18 Best Biopic Movies That You Should Watching Update 06/2024

Best Biopic Movies

People enjoy seeing movies about actual people’s stories.

Awards are presented to actors who play historical individuals, and spectators learn more about them.

Insider has compiled a list of the 18 finest Netflix biopics, arranged by year of release.

More stories can be found on the Insider homepage.

1. ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ (1967)

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway starred as Bonnie and Clyde, the famed bank robbers of the Great Depression, in this film.

Oscar nominations went to both actors for their renditions of the characters. In reality, the film was nominated for five acting awards in total, including best supporting actress for Estelle Parsons.

2. ‘The Pianist’ (2002)

Wadysaw Szpilman, a Holocaust survivor, earned best director for this film, which is based on his autobiography.

For Adrien Brody’s critically lauded performance as Szpilman, the film won best actor.

3. ‘Milk’ (2008)

In “Milk,” the tale of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician elected to public office in California, is told by Gus Van Sant.

In addition to Sean Penn, James Franco, Josh Brolin, and Diego Luna all played pivotal roles in Milk, which received an Academy Award for best supporting actor.

Dustin Lance Black wrote the screenplay and was nominated for an Oscar for it.

4. ‘Ip Man’ (2008)

'Ip Man' (2008)

To date, “Ip Man” has been the definitive account of Ip Man, a Wing Chun grandmaster and Bruce Lee’s teacher.

These biographical films have a distinct visual aesthetic thanks to their superb cinematography and choreography.

It’s also good news. If you want to see the complete “Ip Man” series, you can find it all on Netflix.

5. ‘The Social Network’ (2010)

For this film, Aaron Sorkin’s brilliant screenplay serves as the foundation for Mark Zuckerberg’s journey to develop what would become known as Facebook.

Besides Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake and Rooney Mara, the rest of the cast does an excellent job as well. Even though David Fincher was a strong contender for best director, the film only won for Sorkin’s script.

6. ‘My Week With Marylin’ (2011)

Marilyn Monroe biopics have been done before, but none have come close to Michelle Williams’ performance as the legendary actress.

One week in 1956, Monroe was filming the 1957 picture “The Prince and the Showgirl” with Laurence Olivier. This film smartly focuses on this one week of filming (played in this film by Kenneth Branagh).

Monroe is shown about London by a young, aspiring filmmaker while filming in the city (Eddie Redmayne).

7. ‘The Iron Lady’ (2011)

'The Iron Lady' (2011)

Meryl Streep took home her third Oscar for her performance as Margaret Thatcher in this biography, winning best actress.

Streep’s portrayal alone is worth the price of admission, as we see Thatcher’s life from her early days as a young politician to her time as Prime Minister and her decline in health.

8. ‘Get on Up’ (2011)

His performance as James Brown in “Get on Up” is one of Chadwick Boseman’s most memorable roles.

Brown’s life story is told in full in this biopic, which chronicles his ascent from obscurity to fame as one of the most recognizable performers of all time.

9. ‘Fruitvale Station’ (2013)

Oscar Grant III, starring Michael B. Jordan, was a turning point in the actor’s career.

It follows Oscar on the final day of 2008, when he was slain by police, and also includes fellow future MCU actor Brie Larson.

10. ‘Philomena’ (2013)

'Philomena' (2013)

The actor and screenwriter Steve Coogan shifted gears from comedic to dramatic roles in this film, which he also directed (with Jeff Pope).

When an elderly Irish woman (Judi Dench) was forced to live in a convent, she was taken away from her son by nuns, and Coogan plays a journalist who volunteers to cover her story.

Dench was nominated for an Oscar for her witty and heartfelt performance in the film.

11. ‘The Theory of Everything’ (2014)

In this film, Eddie Redmayne portrays Stephen Hawking and Felicity Jones portrays Jane Hawking, Hawking’s ex-wife, from their days as students at the University of Cambridge to Hawking’s diagnosis of amyotrophic lateral sclerosis and beyond.

Both Jones and Redmayne were nominated for an Oscar for their roles in this film.

12. ‘Legend’ (2015)

It’s another another example of an actor’s performance outshining their own movie. Tom Hardy plays both Ronnie and Reggie Kray in “Legend,” a film about the rise and fall of the notorious gangsters.

In both characters, Hardy is completely unrecognisable, and this picture is worth seeing just for him.

13. ‘Trumbo’ (2015)

'Trumbo' (2015)

“Spartacus,” “Roman Holiday,” and “The Brave One” screenwriter Dalton Trumbo garnered Bryan Cranston his first and (so far) only Oscar nomination for his portrayal of Trumbo.

This movie chronicles Trumbo’s rise to prominence in the film industry, culminating in his blacklisting from Hollywood for being a communist member of the United States of America.

14. ‘Steve Jobs’ (2015)

Aaron Sorkin provided the script for this fascinating look at the late Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.

By focusing on three major product introductions, the film brilliantly reveals Jobs’ personality both at work and at home.

Despite the film’s turbulent past, which included multiple cast and director changes, Michael Fassbender excels as Steve Jobs in the starring role. Kate Winslet and he were both Oscar nominees.

15. ‘The Founder’ (2016)

This is the narrative of how McDonald’s become one of the world’s most recognizable brands.

starring Michael Keaton as Ray Kroc, who snatched the McDonald brothers’ fast food business from beneath their feet and became one of the most successful businessmen in the world.

16. ‘The Two Popes’ (2019)

'The Two Popes' (2019)

A two-hour movie of two Popes speaking might not sound exciting, but in reality it’s a fascinating experience.

Written by the scribe behind “The Theory of Everything.” Future popes Francis, Benedict XVI, and Anthony Hopkins are played by Anthony McCarten, Jonathan Pryce, and Anthony Hopkins, respectively.

As Pope Benedict’s term as head of the Catholic Church draws to a close, the two men engage in a series of debates over wit, principles, and differing viewpoints.

17. ‘Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile’ (2019)

Ted Bundy, the serial killer played by High School Musical alum Zac Efron, is Efron’s deadliest ever portrayal.

We learn about the awful character of one of America’s most known killers from the perspective of his longterm lover Liz (Lily Collins), who refused to believe the truth about Bundy.

18. ‘Mank’ (2020)

'Mank' (2020)

David Fincher’s Oscar-nominated and two-time winner “Citizen Kane” examines the life and work of Hollywood screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz.

Both Oldman and Amanda Seyfried received Oscar nominations for their roles as Marion Davies and Mankiewicz, respectively.

Reel-change cigarette burns are used to signify when the film reels need to be changed in Fincher’s 1940s-style film.