Over 380 movie enthusiasts have gathered to celebrate the most captivating biopics about actors. These films offer an extraordinary glimpse into the lives of beloved figures in film history, both on and off the screen. They take us on a thrilling journey through personal triumphs, heart-wrenching tragedies, fascinating relationships, and the creative processes that shape a life in show business. Prepare to be transported into the lives of these iconic individuals whom we’ve long admired from afar.
The selection includes acclaimed masterpieces like My Week With Marilyn, where Michelle Williams brings Marilyn Monroe to life, and Judy, featuring Renée Zellweger’s mesmerizing portrayal of Judy Garland. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story showcases Jason Scott Lee’s electrifying performance as the martial arts legend who conquers global stardom, while Chaplin mesmerizes audiences with Robert Downey Jr.’s captivating portrayal of the English comedian.
Narrowing down the best biopic from this remarkable collection may seem like an exciting challenge, with a wealth of exceptional material to choose from. Thankfully, this list is here to guide you on your quest. Delve into the choices that fellow film aficionados have already made and embark on your own thrilling journey by selecting your personal favorites.
The life of the comic genius Charlie Chaplin is brought to life in this captivating re-creation. Starting from his modest upbringing in south London, the journey takes us through his early days in British vaudeville, his remarkable silent movie career in America, and his later remarkable masterpieces.
Beyond his undeniable talent, Chaplin’s personal life was filled with ups and downs. He embarked on four marriages, each leaving its mark on his tumultuous journey. At one point, he was even forced into exile from the US. However, fate had a different plan for him as he returned to the land that once rejected him, receiving an honorary Oscar in 1972 as a testament to his enduring legacy.
Directed by: Richard Attenborough
Actors: Robert Downey, Dan Aykroyd, Geraldine Chaplin
2. What’s Love Got to Do with It
The biographical drama What’s Love Got to Do with It offers an inside look into the rollercoaster life of Tina Turner, portrayed by Angela Bassett. From her humble beginnings as Anna Mae Bullock in a small town, to her rise as a global superstar, we witness her incredible journey. The film also delves into the turbulent relationship between Tina and Ike Turner, played by Laurence Fishburne, who initially recognizes her talent but soon becomes her tormentor. Despite the numerous challenges she faces, Tina’s unwavering determination and resilience ultimately lead her to a triumphant solo career. Angela Bassett and Laurence Fishburne’s powerful performances in this captivating story earned them both Academy Award nominations, making it a must-watch for those seeking a tale of defying the odds and emerging victorious.
Directed by: Brian Gibson
Actors: Angela Bassett, Laurence Fishburne, Vanessa Bell Calloway
3. Coal Miner’s Daughter
Loretta Lynn, played by Sissy Spacek, hails from rural Kentucky and faces the hardships of poverty. To make matters even more challenging, she gets married at the tender age of 13. However, Loretta’s passion for country music drives her to write and perform her own songs in her early 20s.
Assisting her every step of the way is her devoted husband, Oliver “Mooney” Lynn, portrayed by Tommy Lee Jones. Together, they navigate the local honky-tonks and secure small-time record deals, gradually building a name for Loretta in the music industry. The couple’s relentless efforts eventually pay off as Loretta embarks on national tours and garners hit singles.
During her journey, Loretta forms a close bond with her idol, Patsy Cline, played by Beverly D’Angelo. Despite the overwhelming demands of stardom, Loretta manages to rise above it all and emerges as a revered country music icon. However, achieving such success does not come without a cost, as it takes a toll on her family and strains her marriage.
Through Loretta Lynn’s inspiring story, we witness her remarkable ascent from poverty-stricken beginnings to becoming a shining star in the country music scene.
Directed by: Michael Apted
Actors: Sissy Spacek, Tommy Lee Jones, Beverly D’Angelo
4. My Dinner with Hervé
My Dinner with Hervé” is a TV drama film released in 2018, and it’s directed by Sacha Gervasi. The movie explores the life of Hervé Villechaize, a French actor who gained fame as the co-star of the popular 70s TV series, “Fantasy Island.” Sadly, Villechaize tragically ended his own life in 1993 when he was just 50 years old
Directed by: Sacha Gervasi
Actors: Peter Dinklage, Jamie Dornan, Andy García
This biopic delves into the fascinating life of Frances Farmer, an actress who dared to defy conventions. Hailing from Seattle, she made a bold move to Hollywood, California, where she quickly made a name for herself with her unconventional attitude. However, her journey took a tragic turn when she was deceived into coming to New York and had to grapple with her controlling mother and a destructive addiction to alcohol. Eventually, her mental health deteriorated, and she found herself confined to an institution, where she faced mistreatment from both fellow patients and staff. Despite her struggles, Farmer managed to find solace in hosting a local TV show in Indianapolis until her unfortunate demise in 1970.
Directed by: Graeme Clifford
Actors: Jessica Lange, Kim Stanley, Sam Shepard
6. James Dean
This biopic delves into the life and untimely demise of James Dean (played by James Franco), starting from his childhood in Santa Monica. It takes us on a journey through the ups and downs of Dean’s life, as well as his quick rise to stardom in Hollywood. His breakthrough comes with a role in Elia Kazan’s “East of Eden,” which sets the stage for a promising film career.
Amidst the excitement of his newfound success, Dean finds himself drawn into a romantic relationship with the talented Italian actress Pier Angeli (portrayed by Valentina Cervi). However, his journey is not without its challenges. Despite his achievements, Dean must confront a deeply painful rift with his father (played by Michael Moriarty), which casts a shadow over his accomplishments.
Directed by: Mark Rydell
Actors: James Franco, Michael Moriarty, Valentina Cervi
7. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story
Bruce Lee’s journey starts in Hong Kong, where he receives training in traditional Chinese martial arts as a young boy. However, a little scuffle pushes him to leave the country. In an effort to find success that will be acknowledged even in Hong Kong, his father sends him to the United States.
Bruce makes a fresh start by teaching martial arts to American students. Through his dedication and talent, he manages to make a name for himself and gains popularity. Soon enough, he becomes a well-known actor on the hit television series, “Green Hornet.” Interestingly, the show is also recognized in Hong Kong as “The Kato Show.”
Directed by: Rob Cohen
Actors: Jason Scott Lee, Lauren Holly, Robert Wagner
8. My Week with Marilyn
In 1956 England, Colin Clark, played by Eddie Redmayne, scores a gig as a production assistant on the set of “The Prince and the Showgirl,” a film featuring Marilyn Monroe, portrayed by Michelle Williams. Marilyn, who is also on her honeymoon with playwright Arthur Miller, is feeling overwhelmed by the stress of work and the constant presence of Hollywood hangers-on. Sensing an opportunity to help Marilyn, Colin takes advantage of Miller’s trip to Paris and offers her a much-needed break in the serene British countryside for a week.
Directed by: Simon Curtis
Actors: Michelle Williams, Eddie Redmayne, Kenneth Branagh
Thirty years after her iconic role in “The Wizard of Oz,” the adored actress and singer, Judy Garland, makes her way to London. Her arrival is met with great anticipation as she prepares to take the stage for sold-out shows at the renowned Talk of the Town nightclub. Amidst the excitement, Judy finds herself caught up in a wave of reminiscing with both friends and devoted fans. Little does she know, this journey will also mark the beginning of a whirlwind romance with musician Mickey Deans, who is destined to become her fifth husband.
Directed by: Rupert Goold
Actors: Renée Zellweger, Jessie Buckley, Finn Wittrock
Norma Jean Baker, who had a difficult and tumultuous childhood, managed to overcome her vulnerabilities and transform herself into the iconic actress and sex-symbol, Marilyn Monroe.
Norma Jean Baker’s early years were marked by hardship and challenges. However, she refused to let these circumstances define her life. Instead, she mustered the strength and determination to rise above her difficult past.
With sheer determination and perseverance, Norma Jean Baker was able to reinvent herself. She embarked on a journey to become an actress, ultimately achieving great success. Along the way, she created a new persona for herself – the mesmerizing and alluring Marilyn Monroe.
By transcending her troubled beginnings, Norma Jean Baker defied the odds and achieved remarkable success in the entertainment industry. Her transformation into Marilyn Monroe has left an indelible mark on popular culture, cementing her status as an enduring symbol of beauty, talent, and sensuality.
Directed by: Joyce Chopra
Actors: Poppy Montgomery, Ann-Margret, Patricia Richardson
11. My Wicked, Wicked Ways… The Legend of Errol Flynn
The film “My Wicked, Wicked Ways… The Legend of Errol Flynn” was directed by Don Taylor and was released in January 1985.
Directed by: Don Taylor
Actors: Vanna Bonta