because Beth was a cop caught in the middle of a deadly conspiracy, making Sarah the new target. Sarah must fight to stay alive while trying to escape from the complex web. As more threads appear, Sarah is pulled deeper, and Felix becomes her one true confidant.
32. Blade Runner 2049
Officer K (Ryan Gosling), a new blade runner for the Los Angeles Police Department, unearths a long-buried secret that has the potential to plunge what’s left of society into chaos. His discovery leads him on a quest to find Rick Deckard (Harrison Ford), a former blade runner who’s been missing for 30 years.
When filmmaker Bryan Fogel sets out to uncover the truth about doping in sports, a chance meeting with a Russian scientist transforms his story from a personal experiment into a geopolitical thriller. Dirty urine, unexplained death and Olympic gold are all part of the exposure of the biggest scandal in sports history.
In this neo-noir social thriller, Oscar winner Renée Zelwegger stars as Anne Montgomery, a woman of extreme wealth who makes young scientist Lisa a steamy proposal. Lisa is on the verge of a breakthrough that would save the lives of millions of kids, but she needs funding to go through with the trials and eventually bring her technique to the market. Other venture capitalists have turned Lisa down, but Anne makes her an unexpected offer — one that comes with a twist. In order to give Lisa the money, Anne wants to spend a night alone with Lisa’s husband, Sean, a former professional athlete. If the couple agree to the terms, Lisa will get the funding but can never ask her husband what happened during his time with Anne, who believes that human attachment is a weakness and Lisa will only succeed if she focuses all of her attention on her work.
Primatologist Davis Okoye shares an unshakable bond with George, an extraordinarily intelligent, silverback gorilla that’s been in his care since birth. When a rogue genetic experiment goes wrong, it causes George, a wolf and a reptile to grow to a monstrous size. As the mutated beasts embark on a path of destruction, Okoye teams up with a discredited genetic engineer and the military to secure an antidote and prevent a global catastrophe.
36. Beautiful Boy
Teenager Nicolas Sheff seems to have it all — good grades, editor of the school newspaper, actor, artist and athlete. When Nic’s addiction to meth threatens to destroy him, his desperate father does whatever he can to save his son and his family.
37. Extraordinary Measures
John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) is a man on the corporate fast-track, with a beautiful wife (Keri Russell) and three children. Just as his career is taking off, he learns that his two youngest kids have a fatal disease. John leaves his job and devotes himself to saving their lives. He joins forces with Dr. Robert Stonehill (Harrison Ford), a brilliant but eccentric scientist. Together they battle the medical and corporate establishment, racing against time for a cure.
38. March of the Penguins
At the end of each Antarctic summer, the emperor penguins of the South Pole journey to their traditional breeding grounds in a fascinating mating ritual that is captured in this documentary by intrepid filmmaker Luc Jacquet. The journey across frozen tundra proves to be the simplest part of the ritual, as after the egg is hatched, the female must delicately transfer it to the male and make her way back to the distant sea to nourish herself and bring back food to her newborn chick.
39. Grey’s Anatomy
The medical drama series focuses on a group of doctors at a hospital in Seattle, including several who began their careers at the facility as interns. One of the doctors and the show’s namesake, Meredith Grey, is the daughter of a famous surgeon. She struggles to maintain relationships with her colleagues, particularly the hospital’s one-time chief of surgery, Richard Webber, due to a pre-existing relationship between them — Webber and Meredith’s mother had a personal relationship when Meredith was young.
40. David Attenborough Dynasties
David Attenborough discusses humanity’s impact on nature and the actions we can take to save the planet.
41. Our Planet
Sir David Attenborough narrates this eight-part series that explores the unique wonders of the natural world. Produced in partnership with the World Wildlife Fund, “Out Planet” uses a combination of stunning photography and technology to present Earth’s remaining wilderness areas and their animal inhabitants. The project took four years to complete, with more than 600 crew members filming in 50 countries across the world to showcase the diversity that exists among habitats, from the remote Arctic wilderness to the jungles of South America.