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The Best Movies About Real Artists 

Ranker Film
Updated June 14, 2019 850 votes 251 voters 10.7k views 25 items

List Rules Vote up the best biographical movies about painters, sculptors, and other types of visual artists.

On this list of the best artist biopics, you’ll find movies detailing the lives of painters, sculptors, visual artists, and a whole host of others spanning the centuries from the Renaissance to the present. Artists live such rich lives, full of volatile emotion and undeniable talent, making them perfect subjects for biographical films.


One of the best artist biopics of all time is
Frida, starring Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo and Alfred Molina as her husband, the artist Diego Rivera. Hayek was nominated for an Academy Award for her performance, and she set the bar high for artist biopics. Also on this list, you will find the exceptional The Agony and the Ecstasy, starring the one and only Charlton Heston as Michelangelo during his painting of the Sistine Chapel.

Other essential artist biopics on the list include Basquiat, Pollock, and Vincent and Theo, a film about the mercurial Vincent Van Gogh and his loyal but volatile brother Theo. Vote up the best artist biopics below, and be sure to let us know what you think in the comment section. 

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list ordered by
1
Frida is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, Ashley Judd

Released: 2002

Directed by: Julie Taymor

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Frida is a 2002 Miramax/Ventanarosa biopic which depicts the professional and private life of the surrealist Mexican painter Frida Kahlo. It stars Salma Hayek in her Academy Award-nominated ...more

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2
Big Eyes is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston

Released: 2014

Directed by: Tim Burton

Big Eyes is a 2014 American biographical drama film directed by Tim Burton. Famous for drawing portraits and paintings with big eyes, American artist Margaret Keane (Amy Adams) fights a legal ...more
3
Basquiat is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Jeffrey Wright, David Bowie, Courtney Love

Released: 1996

Directed by: Julian Schnabel

Basquiat is a 1996 biopic/drama film directed by Julian Schnabel based on the life of American postmodernist/neo expressionist artist Jean-Michel Basquiat. Basquiat, born in Brooklyn, used his ...more
4
Pollock is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Jennifer Connelly, Val Kilmer, Stephanie Seymour

Released: 2000

Directed by: Ed Harris

Pollock is a 2000 biography drama film written by Steven Naifeh, Gregory White Smith, Barbara Turner and Susan Emshwiller and directed by Ed Harris.

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5
Girl with a Pearl Earrin... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, Cillian Murphy

Released: 2003

Directed by: Peter Webber

Girl with a Pearl Earring is a 2003 drama film directed by Peter Webber. The screenplay was adapted by screenwriter Olivia Hetreed, based on the novel of the same name by Tracy Chevalier. ...more

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6
Ranker Video
Robert Gulaczyk, Douglas Booth, Jerome Flynn

Released: 2017

Directed by: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman

Loving Vincent is a 2017 animated biographical drama film directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh Welchman. In a story depicted in oil painted animation, a young man comes to the last hometown of ...more

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7
At Eternity's Gate is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Oscar Isaac

Released: 2018

Directed by: Julian Schnabel

At Eternity's Gate is a 2018 American drama film directed by Julian Schnabel. Vincent van Gogh (Willem Dafoe) spends his final days in Arles.
8
Lust for Life is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Marion Ross

Released: 1956

Directed by: Vincente Minnelli, George Cukor

Lust for Life is a MGM biographical film about the life of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, based on the 1934 novel by Irving Stone and adapted by Norman Corwin. It was directed by Vincente ...more
9
The Agony and the Ecstas... is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison, Harry Andrews

Released: 1965

Directed by: Carol Reed

The Agony and the Ecstasy is a 1965 film directed by Carol Reed, starring Charlton Heston as Michelangelo and Rex Harrison as Pope Julius II. The film was partly based on Irving Stone's ...more
10
Mr. Turner is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Mr. Turner Timothy Spall, Ruth Sheen, Lesley Manville

Released: 2014

Directed by: Mike Leigh

Mr. Turner is a 2014 British, French and German biographical drama film, written and directed by Mike Leigh, and starring Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Paul Jesson, Marion Bailey, Lesley ...more
11
Vincent & Theo is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Tim Roth, Paul Rhys, Adrian Brine

Released: 1990

Directed by: Robert Altman

Vincent & Theo is a 1990 biographical drama film directed by Robert Altman, starring Tim Roth and Paul Rhys. The movie is an exploration of the relationship between Vincent van Gogh and his ...more
12
Surviving Picasso is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Julianne Moore, Anthony Hopkins, Natascha McElhone

Released: 1996

Directed by: James Ivory

Surviving Picasso is a 1996 Merchant Ivory film starring Anthony Hopkins as the famous painter Pablo Picasso. It was directed by James Ivory and produced by Ismail Merchant and David L. Wolper. ...more
13
Modigliani is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Andy Garcia, Eva Herzigová, Peter Capaldi

Released: 2004

Directed by: Mick Davis

Modigliani is a 2004 American-French-German-Italian drama biographical film written and directed by Mick Davis and starring Andy García, Elsa Zylberstein, Omid Djalili, Hippolyte ...more
14
Goya's Ghosts is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem, Randy Quaid

Released: 2006

Directed by: Miloš Forman

Goya's Ghosts is a 2006 Spanish-American film, directed by Miloš Forman, and written by him and Jean-Claude Carrière. The film stars Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem and Stellan ...more
15
Andrei Rublev is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Yuri Nikulin, Anatoly Solonitsyn, Rolan Bykov

Released: 1966

Directed by: Andrei Tarkovsky

Andrei Rublev, also known as The Passion According to Andrei, is a 1966 Russian film directed by Andrei Tarkovsky from a screenplay written by him and Andrei Konchalovsky. The film is loosely ...more

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16
Factory Girl is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Factory Girl Sienna Miller, Jimmy Fallon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Released: 2006

Directed by: George Hickenlooper

Factory Girl is a 2006 American biographical film based on the life of 1960s underground film star, socialite, and Warhol Superstar Edie Sedgwick. The film premiered in Los Angeles on December ...more
17
Van Gogh is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Jacques Dutronc, Elsa Zylberstein, Bernard Le Coo

Released: 1991

Directed by: Maurice Pialat

Van Gogh is a 1991 French film written and directed by Maurice Pialat. It stars Jacques Dutronc in the role of Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh, for which he won the 1992 César Award for ...more
18
Edvard Munch is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Susan Troldmyr, Hjordis Ulriksen, Geir Westby

Released: 1974

Directed by: Peter Watkins

Watch for Free with Amazon Prime Free Trial Edvard Munch is a 1974 biographical film about the Norwegian Expressionist painter Edvard Munch, written and directed by Peter Watkins. It was originally created as a three-part miniseries ...more
19
Georgia O'Keeffe is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Jeremy Irons, Joan Allen, Ed Begley

Released: 2009

Directed by: Bob Balaban

Georgia O'Keeffe is a 2009 American television biographical film, produced by City Entertainment in association with Sony Television, about noted American painter Georgia O'Keeffe and her ...more
20
Séraphine is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Yolande Moreau, Ulrich Tukur, Serge Larivière

Released: 2008

Directed by: Martin Provost

Seraphine is a 2008 film directed by Martin Provost.
21
Klimt is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
John Malkovich, Saffron Burrows, Veronica Ferres

Released: 2006

Directed by: Raúl Ruiz

Klimt is a 2006 Austrian art-house biographical film about the life of the Austrian Symbolist painter Gustav Klimt. It was written and directed by Raoul Ruiz, with an English screenplay ...more
22
Painted Fire is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Son Ye-jin, Choi Min-sik, Ahn Sung-ki

Released: 2002

Directed by: Im Kwon-taek

Chi-hwa-seon or Chwi-hwa-seon, is a 2002 South Korean drama film directed by Im Kwon-taek about Jang Seung-up, a nineteenth-century Korean painter who changed the direction of Korean art.
23
Lautrec is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Lautrec Elsa Zylberstein, Claude Rich, Anémone

Released: 1998

Directed by: Roger Planchon

Lautrec is a 1998 comedy, drama, biographical film written and directed by Roger Planchon.
24
Never Look Away is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Never Look Away Tom Schilling, Sebastian Koch, Paula Beer

Released: 2018

Directed by: Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck

Never Look Away is a 2018 German drama film directed by Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, inspired by the life of Gerhard Richter. In post-war East Germany, an art student (Tom Schilling) falls ...more
25
Oviri is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies About Real Artists
Oviri Donald Sutherland, Max von Sydow, Sofie Gråbøl

Released: 1986

Directed by: Henning Carlsen

Oviri is a film directed by Henning Carlsen released on September 5, 1986.