Telling the story of real-world individuals through the medium of film, biopics and historical films have been a cinematic staple for a number of years now. They are typically highly regarded by critics, and a number of actors and actresses have recently secured Academy Award wins for their portrayals of figures such as Abraham Lincoln (Daniel Day Lewis), Harvey Milk (Sean Penn), Edith Piaf (Marion Cotillard), King George VI (Colin Firth), Margaret Thatcher (Meryl Streep) and Ray Charles (Jamie Foxx).
Many films in the genre use a degree of artistic license to tell their story, usually by omitting minor events in the individual’s life, creating composites of similar supporting characters or by making chronological alterations. In some films, these changes are minor and barely noticeable but other films, such as the ten featured on this list, feature more dramatic deviations from actual events.
This is not necessarily a bad thing, as tinkering with reality often allows for a more cohesive, entertaining and enjoyable film. For the sake of clarity, however, this piece looks to separate fact from fiction. Films that merely use real people in a predominantly fictional story, such as The Untouchables, The Last King Of Scotland or The Social Network have been excluded, lest the line between a biopic/historical film and a straight-up drama be blurred.
So without further ado, and in alphabetical order…
This article was first posted on May 2, 2013