Tossin’ It Out There: What’s YOUR Favorite Biopic?

42With “42” upcoming this weekend, I thought that it might be a good time to ask about biopics. Biographical movies… those films that tell the story of historical figures and actual people.

Whether they’re biographies of political figures, such as “The Iron Lady”, “J. Edgar”, or “Nixon”, sports figures, such as “Cobb”, “The Babe” or “Ali”, or musicians, such as “Ray” or “The Doors”, Hollywood has mined the lives of the famous and the historically important for stories ever since they began making movies.

It doesn’t have to be limited to a birth to death straight up biography, either. Recent films such as “Hitchcock”, “Lincoln” and “Moneyball” which tell the true story of a brief period in someone’s life are fine as well. (although I reserve the right to use “What’s YOUR Favorite Movie Based on a True Story?” in the future ;) )

So what’s YOUR favorite? Is it Kingsley’s “Gandhi”? Or Denzel Washington’s “Malcolm X”? There are movies you wouldn’t think of right away that should be considered… “Goodfellas” is pretty much a biopic of Henry Hill, and “Braveheart” is based on the life of William Wallace.

There’s plenty to choose from, but here’s a listing on Wikipedia if you need help!

Let’s hear it! What’s YOUR favorite biopic?!

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182 thoughts on “Tossin’ It Out There: What’s YOUR Favorite Biopic?

  1. It’s definitely Malcolm X. It’s my favorite film from Spike Lee and does such a good job in creating a convincing character. We forget that it’s Denzel and it doesn’t feel like an actor reaching to become a real person. I’m still amazed that it doesn’t get even more love from movie fans.

    • X

      Yeah, Denzel seriously loses himself in that role, doesn’t he? That was an awesome flick.

      I still prefer “Do the Right Thing” if we were picking favorite films of spike Lee, but yeah, Malcolm X was great. Nice choice Dan.

  2. Now that is a great question. So many films jumping through my head at the moment… top ones so far are Raging Bull, Elephant Man, JFK, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, Chariots of Fire… aw man, so many. This one’s going to keep me thinking all day.

  3. I’m going double Scorcese on this one: Raging Bull and The Aviator.
    The Aviator was the first Scorcese film I ever saw, and it was the only one I liked for awhile. I really like Leo’s performance here and also Cate Blanchett as Katharine Hepburn. I also like the 20s style at the beginning of the film, and Hughes is so weird I can’t help but be interested in him.
    Raging Bull is even better, and I love boxing movies in general so it has that going for it as well. De Niro’s performance is amazing, and the supporting performances are good as well. I love how the film is in black and white and how the boxing scenes are shot. Great, great film.

    • Yeah, the Aviator was good. I think it might be on the second tier of Scorsese movies, for me, but that still makes it better than 90% of the movies out there.

      Raging Bull is on an entirely different level though. LOL WOW. That’s a sick, sick movie! :D

  4. Great question Fogs. There are loads I’m fond of – The King’s Speech, Into The Wild, The Diving Bell and the Butterfly, A Beautiful Mind, and a few of the ones you suggested such as Goodfellas. However, my favourite? I think probably Raging Bull.

  5. It may end up in your “True Story” category in the future but the first film that popped into my head was “The Right Stuff”. Chuck Yeager and the seven Mercury astronauts. (Or Star Voyager as Gus Grissom prefers). Real American Heroes in a time when America’s faith in the future was unlimited. It is also entertaining as all get out.

    • It’s hard to draw the line between, isnt it? I mean, that’s a look at the most important moment of their lives.. what’s not biographical about it? The fact it didnt go from birth to death? LOL

      Thats a great flick, I should revisit, its been too long.

  6. I really dislike bio-pics. To often, you find out that they get more wrong than right. I would rather read an autobiography. I con’t even care for biographies much. To much has to be made to fill in the gaps. In that case, I would rather something of a more historical nature sticking to the known facts, without the questionable filler to make it more narative.

  7. Some Of The Greats Are… “COBB”, “NIXON”, “RAGING BULL”… …and “LIFE OF BRIAN” hahaha Though I Dunno If “LIFE OF BRIAN” Can Really Count. Though, For Me, At This Moment, It DOES!!! hahaha

  8. I like the sports ones: Blindside, Invincible, Moneyball, Coach Carter, (Was Rudy one?) Does Hoosiers count?

    I did find myself sucked into the movie The Temptations one afternoon recently, and I thought it was good.

    Judging from this post though, I better get to watching Raging Bull. :)

    • Yes, Rudy was one. I dont know if I’d count Hoosiers or not though… I’m not sure how actually biographical it is. Was Norman Dale a real person or just an inspiration.

      Dammit, now you have me curious. Must research! Ok. Per Wikipedia: “The film is very loosely based on the story of the 1954 Indiana state champions, Milan High School, but the term “inspired by a true story” may be more appropriate, as there was little the two teams had in common” So I’d say yes on Rudy, no on Hoosiers. :D

      And yeah, you should see Raging Bull. Definitely. Not as… light as some of those others though. Be forewarned! :D

    • It’s crazy good. Hang on while I remind myself why that didnt win an Oscar or 8. What was the big movie that year….? Ohhhh yeah. Denzel got robbed by Pacino’s “make up” Oscar (although he’d score one himself one day) and… Oh my GOD. It wasn’t even nominated for Best Picture! Not saying it should have beat “Unforgiven” (sorry, I’m with Clint on that one), but NOT EVEN NOMINATED? Wow 8O

  9. Thanks for the list. haha!From that list, I’d say Once Upon a Time in China, the biography of martial arts master Wong Fei Hung :) One of my absolute favorite martial arts movie.
    And Freedom Writers kicked some serious butt. I rewatch that one at least once a year. Hillary Swank was fantastic!

    I’m equally fan of Erin Brokovich, Catch Me If You Can, Girl Interrupted..Those movies are absolutely awesome also :)

    • Love Catch Me if You Can. One of Spielberg’s few underrated flicks. :) That and Munich.

      I think it wont surprise you to learn I havent seen Once Upon a Time in China? LOL :D

      I have seen all the others though! So I got that going for me…

  10. Coal Miner’s Daughter! Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn… I’m still wowed by the fact that she did all of the singing herself. The only thing that bugs me about the film is Beverly D’Angelo as Patsy Cline… but it would have been really difficult to find someone to play Patsy Cline perfectly, and since the casting of Sissy is so perfect I let it slide.

    • Would you believe Ive never seen it? I know, right? 8O

      I should, I’ve heard nothing but good things. Still, it’s on my to see list, I guess. ;) Nice choice though, anyways, I know that’s a good one.

      • Watch it, if for no other reason than Sissy’s performance! I recommend this film to everyone all the time, even those who hate country music (though you will obviously get more enjoyment out of it if you’re a fan of Loretta Lynn).

      • Jessica Lange Does Patsy Cline in “Sweet Dreams” she was excellent although the singing is dubbed.

      • How could I forget “Walk the Line”? A great picture that fits perfectly in your assignment here. “Ray” also makes sense. I think the big advantage of musical figures like Johnny Cash, or Mozart is that you have half the soundtrack picked out before you start. The familiar makes them feel so real to us that the next step is easy. The Cole Porter film from a few years ago “Delovely” is another one that pulls you in because you know so much already because of the music. “Coal Miner’s Daughter” is an Excellent Pick, but it opened a vein of thinking on my part. I may have to come back and try again.

    • Amadeus! Yeah! Thats a great movie. I have that in queue for a column, actually.

      Lawrence of Arabia is so incredible, I have a hard time believing the true story, and the fact that they made such an incredible film out of it, too! 8O

  11. A Beautiful Mind followed closely by Ali and Chaplin. Both Will Smith and Robert Downey Junior were at peaks in their careers!

    • Yeah, “Ali” was Smith’s finest role, I think. Mmmm… maybe Pursuit of Happyness. One or the other. Great movie. That period was definitely the peak of Ali’s career, thats for sure.

      Hard to say that we’re not in the peak of RDJ’s career right now, event though he’s kind of given up acting for the sake of playing superheroes. LOL :D

    • I actually got an image of you doing a little hoscotch there LOL

      Three great flicks. Although, I guess I need a little time for Lincoln to settle in. I’m going to have to write up Amadeus as an MTESS soon. Feeling the urge. That movie is freaking awesome. :D

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