My top 10 biopics

Some of the best movies tell real stories about real people and after checking out this post from Keith at, I was inspired to pick my own favourites.

Schindlers-ListSchindler’s List (1993)
Subject: Oskar Schindler, an initially greedy German businessman who is transformed as he becomes progressively more concerned about the well-being of his Jewish workforce during WWII, ultimately saving 1,100 lives.
Starring: Liam Neeson
Oskar Schindler: I could have got more out. I could have got more. I don’t know. If I’d just… I could have got more.
Itzhak Stern: Oskar, there are eleven hundred people who are alive because of you. Look at them.
Oskar Schindler: If I’d made more money… I threw away so much money. You have no idea. If I’d just…
Itzhak Stern: There will be generations because of what you did.
Oskar Schindler: I didn’t do enough!
Itzhak Stern: You did so much.
Film: Raging Bull (1980)
Subject: Jake LaMotta, a boxer driven to the top by his violent temper and aggression whose life falls apart outside of the ring because of exactly the same qualities.
Starring: Robert De Niro
Jake La Motta: [talking about Janiro] Yeah, he’s a nice kid, pretty kid, don’t know whether to fuck him or fight him.

Milk-x-26190_5Milk (2008)
Subject: Harvey Milk, an American gay rights activist who become the first openly gay elected official in California.
Starring: Sean Penn
Harvey Milk: I ask this… If there should be an assassination, I would hope that five, ten, one hundred, a thousand would rise. I would like to see every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out – – If a bullet should enter my brain, let that bullet destroy every closet door… And that’s all. I ask for the movement to continue. Because it’s not about personal gain, not about ego, not about power… it’s about the “us’s” out there. Not only gays, but the Blacks, the Asians, the disabled, the seniors, the us’s. Without hope, the us’s give up – I know you cannot live on hope alone, but without it, life is not worth living. So you, and you, and you… You gotta give em’ hope… you gotta give em’ hope.

kinsey450 Kinsey (2004)
Subject: Alfred Kinsey, the father of scientific sexual research, who opened the doors to much of the knowledge we have about human sexuality now.
Starring: Liam Neesom
Alfred Kinsey: [Kinsey is teaching his first class] Who can tell me which part of the human body can enlarge a hundred times. You, miss?
Female Student: [indignantly] I’m sure I don’t know. And you’ve no right to ask me such a question in a mixed class.
Alfred Kinsey: [amused] I was referring to the pupil in your eye, young lady.
[class laughs]
Alfred Kinsey: And I think I should tell you, you’re in for a terrible disappointment.

Ed-Wood-007Ed Wood (1994)
Subject:  Cross-dressing, B Movie director, Edward D. Wood Jr, who made an endless series of terrible films but never gave up hope in his own talents or those of his very bizarre friends.
Starring: Johnny Depp
Edward D. Wood, Jr.: This story’s gonna grab people. It’s about this guy, he’s crazy about this girl, but he likes to wear dresses. Should he tell her? Should he not tell her? He’s torn, Georgie. This is drama.”
Amadeus (1984)
Subject: Legendary composer, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, one of the greatest musical geniuses of all time, told through the eyes of his greatest rival, Antonio Salieri.
Starring: Tom Hulce
“Salieri: On the page it looked nothing. The beginning simple, almost comic. Just a pulse – bassoons and basset horns – like a rusty squeezebox. Then suddenly – high above it – an oboe, a single note, hanging there unwavering, till a clarinet took over and sweetened it into a phrase of such delight! This was no composition by a performing monkey! This was a music I’d never heard. Filled with such longing, such unfulfillable longing, it had me trembling. It seemed to me that I was hearing the very voice of God.

coco_before_chanel08Coco Before Chanel (2009)
Subject: World renowned fashion designer, Gabrielle ‘Coco’ Chanel, following her life from humble beginnings to the pinnacle of the fashion world.
Starring: Audrey Tatou
bronson-header1Bronson (2008)
Subject: Charles Bronson, a man sentenced to prison for 7 years who ultimately served 30 years in solitary confinement, becoming known as Britain’s most violent prisoner.
Starring: Tom Hardy
“Charles Bronson: You don’t want to be trapped inside with me sunshine. Inside, I’m somebody nobody wants to fuck with do you understand? I am Charlie Bronson, I am Britain’s most violent prisoner.

aroyalaffair_2248371bA Royal Affair (2012)
Subject: Queen Caroline Mathilde of Denmark, whose affair with her mentally unstable husband’s doctor enabled them to bring about a range of societal reforms in Denmark.
Starring: Alicia Vikander
the-social-network-31-8-10-kcThe Social Network (2010)
Subject: Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook and the personal and legal implications of his success.
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg
“Mark Zuckerberg: People want to go online and check out their friends, so why not build a website that offers that? Friends, pictures, profiles, whatever you can visit, browse around, maybe it’s someone you just met at a party. Eduardo, I’m not talking about a dating site, I’m talking about taking the entire social experience of college and putting it online.


  1. love your list–only one I haven’t seen is ‘A Royal Affair’. Speaking of royals, I enjoyed ‘Mrs. Brown’ with Judi Dench and ‘The Young Victoria’. Also, Bill Murray in ‘Hyde Park on Hudson’ had its high moments.

    1. Abbi

      Thank-you! I would highly recommend A Royal Affair. It’s really gripping and the acting is outstanding. The Young Victoria was lovely. I’ve not seen Mrs Brown or Hyde Park on Hudson so I’m going to add them to my list.

  2. Great list. Yikes – I’ve seen shockingly few of these! Only Schindler’s List, Ed Wood (no one ever mentions that one – one of my favorite Tim Burton films), Amadeus & The Social Network. Thanks for the ideas – I want to check some of these out.

    1. Abbi

      I loved Ed Wood! I think it got a very bad rap. I love a good biopic. There’s something very cool about knowing something is a true story. I think you’d really like A Royal Affair.

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