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10 incredible biopics you need to watch right now

From popular musicians to historical movers and shakers, these are the biopics you need to see

Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in Moneyball.
Sony Pictures Releasing

It seems as the years go on in Hollywood, the biopic gets more and more popular among actors and directors who want to make a name for themselves or cement their legacies as iconic filmmakers. This may be due to the respect and admiration people have for the recounting of a historical landmark moment or person who has changed the world, for better or worse. Biopics are versatile: They can be cheerful, depressing, semi-fictional, or completely faithful to the real events they’re based upon. They often make educational statements or political affirmations on topics that would be considered arduous to learn about otherwise. From sports movies to musical extravaganzas, we have all of the best biographical movies you need to watch right away!

Elvis (2022)

Genre Drama, Music, History
Stars Austin Butler, Tom Hanks, Olivia DeJonge
Directed by Baz Luhrmann

When you make a biopic on a figure as famous as Elvis Presley, you better get the casting just perfect. Otherwise, the movie will be a complete disaster. Thankfully, the team behind Elvis absolutely chose the right man for the job in Austin Butler. This charismatic, dedicated, and relatively unknown actor was able to embody all of the mannerisms, emotions, and facial features of the king of rock and roll, along with all of his introspective struggles. Baz Luhrmann uses his usual flashy, dense style to bring the 1950s and ’60s to life, and Tom Hanks delivers decent supporting work as Elvis’s manager, Colonel Tom Parker.

Moneyball (2011)

Genre Drama
Stars Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman
Directed by Bennett Miller

Sports movies often can be a little on the sappy side for some viewers, but Moneyball is only as corny as the real story it’s based on. Brad Pitt stars as Billy Beane, the genius general manager of Major League Baseball’s Oakland Athletics franchise. The A’s don’t have the same budget that larger-market teams like the New York Yankees or Los Angeles Dodgers do, but Beane was able to use revolutionary mathematical and analytical data to get an edge on the competition. The A’s employed players that other teams would leave in the dust, and the group of qualified misfits Beane signed would eventually turn Oakland into one of baseball’s true contenders in the early 2000s.

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood (2019)

A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood
Genre Drama, History
Stars Matthew Rhys, Tom Hanks, Chris Cooper
Directed by Marielle Heller

We can all agree that the world needs some more optimism, right? A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood tries hard to show the authentic positivity of famous children’s TV host Fred Rogers as told through the eyes of a reporter who needs to start seeing the world as a glass half-full. For those of you who grew up watching Rogers themselves, this one should be the nostalgic hit to the heart you need.

Pride (2014)

Genre Drama, Comedy
Stars George MacKay, Ben Schnetzer, Freddie Fox
Directed by Matthew Warchus

One of the best LGBTQ movies to watch during Pride month, this biopic gives a look at the touching story of the queer activists who go on strike with the British miners in 1984. The movie helps audiences see the ways in which different groups of people can come together and help each other, maybe even breaking down walls of discrimination and hatred along the way. Dominic West and Bill Nighy are two of the notable actors appearing in this one.

The Miracle Worker (1962)

The Miracle Worker
Genre Drama
Stars Anne Bancroft, Victor Jory, Inga Swenson
Directed by Arthur Penn

Of all of the biographies of Helen Keller, it’s hard to find one more inspiring or thoughtful than The Miracle Worker. We all know the story behind Keller’s struggles as a deaf and blind girl, but this award-winning film from 1962 is a delicate and beautiful portrayal of how an indomitable will, love, and a desire to achieve can be crucial in life. Anne Bancroft is Anne Sullivan, the partially blind teacher who leveraged her personal struggles to reach Keller on a deeper level.

Lincoln (2012)

Genre History, Drama
Stars Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn
Directed by Steven Spielberg

Director Steven Spielberg and Academy Award-winner Daniel Day-Lewis team up to bring Abraham Lincoln, arguably the most important president in American history, to the masses in a whole new way. The movie gives narrative secrets and historical footnotes more credence than ever before in the telling of the American Civil War and the obstacles Lincoln had to overcome to end slavery in the American South. The movie is a little on the long side, so make sure you carve out a good chunk of time to re-familiarize yourself with the 19th century in the United States.

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Dallas Buyers Club
Genre Drama, History
Stars Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto, Jennifer Garner
Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée

The movie that gave Matthew McConaughey his first Oscar win, Dallas Buyers Club is a fascinating and powerful depiction of the ways HIV and AIDS were treated in the United States in the 1980s. McConaughey plays Ron Woodroof, a native Texan who created a buyers club for other ill patients who had contracted the disease. Here, they could have access to the medications needed to survive longer during a time in which the U.S. government horrifically ignored the epidemic, mainly due to homophobia.

Schindler's List (1993)

Schindler's List
Genre Drama, History, War
Stars Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes
Directed by Steven Spielberg

The Holocaust was the most horrific genocidal act in modern human history. Schindler’s List is the story of how German hero Oskar Schindler rebelled against his country’s atrocities and employed thousands of Jewish people within his industrial company, and in the process saved their lives from the Nazi regime’s crimes. He may not be wearing tights or a cape, but Schindler is proof that superheroes really do exist in the real world. Liam Neeson plays the lead role in this decorated film that won seven Academy Awards.

A Beautiful Mind (2001)

A Beautiful Mind
Genre Drama, Romance
Stars Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Ed Harris
Directed by Ron Howard

Ron Howard has had a celebrated Hollywood career ranging from acting to directing, but none of his pictures are more acclaimed than A Beautiful Mind. The true story of John Nash (Russell Crowe), a mathematician with schizophrenia, is compelling on a deeply human level, showing the roller coaster of emotions and events that round out a life that is both complicated and tragic.

Gandhi (1982)

Genre Drama, History
Stars Ben Kingsley, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox
Directed by Richard Attenborough

While Mahatma Gandhi’s reputation as a pillar of human rights activism has remained throughout the 20th and 21st centuries, more research into his past has revealed some unsavory truths about his views on women and Black people. Still, Gandhi is one of the most important biopic movies of the 1980s due to the inspiring story it tells of one man’s efforts to relieve India of British rule. Ben Kingsley won an Academy Award for his portrayal of Gandhi. 

Editors' Recommendations

Movie images and data from:
Shawn Laib
Shawn Laib is a freelance writer with publications such as Den of Geek,, Edge Media Network, diaTribe, SUPERJUMP…
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