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Philip Obaza
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Posted: 14 November 2018 at 8:36pm | IP Logged | 1 post reply

The thread on Bohemian Rhapsody got me thinking - we all know most
biopics tend to distort history to varying degrees, but which ones do
you think have been the best made, while staying as true to history as
possible?

Feature-wise, I'm having a hard time coming up with *any.*

Even ED WOOD, one of my favorite films (and still easily Tim Burton's
best), was changed in some significant ways from how things
happened in real life.

The only biography-type works I could think of weren't movies, but on
TV: THE JACKSONS: AN AMERICAN DREAM mini-series, and
AMERICAN CRIME STORY: THE PEOPLE VS. O.J. SIMPSON.

Thoughts?


Edited by Philip Obaza on 14 November 2018 at 8:42pm
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Ed Aycock
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Posted: 15 November 2018 at 7:30am | IP Logged | 2 post reply

"Superman: The Movie"  LOL. 

It's hard to think of any that were really, truly factual.  I mentioned "Amadeus" on the "Bohemian" thread and while that is one of my Top Ten films, it's pretty much entirely fiction.  I think sites like IMDb really show just how much these films stretched the truth for many - if people were not familiar with the source material beforehand. 

As an 11-year-old, I excitedly read my mother's yellowing copy of "The Story of the Trapp Family Singers" (even the TITLE is dull) which became "The Sound of Music" and the story barely resembles the show/film.  And in fact in real life, it was Maria, not the Baron who was the taskmaster.  Not to mention no flight over the mountains going in the wrong direction at the end. 


Edited by Ed Aycock on 15 November 2018 at 7:30am
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Doug Centers
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Posted: 15 November 2018 at 9:16am | IP Logged | 3 post reply

One of my favorites, SERGEANT YORK, by all accounts and what I've read is extremely accurate in many aspects. But the movie does tone down how much his religion dominated his life. Although his faith is absolutely a part of the movie in real life he would spend weeks at revivals and days studying the bible with his pastor.
The main battle scene was spot on!
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John Byrne
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Posted: 15 November 2018 at 9:33am | IP Logged | 4 post reply

One of my childhood heroes was Douglas Bader, a British pilot who lost most of both legs in a training accident, but nevertheless went on to become a fighter ace in WW2. His biopic, REACH FOR THE SKY, hoves pretty close to the book by Paul Brickhill, which Id read several times.
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Petter Myhr Ness
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Posted: 15 November 2018 at 11:39am | IP Logged | 5 post reply

I'm not a big fan of biopics in general, but I prefer the ones that try to capture a defining moment or period in a person's life, rather than those that try to tell the WHOLE story. There are always inaccuracies, but the bigger the scope of the story, the more noticeable those inaccuracies seem to be.

I enjoyed movies like THE DAMNED UNITED or GOOD NIGHT AND GOOD LUCK. 
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Ed Aycock
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Posted: 15 November 2018 at 12:57pm | IP Logged | 6 post reply

Petter, have you seen NICO 1988?
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Petter Myhr Ness
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Posted: 16 November 2018 at 11:38am | IP Logged | 7 post reply

No, Ed, I had to google it, actually.
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Rebecca Jansen
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Posted: 16 November 2018 at 12:55pm | IP Logged | 8 post reply

Good Night And Good Luck was a good one! Control about Ian Curtis of Joy Division is my high water mark for bios alongside The Elephant Man. I also remember enjoying one about John Huston when he was filming The African Queen that seemed pretty good, but no expert. It seemed pretty authentic to the reality of a somewhat unreal person (director John Huston). 'White Hunter' or something like that in the title...
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Bill Collins
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Posted: 17 November 2018 at 2:22am | IP Logged | 9 post reply

Rebecca, White Hunter, Black Heart!

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Matt Reed
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Posted: 18 November 2018 at 2:50am | IP Logged | 10 post reply

I really enjoyed WALK THE LINE.  It doesn't try to tell the whole story of Johnny Cash, but just a sliver.  As others have said, I think that makes for a better movie overall.  Instead of trying to jam 70 odd years into one two hour movie, it takes a much smaller bite that nonetheless encapsulates what made John R. Cash "Johnny Cash" while doing service to the woman who stood behind him for decades.  

I also have to say that I absolutely loved WALK HARD which is a fairly spot-on parody of every music biopic ever made.  The soundtrack alone is worth the price of admission.  
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Brian Miller
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Posted: 18 November 2018 at 9:16am | IP Logged | 11 post reply

Ditto what Reed said. 
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Bill Mimbu
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Posted: 18 November 2018 at 9:36am | IP Logged | 12 post reply

The one that sticks out in my earliest memories was the WWII film TO HELL AND BACK starring Audie Murphy as himself.
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Brian Hague
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Posted: 18 November 2018 at 9:02pm | IP Logged | 13 post reply

I have hundreds of DVD's, perhaps thousands, and I don't think I own a single biopic. I've considered buying one here and there, but I don't think I've ever actually done so. Fictionalized accounts of actual events generally don't interest me, the musical 1776 being a strong exception. The charm, grace, and humor of that one wins me over, as well as the occasional clever nod towards the actual history that it makes. 

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Brian Floyd
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Posted: 19 November 2018 at 10:39am | IP Logged | 14 post reply

SGT. YORK, PRIDE OF THE YANKEES, THE WINNING TEAM, THE STRATTON STORY, THE WINGS OF EAGLES....

(Does BRIAN'S SONG count? The original, NOT the remake.)

I can't really think of any modern biopics I've enjoyed as much as old classics, except maybe THE BLIND SIDE and INVINCIBLE. 

(It's funny I like PRIDE OF THE YANKEES and INVINCIBLE, because I can't stand the Yankees and Eagles.)





Edited by Brian Floyd on 19 November 2018 at 10:42am
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Adam Schulman
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Posted: 19 November 2018 at 8:49pm | IP Logged | 15 post reply

ED WOOD is classic for Martin Landau's performance as Bela Lugosi alone. Sheer genius. 
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Phil Kreisel
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Posted: 28 November 2018 at 1:30pm | IP Logged | 16 post reply

Hacksaw Ridge, it turns out, is very close to being historically accurate.  After I saw it, I ended up watching a 1959 TV show - the Ralph Edwards NBC TV show This is Your life, that went though the life of Desmond Doss, and confirmed that what was depicted in Hacksaw Ridge was accurate.  Mel Gibson didn't whitewash it to any extent that I could tell.
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