Celebrity

13 Celebrity Biopics That Everyone Needs To Watch At Least Once

Stream these films starring Rami Malek, Natalie Portman, Chadwick Boseman, and more A-list celebs.

Image of Rami Malek in Bohemian Rhapsody and Natalie Portman in Jackie.
20th Century Fox / Fox Searchlight Pictures

If you’re in search of a good source of inspiration, then watching celebrity biopics might just be the boost of creativity you’re looking for. While these films may vary in genre — from bubbly musicals to gritty dramas — they all have the same goal: to tell the real-life stories of icons throughout history and immortalize them forever on the silver screen.

These celebrity biopics also contain standout performances from some of Hollywood’s most popular actors such as Rami Malek as Queen’s smooth crooning Freddie Mercury in Bohemian Rhapsody and Natalie Portman as the resilient Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in Jackie. These actors’ spellbinding characterizations will leave you not only with a greater sense of knowledge and appreciation for the person they’re portraying, but also the actor bringing them to life. There’s a reason why seven of the actors on this list have won Oscars for their performances in these films, after all.

Below are 13 celebrity biopics that are the perfect blend of enlightening, insightful, and entertaining. From Reginald Dwight’s transformation into superstar Elton John in Rocketman to the creation of Facebook (and its subsequent lawsuits) in The Social Network, there’s truly something for everyone in this list no matter what mood you might find yourself in. Be sure to bookmark this list too, as we’ll continue to update it as more exciting biopics are released.

Ray (2004)

Jamie Foxx won the Academy Award for Best Actor in 2004 with this film — and for good reason. Ray tells the moving story of musician Ray Charles (Foxx), who loses his vision at a young age. His incredible talent at playing the piano and ability to mesh genres together sets him on a career that spans decades and includes chart-topping hits like “Hit The Road Jack” and “Georgia On My Mind,” but drug addiction and infidelity cause him to nearly lose it all.

I, Tonya (2017)

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I, Tonya sees Margot Robbie step into the skates of Olympic figure skater Tonya Harding. The film chronicles the historic moments in Harding’s life, ranging from her childhood spent with controlling mother LaVona Golden (Allison Janney) to the infamous, career-ending controversy she was entangled in after the attack on fellow figure skater Nancy Kerrigan (Caitlin Carver). Bold and unapologetic, I, Tonya is a whirlwind full of performances that you’ll find yourself re-watching over and over again.

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy? Well, it’s a mix of the two! Bohemian Rhapsody details the humble origins of the now-iconic rock band Queen all the way to the group’s unforgettable performance at Live Aid in 1985. The musical is not only filled to the brim with incredible hits that will make you want to sing along, but it also explores the backstory of the group’s out of this world frontman Freddie Mercury, played by Rami Malek, and his relationships with his fellow band members, partners, drugs and alcohol with authenticity and immense care.

The Theory of Everything (2014)

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Based on the novel Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking, The Theory of Everything details the life of famous English physicist and writer Stephen Hawking from his Cambridge University days all the way to the film’s release in 2014. Oscar winner Eddie Redmayne delivers a masterful performance as Hawking, highlighting his brilliant mind as well as poignantly chronicling his struggle with motor neurone disease. Though the film may be about larger than life concepts like black holes, The Theory of Everything is a film that finds beauty in the little things in life too.

Jackie (2016)

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Jackie allows audiences a seat at the table in a fictitious, poignant interview with First Lady Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis in the aftermath of President John F. Kennedy’s assassination in 1963. The film stars Natalie Portman, whose powerful and incredibly emotional performance highlights Kennedy’s struggle to continue to inspire the country and keep her family afloat while also navigating her own intense grief. Raw, real, and visceral, Jackie is a film you don’t want to miss.

Get On Up (2014)

Get on up and get ready to dance with this biopic about the Godfather of Soul James Brown. Played by the late Chadwick Boseman, Get On Up tells Brown’s story from his childhood years growing up in Augusta, Georgia, to the lead singer of The Famous Flames to a superstar in his own right. And, because no film about a musician can be complete without some fantastic performances, the film is filled with the hits that shaped Brown’s career like “Soul Power,” “Night Train,” and “Please, Please, Please.”

The King’s Speech (2010)

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Before he is set to ascend the throne, King George VI (played by Oscar winner Colin Firth) must first confront the stammer that appears whenever he speaks. In an effort to help combat it, his wife, Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter), recommends that he begin speech therapy with Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush). Their quest to find techniques that help King George navigate his stammer spawns an enriching, life-long friendship between the two men.

Selena (1997)

Jennifer Lopez stars as Selena Quintanilla-Pérez in the 1997 biopic about the influential Latin singer. The film tells the story of Quintanilla’s life from as child with a passion for singing on stage with her family to an unforgettable star selling out stadiums. Lopez captures Quintanilla’s bubbly, charming nature well throughout the film, but it’s the film’s heartbreaking ending that will stick with you long after your first watch.

The Social Network (2010)

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Directed by David Fincher, The Social Network depicts the creation of Facebook from its humble origins of Mark Zuckerberg’s (Jesse Eisenberg) Harvard dorm room to the website that is still visited by millions of people to this day. Written by Aaron Sorkin, the film is told through the lens of two separate depositions after Zuckerberg is sued by his former friend Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), as well as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss (Armie Hammer). For a film about a website, its story is one filled with wit, betrayal, and heart.

Malcolm X (1992)

Denzel Washington delivers an enthralling performance as influential human and civil rights activist Malcolm X in his eponymous 1992 film. Based upon The Autobiography of Malcolm X by Alex Haley, the film highlights key moments within Malcolm X’s life including his loss of his parents at a young age, his introduction to the Nation of Islam while incarcerated, his speeches about racial justice during the civil rights movement, and his death in 1965. Directed by Spike Lee, this film is a must-watch that needs to be added onto everyone’s list.

Rocketman (2019)

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Let Taron Egerton take you back to when rock was young as heralded singer-songwriter Elton John in the musical Rocketman. The film highlights John’s transformation from Reginald Dwight into the legendary Elton John and his enduring friendship with lyricist and collaborator Bernie Taupin (Jamie Bell). Egerton perfectly embodies John’s larger-than-life personality and weaves a selection of John’s most popular songs, like “Tiny Dancer” and “Your Song,” into the tapestry of his life with grace and skill. Egerton also sang and performed every song in the film, and if that’s not impressive, I don’t know what is.

The Queen (2006)

Queen Elizabeth II (Helen Mirren) grapples with how to best helm the country and its people after the death of Diana, Princess of Wales in 1997 in the 2006 film The Queen. The situation is only exacerbated by the grieving public’s perceived lack of response from the royal family after Diana’s passing. As the newly-appointed prime minister Tony Blair (Michael Sheen) tries to help the royal family, he too is met with backlash. As the conversation surrounding the royals is whipped into a public uproar, the Queen must carefully decide her next steps in an ever-changing world.

Judas & the Black Messiah (2021)

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Judas & the Black Messiah is a tale of two men: Chairman Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya) of the Illinois chapter of the Black Panther Party, and William “Bill” O’Neal (Lakeith Stanfield). After stealing a car, O’Neal is told by FBI handler Roy Mitchell (Jesse Plemons) that his charges will be dropped if he will infiltrate the Black Panther Party and provide the FBI with information on its innermost workings. As O’Neal’s role within the party continues to grow, he finds himself stuck in the middle of a life or death situation that has violent, tragic ends. Kaluuya won Best Supporting Actor at the 2021 Oscars for this role.