People Talk About Why They Didn't Like Their Biopics

List Rules
Vote up all the people who have good points as to why they don't like their biopics.

Imagine a stranger trying to capture your entire life in a two-hour biopic with a cast and crew you've never met, and using fame and money as motivation rather than accuracy. How well do you think it would turn out? Exactly.

Although there are exceptions, most people - and the families and friends of said people - have gripes with the films that portray them. For some, the grievances are minor. For others, they are serious, with one movie called downright "repulsive for its untruthfulness."

The following biopic subjects (and the people who know them best) are diversely opinionated, but what they have in common is a dislike for some aspect of said films. Enjoy their complaints in their own words.


  • Ray Manzarek didn't seem to hate his portrayal in director and co-writer Oliver Stone's 1991 film The Doors. Rather, he hated Jim Morrison's:

    The film portrays Jim as a violent, drunken fool... That wasn’t Jim. When I walked out of the movie, I thought, "Geez, who was that jerk?"... Jim didn’t light Pam’s closet on fire. He didn’t throw a TV set at me. His student film didn’t have images from Triumph of the Will. That was totally made up.

    And Jim never quit film school. He graduated from UCLA... All you see is Jim as a drunken hedonist. The tragedy is that fame consumed him. But that wasn’t Jim’s message. He was intelligent. He was loving. He was a good man who believed in freedom and in questioning authority.

    Despite this, Manzarek thought Val Kilmer's acting was adequate. His main complaints were about the writing, directing, and philosophical underpinning:

    The film comes from the entirely wrong philosophical base. The Doors were about idealism and the '60s quest for freedom and brotherhood. But the film isn’t based on love. It’s based in madness and chaos. Oliver [Stone] has made Jim into an agent of destruction.

    1,522 votes
  • 2
    1,172 VOTES

    Ken Taylor, Former Canadian Ambassador To Iran, On ‘Argo’

    The "Canadian Caper" was the covert operation to rescue six American diplomats from Iran depicted in 2012's Argo. Although it was a joint Canadian government/CIA mission, Canucks did most of the work. Ken Taylor, who was Canadian ambassador to Iran during the rescue and is portrayed by Victor Garber in Argo, took umbrage with the way the film overplays the CIA's role and underplays Canada's:

    In reality, Canada was responsible for the six and the CIA was a junior partner. But I realize this is a movie and you have to keep the audience on the edge of their seats.

    Jimmy Carter, who was the US President during the rescue, seconded Taylor's impression:

    ...90% of the contributions to the ideas and the consummation of the plan was Canadian. And the movie gives almost full credit to the American CIA. And with that exception, the movie is very good... But Ben Affleck's character in the film was... only in Tehran a day and a half.

    In fact, Carter implied that Taylor should have been the film's protagonist:

    ...The main hero, in my opinion, was Ken Taylor, who was the Canadian ambassador who orchestrated the entire process.

    1,172 votes
  • Played by Nick Nolte and renamed Colonel Oliver, Romeo Dallaire, the former force commander of the United Nations Assistance Mission for Rwanda, is portrayed as one of the few heroes in Hotel Rwanda, a 2004 depiction of the Rwandan genocide. Being turned into a cinematic hero is usually enough for the real-life person to applaud their portrayal. But it wasn't that way for Dallaire, nor for his UNAMIR colleague Captain Amadou Deme, who said:

    I can testify that I personally was not able to watch that movie beyond a point as I found it so repulsive for its untruthfulness.

    Dallaire himself put it even more succinctly, calling the movie "not worth looking at."

    The chief issue seems to be that the film exalts the wrong people, notably Paul Rusesabagina, the manager of the titular hotel, who has long been embroiled in controversy.

    At a conference, Dallaire said, "I would like you to acknowledge the role played by those UNAMIR troops who stayed in Rwanda, including the troops from Congo-Brazzaville who were the ones who saved the people at the Hotel Mille Collines - not the hotel manager."

    Still, as with most biopic subjects, Dallaire found a silver lining: "...the only value of Hotel Rwanda is the fact that it keeps the Rwandan genocide alive."

    688 votes
  • The Blind Side is among the most polarizing movies nominated for a Best Picture Oscar. Through one lens, it's an inspiring story about what a person can accomplish with proper support. Through another, it's an arguably racist story about a Black man whose accomplishments are owed to a "White savior."

    The subject of the film, Michael Oher, didn't comment on the alleged racism, but he did hate how he was dumbed down:

    I felt like it portrayed me as dumb instead of as a kid who had never had consistent academic instruction and ended up thriving once he got it. Quinton Aaron did a great job acting the part, but I could not figure out why the director chose to show me as someone who had to be taught the game of football.

    Whether it was S.J. moving around ketchup bottles or Leigh Anne explaining to me what blocking is about, I watched those scenes thinking, "No, that's not me at all! I've been studying - really studying - the game since I was a kid!" That was my main hang-up with the film.

    With that said, Oher "liked the movie as a movie" and ultimately appreciated the film's success and message:

    I'm glad the movie was a big enough hit that it could reach some kids who are in the same position I used to be in when I was in foster care. If my story in The Blind Side can help inspire them to find a way out of the ghetto, then it's all worth it to me.

    However, as with all polarizing topics, his opinion on the film fluctuates. He has credited The Blind Side for hurting his football career, which ended unceremoniously in 2016.

    1,015 votes
  • It wasn't easy for Rosanne Cash to watch Walk the Line, considering that it showcases the three worst events of her childhood:

    My parent’s divorce, my father’s drug addiction, and something else bad that I can’t remember now.

    What made the experience even worse was that her father (Johnny Cash), mother (Vivian Liberto Cash), and stepmother (June Carter Cash) had all recently passed. On how the three of them are portrayed in the film, Cash said they "were not recognizable... as [her] parents in any way" but added that "the scenes were recognizable, and the storyline, so the whole thing was fraught with sadness."

    When asked if she wished the film had never been made, Cash replied:

    A very hard question. If I say yes, then I sound like I'm bitter. If I say no, it's not entirely honest. My dad and June wanted it to happen, but it was torture for my mother. The idea that her worst f*cking nightmare - she's a strict Catholic girl who had to get divorced - and now the film version is out there... it was intolerable to her. I thought it was very interesting and ironic that she died a few months before it came out.

    812 votes
  • Since Patch Adams premiered in 1998, Dr. Hunter Doherty "Patch" Adams has been trying to convince the world he's not a clown. Yes, he sometimes dresses that way, and he runs an organization that sends care clowns around the world, but he's also a physician and activist doing serious, important work.

    The real clown is the movie, which paints Adams as simply a "funny doctor" and couldn't even leverage that inaccuracy into artistry. Patch Adams is reviled by critics, but no one reviles it more than Adams:

    After the movie, there wasn't a single positive article about our work or me... There were dumb, stupid, meaningless things... it made my children cry. They actually thought that they didn't know the person they were reading about... I knew the movie would do this...

    Imagine how shallow [being a funny doctor] is relative to who I am. I just got back from taking 17 clowns to Cuba, which was hit by the worst hurricane in their history. The month before that, we took 30 clowns from seven countries, ages 16 to 65, to Russia for the 17th year in a row.

    Furthermore, Adams resents the people involved in the film for making so much and donating nothing to his charity. Although Robin Williams was on his resentment list, Adams wrote a glowing eulogy for the actor.

    736 votes