Filamentous phages have unique physical properties, such as uniform particle lengths, that are not found in other model systems of rod-like colloidal particles. Consequently, suspensions of such phages provided powerful model systems that have advanced our understanding of soft matter physics in general and liquid crystals in particular. We described some of these advances. In particular we briefly summarize how suspensions of filamentous phages have provided valuable insight into the field of colloidal liquid crystals. We also describe recent experiments on filamentous phages that have elucidated a robust pathway for assembly of 2D membrane-like materials. Finally, we outline unique structural properties of filamentous phages that have so far remained largely unexplored yet have the potential to further advance soft matter physics and material science.