Have Your Say: What's The Best Biopic Ever Made?

Associate Editor, Features; Rotterdam, The Netherlands (@ardvark23)
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Have Your Say: What's The Best Biopic Ever Made?
This week sees the American wide release of Pablo Larraín's Jackie, which follows the life of Jackie Kennedy in the week immediately following the murder of her husband John F. Kennedy. The film is reportedly very good, with scriptwriter Noah Oppenheim and actress Natalie Portman collecting accolades from all over the world.

For me, biopics are not my favorite type of film though, as too many of them tend to leave a bad taste in my mouth. Trying to describe a person in just a few hours is hard, meaning shortcuts and exaggerations need to be made, and often you end up with an interesting viewpoint at best, or a vile caricature at worst.

Still, some of them are indeed quite good, or allow creators and actors to shine like a diamond. So the question of the week is: what is your favorite biopic?
Chime in, in the comments below, and HAVE YOUR SAY!
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More about Jackie (2016)

  • Bryant Low

    American Splendor

  • cjohnston

    hmm.
    ..another Excellent mind-stumper...
    ~
    ---

    Wild
    Coco Chanel & Igor Stravinsky
    The Sessions
    Rush
    -----
    there's a whole basket of others nominees though.
    However there is the issue of picking WAY too many nits...
    (that and; I don't wish for you to block me henceforth from discussions and threads..lol)
    -
    Films that progress and are paced, executed, and directed biographically though; but are nonetheless Fictional in their origin story. are those valid contenders.. .??

  • Ard Vijn

    "Films that progress and are paced, executed, and directed biographically though; but are nonetheless Fictional in their origin story. are those valid contenders.. .??"

    Feel free to mention them in the discussion, blurred lines are always great for debate!

  • cjohnston

    Thanks for the Welcome words upon this.. .!
    ~
    first off though.
    Three films i forgot to mention that Definitely qualify...
    The Tribe, Young Goethe In Love, and The Danish Girl..
    ~ ~
    NOW for some blurred lines...
    ..*and a side helping of groaning.
    ---
    2 Lovers / The Master / The Immigrant / The Duelist / How I Live Now / Dead Man Down / Teddy Bear / Borgman / The Railway Man / The Congress / Mr. Nobody / White Bird In a Blizzard / Synecdoche New York / Enemy / Blue Is the Warmest Color / Burning Man / Room / I Smile Back / Meadowland / Captain Fantastic / Sunset Song / Blood Father / A Hologram for the King / Ma-Ma (Penelope Cruz) / A Very Long Engagement /
    .......................and.......that is all..........
    HA.
    ---
    Yankee Doodle Dandy, Seargent York, The Keys of the Kingdom, and Pride of the Yankees; but these are such hallowed ground that - it's best to handle these last four titles with gloves on..

  • dustin chang

    Andrei Rublev
    I'm Not There
    The Elephant Man

  • ToryK

    I'm Not There - Good call. Does Velvet Goldmine kinda-sorta-maybe-if-you-tilt-your-head-sideways work?

  • Eliot Alen Walnut

    ED WOOD, it loved its characters and its source material so very much

  • David Smith

    Oops forgot Laurence. Definitely the greatest

  • David Smith

    Raging Bull, what else?

  • Ben Umstead

    While I am sure some viewers would not feel this film falls into the more straight up biopic category that seems to be the discussion point here, I'm gonna say Peter Watkins' Edvard Munch. It perfectly captures the feeling of an artist, their world view as well as the filmmaker behind the camera. You get the sense that this film is as much about Watkins as it is about Munch.

  • kidlazarus

    "You givin' me all these answers, but cha' ain't givin' me the right answer." Raging Bull.

  • Ben de Klos

    24 hour party people is great as well

  • Ben de Klos

    The last temptation of Christ

  • Kurt

    Lawrence of Arabia or Patton

    (Also, these lovely more modern dark horses: 24 Hour Party People, Catch Me If You Can)

    Somewhat tangentially, as names and details were changed, is Citizen Kane (William Randolph Hearst) to obvious?

  • Not a fan, I tend to dislike the classic rise/fall structure they follow. They also tend to be quite boring, playing it safe.

    The one that immediately springs to mind is The Killing of John Lennon. There's also Factotum, which was quite special. The Wind is Rising, if you count animated biopics. Together with Miss Hokusai it would make a nice double bill if that's your thing. Or Millennium Actress, though that's somewhat of a hidden biopic.

    Oh, and Wu Qingyuan, about the famous Go player.

  • rnlol

    Naked Lunch

  • Ard Vijn

    That's crazy talk, but definitely a fun one to ponder!

  • rnlol

    It's usually thought of as an adaptation of the novel, but I've always seen it as more of a biopic. It's a reflection on Burroughs, his life and work, weaving the two together. An interesting and satisfying way to approach dramatising the life of an artist imo.

  • Steve Dennis

    Really hard, feels like there's a lot of ways you can judge a biopic. Some take a thin slice, which tend to be better than the ones that try to encompass an entire life. Also do you judge best film, or best portrayal (or even, most accurate portrayal)?

    Downfall would be in my list among the best of the thin slice ones. American Splendor is also up there for me. More obvious ones would include Schindler's List, Raging Bull, etc, but probably the most rewatchable personally is Amadeus.

  • the hong Kong cavaliers

    Yes on American Splendor , my favorite would be Man on the moon

  • ToryK

    I'm normally not a fan of biopics at all, but I'll echo the love for American Splendor and Man on the Moon, with my personal favorite being Raging Bull. That's a masterpiece, biopic or not.

  • bricriu .

    I was planning to mention all three of these films as well. Thanks for beating me to the punch! (No Raging Bull pun intended).

  • J Hurtado

    Another vote for American Splendor

  • Steve Dennis

    Great call :)

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