Film The Very Best Biopics About Real People  

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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
102 42
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

2
112 71
Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 2 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

3
122 79
Bohemian Rhapsody is listed (or ranked) 3 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

4
32 10
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
97 66
Walk the Line is listed (or ranked) 5 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

6
89 64
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

7
73 60
Ray is listed (or ranked) 7 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

8
68 57
Raging Bull is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Martin Scorsese Raging Bull is a 1980 American biographical black-and-white sports drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, produced by Robert Chartoff and Irwin Winkler and adapted by Paul Schrader and Mardik ...more

9
72 62
The Wolf of Wall Street is listed (or ranked) 9 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

10
67 59
A Beautiful Mind is listed (or ranked) 10 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

11
48 41
Patton is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Paul Frees Patton is a 1970 American epic biographical film about U.S. General George S. Patton during WWII. It stars George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Michael Bates and Karl Michael Vogler. It was directed by ...more

12
32 25
JFK is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Ferry73 added Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Kevin Bacon JFK is a 1991 American historical legal-conspiracy thriller film directed by Oliver Stone. It examines the events leading to the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and subsequent ...more

13
54 48
The Elephant Man is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft The Elephant Man is a 1980 American-British biographical film about Joseph Merrick, a severely deformed man in 19th century London. The film was directed by David Lynch and stars John Hurt, ...more

14
62 57
Gandhi is listed (or ranked) 14 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

15
34 28
Straight Outta Compton is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
O'Shea Jackson Jr., Corey Hawkins, Jason Mitchell Straight Outta Compton is a 2015 American biographical film directed by F. Gary Gray. The group NWA emerges from the mean streets of Compton in Los Angeles, California, in the mid-1980s and ...more

16
50 45
Catch Me If You Can is listed (or ranked) 16 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

17
29 23
Braveheart is listed (or ranked) 17 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

18
58 54
The Aviator is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Kate Beckinsale, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwen Stefani The Aviator is a 2004 American biographical drama film directed by Martin Scorsese, written by John Logan and produced by Michael Mann, Sandy Climan, Graham King, and Charles Evans, Jr.. It ...more

19
65 62
Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field Lincoln is a 2012 American epic historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as United States President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. The ...more

20
54 51
Amadeus is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Jeffrey Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Christine Ebersole Amadeus - Directors Cut is a 1984 biography drama film written by Peter Shaffer and directed by Milos Forman.

21
31 27
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

22
44 41
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

23
52 50
Green Book is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini Green Book is a 2018 comedy-drama film directed by Peter Farrelly. A bouncer (Viggo Mortensen) at a New York nightclub takes a job as a pianist's (Mahershala Ali) chauffeur during a tour in the ...more

24
50 48
Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela Malcolm X is a 1992 American biographical drama film about the African-American activist Malcolm X. Directed and co-written by Spike Lee. The film dramatizes key events in Malcolm X's life: his ...more

25
36 33
Mary Queen of Scots is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Very Best Biopics About Real People
Saoirse Ronan, Margot Robbie, David Tennant Mary Queen of Scots is a 2018 British-American historical drama film directed by Josie Rourke, based on John Guy's biography My Heart Is My Own: The Life of Mary Queen of Scots. After failing to ...more