19. Sean Gullette as Maximillian Cohen in Pi (1998)
Notable Jewish Moment: After being kidnapped by a bunch of Chasidim who rap him in a prayer shawl, Max meets their leader, a rabbi, who tells him they share the same last name. For most young Jews, this is basically what the first day of Sunday School is like.
Classic Quote: "It's fair to say I'm stepping out on a limb, but I am on the edge and that's where it happens."
Max Cohen's just another nice, reclusive Jewish guy who's pretty good at math. So good, in fact, that he begins to suspect he's being followed. And he is. By a bunch of Wall Street suits and a group of Chasidic Jews, both of whom want what's inside Max's head: a 216-digit number that's either the beginning of the coming of the messiah, or a really great way to make stock picks, depending on who you ask.
Max's genius is complex: It's awe-inspiring and frightening, dead-on and skittish, a result of spiritualism or simple brainpower. Whatever Max really is, the protagonist of Darren Aronofsky's first feature—played by an actor who hasn't done much since—is enough to make anyone paranoid, let alone anyone who's Jewish and halfway good at math. He's a complex, driving force that the movie couldn't operate without.