The 5 Greatest Biopics Of All Time

The 5 Greatest Biopics Of All Time

Many of the greatest stories that people tell are those that are of real lives and real human experiences.

People, without fail, always enjoy a good story, particularly when that story is based on actual people and events. There is something special about accompanying real people and their successes, as well as the obstacles that life throws at them. Biopics allow for us viewers to step into the shoes of someone else and live vicariously through them for a few hours, for better or worse. They also inspire and encourage us to live our lives in a similar fashion, also for better or worse. Biopics are, rightfully so, one of the most popular genres in modern cinema, and this trend will continue as long as humanity craves artistic retellings of society’s most interesting people.

Here is, by my opinion, the top five biopics ever put to film.

Honorable Mentions: Downfall, The Elephant Man, Patton, Walk The Line, A Beautiful Mind, Gandhi, The Aviator.

5) Lawrence of Arabia

Lawrence of Arabia, starring Peter O’Toole in the titular role and directed by David Lean, is a 1962 epic chronicling the life of T.E. Lawrence. T.E. Lawrence is most widely known for his role in the Sinai and Palestine Campaign and escapades in the Arabian Peninsula during World War I. Lawrence of Arabia is, quite simply, considered one of the greatest films in history. Besides the incredible acting by the lead, Peter O’Toole, the film is praised for its breathtaking sense of scope and epic, and its visuals are some of the most influential in cinema. The film has influenced many of the greatest working directors today, including Martin Scorsese, Ridley Scott, and Steven Spielberg. Lawrence of Arabia lives on today as a critical detailing of one of Britain’s greatest heroes.

4) Amadeus

Amadeus, starring F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce and directed by Milos Forman, is the story of Antonio Salieri (Abraham) and his pleading for forgiveness for having killed one of history’s greatest composers, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (Hulce). The film takes place across several decades, in the late 1700s and early 1800s, and jumps between Salieri telling his tale about his life as a composer and relations with Mozart and the time when Salieri is an old man recounting his story. The film won eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Abraham, and is consistently placed in critics’ lists for greatest films of all time.

3) Raging Bull

Raging Bull is a sports biopic directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro as boxer Jake LaMotta. The film follows LaMotta’s rise as a star in boxing, as well as his wrathful and destructive relationship with himself and his family. Taking place during his boxing prime, as well as his overweight later years, the film encompasses much of the tortured boxer’s violent life. It is a sad, and often savage, film, but is also a striking portrayal of a man at war with himself as much as his opponent in the ring. Raging Bull is considered one of De Niro’s, and Scorsese’s, greatest films, and is widely acknowledged as the greatest sports biopic ever produced.

2) Schindler’s List

Schindler’s List, starring Liam Neeson and Ralph Fiennes and directed by Steven Spielberg, is the story of the life and heroic exploits of German businessman Oskar Schindler (Neeson). Schindler is best known for saving over a thousand Jewish refugees during the Holocaust by giving them jobs in his various factories. He risked his life and depleted his fortune in an effort to save the Jewish refugees, sparked by his witnessing of them being industrially massacred by the Nazi SS. Schinder’s List is a devastatingly emotional film, and details a very dark time in human history that should be forever remembered for its horrors.

1) Goodfellas

Goodfellas is an American crime biopic directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, and Robert De Niro. The film follows the rise and fall of Irish-Italian gangster Henry Hill (Liotta), who serves as the film’s narrator, and spans from 1955 to 1980. The film details the respect, wealth, and power that accompanies being a member of organized crime, as well as the violence, lying, and imprisonment that also follow that illicit profession. What makes Goodfellas the greatest biopic of all time, besides the flawless and energetic camera work, soundtrack, acting, and direction, is that the film feels alive. It perfectly situates you in this gangster’s life, and catapults you along with him on his tremendous highs as well as suffocating you with his inescapable lows. Goodfellas is a story not just about crime and the life of a gangster, but also the story of the American dream and what it means to obtain wealth, fame, and most importantly, respect.

Cover Image Credit: Google Images

Popular Right Now

It's Time To Thank Your First Roommate

Not the horror story kind of roommate, but the one that was truly awesome.

Nostalgic feelings have recently caused me to reflect back on my freshman year of college. No other year of my life has been filled with more ups and downs, and highs and lows, than freshman year. Throughout all of the madness, one factor remained constant: my roommate. It is time to thank her for everything. These are only a few of the many reasons to do so, and this goes for roommates everywhere.

You have been through all the college "firsts" together.

If you think about it, your roommate was there through all of your first college experiences. The first day of orientation, wishing you luck on the first days of classes, the first night out, etc. That is something that can never be changed. You will always look back and think, "I remember my first day of college with ____."

You were even each other's first real college friend.

You were even each other's first real college friend.

Months before move-in day, you were already planning out what freshman year would be like. Whether you previously knew each other, met on Facebook, or arranged to meet in person before making any decisions, you made your first real college friend during that process.

SEE ALSO: 18 Signs You're A Little Too Comfortable With Your Best Friends

The transition from high school to college is not easy, but somehow you made it out on the other side.

It is no secret that transitioning from high school to college is difficult. No matter how excited you were to get away from home, reality hit at some point. Although some people are better at adjusting than others, at the times when you were not, your roommate was there to listen. You helped each other out, and made it through together.

Late night talks were never more real.

Remember the first week when we stayed up talking until 2:00 a.m. every night? Late night talks will never be more real than they were freshman year. There was so much to plan for, figure out, and hope for. Your roommate talked, listened, laughed, and cried right there with you until one of you stopped responding because sleep took over.

You saw each other at your absolute lowest.

It was difficult being away from home. It hurt watching relationships end and losing touch with your hometown friends. It was stressful trying to get in the swing of college level classes. Despite all of the above, your roommate saw, listened, and strengthened you.

...but you also saw each other during your highest highs.

After seeing each other during the lows, seeing each other during the highs was such a great feeling. Getting involved on campus, making new friends, and succeeding in classes are only a few of the many ways you have watched each other grow.

There was so much time to bond before the stresses of college would later take over.

Freshman year was not "easy," but looking back on it, it was more manageable than you thought at the time. College only gets busier the more the years go on, which means less free time. Freshman year you went to lunch, dinner, the gym, class, events, and everything else possible together. You had the chance to be each other's go-to before it got tough.

No matter what, you always bounced back to being inseparable.

Phases of not talking or seeing each other because of business and stress would come and go. Even though you physically grew apart, you did not grow apart as friends. When one of you was in a funk, as soon as it was over, you bounced right back. You and your freshman roommate were inseparable.

The "remember that one time, freshman year..." stories never end.

Looking back on freshman year together is one of my favorite times. There are so many stories you have made, which at the time seemed so small, that bring the biggest laughs today. You will always have those stories to share together.

SEE ALSO: 15 Things You Say To Your Roommates Before Going Out

The unspoken rule that no matter how far apart you grow, you are always there for each other.

It is sad to look back and realize everything that has changed since your freshman year days. You started college with a clean slate, and all you really had was each other. Even though you went separate ways, there is an unspoken rule that you are still always there for each other.

Your old dorm room is now filled with two freshmen trying to make it through their first year. They will never know all the memories that you made in that room, and how it used to be your home. You can only hope that they will have the relationship you had together to reflect on in the years to come.

Cover Image Credit: Katie Ward

Related Content

Connect with a generation
of new voices.

We are students, thinkers, influencers, and communities sharing our ideas with the world. Join our platform to create and discover content that actually matters to you.

Learn more Start Creating

Poetry On The Odyssey: Chasing Daffodils

My Vision Is Clear


In the day we chase daffodils

cradling their petals oh so delicately

as they fan their beauty in the sunlight

we hold white knuckled hands

ambling through the meadow

care free

but as the sky grows dark

and our vision blurs

that hand grows claws

painful to the touch, we release each other

and take off,

running so swiftly from the bears and the wolves and the vultures

that we forget to open our eyes

and find strength in each other

To combat these demons

with the force of a thousand warriors,

instead of silhouettes dancing in the night

Related Content

Facebook Comments