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The Best Movies for Artists to Watch

Updated March 6, 2020 794 votes 162 voters 8.6k views31 items

List RulesVote 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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  • 1
    Girl with a Pearl Earring
    71
    15

    Girl with a Pearl Earring

    Scarlett Johansson, Colin Firth

    Released2003

    Directed byPeter Webber

    Girl with a Pearl Earring is a 2003 drama film directed by Peter Webber. The screenplay was... more on Wikipedia
  • 2
    Frida
    38
    6

    Frida

    Salma Hayek, Edward Norton

    Released2002

    Directed byJulie Taymor

    Frida is a 2002 Miramax/Ventanarosa biopic which depicts the professional and private life of... more on Wikipedia
  • 3
    Basquiat
    41
    12

    Basquiat

    David Bowie, Courtney Love

    Released1996

    Directed byJulian Schnabel

    Basquiat is a 1996 biopic/drama film directed by Julian Schnabel based on the life of American... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    Art of Conflict
    33
    11

    Art of Conflict

    Art of Conflict is a documentary film directed by Valeri Vaughn.
  • 5
    Midnight in Paris
    33
    12

    Midnight in Paris

    Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard

    Released2011

    Directed byWoody Allen

    Midnight in Paris is an American 2011 romantic comedy fantasy film written and directed by... more on Wikipedia

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  • 6
    Loving Vincent
    36
    16

    Loving Vincent

    Robert Gulaczyk, Douglas Booth

    Released2017

    Directed byDorota Kobiela, Hugh Welchman

    Loving Vincent is a 2017 animated biographical drama film directed by Dorota Kobiela and Hugh... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    Big Eyes
    26
    6

    Big Eyes

    Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz

    Released2014

    Directed byTim Burton

    Big Eyes is a 2014 American biographical drama film directed by Tim Burton. Famous for drawing... more on Wikipedia

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  • 8
    At Eternity's Gate
    24
    8

    At Eternity's Gate

    Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend

    Released2018

    Directed byJulian Schnabel

    At Eternity's Gate is a 2018 American drama film directed by Julian Schnabel. Vincent van Gogh... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Exit Through the Gift Shop
    "In the late 1990s, a hybrid form of graffiti began appearing in cities around the world.... more on Wikipedia
  • 10
    American Splendor
    23
    7

    American Splendor

    Paul Giamatti, Josh Hutchersonm

    Released2003

    Directed byRobert Pulcini, Shari Springer Berman

    American Splendor is a 2003 American biographical comedy-drama film about Harvey Pekar, the... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    Pollock
    22
    7

    Pollock

    Jennifer Connelly, Val Kilmer

    Released2000

    Directed byEd Harris

    Pollock is a 2000 biography drama film written by Steven Naifeh, Gregory White Smith, Barbara... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Carrington
    17
    5

    Carrington

    Emma Thompson, Rufus Sewell

    Released1995

    Directed byChristopher Hampton

    Carrington is a 1995 British biographical film written and directed by Christopher Hampton... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    Factory Girl
    14
    2

    Factory Girl

    Sienna Miller, Jimmy Fallon

    Released2006

    Directed byGeorge Hickenlooper

    Factory Girl is a 2006 American biographical film based on the life of 1960s underground film... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    The Agony and the Ecstasy
    15
    5

    The Agony and the Ecstasy

    Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison

    Released1965

    Directed byCarol Reed

    The Agony and the Ecstasy is a 1965 film directed by Carol Reed, starring Charlton Heston as... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    New York Stories
    14
    5

    New York Stories

    Kirsten Dunst, Woody Allen

    Released1989

    Directed byFrancis Ford Coppola, Woody Allen, Martin Scorsese

    New York Stories is a 1989 anthology film; it consists of three shorts with the central theme... more on Wikipedia
  • 16
    The Burnt Orange Heresy
    1
    0

    The Burnt Orange Heresy

    Elizabeth Debicki, Claes Bang

    Released2020

    Directed byGiuseppe Capotondi

    The Burnt Orange Heresy is a 2020 Italian-American drama directed by Giuseppe Capotondi, based... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    The Mystery of Picasso
    The Mystery of Picasso is a 1956 French documentary film about the painter Pablo Picasso,... more on Wikipedia
  • 18
    Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child
    12
    4

    Jean-Michel Basquiat: The Radiant Child

    Julian Schnabel, Fab Five Freddy

    Released2010

    Directed byTamra Davis

    "In his short career, Jean-Michel Basquiat was a phenomenon. He became notorious for his... more on Wikipedia
  • 19
    Marwencol
    12
    7

    Marwencol

    Mark Hogancamp

    Released2010

    Directed byJeff Malmberg

    "Marwencol is a fantasy world created by Mark Hogancamp. This website is dedicated to... more on Wikipedia
  • 20
    The Proposal
    The Proposal is a 2018 American documentary film directed by Jill Magid. The Proposal is the... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    Waste Land
    8
    3

    Waste Land

    Vik Muniz

    Released2010

    Directed byLucy Walker, Karen Harley, João Jardim

    Waste Land is a feature documentary film that premiered at the 2010 Sundance Film Festival and... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Woman Walks Ahead
    7
    3

    Woman Walks Ahead

    Jessica Chastain, Michael Greyeyes

    Released2018

    Directed bySusanna White

    Woman Walks Ahead is a 2017 American biographical drama film directed by Susanna White.... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Seven Servants
    5
    1

    Seven Servants

    Anthony Quinn, Audra McDonald

    Released1996

    Directed byDaryush Shokof

    Seven Servants is a USA — Germany co-production 1996 German drama — comedy film directed by... more on Wikipedia
  • 24
    Lust for Life
    11
    10

    Lust for Life

    Kirk Douglas, Anthony Quinn

    Released1956

    Directed byVincente Minnelli, George Cukor

    Lust for Life is a MGM biographical film about the life of the Dutch painter Vincent van Gogh,... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    What Dreams May Come
    7
    8

    What Dreams May Come

    Robin Williams, Cuba Gooding Jr.

    Released1998

    Directed byVincent Ward

    What Dreams May Come is a 1998 American fantasy drama film, starring Robin Williams, Cuba... more on Wikipedia

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