I was recently watching Turner Classic Movies, in particular, a film starring Edward G. Robinson, A Dispatch from Reuter’s, supposedly about the life and times of the founding member of the Reuters New Service.
My purpose in writing will not attempt to expose the likely historical inaccuracies that this and many a bio-pic. Watching this movie just got me thinking about some of my favorite films from the period spanning the 1930’s – 1950’s that were stories “based on the life of …” – but not really.
- Madame Curie (1944)
- Sergeant York (1941)
- St Louis Blues (1958)
- I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932)
- The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)
- Devotion (1946)
- Man of a Thousand Faces (1957)
- The Three Faces of Eve (1958)
- They Died With Their Boots On (1939)
In the modern era there are obviously plenty of “based on the life of …” stories that come to mind. In an earlier post I mentioned Elizabeth I (2005) the cable television biopic starring Dame Helen Mirren. Other notables cinematic turns include Frost/Nixon (2008), Gia (1998), The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007), American Gangster (2007), The Last King of Scotland (2006) ….
As you can see the list can get quite extensive. At the end of the day, it is important to remember that these works are pieces of entertainment.
Here is a video I found that features some of the best biopics to be released over the past decades: