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Mathematics Goes to the Movies

by Burkard Polster and Marty Ross


Presumed Innocent (1990)

In this movie Barbara Sabich (Bonnie Bedelia) is a mathematician who is trying to finish her PhD, while at the same time being a mother and wife of the prosecutor Rusty Sabich (Harrison Ford). When Rusty falls for Carolyn, one of his colleagues, Barbara kills Carolyn.

BARBARA: I was at the university. I tried to get a little extra time on the mainframe.
RUSTY: Get anything done?
BARBARA: Who am I kidding. Still working on my dissertation at my age. It’s ridiculous.
RUSTY: Come on Kate, you were the best mathematician in your class.
BARBARA: Second best just made full professor at MIT. All I’ve made are beds.

RUSTY: How was your day.
BARBARA: Well, I figured out today that it’s ten years this week that I’m working on this dissertation. I thought we’d celebrate. Going to take us to dinner?
RUSTY: All right.
Son: Why don’t you just give up on that dissertation? It makes you miserable.
RUSTY: Your mom’s not a giver-upper.
BARBARA: Maybe that’s BARBARA problem.
Son: I sure wouldn’t do math if I didn’t have to.
RUSTY: I’m afraid you got my genes in the math department. If it wasn’t for your mom I’d still be taking algebra.
BARBARA: I had to be good at something.
RUSTY: You were good at everything.
BARBARA: School.Towards the end of the movie Barbara has a job interview to teach at some college.