Entertainment

The Very Best Biopics About Real People  

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List Rules Vote up the top biographical movies & films

List of the best biopics ever made, as ranked by film critics and movie fans. History is filled with remarkable individuals and stories that are worth telling over and over. People write books and create amazing art works depicting these incredible people and their lives, but no medium is more memorable than biographical films. This movie genre has been around since movies could be made, with Jeanne d’Arc in 1900. Some of the most memorable films of all times are biopics, as well as the most beloved and critically recognized performances. 

This list is the answer to the question, “What are the best biographical movies of all time?” Movies like Schindler’s List, Raging Bull, and Lawrence of Arabia are often put on lists of the best movies ever made. Without even knowing about the history behind the movies, they’re as enjoyable as any made up story. Newer films like The Social Network and Lincoln swept at award shows because of their mesmerizing performances and great directing. Of course, you'll find a range of options on the list below, from inspiring athlete stories to the best African American biopics

The films on this list range from 1928 to 2012, covering subjects like great leaders of wars to amazing musicians, and even LGBTQ+ biopics. The movies that made the list are among the best of all time in any genre.

list ordered by
1
The King's Speech is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Helena Bonham Carter, Colin Firth, Guy Pearce
The King's Speech is a 2010 British historical drama film directed by Tom Hooper and written by David Seidler. Colin Firth plays King George VI who, to cope with a stammer, sees Lionel Logue, an ...more

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2
Chaplin is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
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

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#248 of 493 The Funniest '90s Movies #56 of 239 The Best Movies Based on True Stories #22 of 135 The Best Movies About Movies

3
Stan & Ollie is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Steve Coogan, John C. Reilly, Nina Arianda
Stan & Ollie is a 2018 British biographical film directed by Jon S. Baird. Stan Laurel (Steve Coogan) and Oliver Hardy (John C. Reilly), the world's most famous comedy duo, attempt to ...more
4
The Mercy is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Colin Firth, Rachel Weisz, David Thewlis
The Mercy is a 2017 British biographical drama film directed by James Marsh. Amateur sailor Donald Crowhurst (Colin Firth) attempts to circumnavigate the globe alone as his family awaits his
5
Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas ...more

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#3 of 80 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books #8 of 383 The Best War Movies Everlisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

6
Goodfellas is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson, Joe Pesci
Goodfellas is a 1990 American crime film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is a film adaptation of the 1986 non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scorsese. ...more

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#1 of 80 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Booksfeaturing 15 Behind-The-Scenes Stories From The Making Of 'Goodfellas'listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

7
Bohemian Rhapsody is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Rami Malek, Ben Hardy, Gwilym Lee
Bohemian Rhapsody is a 2018 American-British biographical drama film directed by Bryan Singer. A chronicle of the years from the formation of Queen and lead singer Freddie Mercury (Rami Malek) ...more

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#296 of 371 The Best Musical Movies of All Timefeaturing Behind The Scenes Of The Movie 'Bohemian Rhapsody'listed on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

8
The Pianist is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Emilia Fox
The Pianist is a 2002 historical drama film co-produced and directed by Roman Polanski, scripted by Ronald Harwood, and starring Adrien Brody. It is based on the autobiographical book The ...more

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#81 of 383 The Best War Movies Ever #37 of 220 The Greatest World War II Movies of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

9
Walk the Line is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, Ginnifer Goodwin
Walk the Line is a 2005 American biographical drama film directed by James Mangold and based on the early life and career of country music artist Johnny Cash. The film stars Joaquin Phoenix, ...more

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#12 of 302 The Greatest Soundtracks of All Time #4 of 205 The Best Movies About Musiclisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

10
The Imitation Game is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
maeveahouston added Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Mark Strong
The Imitation Game is a 2014 historical thriller film directed by Morten Tyldum, with a screenplay by Graham Moore loosely based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges. It ...more

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#140 of 383 The Best War Movies Ever #251 of 582 The Greatest Film Scores of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

11
Rocketman is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Taron Egerton, Jamie Bell, Richard Madden
Rocketman is a 2019 British-American biographical musical film directed by Dexter Fletcher. The life of Elton John (Taron Egerton) is tracked from his years as a prodigy at the Royal Academy of ...more

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#175 of 371 The Best Musical Movies of All Time #164 of 223 Musical Movies With the Best Songsfeaturing All Of The Inaccuracies In 'Rocketman'

12
Catch Me If You Can is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Leonardo DiCaprio, Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner
Catch Me If You Can is a 2002 American biographical crime drama film based on the life of Frank Abagnale, who, before his 19th birthday, successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars by ...more

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13
Casino is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
MaximilianoAmaral added Sharon Stone, Robert De Niro, James Woods
Casino is a 1995 American drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Nicholas Pileggi, who also co-wrote the screenplay for the film with ...more

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#5 of 80 The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books #141 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimefeaturing 'Casino’ Is Surprisingly, Gruesomely Accurate

14
The Happy Prince is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
The Happy Prince Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Colin Morgan
The Happy Prince is a 2018 British biographical drama film directed by Rupert Everett. The untold story of the last days in the tragic times of Oscar Wilde (Rupert Everett), a person who ...more
15
Ray is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard
Ray is a biographical film focusing on 30 years in the life of rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles. The independently produced film was written, produced and directed by Taylor Hackford, and ...more

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#7 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #10 of 205 The Best Movies About Musiclisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

16
12 Years a Slave is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch
12 Years a Slave is a 2013 period drama film directed by Steve McQueen, based on the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup (Chiwetel Ejiofor), a free ...more

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#78 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #18 of 145 The Most Utterly Depressing Movies Ever Madelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

17
A Beautiful Mind is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe, Ron Howard
A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American biographical drama film based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in Economics. The film was directed by Ron Howard, from a screenplay written by Akiva ...more

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18
Braveheart is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
MaximilianoAmaral added Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Brendan Gleeson
Braveheart is a 1995 epic historical medieval war drama film directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Gibson portrays William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior who led the Scots in the First ...more

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#12 of 383 The Best War Movies Ever #59 of 336 'Old' Movies Every Young Person Needs To Watch In Their Lifetimelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

19
Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Daniel Day-Lewis, Ben Kingsley, Martin Sheen
Gandhi is a 1982 epic biographical film which dramatises the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the leader of India's non-violent, non-cooperative independence movement against the United ...more

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#186 of 575 The Greatest Movies Of The 1980s, Ranked #305 of 582 The Greatest Film Scores of All Timelisted on Every Oscar Winning Film Ever

20
American Gangster is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
MaximilianoAmaral added Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Idris Elba
American Gangster is a 2007 American biographical crime film directed and produced by Ridley Scott and written by Steven Zaillian. The film is based on the criminal career of Frank Lucas, a ...more

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#33 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #8 of 26 The Greatest African American Biopics #168 of 710 The Best Movies Roger Ebert Gave Four Stars

21
Elizabeth is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Cate Blanchett, Daniel Craig, Lily Allen
Elizabeth is a 1998 biographical film written by Michael Hirst, directed by Shekhar Kapur, and starring Cate Blanchett in the title role of Queen Elizabeth I of England, alongside Geoffrey Rush, ...more

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22
Ali is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith
Ali is a 2001 American biographical film directed by Michael Mann. The film tells the story of the boxer Muhammad Ali, played by Will Smith, from 1964-74 featuring his capture of the heavyweight ...more

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#19 of 719 The Best Black Movies Ever Made, Ranked #10 of 26 The Greatest African American Biopics #332 of 410 The Best Rainy Day Movies

23
Jersey Boys is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
maeveahouston added Christopher Walken, Francesca Eastwood, Steve Schirripa
Jersey Boys is a 2014 American biographical musical drama film directed by Clint Eastwood based on the Tony Award-winning musical of the same name. The film tells the story of the musical group ...more

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24
The Wolf of Wall Street ... is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
gschwayze added Leonardo DiCaprio, Matthew McConaughey, Margot Robbie
The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 American biographical black comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese. The screenplay by Terence Winter is adapted from the eponymous memoir by Jordan Belfort and ...more

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25
The Social Network is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones, Rooney Mara
The Social Network is a 2010 American drama film directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin. Adapted from Ben Mezrich's 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of ...more

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