If you’re looking for a good source of inspiration, looking at celebrity biographies might just be the creativity boost you’re looking for. While these films may vary in genre – from bubbly musicals to gritty dramas – they all have the same purpose: to tell the true stories of icons throughout history and to immortalize them forever on the big screen.
These celebrity biopics also contain standout performances by some of Hollywood’s most popular actors such as Rami Malek in the gentle song of Queen Freddie Mercury in
Bohemian Rhapsody and Natalie Portman as the resilient Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in Jackie . The haunting characterizations of these actors will not only leave you with a greater sense of knowing and appreciating the person they play, but also the actor who brings them to life. There’s a reason seven of the actors on this list won Oscars for their performances in those movies, after all.
Below are 13 celebrity biopics that are the perfect blend of enlightening, insightful, and entertaining. From Reginald Dwight’s transformation to superstar Elton John in
Rocketman to the creation of Facebook (and its subsequent pursuits) in Social network, there really is something for everyone on this list, whatever your mood. Be sure to bookmark this list as well, as we’ll continue to update it as more exciting biopics are released.
Jamie Foxx won the Oscar for Best Actor in 2004 with this film – and for good reason.
Ray tells the moving story of musician Ray Charles (Foxx), who loses his sight at a young age. His incredible talent at playing the piano and his ability to blend genres together place him in a career that spans decades and includes top hits like “Hit The Road Jack” and “Georgia On My Mind”, but drug addiction and infidelity make him lose almost everything.
Me, Tonya (2017)
Me, Tonya sees Margot Robbie step into the skates of Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding. The film chronicles the historical moments in Harding’s life, ranging from her childhood spent with dominant mother LaVona Golden (Allison Janney) to the infamous late-career controversy she was embroiled in when her ex-husband, Jeff Gillooly ( Sebastian Stan), planned an attack on his rival Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver). Bold and without excuse, Me, Tonya is a whirlwind full of performances that you will find yourself reviewing over and over again.
Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)
Is this real life? Is it just fantasy? Well, it’s a mix of the two! Bohemian Rhapsody details the humble origins of the now iconic rock band Queen to the band’s unforgettable performance at Live Aid in 1985. The musical is not only filled to the brim with incredible hits that will make you want to sing along, but also explores the backstory. background of out-of-this-world band leader Freddie Mercury, played by Rami Malek, and his relationships with fellow band members, partners, drugs and alcohol with authenticity and immense care.
The theory of everything (2014)
Based on the novel
Infinite Travel: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking, The theory of everything details the life of famous English physicist and writer Stephen Hawking from his days at Cambridge University until the film’s release in 2014. Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne delivers a masterful performance as Hawking, featuring value his brilliant mind and poignantly recounting his struggle with motor neuronal disease. While the film may be about larger-than-life concepts like black holes, The theory of everything is a film which also finds beauty in the little things in life.
Jackie allows audiences to sit at the table in a fictional and poignant interview with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis following the assassination of President John F. Kennedy in 1963. The film stars Natalie Portman, whose performance powerful and incredibly moving highlights Kennedy’s struggle to continue to inspire the country and keep his family afloat while going through his own intense grief. Raw, real and visceral, Jackie is a movie you can’t miss.
Go up (2014)
Get up and get ready to dance with this biopic about Soul Godfather James Brown. Played by the late Chadwick Boseman,
Go up tells the story of Brown from his childhood in Augusta, Georgia, to the lead singer of The Famous Flames to a full-fledged superstar. And, as no movie about a musician can be complete without fantastic performances, the movie is filled with hits that shaped Brown’s career like “Soul Power,” “Night Train,” and “Please, Please, Please.”
The King’s Speech (2010)
Before taking the throne, King George VI (Colin Firth) must first deal with the stutter that appears whenever he speaks. In an effort to help combat him, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), recommends that he start speech therapy with Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Their quest to find techniques that help King George navigate his stuttering spawns a fulfilling and enduring friendship between the two men.
Jennifer Lopez stars as Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in the 1997 biopic about the influential Latin singer. The film tells the story of Quintanilla’s life from her passionate childhood singing on stage with her family to an unforgettable star selling stadiums. Lopez captures Quintanilla’s bubbly and charming nature well throughout the film, but it’s the film’s heart-wrenching ending that will stay with you long after your first watch.
Social network (2010)
Directed by David Fincher,
Social network depicts the creation of Facebook from its humble origins of Mark Zuckerberg’s (Jesse Eisenberg) dormitory at Harvard to the website that is still visited by millions of people to this day. Written by Aaron Sorkin, the film is told through the lens of two separate depositions after Zuckerberg is sued by his former friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), as well as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer). For a movie on a website, its story is full of wit, betrayal, and heart.
Malcolm X (1992)
Denzel Washington delivers a thrilling performance as influential human and civil rights activist Malcolm X in his eponymous 1992 film.
The autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley, the film highlights key moments in Malcolm X’s life, including the loss of his parents at a young age, his introduction to the Nation of Islam while incarcerated, his speeches on justice Racialism During the Civil Rights Movement and Its Death in 1965 Directed by Spike Lee, this is a must-see movie that must be added to everyone’s list.
Let Taron Egerton take you back to when
rock was young as singer-songwriter Elton John announced in the musical Rocketman. The film highlights John’s transformation from Reginald Dwight to legendary Elton John and his lasting friendship with lyricist and collaborator Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell). Egerton perfectly embodies John’s larger-than-life personality and weaves a selection of John’s most popular songs, such as “Tiny Dancer” and “Your Song,” into the tapestry of his life with grace and skill. Egerton also sang and performed all of the songs in the movie, and if that’s not impressive I don’t know what it is.
The Queen (2006)
Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) wonders how best to run the country and its people after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 in the 2006 film
The Queen. The situation is only exacerbated by the perceived lack of response by the grieving public from the Royal Family following Diana’s death. As new Prime Minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) tries to help the royal family, he too is facing backlash. As the conversation around the Royal Family turns into a public uproar, the Queen must carefully decide on her next steps in an ever-changing world.
Judas and the Black Messiah (2021)
Judas and the Black Messiah is the story of two men: President Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) of the Illinois branch of the Black Panther Party, and William “Bill” O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield). After stealing a car, O’Neal is told by FBI manager Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) that his charges will be dropped if he infiltrates the Black Panther Party and provides the FBI with information on his deepest workings . As O’Neal’s role within the party continues to grow, he finds himself stuck in the midst of a life and death situation that has violent and tragic ends. Kaluuya won the Best Supporting Actor award at the 2021 Oscars for this role.