Statistics in Movies

Dear Friends,

We are planning to organize a statistics workshop for high school students. In this workshop, we need to screen a movie which uses statistics and also a funny and entertaining movie. If you know any such movie which attracts audience towards statistics, please let me know.

Thank you!


No cake for spunky
I can't think of any better examples although the sabermetrics I have seen is more probability than what I think of as statistics (such as regression or ANOVA). Having read discussions of sabermetrics on baseball forums I am not really impressed by the methods used. For instance any type of multivariate analysis, where you consider how multiple variables influence another controlling for each predictor, seems totally absent from this.

Movies with science (not sci fi) or math are pretty rare.


Ambassador to the humans

Although the probability isn't as explicit.

Numb3rs isn't a movie but in many episodes statistics plays a big role.


Can't make spagetti
BEAUTIFUL MIND!!! (although, just as with 21, there isn't much going on in terms of explaining the probability aspect of things).

I guess we just have to face the fact that Statistics is not as fun to other people as it is to us... :(


TS Contributor
"Magic Town" (1947)

Comedy | Romance

An opinion pollster finds a town which is a perfect mirror of U.S. opinions.

Director: William A. Wellman

Stars: James Stewart, Jane Wyman, Kent Smith

"Rip Smith's opinion-poll business is a failure...until he discovers that the small town of Grandview is statistically identical to the entire country. He and his assistants go there to run polls cheaply and easily, in total secrecy (it would be fatal to let the townsfolk get self-conscious). And of course, civic crusader Mary Peterman must be kept from changing things too much. But romantic involvement with Mary complicates life for Rip; then suddenly everything changes... "


TS Contributor
"Class Action" (1991)

Drama thriller film

The story is about a lawsuit concerning injuries caused by a defective automobile.

Director: Michael Apted.

Stars: Gene Hackman, Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Laurence Fishburne.

"(...) The auto manufacturer in the film also utilizes a "bean-counting" approach to risk management, whereby the projections of actuaries for probable deaths and injured car-owners is weighed against the cost of re-tooling and re-manufacturing the car without the defect (exploding gas tanks) with the resulting decision to keep the car as-is to positively benefit short term profitability."


No cake for spunky
I was thinking of another example. Spock in the TOS constantly would say something like "The odds of that occuring are 2435.7 to 1" Kirk, never a great fan of analysis once remarked peevishly "Never tell me the odds, Spock."

Of ccourse how one could calculate odds in the given situations was always a bit dubious anyhow.


No cake for spunky
I was going to suggest that spock and kirk reflect a 25th century conflict between frequentist and baysians - but I was not sure that what spock was doing was baysian :p

So I guess the Vulcan Science Council is dominated by baysians. No wonder the emotional Romulans blew up the planet...