When you think about it, it’s pretty strange to market a movie as “based on a true story,” considering a portion of the audience might know the ending before they even step in the theatre. Of course, the same can be said about any film based on a novel. In the case of a biographical film, or biopic, there’s a mild intellectual appeal in seeing a movie that’s based on the facts. In a way, it’s entertaining oneself while—hopefully—learning something in the process. And the appeal shows: the following ten movies all fall within the 500 highest-grossing films of all time, and the majority have gotten a boatload of critical acclaim in the process—with two of them nabbing Oscars for Best Picture.
10 Public Enemies, 2009 - $214,104,620
9 Captain Phillips, 2013 - $217,800,897
8 The Social Network, 2010 - $224,920,315
7 Erin Brockovich, 2000 - $256,271,286
6 American Gangster, 2007 - $266,465,037
5 The Pursuit of Happyness, 2006 - $307,077,300
4 A Beautiful Mind, 2001 - $313,542,341
3 Schindler’s List, 1993 - $321,306,305
2 Catch Me If You Can, 2002 - $352,114,312
1 The Wolf of Wall Street, 2013 - $389,570,000
The highest earning biopic on this list also the most recent, having been a major contender at the 86th Academy Awards. Directed by Martin Scorsese, The Wolf of Wall Street is the debauched portrayal of the rise of Jordan Belfort, a stockbroker who made an absolutely insane amount of money through corruption and fraud on Wall Street. Critically acclaimed, it was nominated for Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay (Terence Winter), Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor (Jonah Hill), though won none. It also holds the distinction for most uses of the f-word in a non-documentary feature, according to Plugged In.
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