Culture The Best Movies for Artists to Watch  

Ranker Film
408 votes 107 voters 3.4k views 28 items

List Rules Vote up the films every artist must see.

If there's one thing any artist will tell you, it's that they could always use some inspiration. Over the years, Hollywood and many independent filmmakers have put together hundreds of amazing movies about artists and their works. Aspiring artists have used such films for years as their own personal muses.

Movies artists should watch range in style, tone, and theme. Whether a film is an artist biopic, a documentary about a style of artwork, or is made in a visually inspiring fashion, it can be used to help get the creative juices flowing. Every artist has their own unique style they are accustomed to, so not every film on this list will appeal to everyone. But odds are, at least one of these movies for artists will inspire you. Whether you're following the life of fabulous painters like Frida Kahlo and Jackson Pollock or learning the story of Mark Hogancamp's fascinating sculpture project, browse this list to find the best film for you! 

list ordered by

1
22 3
Frida is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, Ashley Judd
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

2
18 2
Pollock is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Jennifer Connelly, Val Kilmer, Stephanie Seymour
Pollock is a 2000 biography drama film written by Steven Naifeh, Gregory White Smith, Barbara Turner and Susan Emshwiller and directed by Ed Harris.

3
26 7
Basquiat is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
David Bowie, Courtney Love, Willem Dafoe
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
18 4
Big Eyes is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston
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

5
21 7
Exit Through the Gift Shop is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
"In the late 1990s, a hybrid form of graffiti began appearing in cities around the world. Enlisting stickers, stencils, posters, and sculpture and spread by the burgeoning Internet, it ...more

6
11 1
The Agony and the Ecstasy is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison, Harry Andrews
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

7
21 8
Midnight in Paris is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hiddleston
Midnight in Paris is an American 2011 romantic comedy fantasy film written and directed by Woody Allen. Set in Paris, the film follows Gil Pender, a screenwriter, who is forced to confront the ...more

8
23 11
Loving Vincent is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Robert Gulaczyk, Douglas Booth, Jerome Flynn
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

9
23 11
Girl with a Pearl Earring is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, Cillian Murphy
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

10
14 3
At Eternity's Gate is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Oscar Isaac
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.

11
7 1
Factory Girl is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Sienna Miller, Jimmy Fallon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead
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

12
9 3
American Splendor is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Paul Giamatti, Josh Hutchersonm, Molly Shannon
American Splendor is a 2003 American biographical comedy-drama film about Harvey Pekar, the author of the American Splendor comic book series. The film is also in part an adaptation of the ...more

13
9 3
Lust for Life is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Marion Ross
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

14
8 3
New York Stories is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Kirsten Dunst, Woody Allen, Nick Nolte
New York Stories is a 1989 anthology film; it consists of three shorts with the central theme being New York City. The first is Life Lessons, directed by Martin Scorsese, written by Richard ...more

15
11 6
Art of Conflict is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Art of Conflict
Art of Conflict is a documentary film directed by Valeri Vaughn.

16
6 2
Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radi... is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Julian Schnabel, Fab Five Freddy, Larry Gagosian
"In his short career, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a phenomenon. He became notorious for his graffiti art under the moniker Samo in the late 1970s on the Lower East Side scene, sold his first ...more

17
6 2
Carrington is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Emma Thompson, Rufus Sewell, Alex Kingston
Carrington is a 1995 British biographical film written and directed by Christopher Hampton about the life of the English painter Dora Carrington, who was known simply as "Carrington". ...more

18
6 3
The Mystery of Picasso is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
The Mystery of Picasso is a 1956 French documentary film about the painter Pablo Picasso, directed by Henri-Georges Clouzot, and showing Picasso in the act of creating paintings for the camera. ...more

19
9 7
Crumb is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Robert Crumb
Crumb is a 1994 documentary film about the noted underground cartoonist Robert Crumb and his family. Directed by Terry Zwigoff and produced by Lynn O'Donnell, it won widespread acclaim. It was ...more

20
6 4
Art School Confidential is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, Anjelica Huston
Art School Confidential is a 2006 comedy-drama film directed by Terry Zwigoff, loosely based on the comic of the same name by Daniel Clowes. The film is Zwigoff's second collaboration with ...more

21
4 2
Marwencol is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Mark Hogancamp
"Marwencol is a fantasy world created by Mark Hogancamp. This website is dedicated to capturing the beauty of Mark's secret world. After being beaten into a brain-damaging coma by five men ...more

22
2 1
Woman Walks Ahead is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Jessica Chastain, Michael Greyeyes, Chaske Spencer
Woman Walks Ahead is a 2017 American biographical drama film directed by Susanna White. Catherine Weldon (Jessica Chastain), a portrait painter from 1890s Brooklyn, travels to Dakota to paint a ...more

23
5 5
I Shot Andy Warhol is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Justin Theroux, Jill Hennessy, Stephen Dorff
I Shot Andy Warhol is a 1996 independent film about the life of Valerie Solanas and her relationship with the artist Andy Warhol. The movie marked the debut of Canadian director Mary Harron. The ...more

24
4 4
Downtown 81 is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Debbie Harry, Vincent Gallo, Jean-Michel Basquiat
Downtown 81 is a film that was shot in 1980-1981. This film, directed by Edo Bertoglio, written and produced by Glenn O'Brien with post-production in 1999-2000 by Maripol, is a rare real-life ...more

25
1 1
An Unmarried Woman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Jill Clayburgh, Alan Bates, Kelly Bishop
An Unmarried Woman is a 1978 American comedy-drama film written and directed by Paul Mazursky, and starring Jill Clayburgh. The film was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture and ...more