Special Report

These Are the Best Movies Made About Real People

Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

They say that truth is often stranger than fiction and the following movies are here to prove it. Each title takes direct inspiration from a real-life person or persons, people whose stories were considered by filmmakers, and/or the writers on whose works the films are based, to be too interesting or too important to ignore. 

As one might expect, the screenwriters and directors took creative liberties when they deemed it necessary. That’s not to suggest that the original people or events weren’t provocative enough in their own right, but rather that real life doesn’t always fit neatly into a tight storyline or cinematic runtime. (The same issue often demanded changes in these 50 best movies based on true events).

Click here to see the best movies made about real people

To identify the best movies made about real people, 24/7 Tempo created a list of biographical feature films from several sources, excluding documentaries. Next we developed an index based on each movie’s rating on IMDb, an online movie database owned by Amazon, and audience score and Tomatometer score on Rotten Tomatoes, an online movie and TV review aggregator. All ratings and scores were weighted equally. Only films with at least 4,000 reviews on IMDb and a runtime greater than one hour were considered. Data was collected in mid-March 2021. Supplemental data on domestic box office by movie came from The Numbers, an online movie database owned by consulting firm Nash Information Services. Cast information comes from IMDb.

Being that human experience covers a full range of emotions and themes, so too do the best movies about that experience. Films such as “Hotel Rwanda” and “The Killing Fields” present harrowing stories of genocide and survival, finding hope through the power of perseverance and sacrifice. By contrast, movies like “Dog Day Afternoon” and “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid” or even “The Right Stuff” inject occasional comedy into otherwise dramatic events. Indeed, modern viewers know all too well that something can be both vital and absurd at the very same time. 

These films and 45 more are included in 24/7 Tempo’s list of the best movies made about real people. For another approach to true-life stories, literary rather than cinematic, here’s a list of 20 of the most popular autobiographies of all time.

Source: Courtesy of Netflix

50. Dolemite Is My Name (2019)
> Index score: 2.63 — #952 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: No data available
> Starring: Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps, Craig Robinson

Eddie Murphy scored rave reviews for his depiction of blaxploitation icon Rudy Ray Moore in this acclaimed biopic. The project was in development for 15 years before finally arriving on Netflix. In real life, Murphy and Mooore had met in person on a few occasions.

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

49. Captain Phillips (2013)
> Index score: 2.63 — #937 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $120.7 million
> Starring: Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Barkhad Abdirahman, Catherine Keener

Director Paul Greengrass found a perfect outlet for his handheld shooting style in the story of hijacked ship captain Richard Phillips (played by Tom Hanks). Based on a book by the real-life Philips, it depicts the captain as a courageous leader and calculating decision-maker. According to former crewmates, however, he was the exact opposite.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

48. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
> Index score: 2.64 — #894 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $660 million
> Starring: Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Katharine Ross, Strother Martin

Wild west outlaws Robert LeRoy Parker (played by Paul Newman) and Harry Longabaugh (played by Robert Redford) inspired this iconic dramedy and its violent finale. It won four Academy Awards, including one for William Goldman’s seminal screenplay.

Source: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

47. The Imitation Game (2014)
> Index score: 2.64 — #894 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $102.2 million
> Starring: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech

Andrew Hodges’ biography of math genius Alan Turing laid the groundwork for this Oscar-winning biopic, set during WWII. Tasked with cracking the German Enigma code, Turing (played by Benedict Cumberbatch) helps pave the way for modern computing. The film reportedly takes various liberties in its portrayal.

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

46. Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters (1985)
> Index score: 2.64 — #894 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $1.1 million
> Starring: Ken Ogata, Masayuki Shionoya, Hiroshi Mikami, Junya Fukuda

From the screenwriter of “Taxi Driver” — Paul Schrader, also a noted director — comes this fictionalized account of Japanese author and political figure Yukio Mishima (played by Ken Ogata). Divided into four chapters, it blends real-life occurrences with dramatized events from the author’s own books.

Source: Courtesy of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer

45. Napoleon (1927)
> Index score: 2.64 — #880 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: No data available
> Starring: Albert Dieudonne Vladimir Roudenko, Edmond Van Daele, Alexandre Koubitzky

This sprawling French silent film interprets Napoleon’s early years through both the literal and figurative lens of director Abel Gance. Its dexterous use of editing methods and shooting techniques would later influence French New Wave filmmakers.

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Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

44. Gentleman Jim (1942)
> Index score: 2.65 — #822 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: No data available
> Starring: Errol Flynn, Alexis Smith, Jack Carson, Alan Hale

Long before “Rocky” and “Raging Bull,” there was the true story of bare-knuckle boxer Jim Corbett (played by Errol Flynn), who made up for his arrogance through sheer determination and talent. Watch him rise in the ranks as he changes the sport and makes plenty of enemies along the way. The film holds a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

43. The Killing Fields (1984)
> Index score: 2.65 — #787 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $94.4 million
> Starring: Sam Waterston, Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands

Two journalists witness the atrocities of genocide firsthand in this historical drama, which takes place in Cambodia during a regime change. It was nominated for seven Academy Awards, winning three.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

42. Argo (2012)
> Index score: 2.66 — #743 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $156.5 million
> Starring: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin

Ben Affleck’s thriller chronicles a 1979 hostage rescue mission, during which the CIA penetrated enemy lines under the guise of a movie production. Loosely based on actual events, it’s been accused of downplaying the Canadian government’s participation in the real-life operation.

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Source: Courtesy of New Yorker Films

41. The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser (1974)
> Index score: 2.66 — #739 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: No data available
> Starring: Bruno S., Walter Ladengast, Brigitte Mira, Willy Semmelrogge

Director Werner Herzog tells the strange (and supposedly true) story of Kaspar Hauser, who appeared out of nowhere in Nuremberg circa 1828. Using Hauser’s own letters as a guide, it follows the title character out of captivity and into a public life. The real-life man was no less an enigma, whose backstory is shrouded in speculation.

Source: Courtesy of The Samuel Goldwyn Company

40. Henry V (1989)
> Index score: 2.67 — #707 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $23.3 million
> Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Simon Shepherd, James Larkin

One among a number of Shakespeare adaptations from Kenneth Branagh, “Henry V” plays it close to the source material. Tensions between England and France give way to all out warfare as the young king (Branagh) surmounts a sea of struggles. Citing top-notch performances and gritty battle sequences, critics were universal in their acclaim.

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Source: Courtesy of Orion Classics

39. My Father’s Glory (1990)
> Index score: 2.67 — #687 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $3.7 million
> Starring: Philippe Caubere, Nathalie Roussel, Didier Pain, Therese Liotard

Cultures collide in this charming French drama, which takes place at the turn of the 19th century. Based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Marcel Pagnol, it chronicles the friendship between two young boys from very different backgrounds.

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

38. Glory (1989)
> Index score: 2.67 — #650 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $61.6 million
> Starring: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman

This Civil War drama tells the story of the first all-African-American volunteer regiment for the Union Army. It’s partly based on the letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (played by Matthew Broderick), who commanded the regiment in real life. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Denzel Washington.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

37. Hidden Figures (2016)
> Index score: 2.67 — #650 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $179.6 million
> Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner

The U.S. space program would not be where it is today if not for the efforts of three African-American female mathematicians. This blockbuster film shines a light on their vital contributions and focuses on Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson), in particular. It earned over $235 million at the worldwide box office.

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Source: Courtesy of Spyglass Entertainment

36. The Insider (1999)
> Index score: 2.67 — #657 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $52.4 million
> Starring: Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Diane Venora

Director Michael Mann followed his heist classic “Heat” with a different kind of thriller, starring Russell Crowe as real-life whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand. Adapted from a Vanity Fair article, it pits Wigand against the tobacco industry in his effort to expose the truth about cigarettes. Al Pacino plays “60 Minutes” producer Lowell Bergman, who must outwit adversarial forces of his own when bringing the story to light.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

35. The Right Stuff (1983)
> Index score: 2.67 — #657 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $62.5 million
> Starring: Sam Shepard, Scott Glenn, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid

Based on Tom Wolfe’s bestselling novel, this biographical drama takes viewers behind the scenes of America’s space program. It portrays a team of fearless pilots turned astronauts, each one brought to life by a talented actor. Despite opening to critical acclaim, the film underperformed at the domestic box office.

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Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

34. My Darling Clementine (1946)
> Index score: 2.67 — #657 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: No data available
> Starring: Henry Fonda, Linda Darnell, Victor Mature, Cathy Downs

When his brother is murdered, Wyatt Earp (played by Henry Fonda) embarks down a path of revenge in this John Ford Western. It sets most of the action in the infamous town of Tombstone and builds toward a historic gunfight at the OK Corral. This is one of many films to fictionalize Earp’s story.

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

33. Dallas Buyers Club (2013)
> Index score: 2.68 — #620 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $30.8 million
> Starring: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Steve Zahn

Matthew McConaughey won an Oscar for his portrayal of HIV-positive electrician Ron Woodroof in this gut-wrenching biopic. As the AIDS crisis devastates his community, Woodroof skirts around the system to get unapproved medications into the hands of those who need them.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

32. Inherit the Wind (1960)
> Index score: 2.68 — #601 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: No data available
> Starring: Spencer Tracy, Fredric March, Gene Kelly, Dick York

A science teacher is accused of teaching Darwinist theory in this courtroom drama, which examines notions of blind faith and groupthink. While inspired by the Scopes “Monkey” Trial of 1925, the film (and the play it adapted) was crafted in direct response to McCarthyism and Hollywood blacklisting.

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Source: Courtesy of Miramax

31. Il Postino (1994)
> Index score: 2.68 — #615 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $49.1 million
> Starring: Massimo Troisi, Philippe Noiret, Maria Grazia Cucinotta, Renato Scarpa

This award-winning drama imagines a fictional friendship between real-life Chilean poet Pablo Neruda and his postman. Much of the story takes place when Neruda is in exile, blending romantic themes with political turmoil. It’s based on a 1983 film called “Ardiente paciencia,” which was later turned into a novel.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

30. All the President’s Men (1976)
> Index score: 2.69 — #551 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $219.5 million
> Starring: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam

Reporters Bob Woodward (played by Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (played by Dustin Hoffman) crack open the Watergate scandal in this epoch-making thriller. Featuring laser-sharp dialogue and top-notch performances, the film is credited with turning investigative journalists into heroes of their time. It won four Academy Awards.

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Source: Courtesy of United Artists

29. The Miracle Worker (1962)
> Index score: 2.69 — #518 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: No data available
> Starring: Anne Bancroft, Patty Duke, Victor Jory, Inga Swenson

Writer William Gibson adapted his own Broadway play when penning the script for this award-winning biopic. It tells the story of Annie Sullivan (played by Anne Bancroft), the blind tutor who taught Hellen Keller (played by Patty Duke) how to communicate. Both Bancroft and Duke had previously starred in the Broadway production.

Source: Courtesy of 20th Century Fox

28. Patton (1970)
> Index score: 2.70 — #490 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $347.0 million
> Starring: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Michael Strong

George C. Scott delivers an Oscar-winning performance as George S. Patton in this biographical drama, with a script co-written by Francis Ford Coppola. Spanning the final years of WWII, it depicts the general’s controversial strategies and infamous temper. The film won seven Academy Awards overall, including Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Original Screenplay.

Source: Courtesy of New Yorker Films

27. Aguirre, the Wrath of God (1972)
> Index score: 2.70 — #490 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: No data available
> Starring: Klaus Kinski, Ruy Guerra, Helena Rojo, Del Negro

The first of five collaborations between director Werner Herzog and actor Klaus Kinski, this one offers a fictionalized account of Lope de Aguirre (played by Kinski). Shot on location in the Peruvian rainforest, it follows the mad conquistador on his search for El Dorado, the lost city of gold. Kinski’s natural intensity and the jungle’s hostile terrain infuse the work with an air of constant peril.

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Source: Courtesy of Buena Vista Pictures

26. The Straight Story (1999)
> Index score: 2.70 — #466 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $11.2 million
> Starring: Richard Farnsworth, Sissy Spacek, Jane Galloway Heitz, Joseph A. Carpenter

David Lynch took a break from his surrealist fare to helm this G-rated drama, in which an ailing man (Richard Farnsworth) journeys cross-country via lawnmower. It’s based on the true story of Alvin Straight, who made a similar trip in 1994. When Straight passed away two years later, there was a lawnmower at his funeral procession.

Source: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

25. The King’s Speech (2010)
> Index score: 2.70 — #466 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $161.1 million
> Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi

Suddenly ascended to the throne, King George VI (played by Colin Firth) must quickly overcome his stammer in this critical and commercial smash. He enlists the help of an Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush), who employs unconventional methods and becomes a close friend. The film raked in over $420 million at the worldwide box office and won four major Academy Awards.

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Source: Courtesy of Miramax

24. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
> Index score: 2.70 — #466 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $8.0 million
> Starring: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josee Croze, Anne Consigny

From accomplished painter and director Julian Schnabel comes the true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby (played by Mathieu Amalric). Suffering from a unique form of paralysis known as locked-in syndrome, the former playboy can move only his left eye. The story is mainly presented from Bauby’s point of view, drifting between reality and memory as he learns to communicate.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

23. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
> Index score: 2.70 — #466 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $210.6 million
> Starring: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen, Sully Boyar

A Life magazine article called “The Boys in the Bank” inspired this iconic heist movie, which punctuates intense drama with occasional comic relief. Playing two clueless bank robbers to perfection, Al Pacino and John Cazale become living examples of Murphy’s Law. As farcical the events may seem, the film gradually reveals a humane core.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

22. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
> Index score: 2.70 — #449 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $34.7 million
> Starring: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix, Xolani Mali

A hotel manager (Don Cheadle) and his wife (Sophie Okonedo) become unlikely heroes during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. By providing shelter to over a thousand Tutsi refugees, the couple puts their own lives on the line. Gripping from start to finish, this true story offers an unforgettable depiction of political brutality.

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Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

21. The Elephant Man (1980)
> Index score: 2.70 — #449 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $88.6 million
> Starring: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud

Deemed ugly by society, a disfigured man (John Hurt) reveals the beauty and intelligence lying within. So goes this black-and-white biopic from David Lynch, based on the true story of Joseph Carey Merrick. Executive producer Mel Brooks purposefully left his name off the credits so that audiences wouldn’t go in expecting a comedy.

Source: Courtesy of Fox Searchlight Pictures

20. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
> Index score: 2.70 — #449 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $63.9 million
> Starring: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt

Ripped straight from the pages of Solomon Northup’s own memoir, this harrowing biopic follows the free northern man (played by Chiwetel Ejiofor) into southern slavery. As he struggles to keep both his life and his dignity intact, Northup must contend with a sadistic slave owner (Michael Fassbender). The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Picture.

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Source: Courtesy of DreamWorks Distribution

19. Catch Me If You Can (2002)
> Index score: 2.70 — #449 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $260.0 million
> Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen

Behold the wild but true story of master con artist Frank Abagnale Jr. (played by Leonardo DiCaprio), who impersonates various professions with impressive success. As exciting and lucrative the journey may seem, it’s also filled with perpetual loneliness and paranoia. The real-life Abagnale is now a security consultant who gives occasional speeches on both his personal exploits and modern scams.

Source: Courtesy of Newmarket Films

18. Downfall (2004)
> Index score: 2.70 — #448 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $8.1 million
> Starring: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Köhler

This German-language drama attempts to shed light on Hitler’s final days inside a Berlin bunker, as witnessed by his secretary Traudl Junge. The depiction is based on various accounts and at least two direct source materials, one being Junge’s personal memoir.

Source: Courtesy of No Distributor Found

17. Togo (2019)
> Index score: 2.71 — #397 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: No data available
> Starring: Willem Dafoe, Julianne Nicholson, Christopher Heyerdahl, Richard Dormer

This daunting adventure portrays the 1925 serum run to Nome — aka The Great Mercy Race — during which teams of sled dogs delivered vital medication to a remote Alaskan town. Against all odds, musher Leonhard “Sepp” Seppala (played by Willem Dafoe) and his dog Togo endure the longest portion of the relay.

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Source: Courtesy of Janus Films

16. Ivan the Terrible, Part II (1958)
> Index score: 2.72 — #365 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: No data available
> Starring: Nikolay Cherkasov, Serafima Birman, Pavel Kadochnikov, Mikhail Zharov

The last film from Russian director Sergei M. Eisenstein (best known for 1925’s “Battleship Potemkin”) is the second in a two-part series. An exploration of political power, it finds Czar Ivan IV grappling with various foes. It was initially completed in 1946 but not released until 1958 due to a ban from Stalin.

Source: Courtesy of Sony Pictures Classics

15. Persepolis (2007)
> Index score: 2.72 — #346 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $5.9 million
> Starring: Chiara Mastroianni, Catherine Deneuve, Gena Rowlands, Danielle Darrieux

Co-director Marjane Satrapi adapted her own graphic novel when bringing this animated drama to the big screen. Set against the Iranian Revolution, it follows young Marjane to a boarding school in Vienna. At the story’s heart is a theme of personal identity as it relates to one’s cultural background.

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Source: Courtesy of United Artists

14. Raging Bull (1980)
> Index score: 2.72 — #320 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $79.6 million
> Starring: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent

Released at the tail end of the American New Wave, Scorsese’s black-and-white biopic spends multiple years in the life of boxer Jake LaMotta (Robert De Niro). As the story alternates between professional bouts and domestic struggles, the line between both worlds starts to diminish. The film won two Academy Awards, including Best Actor for De Niro.

Source: Courtesy of Miramax

13. My Left Foot (1989)
> Index score: 2.73 — #309 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $33.8 million
> Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Brenda Fricker, Alison Whelan, Kirsten Sheridan

Daniel Day-Lewis stars as Irish artist Christy Brown, who suffers from cerebral palsy and learns to paint and write using only his left foot. Striving for authenticity, Day-Lewis spent countless hours with Brown’s actual family and remained in character behind the scenes. He earned universal accolades for his performance along with an Academy Award for Best Actor.

Source: Courtesy of Rank Film Distributors of America

12. A Night to Remember (1958)
> Index score: 2.73 — #309 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: No data available
> Starring: Kenneth More, Ronald Allen, Robert Ayres, Honor Blackman

Adapted from a book of the same name, this historical drama depicts the final night aboard the RMS Titanic. Presumed to be unsinkable, the luxurious passenger ship famously hits an iceberg and proves otherwise. According to some critics, this film is superior to James Cameron’s 1997 blockbuster.

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Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

11. Andrei Rublev (1966)
> Index score: 2.73 — #291 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $750,000
> Starring: Anatoliy Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolay Grinko, Nikolay Sergeev

Russian master Andrei Tarkovsky presents the trials and tribulations of 15th-century icon painter St. Andrei Rublev. Sweeping in scope, the film renders its own poetic language while exploring themes of artistic freedom and perseverance. It was originally censored by Soviet authorities and later re-cut for American audiences, leading to the existence of several versions.

Source: Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

10. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
> Index score: 2.74 — #273 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $404.6 million
> Starring: Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn

A benchmark in blockbuster cinema, David Lean’s sprawling classic tells the story of British officer T.E. Lawrence (played by Peter O’Toole). On assignment in Arabia, Lawrence is tasked with uniting Arab tribes in a fight against the Turks. The film won seven Academy Awards and imparted a lasting influence on future directors such as Steven Spielberg.

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

9. In the Name of the Father (1993)
> Index score: 2.74 — #252 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $55.5 million
> Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite, Alison Crosbie, Philip King

Daniel Day-Lewis re-teamed with director Jim Sheridan for this harrowing drama, in which Irishman Gerry Conlon (played by Day-Lewis) is falsely imprisoned for an I.R.A. bombing. It was adapted from the real-life Conlon’s own autobiography, “Proved Innocent: The Story of Gerry Conlon of the Guildford Four.”

Source: Courtesy of Open Road Films

8. Spotlight (2015)
> Index score: 2.75 — #200 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $49.0 million
> Starring: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber

Delivered in an unfettered style, this award-winning drama follows Boston Globe reporters as they investigate a history of child abuse and cover-ups within the local Catholic Archdiocese. Many of the actors prepared for their roles by spending time with their real-life counterparts. The film won Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay at the 2016 Academy Awards.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

7. Ford v Ferrari (2019)
> Index score: 2.75 — #200 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $117.6 million
> Starring: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe

At the behest of automaker Ford, car designer Carroll Shelby (played by Matt Damon) and racer Ken Miles (played by Christian Bale) take on Ferrari in this high-octane drama. They have just 90 days to craft a contender, which Miles will race at the 24 Hours of Le Mans. Come for the thrilling car sequences, stay for the terrific performances.

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Source: Courtesy of Orion Pictures

6. Amadeus (1984)
> Index score: 2.76 — #183 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $141.7 million
> Starring: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice

While riddled with inaccuracies, Milos Forman’s biopic about Amadeus Mozart offers its own unique truths about the nature of genius. The brilliant composer’s natural gifts are matched with a child-like whimsy, which only fuels the antagonistic obsessions of rival Antonio Salieri (played by F. Murray Abraham). It’s based on a play by Peter Shaffer, who also wrote the Oscar-winning script.

Source: Courtesy of M.J. Gourland

5. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
> Index score: 2.76 — #163 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $716,000
> Starring: Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley, Maurice Schutz

This silent-era classic features groundbreaking direction and a timeless performance from Renée Maria Falconetti. Based on actual records, it depicts the trial and execution of legendary martyr Joan of Arc (played by Falconetti). With its distinct use of close-ups, the film reaps lasting impact out of expressive gestures.

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Source: Courtesy of Janus Films

4. Mirror (1975)
> Index score: 2.77 — #139 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $812,000
> Starring: Margarita Terekhova, Filipp Yankovskiy, Ignat Daniltsev, Oleg Yankovskiy

Employing a nonlinear and surrealist style, Russian director Andrei Tarkovsky channels his own life story in this semi-autobiographical drama. It juxtaposes personal memories with historical events to create a complex tapestry of human experience. Somewhat polarizing upon its debut, the work is now considered an outright classic.

Source: Courtesy of Focus Features

3. The Pianist (2002)
> Index score: 2.81 — #52 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $51.4 million
> Starring: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Emilia Fox

Based on Władysław Szpilman’s memoir of the same name, this Holocaust drama follows the accomplished Jewish pianist (played by Adrien Brody) into the Warsaw Ghetto. As he hides out among the ruins, Szpilman struggles desperately to survive. It won three Academy Awards.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

2. Goodfellas (1990)
> Index score: 2.86 — #11 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $101.5 million
> Starring: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco

Arguably the most influential film of the modern era, Scorcese’s gangster epic chronicles three decades in the life of mob affiliate Henry Hill (Ray Liotta). Deft camerawork and unconventional storytelling set new standards for editing and pacing alike, which isn’t to mention the quotable dialogue and iconic performances. It’s adapted from the book “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi, who co-wrote the script with Scorsese.

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Source: Courtesy of Universal Pictures

1. Schindler’s List (1993)
> Index score: 2.90 — #4 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $214.4 million
> Starring: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Spielberg shot this seminal WWII drama in black and white so as to retain its documentary-like feel. Liam Neeson portrays German industrialist Oskar Schindler, who saved over 1,000 Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. It won seven Oscars and currently holds the #6 position on IMDb’s list of top-rated films.

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