Movie Stars with a Shockingly HIGH IQ

To emphasize the significance of the values mentioned below, I will remind you that an IQ score of 132 or higher (on Wechsler scales) is achieved by only about 2% of the population.

Przemysław Mudlaff

4 April 2024

According to a well-known proverb, one should not judge a book by its cover. Of course, this recommendation has a metaphorical dimension and primarily refers to people. Those particularly vulnerable to being perceived, judged, and consequently criticized based mainly on their external appearance are celebrities, including those shining in the cinematic sky. A significant portion of the audience believes that actors and actresses are not highly intelligent individuals. This is, of course, merely a stereotype, the origins of which I am not aware of. However, I know that the movie stars listed below with high IQ effectively break free from this cognitive pattern.

Although IQ is just a numerical indicator, established based on logical tests that do not include general knowledge, creativity, artistic abilities, etc., the numbers associated with the names of the highlighted actors and actresses can make a huge impression. To emphasize the significance of the values mentioned below, I will remind you that an IQ score of 132 or higher (on Wechsler scales) is achieved by only about 2% of the population. Individuals who obtain a result mentioned above on their tests may – after paying the membership fee – join the ranks of the Mensa society.

IQ 132–138


Nicole Kidman possesses undeniable charm, beauty, and acting talent, but those are not her only assets. The Australian film star is the daughter of a nursing instructor and a renowned biochemist. Therefore, it can be presumed that her high IQ was somewhat inherited from her parents. However, the actress still exercises her intelligence. She is a fan of the theory that suggests that mental sharpness should be maintained throughout one’s life. According to the Oscar winner from 2003, memory exercises also make her feel more beautiful. Nicole Kidman also proves the claim that left-handedness is a physical sign of high intelligence. Just look at the following statistic, which sounds a bit like a riddle. Ten percent of the entire population are left-handed individuals, and among them, there are as many as 20% of Mensa members. Do you get it?

Among the actresses who achieved the same IQ score as Nicole Kidman mentioned above are Kate Beckinsale and Jodie Foster. Beckinsale’s high intelligence was recognized as early as primary school. The star of the “Underworld” films received an award at the age of 6, stating that her reading skills were equivalent to an 11-year-old’s. High intelligence undoubtedly facilitated the actress’s language learning. Kate – aside from English – fluently speaks French, Russian, and German. Jodie Foster, on the other hand, is a graduate of the prestigious Yale University, where she studied French at the highest level. She also demonstrated immense intelligence even as a child by learning to read at the age of 3.


The first name on the list may surprise some. I’m talking about Arnold Schwarzenegger. Unlike Kate Beckinsale or Jodie Foster, the famous Terminator did not excel academically in Austrian schools he attended. At the age of 14, he focused on weightlifting, and this sport became an escape from his difficult relationship with his father. At the age of 21, the popular Arnie fulfilled one of his dreams and moved from Austria to the USA. After moving to the United States, Schwarzenegger dedicated 5 hours each day to learning English. Soon, he mastered it enough to transform from a successful bodybuilder into a Hollywood superstar. Thus, he proved that intelligence can coexist with a massively built physique.

Emma Watson is the youngest movie star in this compilation. This information is significant because according to scientific studies, since 1975, there has been a decline in IQ by 7 points per generation. Considering this, Emma Watson’s result is truly impressive. The actress is known for her meticulousness in everything she does. Although she spent the majority of her youth at Hogwarts – where grades were also awarded (admittedly, the grading system at the School of Witchcraft and Wizardry was probably only understood by Albus Dumbledore) – they did not entitle her to take the high school leaving exam. Watson, along with Radcliffe and Grint, had to receive daily tutoring. The diligent student passed the British GCSE exam with the highest possible grade, proving that no one else would fit the role of the Hogwarts bookworm Hermione Granger better than her.

IQ 140–156


Natalie Portman is the first Harvard University graduate to win an Oscar. I know that the above statement has as much relevance as the proverbial gingerbread and windmill, but it’s just a fact and a statistical curiosity in one. Moreover, the discussed actress was a co-author of two articles published in scientific journals, confirming her high IQ score (140). As she claims herself: if she had to choose between wisdom and movie star status, she would choose wisdom. Fortunately for us, fate has endowed her with both a bright mind and acting talent.

Now it’s time for the first comedian in this compilation. Steve Martin, whose IQ score is 142, is a member of Mensa, but it took him a year to join this elite organization. Perhaps it was because the actor, known for his role as Inspector Clouseau in “The Pink Panther” (2006), did not complete his studies in philosophy and thus never obtained a master’s degree, although apparently, he fell in love with education and even considered becoming a professor. Instead, Martin devoted himself to acting and screenwriting, becoming one of the most recognizable comedic artists in cinema history.


The presence of Meryl Streep on the list of movie stars with the highest IQ should not really surprise anyone. The actress can boast an IQ score of 143, but she has no intention of making a big deal out of it. Streep is a woman who has entrusted her entire life to acting. This perfectionist and one of the most respected film artists in the world first obtained a bachelor’s degree with honors from the drama department of Vassar College, and then earned a master’s degree from Yale University. Her education allowed her to practice her profession in the best possible way. She is undoubtedly one of the smartest and most intelligent actresses in the world.

Sharon Stone’s high IQ is well known to almost everyone. However, let’s clarify that it is 154. In the case of the star of “Basic Instinct,” her beauty saved her from a likely legal career. Once, while in college, Sharon participated in a local beauty contest, where one of the judges convinced her to move to New York because only there could she pursue her dream of appearing in films. Thank you, Mr. Judge!

Lisa Kudrow also boasts an IQ score of 154. The actress, known to the public primarily for her role as Phoebe Buffay in “Friends,” is allegedly completely different from her character in real life. The spontaneity and absent-mindedness of the character from the series are replaced in Kudrow’s real life by maximum prudence and analytical thinking.

IQ 160–180


It’s time for the absolute top of movie stars with high IQ in this compilation. They are Quentin Tarantino, Dolph Lundgren, Sylvester Stallone, Ashton Kutcher, and Matt Damon. All these gentlemen achieved an incredible result of 160 on the IQ test. However, each of them has a completely different approach to the issue of knowledge and education. Tarantino is a self-taught filmmaker who dropped out of high school, but intelligence allowed him to turn his passion for cinema into creating extraordinary films. Lundgren, on the other hand, can be called a knowledge-hungry person (he graduated from the Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm and the University of Sydney). Kutcher, mainly associated with the role of the goofy Kelso from the series “That ’70s Show,” reveals himself to us today as an intelligent creator of an organization fighting against child pornography and sexual exploitation. Stallone cleverly used his love for sports to become a star. Damon, on the other hand, became a famous actor thanks to his (and Ben Affleck’s) writing talent (the script for “Good Will Hunting”).

Mayim Bialik scored 163 on the IQ test and was probably the only actress in “The Big Bang Theory” who knew what she was doing when she stood over a microscope or other scientific research products. The actress holds a Ph.D. in neuroscience from the University of California.


Believe it or not, the unique Rowan Atkinson boasts an IQ score of 178. Of course, this wonderful actor is mainly associated with the role of the iconic, though clumsy, Mr. Bean, but this does not change the fact that Atkinson is also a graduate of Newcastle and Oxford universities. However, it is primarily his ability to play a role so different from what the artist presents himself as in everyday life that determines his intelligence and incredible sense of humor.

James Woods admitted on Inside the Actors Studio that his IQ is 184. This means that the actor, who played Max Renn in the movie “Videodrome,” is simply one of the smartest people in the world. His intellect has been evident since he was very young. While still in high school, he studied linear algebra at UCLA. At that time, he dreamed of becoming an optician, but damage to the arteries caused by a pane of glass falling on his shoulder thwarted his plans. He then went to MIT in Cambridge, where he studied political science. However, he did not complete his studies because he focused on theatrical acting instead.

Were you surprised by the IQ score of any movie star from the above list? Or do you believe that IQ level has no significance in acting? Be sure to let me know in the comments!

Przemysław Mudlaff

Przemysław Mudlaff

He appreciates the truth and sincerity of the intentions of its creators in cinema. He loves to be emotionally kicked and abused by the film, but also happy and amused. A hunter of film curiosities, references and connections. A fan of the works of PTA, von Trier, Kieślowski, Lantimos and Villeneuve. What he likes the most is talking about the cinema over a beer, and the beer has to be cold and thick, you know what.

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