Entertainment
366 voters

The Best Biopics About Actors

Updated November 8, 2019 3.8k votes 366 voters 18.2k views32 items

List RulesVote 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.

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  • 1
    James Franco, Michael Moriarty
    199
    43

    Released2001

    Directed byMark Rydell

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    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 Dean's...  more
  • 2
    Charlize Theron, Heidi Klum
    134
    16

    Released2004

    Directed byStephen Hopkins

    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 Geoffrey...  more
  • 3
    Kristen Gamble Monday addedAngela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne
    122
    11

    Released1993

    Directed byBrian Gibson

    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 Fishburne as...  more

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  • 4
    Peter Dinklage, Jamie Dornan
    66
    5

    Released2018

    Directed bySacha Gervasi

    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 '70s TV series...  more
  • 5
    Peter Lorre, Rhonda Fleming
    105
    35

    Released1957

    Directed bySidney Sheldon

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    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" regarding details of...  more
  • 6
    Jennifer Love Hewitt, Emmy Rossum
    128
    54

    Released2000

    Directed bySteve Robman

    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
  • 7
    Errol Flynn, Dorothy Malone
    104
    37

    Released1958

    Directed byArt Napoleon

    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
  • 8
    Susan Hayward, Eddie Albert
    99
    35

    Released1955

    Directed byDaniel Mann

    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 becoming an...  more
  • 9
    James Cagney, Jim Backus
    111
    45

    Released1957

    Directed byJoseph Pevney

    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 Dorothy...  more
  • 10
    Angela Lansbury, Ginger Rogers
    105
    42

    Released1965

    Directed byGordon Douglas

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    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
  • 11
    Kristen Gamble Monday addedJohn Goodman, James Cromwell
    68
    13

    Released1992

    Directed byArthur Hiller

    The Babe is a 1992 biographical drama film about the life of famed baseball player Babe Ruth, who is portrayed by John Goodman....  more
  • 12
    Arnold Schwarzenegger, Loni Anderson
    104
    45

    Released1980

    Directed byDick Lowry

    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
  • 13
    Spencer Tracy, Anthony Perkins
    97
    41

    Released1953

    Directed byGeorge Cukor

    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 Jean...  more
  • 14
    Richard Burton, Raymond Massey
    95
    40

    Released1955

    Directed byPhilip Dunne

    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 Hart,...  more
  • 15
    artsyldyrae addedSherilyn Fenn, Katherine Helmond
    58
    11

    Released1995

    Directed byKevin Connor

    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 Wise....  more
  • 16
    Peter van Eyck, Robert Graf
    88
    37

    Released1960

    Directed byGottfried Reinhardt

    Sweetheart of the Gods is a film directed by Gottfried Reinhardt released on Apr 12, 1960....  more
  • 17
    Robert Downey Jr., Milla Jovovich
    106
    54

    Released1992

    Directed byRichard Attenborough

    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 Downey,...  more
  • 18
    Jayne Mansfield, Julie London
    90
    41

    Released1961

    Directed byJoseph M. Newman

    The George Raft Story is a 1961 American biographical film of Hollywood film star George Raft. Ray Danton portrays Raft and the film was directed by Joseph M. Newman. The picture was retitled Spin of...  more
  • 19

    Released1985

    Directed byDon Taylor

    My Wicked, Wicked Ways... The Legend of Errol Flynn is a film directed by Don Taylor released on January 1985....  more
  • 20
    Helena Bonham Carter, Dominic West
    113
    63

    Released2013

    Directed byRichard Laxton

    Burton and Taylor is a 2014 drama film written by William Ivory and directed by Richard Laxton....  more
  • 21
    artsyldyrae addedWendie Malick, Dean Stockwell
    52
    11

    Released1994

    Madonna: Innocence Lost is the 1994 documentary film directed by Bradford May....  more
  • 22
    Kirstie Alley, Ann-Margret
    45
    6

    Released2001

    Directed byJoyce Chopra

    Blonde is a 2001 TV drama film directed by Joyce Chopra....  more
  • 23
    Emma Watson, Michelle Williams
    64
    26

    Released2011

    Directed bySimon Curtis

    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 Ormond,...  more
  • 24
    Faye Dunaway, Diana Scarwid
    149
    106

    Released1981

    Directed byFrank Perry

    Mommie Dearest is a 1981 American biographical drama film about Joan Crawford, starring Faye Dunaway. The film was directed by Frank Perry. The story was adapted for the screen by Robert Getchell,...  more

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  • 25
    Kristen Gamble Monday addedTommy Lee Jones, Sissy Spacek
    41
    11

    Released1980

    Directed byMichael Apted

    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 for...  more

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