Weird History

The Real People Who Inspired Biopics Vs. The Actors Who Played Them 

Jude Newsome
5.1k votes 545 voters 11.1k views 25 items

List Rules Vote up the actors who most resemble their movie namesakes.

Not everyone gets a movie named after them. And those that do – the few, proud eponymous biopic subjects – usually do because, for better and often worse, they lived a life less ordinary. Given the hyperbolic strokes with which many of these folks lived their livs, it's no wonder biopic actors vs real life counterparts are a subject of curiosity. Who hasn't watched a film about a real-life figure and feverishly googled the actors vs the real life characters? Only big ol' liars will say they didn't! 

But Hollywood doesn't always get biopic actors and their real-life counterparts right. Where did casting agents hit – and where did they miss – when it comes to casting biopics' title characters?

Sid and Nancy is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Real People Who Inspired Biopics Vs. The Actors Who Played Them
Photo:  Wikimedia Commons/The Samuel Goldwyn Company

Actors: Courtney Love, Gary Oldman, Kathy Burke, Xander Berkeley, David Hayman, + more

Released: 1986

Directed by: Alex Cox

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Malcolm X is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Real People Who Inspired Biopics Vs. The Actors Who Played Them
Photo:  Wikimedia Commons/Warner Bros.

Actors: Denzel Washington, Al Sharpton, Nelson Mandela, Angela Bassett, Christopher Plummer, + more

Released: 1992

Directed by: Spike Lee

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Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Real People Who Inspired Biopics Vs. The Actors Who Played Them
Photo:  Wikimedia Commons/Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures

Actors: Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, Tommy Lee Jones, James Spader, + more

Released: 2012

Directed by: Steven Spielberg

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Ray is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Real People Who Inspired Biopics Vs. The Actors Who Played Them
Photo:  Wikimedia Commons/Universal Pictures

Actors: Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard, Regina King, Warwick Davis, + more

Released: 2004

Directed by: Taylor Hackford

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