Watchworthy

The Best Movies for Artists to Watch 

Ranker Film
Updated March 6, 2020 552 votes 153 voters 8k views 31 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! 

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list ordered by
1
Basquiat is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
David Bowie, Courtney Love, Willem Dafoe

Released: 1996

Directed by: Julian Schnabel

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
2
Frida is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Salma Hayek, Edward Norton, Ashley Judd

Released: 2002

Directed by: Julie Taymor

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

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3
Loving Vincent is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Robert Gulaczyk, Douglas Booth, Jerome Flynn

Released: 2017

Directed by: Dorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman

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

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4
Midnight in Paris is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard, Tom Hiddleston

Released: 2011

Directed by: Woody Allen

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

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5
Girl with a Pearl Earrin... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth, Cillian Murphy

Released: 2003

Directed by: Peter Webber

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

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6
Big Eyes is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston

Released: 2014

Directed by: Tim Burton

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
7
Exit Through the Gift Sh... is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch

Released: 2010

Directed by: Banksy

"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
8
Pollock is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Jennifer Connelly, Val Kilmer, Stephanie Seymour

Released: 2000

Directed by: Ed Harris

Pollock is a 2000 biography drama film written by Steven Naifeh, Gregory White Smith, Barbara Turner and Susan Emshwiller and directed by Ed Harris.

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9
At Eternity's Gate is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Oscar Isaac

Released: 2018

Directed by: Julian Schnabel

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.
10
Factory Girl is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Factory Girl Sienna Miller, Jimmy Fallon, Mary Elizabeth Winstead

Released: 2006

Directed by: George Hickenlooper

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

Released: 1965

Directed by: Carol Reed

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
12
New York Stories is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Kirsten Dunst, Woody Allen, Nick Nolte

Released: 1989

Directed by: Francis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese

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

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13
Jean-Michel Basquiat: Th... is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Julian Schnabel, Fab Five Freddy, Larry Gagosian

Released: 2010

Directed by: Tamra Davis

"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
14
Lust for Life is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn, Marion Ross

Released: 1956

Directed by: Vincente Minnelli, George Cukor

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
15
Seven Servants is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
daryosho added Anthony Quinn, Audra McDonald, David Warner

Released: 1996

Directed by: Daryush Shokof

Seven Servants is a USA — Germany co-production 1996 German drama — comedy film directed by Daryush Shokof. The movie is about a man named Archie, portrayed by Anthony Quinn, who wishes to unite ...more
16
Art of Conflict is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Art of Conflict

Released: 2012

Directed by: Valeri Vaughn

Art of Conflict is a documentary film directed by Valeri Vaughn.
17
Crumb is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Robert Crumb

Released: 1994

Directed by: Terry Zwigoff

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
18
The Burnt Orange Heresy ... is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Elizabeth Debicki, Claes Bang, Donald Sutherland

Released: 2020

Directed by: Giuseppe Capotondi

The Burnt Orange Heresy is a 2020 Italian-American drama directed by Giuseppe Capotondi, based on the book of the same name by Charles Willeford. An ambitious art dealer (Claes Bang) is hired to ...more
19
American Splendor is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Paul Giamatti, Josh Hutchersonm, Molly Shannon

Released: 2003

Directed by: Robert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman

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

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20
Art School Confidential ... is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
John Malkovich, Steve Buscemi, Anjelica Huston

Released: 2006

Directed by: Terry Zwigoff

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

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21
The Proposal is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch

Released: 2019

Directed by: Jill Magid

The Proposal is a 2018 American documentary film directed by Jill Magid. The Proposal is the story of an artist that fights to make the archives of Mexico's most famous architect available to ...more
22
Carrington is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Emma Thompson, Rufus Sewell, Alex Kingston

Released: 1995

Directed by: Christopher Hampton

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

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23
The Mystery of Picasso ... is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch

Released: 1956

Directed by: Henri-Georges Clouzot

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
24
Marwencol is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Mark Hogancamp

Released: 2010

Directed by: Jeff Malmberg

"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
25
An Unmarried Woman is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies for Artists to Watch
Jill Clayburgh, Alan Bates, Kelly Bishop

Released: 1978

Directed by: Paul Mazursky

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

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