25 Biopics Everyone Should See

Walk the Line
Joaquin Phoenix and Reese Witherspoon star as Johnny and June Cash in this film following Johnny's rise to fame and his incredible partnership with his wife. Witherspoon won the Academy Award for Best Actress.
I'm Not There
Directed by Todd Haynes, several actors took on the life story and work of musician Bob Dylan, including Cate Blanchett and the late Heath Ledger. Blanchett won the Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress.
Coal Miner's Daughter
This biopic tells the story of Loretta Lynn, who came from humble roots but would make an indelible mark on the country music industry. Sissy Spacek won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance.
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Sean Penn won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his portrayal of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California in 1977 who was tragically assassinated in 1978.
Erin Brockovich
Erin Brockovich took on PG&E in 1993 as a single mother with no legal experience. Julia Roberts' stunning performance won her an Academy Award, Golden Globe, BAFTA and Screen Actors' Guild Award.
La Vie En Rose
Edith Piaf, raised in the Belleville district of Paris, was a doomed starlet with incredible talent. For her performance, Marion Cotillard won the Academy Award and César for Best Actress.
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The Elephant Man
Set in London in the 19th century, this film tells the tale of Joseph Merrick (played by John Hurt), a severely disfigured man rescued from a freak show by a doctor. While it didn't win any major awards, the film was widely praised.
Schindler's List
This biopic follows the work of Olkar Schindler, a German businessman who helped captured Jews escape death in WWII concentration camps. Directed by Steven Spielberg, it won several accolades, including nine Oscars.
Lawrence of Arabia
Directed by David Lean and starring Peter O'Toole as T.E. Lawrence, this film follows Lawrence to Arabia in 1917, where he helped in the rebellion against Turkish invaders. The epic feature won the Academy Award for Best Picture.
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Dallas Buyers Club
The story of a man who began smuggling meds into the US after being diagnosed with AIDS & refusing to accept it as a death sentence. Matthew McConaughey won the Oscar for Best Actor and Jared Leto won the Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Raging Bull
One of the most praised sports biopics, it follows the turbulent life of middleweight boxing champ, Jake LaMotta. Directed by Martin Scorsese, it's now widely considered one of the greatest achievements in cinema.
Ed Wood
Ed Wood was a cross-dressing director considered the worst in the business who developed a cult following after his death. Johnny Depp played the lead role in the Tim Burton-directed film.
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American Splendor
Paul Giamatti stars as Harvey Pekar, who wrote the comic book series of the same name. It received high praise at the Sundance and Cannes film festivals at the time of its release.
The Social Network
While many of the real players disagreed with their portrayals, this film about the origin and success of Facebook was a box office smash and received high praise. The film starred Jesse Eisenberg as Mark Zuckerberg.
Another film from Martin Scorsese, this one is based on the true story of a Brooklyn boy who at one time aspired to be a gangster. It starred Ray Liotta as Henry Hill, and has been hailed as one of the best about organized crime.
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Frida Kahlo was a talented and controversial artist who suffered incredible setbacks in her lifetime. Salma Hayek was nominated for an Academy Award for her portrayal of the Mexican artist and Alfred Molina starred as her husband, Diego Rivera.
Last Emperor
The tale of a child who ruled a country, this biopic is centered on Puyi, the last imperial ruler of China. The film was awarded nine Oscars, including the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director for Bernardo Bertolucci.
Directed by Steven Spielberg, this depiction of President Abraham Lincoln follows his quest to abolish slavery. Daniel Day-Lewis won both the Golden Globe and Academy Award for his performance as Lincoln in this work by Steven Spielberg.
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The late Philip Seymour Hoffman took on the role of Truman Capote in this film that follows Truman's investigation of the Clutter family murders. Hoffman's performance received high praise and it remains one of his best.
Princess Elizabeth Tudor comes to power in 1558, when she is only 25 years old as the Queen of England, facing incredible opposition and a nation in turmoil. Cate Blanchett starred as the young queen during the early years of her reign.
Sid and Nancy
Sid Vicious of the British punk group The Sex Pistols was only 21 years old when he stabbed his girlfriend, Nancy Spungen, to death and then succumbed to drug addiction. This flick follows their turbulent relationship.
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Starring Cher and Meryl Streep, this biopic tells the tragic story of Karen Silkwood, a woman working at a nuclear power plant who mysteriously died in a car accident on the way to reveal details about conditions at the plant to the media.
George C. Scott's performance as American General George S. Patton, Jr was called "sublime" by Roger Ebert, in this film documenting his actions during World War II. Scott famously refused to accept his Academy Award for Best Actor.
My Left Foot
Daniel Day-Lewis won his first Oscar as Christy Brown, a man with cerebral palsy who uses his left foot, his only moveable body part, to interact with those around him. His co-star, Brenda Fricker, won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress.
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Malcolm X
This film, starring Denzel Washington, shows Malcolm X's ascent from criminal to minister to leader of the Black Nationalists. It was directed by Spike Lee and is now considered one of the best movies of that decade.