It is said that truth is stranger than fiction, which is why cinema owes a lot of its greatest accomplishments to reality. Biographical films are a special breed among movies based in true events, because they try to portray the evolution of real life characters through the most important events of their lives.
It’s a daunting task for the screenwriter, sometimes hard-pressed to fit decades of life into roughly 100-120 pages. That is probably why biopics often become monumental projects that bring the audience to a fast paced journey across a bunch of dissimilar environments.
But they are often the stories of those who shaped the world- for better or worse. And well written biopics seem to generally succeed in fulfilling the demands of reviewers and audiences alike. They are a challenge for the performer as well, compelled to carry most of the narrative weight through the whole shooting process. However, those efforts are often rewarded with wide recognition, and the Academy seems to have a certain weakness for biographical dramas.
A lot of moviegoers feel an inherent curiosity about watching the tale of a notorious figure in the big screen, and the list of famous –or infamous- individuals whose life has been adapted into a film keeps growing.
Here are some of the most acclaimed biopic film scripts of all time:
One of the finest actors in recent decades, on both the big and small screens, Martin Sheen has multiple Emmy (10 nominations, 1 win) and Golden Globe (8 nominations) nominations and awards.
Born Ramon Antonio Gerardo Estevez in Dayton, Ohio, he suffered an injury at birth that left one of his arms inches shorter than the other, and with limited range of motion. Growing up one of ten children in Dayton, Estevez wanted to be an actor, despite opposition from his father. In his early 20s he borrowed money from a Catholic priest and moved to New York City to pursue a career, after deliberately failing the entrance exam for the University of Dayton.
Over his career to date Sheen has narrated or appeared in 115 feature films, narrated or appeared in 41 documentaries and starred or guest starred in 33 television shows. That has not stopped him, however, from his political and social activism. In fact, Sheen is quoted as saying that “While acting is what I do for a living, activism is what I do to stay alive.”
His political activities have caused him to be arrested 66 times (as of 2010) for protesting and acts of civil disobedience, including trespassing at a Nevada nuclear site.
Sheen has shown himself capable of playing presidents, priests and privates, generals, gangsters and grandfathers. Here’s looking forward to many more scripts to come.
This is the master list of Sheen’s commercial movies.
Written by:Jeff Nathanson (Screenplay), Frank Abagnale Jr. (Novel), Stan Redding (Novel), Frank Abagnale Jr. (Screenplay)
Script Synopsis:Frank W. Abagnale Jr. is a cunning con man -- posing as a doctor, lawyer and pilot all before turning 21. He's also a deft forger, and his work attracts the attention of FBI agent Carl Hanratty, who makes it his mission to put Frank behind bars. But Frank not only eludes capture, he revels in the pursuit, even taking time to taunt Carl by phone.
Steven Spielberg may be one of the most widely-recognized living filmmakers of our time. Though his directorial efforts have garnered him the most acclaim, his work as a producer has managed to make possible some of the most widely successful films in the past decade.
From aliens to dinosaurs, high-adventure to historical dramas, Spielberg continues to keep the spectacle of movies alive and fresh for audiences young and old.
Check out a collection of his feature length scripts below: