25 Movies Like Good Will Hunting

Matt Damon, Robin Williams and Ben Affleck at the Academy Awards win for Good Will Hunting.

Good Will Hunting is a renowned and one of the best drama movies ever made. It incorporates elements of the psychological drama genre, romance genre, and coming-of-age genre.

It follows Will Hunting, a troubled working-class young man from South Boston with a high IQ. 

Will works as a janitor at MIT. He catches the attention of a renowned mathematics professor, Professor Lambeau when he solves one of the many complicated math problems Lambeau leaves for his students to solve at the institution. 

After Will gets arrested for assaulting a police officer, Lambeau makes him a deal. Lambeau will get leniency for Will if he does two things. Will has to go for therapy with Sean McGuire, a man with a similar background, and study mathematics at an advanced level. Lambeau does this in hopes that Will Hunting will embrace the dream he has for him of becoming a renowned mathematician. 

Things become complicated when Sean and Will begin to focus on healing in their personal lives, hindering the pace of the dream Lambeau has outlined for Will.

The movie also focuses on Will Hunting’s developing a romantic relationship with Skylar, a British student from Harvard College. She brings out the best in Will.

Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote Good Will Hunting. Gus Van Sant directed it.

The cast includes Matt Damon as Will Hunting, Robin Williams as Sean McGuire, Stellan Skarsgård as Professor Lambeau, and Minnie Driver as Skylar. 

Good Will Hunting was released to great critical praise back in 1997. It was particularly praised for its screenplay, performances, and direction. It also won Best Screenplay at both The Golden Globes and The Academy Awards.

Great and well-acclaimed movies like Good Will Hunting include, but are not limited to, Dead Poet SocietyThe Shawshank Redemption, and A Beautiful Mind. All these movies sports many of the wonderful themes and subject matters dealt with within Good Will Hunting.

These films either follow troubled geniuses, tales of deep friendship or mentorships, romance, characters dealing with mental health, the troubled youth, and coming-of-age.

Table of Contents

1. Dead Poets Society

Dead Poets Society

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Dead Poet Society is a 1989 coming-of-age drama film written by Tom Schulman and directed by Peter Weir.

Dead Poet Society is set in 1959 at a conservative prep school. There, it follows an English teacher, John Keating, and a group of students who begins to feel inspired by Keating’s love of poetry and unorthodox teaching methods. His interactions with the group of students encourage them to express themselves openly.

Robin Williams was cast as the teacher John Keating.

Dead Poet Society grossed $239,500,000 at the worldwide box office. The movie also won The Academy Award for Best Screenplay.

Like Good Will Hunting, the young protagonists discover who they are in life with the help of an older and encouraging mentor played by Robin Williams.

2. The Shawshank Redemption

The Shawshank Redemption

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The Shawshank Redemption is a 1994 Drama written and directed by Frank Darabont. It is based upon the novella by Stephen King Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.

The Shawshank Redemption follows the friendship between Andy Dufresne, a man sentenced to prison on the false charge of murdering his wife and her lover, and Red, a man who has been in prison for years for murder. Together the two find solace and hope throughout the nineteen years they spent their lives in prison together. 

The film stars Tim Robbins as Andy and Morgan Freeman as Red.

It grossed $28,817,291 at the worldwide box office. The Shawshank Redemption received a nomination for Best Picture at The Academy Awards. 

Like Good Will Hunting, the film is an emotional drama that focuses on overcoming one’s obstacles through a strong friendship despite the circumstances seeming hopeless.

3. A Beautiful Mind

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A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 psychological drama written by Akiva Goldsman and directed by Ron Howard. It is based upon the book by Sylvia Nasar.

The movie follows John Nash, a brilliant mathematician that struggles with his mental health, whose life becomes a living nightmare after accepting secretive work in cryptography.

The film stars Russell Crowe as John Nash.

A Beautiful Mind grossed $316,791,257 at the worldwide box office. The film earned The Academy Award for Best Picture.

This movie follows a troubled mathematical genius, too, like Good Will Hunting.

4. Rain Man

Rain Man

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Rain Man is a 1988 drama film written by Ronald Bass and directed by Barry Levinson.

It follows a car salesman Charlie, who breaks Raymond, his older brother- an autistic-savant, out of the mental institution he lives in. Charlie does this in hopes that he will get some of the fortunes his estranged deceased father left his older brother, going to the institution for his brother’s return. Both take a life-changing road trip together in the process.

The movie stars Dustin Hoffman as Raymond and Tom Cruise as Charlie.

Rain Man grossed $354,825,435 at the worldwide box office. It also achieved The Academy Award for Best Picture.

Like Good Will Hunting, this movie features a troubled genius who finds help to cope with life in his younger brother.

5. Manchester By The Sea

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Manchester By The Sea is a 2016 Drama written and directed by Kenneth Lonergan.

It centers on Lee Chandler, a depressed janitor who lives in Boston who is forced to return to his hometown Manchester-by-the-Sea to take care of his nephew, who he has been left custody of after the sudden death of his brother. While there, Lee is forced to confront his troubled past.

The movie stars Casey Affleck as Lee Chandler.

The film grossed $78,988,148 at the worldwide box office. It also earned The Academy Award for Best Screenplay.

The protagonist is also a janitor from South Boston who has to work through his mental health issues to prosper in life, like in Good Will Hunting

6. Billy Elliot

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Billy Elliot is a 2000 coming-of-age drama written by Lee Hall and directed by Stephen Daldry. 

The movie is set in Northern England during the UK Miners’ Strike from 1984 to 1985. Itfollows Billy Elliot, who finds that he has a natural gift for ballet dancing, much to his old-fashioned father’s dismay, upon stumbling upon a ballet class on his way to his boxing class. 

The film stars Jamie Bell as Billy.

Billy Elliot grossed $109,283,018 at the worldwide box office. The movie achieved the BAFTAfor Best Film.

Like Good Will Hunting, this film follows a gifted individual whose circumstances prevent him from freely practicing his gift.

7. The Theory Of Everything

The Theory of Everything

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The Theory of Everything is a 2014 biographic drama with aspects of the romance genre, written by Anthony McCarten and directed by James Marsh.

The film follows the life of renowned real-life physicist Stephen Hawking. It sees him falling in love with Jane Wilde and beginning the study of time. He does all this, despite knowing that he has little life left after being diagnosed with motor neuron disease.

It stars Eddie Redmayne as Stephen Hawking.

The Theory of Everything grossed $123,726,688 at the worldwide box office. Eddie Redmayne earned a Golden Globe for his performance.

This film sees a genius who is limited by his circumstances try and make the best of his life ahead, as seen in Good Will Hunting.

8. The Social Network

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The Social Network is a drama film written by Aaron Sorkin and directed by David Fincher, with biographical aspects. It was released in 2010.

The movie follows computer genius Mark Zuckerberg on his journey to create Facebook with co-founder and friend Eduardo Saverin. Soon after it succeeds, he gets sued by Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, who claims he stole their idea, and Eduardo over legal troubles in their ownership. Not only is he facing a financial loss but a loss of a friend too.

It stars Jesse Eisenberg as Zuckerberg.

The Social Network grossed $224,920,375 at the worldwide box office. It achieved The Golden Globe for Best Film.

Like Good Will Hunting, the film follows a troubled young genius facing considerable problems in his personal life.

9. The Aviator

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The Aviator is a 2004 biographical drama movie written by John Logan and directed by Martin Scorsese.

It is set in the late 1920s to the mid-1940s. It follows renowned filmmaker and aviator Howard Hughes who struggles in his personal life despite having a successful professional life as of his ever-increasing battle with obsessive-compulsive disorder.

The film stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Howard Hughes.

The Aviator grossed $213,719,942 at the worldwide box office. It achieved Best Picture at The Golden Globes.

Like Good Will HuntingThe Aviator follows a gifted man hindered by his battle with mental health.

10. Silver Linings Playbook

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The Silver Linings Playbook is a 2012 romance movie written and directed by David O. Russel. 

The movie follows a man who struggles with bipolar disorder, Pat, who attempts to win back his ex-wife after being released from a psychiatric institution with the help of a troubled widow Tiffany. She does this in exchange for Pat assisting her with her dance competition. The two soon begin to find kinship amongst one another.

The movie stars Bradley Cooper as Pat and Jenifer Lawrence as Tiffany.

The Silver Linings Playbook grossed $236,412,453 at the worldwide box office. The film also earned The BAFTA for Best Adapted Screenplay.

This film is like Good Will Hunting’s romance subplot, as it sees a man struggling with his mental health finding understanding through the love of another person.

11. A Brilliant Young Mind

A Brilliant Young Mind

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A Brilliant Young Mind is a coming-of-age romantic drama written by James Graham and directed by Morgan Matthews.

The film follows Nathan Ellis, a British teenager who struggles with autism but is incredible with mathematics. While participating in the International Mathematics Olympiad, Nathan develops a friendship with Zhang Mei, a teen who is also a mathematics genius. The two soon develop romantic feelings for one another.

A Brilliant Young Mind stars Asa Butterfield as Nathan Ellis and Jo Yang as Zhang Mei.

The movie grossed $1,043,620 at the worldwide box office.

It features a protagonist that is a brilliant mathematician who struggles with his mental health. He finds the best in himself through a romantic relationship. Both elements are seen in Good Will Hunting

12. Whiplash

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Whiplash is a 2014 drama film directed and written by Damien Chazelle. 

The film sees a young, ambitious jazz drummer, Andrew, suffer abuse to rise to the top at the elite music conservatory where he studies at the hands of his teacher Fletcher who pushes him to be the best.

Whiplash stars Miles Teller as Andrew and J.K. Simmons as Fletcher.

Whiplash grossed $48,982,041 at the worldwide box office. J.K Simmons earned the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance.

Like Good Will Hunting, sees a genius protagonist life forged by the role of his mentor.

13. Searching For Bobby Fischer

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Searching for Bobby Fischer is a 1993 coming-of-age drama film written and directed by Steven Zaillian.

The movie follows Josh Waitzkin, a 7-year-old prodigy chess player who takes a knack for the game and gets noticed for his talent quickly after he beats his father in a game of chess. Josh’s talent brings forth complications as his father wants him to play chess professionally and hires a teacher who takes the joy out of the game for him and his childhood.

The film stars Max Pomeranc as Josh.

It grossed $7,266,383 at the worldwide box office. The film was Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

Like Good Will Hunting, the film follows a prodigy whose life gets dictated by mentors who want them to see them succeed in their gift.

14. Queen of Katwe

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Queen of Katwe is a biographical drama movie written by William Wheeler and directed by Mira Nair. It was released in 2016.

It follows Phiona, a 10-year-old girl from the slum of Katwe in Uganda, who discovers love and talent for chess under missionary Robert Katende. She soon becomes a pro which leads to success that could get her and her family out of the poverty-ridden slum.

The movie stars Madina Nalwanga as Phiona.

Queen of Katwe grossed $10,367,161 at the worldwide box office. It was Certified Fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.

The movie follows a prodigy that originates from a lower-class background, as seen in Good Will Hunting.

15. Amadeus

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Amadeus is a 1984 biographical drama movie written by Peter Shaffer and directed by Milos Forman.

The movie follows Antonio Salieri, who claims to have murdered Mozart resultant of the jealously he felt towards him for several reasons. One of the reasons is that Salieri recognized Mozart was a young musical prodigy but lacked discipline for his craft like he did and aspired to be better than Mozart, who he thought did not deserve to be talented.

Amadeus stars F. Murray Abraham as Antonio Salieri and Tom Hulce as Mozart.

The film grossed $52,066,791 at the worldwide box office. Amadeus achieved The Academy Award for Best Picture upon release.

Like Good Will Hunting, this film features a mentor jealous of a young prodigy’s talent who does not take his gift seriously.

16. The Imitation Game

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The Imitation Game is a biographical drama written by Graham Moore and directed by Morten Tyldum. It was released in 2014.

The Imitation Game is set during the Second World War and follows English mathematics genius, Alan Turing. He goes on a mission to crack the German Enigma code while dealing with his secretive and troubled personal life.

The film stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing.

The Imitation Game grossed $233,555,708 at the worldwide box office. It also earned The Academy Award for Best Adapted Screenplay.

Like Good Will Hunting, this movie follows a mathematical genius who finds struggles within his personal life.

17. Short Term 12

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Short Term 12 is a drama movie written and directed by Destin Daniel Cretton. It was released in 2013

It centers on a supervisor at a group home facility, Grace, who must face her traumatic past to help a troubled young girl Jayden deal with her current traumas in life.

Short Term 12 stars Brie Larson as Grace.

Short Term 12 grossed $1,645,164 at the worldwide box office.

Like Good Will Hunting, the protagonist of this film must deal with their troubled past to move forward with their good life ahead.

18. Shine

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Shine is a 1996 biographical drama movie written by Jan Sardi and directed by Scott Hicks.

It centers on David Helfgott, a piano prodigy whose pressure from fame and success leads to battles with his mental health in his personal life.

The movie stars Geoffrey Rush as David Helfgott.

Shine grossed $35,999,081 at the worldwide box office. Geoffrey Rush earned The Acadamy Award for Best Actor for his performance as David Helfgott.

This film centers on a genius who must deal with his troubled personal life, plagued by struggles with mental health, like Good Will Hunting.

19. Slumdog Millionaire

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Slumdog Millionaire is a romantic drama film written by Simon Beaufoy and directed by Danny Boyle. It was released in 2008.

The movie centers on a young man born and raised in a poverty-stricken India, Jamal Malik, who is falsely accused of cheating on the Indian version of Who Wants To Be A Millionaire after correctly answering all the questions thrown at him. Jamal reminisces about his troubled but eventful past to prove how he got to the answers to prove his innocence. In the process, it is revealed that he only participated to gain the attention of Latika, his childhood sweetheart, with who he is in love.

Slumdog Millionaire stars Dev Patel as Jamal Malik.

The film grossed $378,410,542 at the worldwide box office. Slumdog Millionaire also garnered The Academy Award for Best Film upon release.

Like Good Will Hunting, this film features a genius who wants to be with the woman he loves who brings out his greatest qualities. 

20. Mid90s

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Mid90s is a coming-of-age drama film directed and written by Jonah Hill. It was released in 2018

The film was set in 1993. It follows an introverted 13-year-old kid, Stevie, from a troubled home life who begins to find acceptance from a group of skaters he begins to befriend. He also finds a mentor in an aspiring older professional skater called Ray.

The movie stars Sunny Suljic as Stevie.

Mid90s grossed $9,187,575 at the worldwide box office.

Like Good Will Hunting, the young protagonist’s personal life is shaped by an older mentor.

21. A Man Called Ove

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A Man Called Ove is a 2015 comedy-drama written and directed by Hannes Holm. It is based upon the book by Fredrik Backman.

It centers on a grumpy older man, a widower called Ove, who lives in Sweden and wants nothing to do with people who form an unlikely friendship with his new younger neighbors after they run over his mailbox. 

The movie stars Rolf Lassgård as Ove.

A Man Called Ove grossed $30,692,889 at the worldwide box office. 

The film centers on an older man who becomes an unlikely mentor to his younger neighbors like Sean to Will in Good Will Hunting.

22. The Fisher King

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The Fisher King is a 1991 drama movie written by Richard LaGravenese and directed by Terry Gilliam. 

It follows a former Radio DJ, Jack Lucas, who begins helping Parry, a deranged homeless man in life after accidentally and inadvertently causing the death of Parry’s wife.

The movie stars Jeff Bridges as Jack Lucas and Robin Williams as Parry.

The Fisher King grossed $41,895,491 at the worldwide box office. Robin Williams earned The Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actor for his performance as Parry.

Like Good Will Hunting, the movie also stars Robin Williams and is about a man helping someone from an underprivileged life to have a better life.

23. Perks Of Being A Wallflower

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The Perks of Being a Wallflower is a coming-of-age drama film directed and written by Stephen Chbosky. It was released in 2012.

It follows an introverted high school freshman, Charlie, who gets taken in by two seniors, Sam and Patrick, who teaches him about the real world and help him process past trauma.

It stars Logan Lerman as Charlie.

The movie grossed $33,384,127 at the worldwide box office.

Like Will in Good Will Hunting, Charlie is assisted in life by older mentors through his past traumas.

24. The Edge Of Seventeen

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The Edge of Seventeen is a comedy-drama movie written and directed by Kelly Fremon Craig. It was released in 2016.

It centers on a socially awkward high school student, Nadine, whose life turns into a living nightmare when her best friend dates her older brother. She turns to her sarcastic but caring teacher Mr. Bruner for life advice.

The cast of the movie includes Hailee Steinfeld as Nadine and Woody Harrelson as Mr. Bruner.

It grossed $19,370,020 at the worldwide box office.

Like Good Will Hunting, Nadine finds a mentor in an older and wise teacher.

25. Patch Adams

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Patch Adams is a 1998 comedy-drama written by Steve Oedekerk and directed by Tom Shadyac.

It follows Hunter Adams, who decides to become a doctor who treats patients with humor after finding this method helpful to assist his roommate with his mental health issues in a mental hospital he stayed in for struggling with depression.

The movie stars Robin Williams as Hunter Adams.

It grossed $202,292,902 at the worldwide box office.

Like Good Will Hunting, Robin Williams plays a mentor figure helping those in need.

Sources:

Data Stream Diva: Top 10 Movies Like Good Will Hunting

Time Entertainment: Top 10 Troubled Genius Films

Reel Rundown: Movies Similar to Good Will Hunting

ScreenRant: Best Films Depicting Mental Illness

ScreenRant: Movies About Prodigies Like Gifted

The Cinemaholic: 12 Movies You Must Watch if You Love ‘Good Will Hunting’

The Hollywood Tribune: Top 6 Movies Like Good Will Hunting

Cinemablend: 11 Honest Movies About Mental Illness

Film Tagger: Movies Like Goodwill Hunting

Hollywood Reporter: 100 Best Films Ever Hollywood Favorites

Hollywood Reporter: Good Will Hunting Review

IMDB: Amadeus

IMDB: Amadeus Awards

IMDB: Rain Man

IMDB: Rain Man Awards

IMDB: Dead Poets Society

IMDB: Dead Poets Society Awards

IMDB: The Fisher King

IMDB: The Fisher King Awards

IMDB: Searching for Bobby Fischer

IMDB: The Shawshank Redemption

IMDB: The Shawshank Redemption Awards

IMDB: Shine

IMDB: Shine Awards

IMDB: Good Will Hunting

IMDB: Good Will Hunting Awards

IMDB: Patch Adams

IMDB: Patch Adams Awards

IMDB: Billy Elliot

IMDB: Billy Elliot Awards

IMDB: A Beautiful Mind

IMDB: A Beautiful Mind Awards

IMDB: The Aviator

IMDB: The Aviator Awards

IMDB: Slumdog Millionaire

IMDB: Slumdog Millionaire Awards

IMDB: Silver Linings Playbook

IMDB: Silver Linings Playbook Awards

IMDB: The Social Network

IMDB: The Social Network Awards

IMDB: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

IMDB: The Edge of Seventeen

IMDB: The Imitation Game

IMDB: The Imitation Game Awards

IMDB: Short Term 12

IMDB: Short Term 12 Awards

IMDB: Whiplash

IMDB: Whiplash Awards

IMDB: The Theory of Everything

IMDB: The Theory of Everything Awards

IMDB: A Brilliant Young Mind

IMDB: Manchester by the Sea

IMDB: Manchester by the Sea Awards

IMDB: A Man Called Ove

IMDB: A Man Called Ove Awards

IMDB: Queen of Katwe

IMDB: Mid90s

IMDB: Mid90s Awards

Roger Ebert: Good Will Hunting 1997

Rotten Tomatoes: A Brilliant Young Mind

Rotten Tomatoes: A Man Called Love

Rotten Tomatoes: Amadeus

Rotten Tomatoes: The Aviator

Rotten Tomatoes: Beautiful Mind

Rotten Tomatoes: Billy Elliot

Rotten Tomatoes: Dead Poets Society

Rotten Tomatoes: Fisher King

Rotten Tomatoes: Good Will Hunting

Rotten Tomatoes: Manchester by the Sea

Rotten Tomatoes: Mid90s

Rotten Tomatoes: Patch Adams

Rotten Tomatoes: Queen of Katwe

Rotten Tomatoes: Rain Man

Rotten Tomatoes: Searching Bobby Fischer

Rotten Tomatoes: The Shawshank Redemption

Rotten Tomatoes: Shine

Rotten Tomatoes: Short Term 12

Rotten Tomatoes: Silver Linings Playbook

Rotten Tomatoes: Slumdog Millionaire

Rotten Tomatoes: The Edge of Seventeen

Rotten Tomatoes: The Imitation Game

Rotten Tomatoes: The Perks of Being a Wallflower

Rotten Tomatoes: The Theory of Everything

Rotten Tomatoes: The Social Network

Rotten Tomatoes: Whiplash

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