Top Ten Biopics

To celebrate the release of Coco Before Chanel, counts down the top 10 biopics.

Coco Before Chanel, the ridiculously French Audrey Tautou plays the
eponymous fashion maverick. The film promises to be a visual treat, a
sumptuous period piece following Coco’s journey into posterity thanks
to her modern and revolutionary approach to fashion.

are of course a tricky thing to pull off as filmmakers have to decide
what to put in, what to leave out and what will be the focus of the
film; after all a person’s life is a sprawling unfocussed affair unlike
the typical two hour film. Coco Before Chanel for example has already
received a certain amount of criticism for overlooking the more
troubling aspects of Coco’s life; specifically the fact that she became
involved with a Nazi officer and subsequently fled to Switzerland to
avoid war crimes accusations. Director Anne Fontaine instead chose to
focus on her tragic relationship with British industrialist Arthur
Capel (Alessandro Nivola) and who can blame her; the pixie-like Tautou
is hardly the most believable war criminal!

This week, countdown our favourite biopics.

1. Goodfellas

life story of Henry Hill is a gift to any filmmaker and Scorcese’s
gangster epic based on the life story of the erstwhile Mafioso is
almost too good to be true. The film begins with Hill’s childhood and
initial meetings with the local mob as Ray Liotta as Hill declares, “As
far back as I can remember, I’ve always wanted to be a gangster.” Hill
gets his wish and Scorcese follows his life through the decades,
capturing each robbery, murder and brush with the law to his eventual

2. The Elephant Man

Elephant Man recounts the tragedy of John Merrick; born with extreme
deformities, he spent years as a slave of the side-show circuit, where
his spirit and pride was systematically broken down. He eventually
finds his escape thanks to a sympathetic doctor, revealing himself as a
man of intelligence and dignity. David Lynch’s most traditional and
accessible film is a true classic – beautifully filmed in black and
white, with a remarkable performance from John Hurt as Merrick.