Entertainment The Best Biopics About Actors  

Ranker Film
2.2k votes 336 voters 15.1k views 30 items

List Rules Vote up the best true biographical movies about actors and actresses

The idea of making an actor biopic is kind of hilarious - you're actively inviting an actor to pretend to be the real version of another actor on the silver screen. Many people are fascinated with the lives of celebrities, however, so biopics are the best way to learn about all of the ins and outs of a specific celebrity's life.


What is the best actor biopic? Robert Downey Jr. stars as Charlie Chaplin in
Chaplin. Critics weren’t in love with it, but audiences found it compelling. On this list, you’ll also find James Franco playing another famous James: James Dean. My Week with Marilyn stars Michelle Williams as the blonde bombshell herself, and Jennifer Love Hewitt plays her famous brunette pop-cultural counterpart in The Audrey Hepburn Story. Other notable titles include Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story and The Life and Death of Peter Sellers.


Part of the fun of biographical movies about actors is judging how close the resemblance is between the real person and the person portraying them. Vote up the best actor biopics below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section.
list ordered by
1
137 26
Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Robert Downey Jr., Milla Jovovich, Diane Lane
Chaplin is a 1992 British-American biographical comedy-drama film about the life of British comedian Charlie Chaplin. It was produced and directed by Richard Attenborough and stars Robert ...more
2
55 5
What's Love Got to Do with It is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Kristen Gamble Monday added Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Khandi Alexander
What's Love Got to Do with It is a 1993 American biographical film directed by Brian Gibson, loosely based on the life of Tina Turner. It stars Angela Bassett as Tina Turner and Laurence ...more
3
51 5
Coal Miner's Daughter is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Kristen Gamble Monday added Tommy Lee Jones, Sissy Spacek, Beverly DAngelo
Coal Miner's Daughter is a 1980 biographical film which tells the story of country music legendary singer Loretta Lynn. It stars Sissy Spacek as Loretta, a role that earned her the Academy Award ...more
4
86 21
James Dean is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
James Franco, Michael Moriarty, Edward Herrmann
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial James Dean is a 2001 biographical television film based on the life of the American actor of the same name. James Franco plays James Dean under the direction of Mark Rydell, who chronicles ...more
5
89 23
Frances is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Kevin Costner, Jessica Lange, Anjelica Huston
Frances is a 1982 American biographical film starring Jessica Lange as actress Frances Farmer. Kim Stanley and Sam Shepard appeared in supporting roles. The film chronicles Farmer's life from ...more
6
27 2
My Dinner with Hervé is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Peter Dinklage, Jamie Dornan, Andy García
My Dinner with Hervé is a 2018 American television drama film directed by Sacha Gervasi. A look at the life of French actor Hervé Villechaize (Peter Dinklage), co-star of the hit ...more
7
90 27
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Lauren Holly, Robert Wagner, Jonathan Penner
Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story is a 1993 American biographical drama film written and directed by Rob Cohen, and starring Jason Scott Lee, Lauren Holly and Robert Wagner. The film was released in ...more
8
92 33
My Week with Marilyn is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Emma Watson, Michelle Williams, Judi Dench
My Week with Marilyn is a 2011 British drama film directed by Simon Curtis and written by Adrian Hodges. It stars Michelle Williams, Kenneth Branagh, Eddie Redmayne, Dominic Cooper, Julia ...more
9
64 22
The Life and Death of Peter Se... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Charlize Theron, Heidi Klum, John Lithgow
This film is a 2004 British/American film about the life of English comedy actor Peter Sellers, based on Roger Lewis's book of the same name. It was directed by Stephen Hopkins and starred ...more
10
60 20
Auto Focus is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Willem Dafoe, Maria Bello, Rita Wilson
Auto Focus is a 2002 American biographical film directed by Paul Schrader, starring Greg Kinnear and Willem Dafoe. The screenplay by Michael Gerbosi is based on Robert Graysmith's book The ...more
11
21 2
Blonde is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Kirstie Alley, Ann-Margret, Poppy Montgomery
Blonde is a 2001 TV drama film directed by Joyce Chopra.
12
50 17
The Buster Keaton Story is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Peter Lorre, Rhonda Fleming, Donald O'Connor
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial The Buster Keaton Story is a 1957 American black and white film starring Donald O'Connor as Buster Keaton. The film was described by the New York Times as "sublimely inaccurate" ...more
13
52 19
Gable and Lombard is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
James Brolin, Red Buttons, Jill Clayburgh
Gable and Lombard is a 1976 American biographical film directed by Sidney J. Furie. The screenplay by Barry Sandler is based on the romance and consequent marriage of screen stars Clark Gable ...more
14
49 18
Too Much, Too Soon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Errol Flynn, Dorothy Malone
Too Much, Too Soon is a 1958 biographical film made by Warner Bros.. It was directed by Art Napoleon and produced by Henry Blanke from a screenplay by Art Napoleon and Jo Napoleon, based on the ...more
15
47 17
I'll Cry Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Susan Hayward, Eddie Albert, Jo Van Fleet
I'll Cry Tomorrow is a biopic which tells the story of Lillian Roth, a Broadway star who rebels against the pressure of her domineering mother and reacts to the death of her fiancé by ...more
16
53 22
Man of a Thousand Faces is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
James Cagney, Jim Backus, Jane Greer
Man of a Thousand Faces is a film detailing the life of silent movie actor Lon Chaney, in which the title role is played by James Cagney. Directed by Joseph Pevney, the film's cast included ...more
17
58 26
The Audrey Hepburn Story is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Jennifer Love Hewitt, Emmy Rossum, Sarah Hyland
The Audrey Hepburn Story is a 2000 television film biopic of actress and humanitarian Audrey Hepburn. It stars Jennifer Love Hewitt, who also produced the film. Emmy Rossum appears during early ...more
18
23 3
My Wicked, Wicked Ways... The ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
artsyldyrae added Vanna Bonta
My Wicked, Wicked Ways... The Legend of Errol Flynn is a film directed by Don Taylor released on January 1985.
19
48 20
Harlow is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Angela Lansbury, Ginger Rogers, Leslie Nielsen
Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Harlow is a 1965 American biographical film directed by Gordon Douglas about the life of film star Jean Harlow. It stars Carroll Baker in the title role, and Raf Vallone, Red Buttons, Angela ...more
20
29 6
The Babe is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Kristen Gamble Monday added John Goodman, James Cromwell, Kelly McGillis
The Babe is a 1992 biographical drama film about the life of famed baseball player Babe Ruth, who is portrayed by John Goodman.
21
45 19
Prince of Players is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Richard Burton, Raymond Massey, John Derek
Prince of Players is a 1955 20th Century Fox biographical film about the 19th century American actor Edwin Booth. The film was directed and produced by Philip Dunne from a screenplay by Moss ...more
22
46 20
The Actress is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Spencer Tracy, Anthony Perkins, Jean Simmons
The Actress is an 1953 American comedy-drama film based on Ruth Gordon's autobiographical play Years Ago. Gordon herself wrote the screenplay. The film was directed by George Cukor and stars ...more
23
42 18
Sweetheart of the Gods is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Peter van Eyck, Robert Graf, Harry Meyen
Sweetheart of the Gods is a film directed by Gottfried Reinhardt released on Apr 12, 1960.
24
47 22
The Jayne Mansfield Story is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Loni Anderson, G. D. Spradlin
The Jayne Mansfield Story is a 1980 television film directed by Dick Lowry, starring Loni Anderson as the sex goddess, and Arnold Schwarzenegger as her body builder husband; based on the life of ...more
25
25 5
Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Stor... is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
artsyldyrae added Sherilyn Fenn, Katherine Helmond, Kevin McCarthy
Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story is a 1995 biographical TV film directed by Kevin Connor. The film stars Sherilyn Fenn, Katherine Helmond, Nigel Havers, Angus Macfadyen, William McNamara and Ray