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The Best Biopics About Actors 

Ranker Film
Updated November 8, 2019 2.2k votes 358 voters 17.2k views 32 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.

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1
Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Robert Downey Jr., Milla Jovovich, Diane Lane

Released: 1992

Directed by: Richard 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 ...more

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2
James Dean is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
James Franco, Michael Moriarty, Edward Herrmann

Released: 2001

Directed by: Mark Rydell

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
3
Frances is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Kevin Costner, Jessica Lange, Anjelica Huston

Released: 1982

Directed by: Graeme Clifford

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

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4
Dragon: The Bruce Lee St... is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Lauren Holly, Robert Wagner, Jonathan Penner

Released: 1993

Directed by: Rob Cohen

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

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5
My Week with Marilyn is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Emma Watson, Michelle Williams, Judi Dench

Released: 2011

Directed by: Simon 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 ...more

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6
What's Love Got to Do wi... is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Kristen Gamble Monday added Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Khandi Alexander

Released: 1993

Directed by: Brian 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 ...more

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7
Coal Miner's Daughter is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Kristen Gamble Monday added Tommy Lee Jones, Sissy Spacek, Beverly DAngelo

Released: 1980

Directed by: Michael 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 ...more

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8
The Life and Death of Pe... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Charlize Theron, Heidi Klum, John Lithgow

Released: 2004

Directed by: Stephen 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 ...more

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9
Auto Focus is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Willem Dafoe, Maria Bello, Rita Wilson

Released: 2002

Directed by: Paul Schrader, Larry Karaszewski

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
10
The Audrey Hepburn Story... is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Jennifer Love Hewitt, Emmy Rossum, Sarah Hyland

Released: 2000

Directed by: Steve 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
11
Gable and Lombard is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
James Brolin, Red Buttons, Jill Clayburgh

Released: 1976

Directed by: Sidney J. Furie

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

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12
The Buster Keaton Story ... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Peter Lorre, Rhonda Fleming, Donald O'Connor

Released: 1957

Directed by: Sidney Sheldon

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
Man of a Thousand Faces ... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
James Cagney, Jim Backus, Jane Greer

Released: 1957

Directed by: Joseph 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 ...more
14
Too Much, Too Soon is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Errol Flynn, Dorothy Malone

Released: 1958

Directed by: Art 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
15
I'll Cry Tomorrow is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Susan Hayward, Eddie Albert, Jo Van Fleet

Released: 1955

Directed by: Daniel 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 ...more
16
Judy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Renée Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock

Released: 2019

Directed by: Rupert Goold

Judy is a 2019 British biographical drama film directed by Rupert Goold, it is an adaptation of the Olivier and Tony-nominated West End and Broadway play End of the Rainbow by Peter Quilter. ...more
17
Harlow is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Angela Lansbury, Ginger Rogers, Leslie Nielsen

Released: 1965

Directed by: Gordon Douglas

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
18
Burton and Taylor is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Helena Bonham Carter, Dominic West, William Hope

Released: 2013

Directed by: Richard Laxton

Burton and Taylor is a 2014 drama film written by William Ivory and directed by Richard Laxton.
19
Mommie Dearest is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Faye Dunaway, Diana Scarwid, Steve Forrest

Released: 1981

Directed by: Frank 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 ...more

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20
The Jayne Mansfield Stor... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Arnold Schwarzenegger, Loni Anderson, G. D. Spradlin

Released: 1980

Directed by: Dick 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
21
Honey Boy is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Noah Jupe, Shia LaBeouf, Lucas Hedges

Released: 2019

Directed by: Alma Har'el

Honey Boy is a 2019 American drama film directed by Alma Har'el, based on Shia LaBeouf's childhood and relationship with his father.
22
The Actress is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Spencer Tracy, Anthony Perkins, Jean Simmons

Released: 1953

Directed by: George 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 ...more
23
Prince of Players is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Richard Burton, Raymond Massey, John Derek

Released: 1955

Directed by: Philip 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 ...more
24
Sweetheart of the Gods ... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Peter van Eyck, Robert Graf, Harry Meyen

Released: 1960

Directed by: Gottfried Reinhardt

Sweetheart of the Gods is a film directed by Gottfried Reinhardt released on Apr 12, 1960.
25
The George Raft Story is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Biopics About Actors
Jayne Mansfield, Julie London, Ray Danton

Released: 1961

Directed by: Joseph 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 ...more