10 best biopics, according to ranking

The release of Elvis, the new biopic by Baz Luhrmann, which focuses on one of the most important figures in the history of music, is a testament to the power of this particular cinematic genre. It skillfully weaves the story of Elvis’ life, never losing sight of the power of its central drama.

In that regard, it has a lot in common with the many other great biopics that have graced theaters for years. Luckily for those yearning to see real life brought to the screen in a compelling way, Ranker users have helpfully identified a number of other great biopics.

To note: private soldier the lists are live and continue to accrue votes, so some rankings may have changed after this posting.


ten Coal Miner’s Daughter (1980)

Not available to stream

The musical biopic is often one of the most popular subgenres, and there are many great examples of the genre. One of the most important of them is coal miner’s daughterwhich focuses on the unlikely career of Loretta Lynn.

Sissy Spacek delivers a career-best performance in the role, and the film deftly captures the many obstacles she faced, from her poor upbringing to the pressures created by her meteoric rise to fame. By the end, however, the film makes it clear that Lynn has succeeded through her own drive and ambition. The film is strong on its own merits, but its popularity may have also been boosted with voters due to another high-profile musical biopic hitting theaters.

9 Amedee (1984)

Not available to stream

Antoni Salieri looks angry in Amadeus

Few composers have quite the status of Mozart, who is among those whose name is familiar to almost everyone. He is also the subject of the film Amedee, even if his life is framed by his (fictional) rivalry with the composer Salieri. While it takes a lot of liberties with the actual story, there’s no doubt that the movie nonetheless manages to capture the spirit of the times.

However, there is no doubt that its lavish production values ​​and the powerful performances of F. Murray Abraham and Tom Hulce as Salieri and Mozart, respectively, elevate this film over other similar bipics and keep it well-regarded among viewers, like those who took to Ranker.

8 Casino (1995)

Stream on Hulu

Nicky with the other gangsters talks about how Carmine left at the Casino

Few directors have had such a distinguished career as Martin Scorsese, who has consistently shown he has a deep understanding of the American psyche. In movies like Casinoit focuses on the life of Robert De Niro’s Sam Rothstein as he copes with both his job as a casino handicapper and the changes in Las Vegas.

As is often the case with Scorsese, the film is epic in its ambitions and it deftly explores the unfolding of a key period in American history through the experiences of one man. It’s easy to see why a movie with such a strong cast of ever-loved actors would continue to draw fans decades later.

seven Braveheart (1995)

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Mel Gibson as William Wallace in combat in Braveheart

Few films of the 1990s achieved such success as Brave heart, which follows the adventures of Mel Gibson‘s William Wallace as he sets out to free Scotland from English rule. Although it is full of historical inaccuracies, the film nevertheless succeeds because it shows how important one man can be to the unfolding of history.

Plus, there’s no doubt that Gibson shines in the role, allowing viewers to feel and empathize with Wallace as he puts himself in personal danger in his pursuit of something bigger than his own life. Although Gibson has been the subject of his share of controversy, either enough time has passed for voters to have a more positive opinion of the actor, or they are simply able to separate the artist from the artist. .

6 A Beautiful Mind (2001)

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Ron Howard had a long career in Hollywood, and he left his mark as a director and actor. a beautiful spirit is one of his finest directorial efforts, focusing as it does on the extraordinary life and career of John Nash, a brilliant mathematician who battled schizophrenia.

The film is a remarkable achievement, as it not only contains a realistic depiction of mental illness – immersing the viewer in the uncertain world of Nash – but it is also sophisticated in its depiction of mathematics. So it’s a complex portrait of a very complex man.

5 Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Stream on Netflix

Leonardo DiCaprio as Frank Abagnale in Catch Me If You Can

Leonardo DiCaprio has starred in many great films, but one of his best is Catch Me If You Can, in which he plays notorious con man Frank Abagnale, who has successfully adopted a number of identities and managed to escape apprehension. While the film doesn’t ignore his exploits, it doesn’t shy away from richer emotional material either. It sheds particular light on Abagnale’s complicated relationship with her father.

There is also an undeniable chemistry between DiCaprio and Tom Hanks, who plays the FBI agent determined to bring Abagnale to justice. The film may have remained as popular as it has been with Ranker voters due to DiCaprio’s nearly unparalleled popularity throughout the many phases of his career.

4 Ray (2004)

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Ray-Jamie Foxx

Some biopics become almost hagiographic in their approach to their subject, but this is not the attitude taken by Ray, the highly-received biopic about famed musician Ray Charles. Jamie Foxx digs deep into his portrayal of this extraordinary talent, a man who overcame both poverty and blindness to achieve global success.

At the same time, the movie doesn’t shy away from some of the less pleasant parts of Charles’ personality and life. The result is an intricate portrait of this complicated figure, a testament to both Foxx’s performance and Taylor Hackford’s direction.

3 Walk the Line (2005)

Stream on Disney+

Joaquin Phoenix has long been renowned for his ability to inhabit complex, often enigmatic characters, and this is very much in evidence in walk the line, the biopic about country music star Johnny Cash. The movie is notable for a number of reasons, including the phenomenal chemistry between Phoenix and her co-star Reese Witherspoon (who plays June Carter Cash).

Plus, having the two stars do their own singing adds another layer of authenticity and richness to their performance, allowing this biopic to truly rise above many others.

2 Goodfellas (1990)

Stream on Netflix

Jimmy smokes a cigarette in Goodfellas

Throughout his career, Martin Scorsese has shown an extraordinary interest in crime, and this is evident in Freedmen.

The film, which focuses on mobster Harry Hill (played by frequent Scorsese collaborator Robert De Niro), features dynamic performances from the entire cast (much of whom were originally ad libbed), as well as Scorsese’s keen sense of what makes film work as a medium. As a result, the movie not only becomes one of the best biopics but also one of the best gangster movies.

1 Schindler’s List (1994)

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Steven Spielberg has consistently shown himself to be one of Hollywood’s most versatile directors, working across a wide range of genres. However, one of his most important films is arguably Schindler’s list. Focusing on the Holocaust — specifically Liam Neeson’s Oskar Schindler’s efforts to save the lives of many Jews — it’s a dark, beautiful, and difficult film that fits its all-important subject matter.

It is a deep reflection on a man and his efforts to be a decent human being during one of the most serious human rights catastrophes in modern history. Given these timeless themes, it’s no surprise that no other biopic hits so hard in the minds of Ranker voters.

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