Biopics are all the rage these days; the rapid, fast paced nature of modern life has led to a growth in demand for information in a concise, engaging and entertaining format. Inevitably, the most revered and vilified cultural icons of the 20th Century have been immortalised in movie form, yet this way of increasing public knowledge simultaneously devours the historical importance of these figures. Some of these films simply lacked historical integrity and accuracy, whole others were heavily influenced by people depicted in them, leading to heroic interpretations of otherwise minor individuals. Then we have those individuals who are forever frozen in an image - Che Guevara is void of meaning, and because of this his 3 (yes 3!) films have done little more than further extend the market for T-shirts plastered with his image. Some of these films were critically acclaimed Oscar nominees; others were less well received. But it's key to remember that no matter how many stars appear, or how well acted the movie is, integrity remains one of the most important factors.
7. J Edgar
Topping off the list we have Clint Eastwood's 2011 film J Edgar. Based on the pretty spectacular life of the first FBI Director this entry starred Leonardo DiCaprio as the titular character, playing him from a young man to a dying octogenarian. Hoover was a peculiar man; he had an insatiable obsession with African American sexuality (to the point where he had a tape made of Martin Luther King Jr. taking part in an orgy, for the use in extortion), he had a strange obsession with his mother (allegedly dressing as her), and there is an abundance of rumours claiming he was secretly homosexual. Although the movie touched on the homosexual aspects of the man, and talked about the letter he sent trying to force Martin Luther King to commit suicide, the film failed to contextualise the man. By treating him in a vacuum the film failed to recognise the forces that made the man, as well as the people that enabled him to build a labyrinth library of files-supposedly keeping dirt on all the Presidents so he could stop them from firing him. Hoover was possibly the most powerful man in America during the fifties and sixties meant that the material was and continues to be contentious; it's hard to succeed by speaking ill of the dead, but the appeal of sensationalism clearly beat the historical integrity of the film.
A 21 year old History graduate looking for someone to listen to his ramblings. Lover of comic books, movies and all other superhero related things. Published in The Independent, always looking for interesting things to write about...Follow me on Twitter at @samclements1993, and check out my blog: http://samuelclements.wordpress.com/