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[[folder: "Biopic" is one word. If you were redirected to here and it says "Bio Pic," please change it on the original page you linked from. Thank you. ]]


->''"This simple formula rarely fails. Pick a deceased (or soon to be deceased) musician, artist or mathematician, make sure they're the sort of person the New York media could conceivably refer to as brilliant, insert a big name actor (or Gary Busey) to play the role; watch movie critics and audiences far and wide go apeshit."''
-->-- '''Adam Brown''' of {{Website/Cracked}}.com, on the subject of OscarBait.

BasedOnATrueStory, but longer. The '''Biopic''' is... well a [[ShapedLikeItself picture (or motion picture, rather) that tells a person's biography.]] It takes a real person's life and tries to create drama from the things that the person experienced, to a varying degree of success.

The difference between a [=Biopic=] and Based On a True Story is that the [=Biopic=] takes place under a much longer time-span, years as opposed to, say, a summer (''Film/FindingNeverland''). The famous person must also be the story's protagonist.

Due to the unending way we tend to live our life, the [=Biopic=] tends to, much like the 19th century novel, end with either the protagonist's Death, him getting married/ Finding God / Growing Up (after which he gets boring), his Downfall (after which he gets boring unless there's a Comeback) or his Greatest Triumph (which may be or follow the Comeback, but after which there is not much more to say).

Lately there have been a lot of biopics about famous musicians, mainly due to the fact that the (unavoidable?) drug/alcohol-abuse is a simple way to create drama and that all the recording sessions/concerts are an easy foil to let the soundtrack shine. Another popular sub-genre, based-on-truth movies about athletes, can count as these, and are a good source of ManlyTears.

The concept of using fiction to tell the story of a real-life figure is relatively recent. The classic works of Ancient Greece and Rome took mythical works as its subjects and avoided depicting contemporary figures, except in satires and for ridicule. The genre's true origins stem from UsefulNotes/TheRenaissance, where writers evinced an equal interest in classical history as in myth, and works depicting scenes from Roman and Greek history became common. In England, history plays from the pre-Tudor era were seen as ideal material for propaganda. In the 20th Century cinema, biopics were common from the silent-era onwards and it has changed and adapted with time. While some films might heavily whitewash their subjects and their times if the intent is to show them in a positive light, it's now more common to explore the many facets, good and bad, of a protagonist's personality. This change is probably most noticeable when the subject is a historical figure - a politician and/or a military leader, for example. With performers it's particularly popular to chronicle those whose offscreen/stage behavior sharply contrasted to their work; e.g., comedians who couldn't find laughter in real life. Other films tell of those who didn't necessarily live ''great'' lives, but wonderfully unique ones - it's not a coincidence that the same screenwriting duo wrote ''Film/EdWood'', ''Film/ThePeopleVsLarryFlynt'' and ''Film/ManOnTheMoon''.

This genre is ''extremely'' subjective with both its makers and its viewers and largely depends on the point of view both parties bring to the table. If the filmmaker is more interested in the sad times, a viewer who loves the subject and knows what's left out might find the film too negative and their hero turned into a JerkAss. A filmmaker who wants to focus on the good times can upset a viewer who feels the protagonist is being unduly glorified.

A rich source of OscarBait. Essentially the movie form of the {{Biography}}. Compare RomanAClef. Expect many to exhibit {{Mononymous Biopic Title}}s.

When one of this is made from the perspective of someone other than the subject, it's called a SidelongGlanceBiopic.
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!!Examples are shown with their endings:
[[index]]
* ''Film/TwentyFourHourPartyPeople'' (Tony Wilson /[[spoiler: Downfall]])
* ''Film/EightMile'' (Music/{{Eminem}} (via expy) /[[spoiler:His first Success]])
* ''Film/FortyTwo'' (Jackie Robinson/[[spoiler:Success]])
* ''Film/AbrahamLincoln'' (UsefulNotes/AbrahamLincoln[=/=]Assassination)
* ''Film/{{Alexander}}'' (UsefulNotes/AlexanderTheGreat /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/{{Ali}}'' (UsefulNotes/MuhammadAli /[[spoiler:Comeback]])
* ''Film/AmazingGrace'' (William Wilberforce / [[spoiler:Greatest Triumph]])
* ''Film/AmericanGangster'' (Frank Lucas /[[spoiler: Downfall]])
* ''Film/TheAssassinationOfJesseJamesByTheCowardRobertFord''. (UsefulNotes/JesseJames and Robert Ford /[[spoiler: Death]])
* ''Film/TheAviator'' (Howard Hughes /[[spoiler:Greatest Triumph ''and'' Downfall]])
* ''Beginners'' (Mike Mills/[[spoiler:Growing Up/Father's Death]])
* ''Film/BehindTheCandelabra'' (Liberace/ [[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/{{Bernie}}'' (Bernie Tiede/[[spoiler:Downfall]])
* ''Film/BeyondTheSea'' (Music/BobbyDarin/[[spoiler:Success]])
* ''Film/BigEyes'' (Margaret Keane, painter / [[spoiler:Success]]; Walter Keane, husband / [[spoiler:Downfall]])
* ''Film/BlackMass'' (Whitey Bulger/[[spoiler: Downfall]])
* ''Film/TheBlindSide'' ([[UsefulNotes/AmericanFootball Michael Oher]] / [[spoiler:Growing Up/Success]])
* ''Film/{{Blow}}'' (George Jung /[[spoiler: Downfall]])
* ''Film/BoundForGlory'' (Music/WoodyGuthrie /[[spoiler:Success]])
* ''Film/{{Braveheart}}'' (William Wallace /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Caligula'' ([[UsefulNotes/{{Caligula}} Caligula]] /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/{{Cantinflas}}'' (Mario Moreno "Cantinflas" /[[spoiler:Greatest Success]])
* ''Film/{{Capote}}'' (Creator/TrumanCapote / [[spoiler:Greatest Triumph]])
* ''Film/CatchMeIfYouCan'' (conman Frank Abagnale Jr./[[spoiler: Downfall]])
* ''Celia'' (telenovela about Celia Cruz/[[spoiler: Death]])
* ''CesarChavez'' ([[ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin Cesar Chavez]] / [[spoiler:Success]])
* ''Chaplin'' (Creator/CharlieChaplin / [[spoiler: Comeback]])
* ''Che'' (UsefulNotes/CheGuevara / [[spoiler: Part 1: Success / Part 2: Death]])
** Also Film/TheMotorcycleDiaries / [[spoiler: Early Life]]
* ''Coal Miner's Daughter'' (Loretta Lynn /[[spoiler:Success]])
* ''Coco Before Chanel'' (UsefulNotes/CocoChanel /[[spoiler:Success]])
* ''Control''. (Ian Curtis of Music/JoyDivision/[[spoiler: Death]]
* ''Film/{{Creation}}'' (Creator/CharlesDarwin / [[spoiler:Greatest Triumph]])
* ''The Dale Earnhardt Story'' (Dale Earnhardt Sr) [[spoiler:Death]])
* ''De-Lovely'' (Music/ColePorter /[[spoiler: Death]])
** ''Night and Day'' was made much earlier and is a lot more fictionalized.
* ''Dolly Parton's Coat Of Many Colors'' (Music/DollyParton /[[spoiler:Early life]])
** ''Dolly Partonís Christmas of Many Colors: Circle of Love'' ([[spoiler:A sequel/follow up to the above, set around the same time]])
* ''The Doors'' (Jim Morrison of Music/TheDoors /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/{{Downfall}}'' (UsefulNotes/AdolfHitler /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/DragonTheBruceLeeStory'' (Creator/BruceLee /[[spoiler:Success, Death described in closing epilogue]])
* ''Film/EdWood'' (Creator/EdWood /[[spoiler:"Success"]])
* ''Film/{{Elizabeth}}'' (Queen Elizabeth I /[[spoiler: AwesomeMomentOfCrowning]])
** ''Elizabeth: The Golden Age'' (ditto/[[spoiler: um... awesome moment of crown retention? or maybe death?]])
* ''Music/{{Evita}}'' (UsefulNotes/EvaPeron /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/{{Frida}}'' (Creator/FridaKahlo /[[spoiler: Death]])
* ''Film/{{Gandhi}}'' (UsefulNotes/MahatmaGandhi/[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/GetOnUp'' (Music/JamesBrown/[[spoiler:Success]])
* ''Film/TheGlennMillerStory'' (Music/GlennMiller/[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/GorillasInTheMist'' (Dian Fossey /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''The Great Caruso'' (Music/EnricoCaruso /[[spoiler:Success]])
* ''The Great Mr. Handel'' (Music/GeorgFriedrichHandel /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''The Great Ziegfeld'' (Florenz Ziegfeld /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/HeneralLuna'' (General Antonio Luna/ [[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/{{Hitchcock}}'' (Creator/AlfredHitchcock / [[spoiler:Greatest Triumph]])
* ''Film/TheImitationGame'' (Creator/AlanTuring / [[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/ImNotThere'' (Music/BobDylan /[[spoiler: Growing Up ''or'' Downfall]])
* ''Film/InTheRealmOfTheSenses'' (Sada Abe /[[spoiler: Claim to fame]])
* ''Film/IntoTheStorm2009'' (UsefulNotes/WinstonChurchill / [[spoiler:Downfall]])
* ''Film/TheIronLady'' (UsefulNotes/MargaretThatcher /[[spoiler:Dementia]])
* ''Film/JEdgar'' (UsefulNotes/JEdgarHoover / [[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Theatre/JerseyBoys'' (Music/FrankieValliAndTheFourSeasons / [[spoiler:Comeback]])
* ''Jinnah'' (Muhammad Ali Jinnah[[note]]The founder of Pakistan[[/note]] / [[spoiler:Greatest Triumph (Death in the opening minutes of the film)]]
* ''Film/JoanOfArc'' (UsefulNotes/JoanOfArc/execution) -- 1900 film, possibly the oldest example
* ''Film/{{Joy}}'' (Joy Mangano / [[spoiler: success]])
* ''Juarez'' (Benito Juarez /[[spoiler: success]])
* ''Film/TheKingsSpeech'' (King George VI / [[spoiler:Success]])
* ''Film/{{Kinsey}}'' (Alfred Kinsey /[[spoiler: One of the first people to do real scientific research on human sexuality.]])
* ''Film/{{Kundun}}'' (Tenzin Thuthob Tsarong - the 14th Dalai Lama / [[spoiler:Exile from Tibet.]])
* ''Film/LaRevolucionEsUnSuenoEterno'' (Juan José Castelli)
* ''La Bamba'' (Ritchie Valens /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''The Lady'' (Aung San Suu Kyi/[[spoiler:Rise to power/romance with husband]])
* ''Film/TheLastEmperor'' (Pu Yi /[[spoiler:Downfall]])
* ''The Life of Emile Zola'' (Emile Zola / [[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/TheLifeAndDeathOfPeterSellers'' (ExactlyWhatItSaysOnTheTin, [[spoiler:although the Death is not depicted on screen.]])
* ''Film/LizAndDick'' (Creator/ElizabethTaylor and Creator/RichardBurton)
* ''Film/LoveAndMercy'' (Music/BrianWilson / [[spoiler:Success / Downfall / Comeback]])
* ''Film/MagicBeyondWordsTheJKRowlingStory'' (Creator/JKRowling /[[spoiler:Greatest Triumph]])
* ''Magic Fire'' (Music/RichardWagner /[[spoiler:Success]])
* ''Film/MalcolmX'' (UsefulNotes/MalcolmX / [[spoiler:Death and martyrdom]])
* ''Man in the Mirror: The Michael Jackson Story'' ([[spoiler: Greatest Success/Downfall]])
* ''Film/ManOnTheMoon'' (Creator/AndyKaufman /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/MarieAntoinette'' (UsefulNotes/MarieAntoinette /[[spoiler:Downfall]])
* ''Film/MenOfHonor'' (Carl Brashear /[[spoiler: His military career]])
* ''Film/TheMessengerTheStoryOfJoanOfArc'' (UsefulNotes/JoanOfArc /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/{{Mesrine}}'' (Two Part Story depicting Mesrine's [[spoiler: rise to infamy as French Public Enemy No 1 and death]])
* ''Film/{{Milk}}'' (Harvey Milk /[[spoiler: Death]])
* ''Film/{{Miracle}}'' (1980 Team USA Olympic hockey team /[[spoiler:Greatest triumph]])
* ''Theatre/TheMiracleWorker'': (Helen Keller / [[spoiler:Success]])
* ''Molokai: The Father Damien Story'': ([[http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Father_Damien Father Damien]] /[[spoiler:Death]]
* ''Film/{{Mongol}}'' (UsefulNotes/GenghisKhan /[[spoiler:Rise to power]])
* ''Film/MusicOfTheHeart'' (music educator Roberta Guaspari/Harlem Violin Program)
* ''Film/MrTurner'' (Painter J.M.W. Turner / [[spoiler:Death]])
* ''The Mystery of Natalie Wood'' (Creator/NatalieWood [[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/{{Nixon}}'' (President UsefulNotes/RichardNixon /[[spoiler:Downfall]])
* ''Notorious'' (Music/TheNotoriousBIG / [[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Nowhere Boy'' (Music/JohnLennon /[[spoiler: Early life]])
* ''Film/OctoberSky'' (The "Rocket Boys" / [[spoiler:Success]])
* ''Film/ThePassionOfTheChrist'' (UsefulNotes/{{Jesus}}Christ /[[spoiler: Comeback]])
* ''Film/{{Patton}}'' (General George S. Patton /[[spoiler: Success]])
* ''Film/ThePeopleVsLarryFlynt'' (''Hustler'' publisher Larry Flynt [[spoiler:Comeback]]
* ''Film/PopeJohnPaulII'' (Pope John Paul II / [[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/ThePrideOfTheYankees'' (Lou Gehrig /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/ThePursuitOfHappyness'' (Christopher Gardner /[[spoiler: Success]])
* ''Film/{{Radio}}'' (James Robert "Radio" Kennedy)
* ''Film/RagingBull'' (Jake La Motta/[[spoiler:Downfall]])
* ''Film/{{Ray}}'' (Music/RayCharles /[[spoiler:Growing Up]])
* ''The Real MVP: The Wanda Durant Story'' (Wanda Pratt and son [[UsefulNotes/NationalBasketballAssociation Kevin Durant]]/[[spoiler:Triumph for her, early life and later success for him]])
* ''Film/TheRedBaron'' (UsefulNotes/TheRedBaron / [[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Series/{{Rome}}'' (Creator/GaiusJuliusCaesar "Augustus" Octavianus /[[spoiler:Success]])
* ''Film/TheRunaways'' (Joan Jett and Cherie Currie / [[spoiler:Coming of Age/ Success/ downfall for Cherie]])
* ''Film/SavingMrBanks'' (P.L. Travers and Creator/WaltDisney / [[spoiler:Early life for Travers, whose book ''Literature/MaryPoppins'' Walt turns into one of his greatest triumphs]])
* ''Sex and Drugs and Rock and Roll'' (Ian Dury of Music/IanDuryAndTheBlockheads)
* ''Film/{{Shine}}'' (Australian Pianist David Helfgott [[spoiler:Success]])
* ''Sick: The Life & Death of Bob Flanagan, Supermasochist'' (Bob Flanagan /[[spoiler: Life and death (obviously)]])
* ''Sid and Nancy'' (Music/SidVicious of the Music/SexPistols /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/{{Spartacus}}'' (Spartacus /[[spoiler: Death]])
* ''The Spirit of St. Louis'' (Charles Lindbergh /[[spoiler:Greatest Triumph]])
* ''Stoned'' (Music/BrianJones /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''The Story of Louis Pasteur'' (Louis Pasteur /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Sweet Dreams'' (Music/PatsyCline /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Sylvia''. (Creator/SylviaPlath /[[spoiler: Death]])
* ''Film/TedBundy'' (SerialKiller Ted Bundy /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Film/TelstarTheJoeMeekStory'' (British producer Joe Meek / [[spoiler:Murder-suicide where Meek shoots his landlady, then himself.]])
* ''Film/TempleGrandin'' (Temple Grandin / [[spoiler:Triumph/Success -- LA Times review: "It's rare that triumph includes the word 'slaughterhouse'."]])
* ''Film/TheTheoryOfEverything'' (Creator/StephenHawking / [[spoiler:Triumph/Success]])
* ''Film/TuckerTheManAndHisDream'' (Creator/FrancisFordCoppola / [[spoiler:Failure/VindicatedByHistory]])
* ''Film/LaVieEnRose'' (Music/EdithPiaf /[[spoiler:Death]])
* ''Un-Break My Heart'' (Toni Braxton /[[spoiler:Family struggles/Triumph]])
* ''Film/{{W}}.'' (President UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush /[[spoiler: Triumph/Downfall of the Iraq invasion.]])
* ''Film/WalkHard: The Dewey Cox Story'' (A parody of musician {{Bio Pic}}s /''[[spoiler: Pretty much all of them.]]'')
* ''Film/WalkTheLine'' (Music/JohnnyCash /[[spoiler:Growing Up]])
* ''Film/WhatWeDoIsSecret'' (Music/TheGerms, and their frontman Darby Crash / [[spoiler:Cult Following/Downfall/Death.]])
* ''Film/WhatsLoveGotToDoWithIt'' (Music/TinaTurner /[[spoiler:Growing Up/Success/Abuse/Comeback]])
* ''Film/{{Wilson}}'' (UsefulNotes/WoodrowWilson / [[spoiler: Greatest Triumph and then Downfall]])
* ''Film/{{Wittgenstein}}'' (Creator/LudwigWittgenstein)
[[/index]]

!!Tropes that are frequently used in this genre include:
* AbilityOverAppearance vs. DyeingForYourArt
* AbusiveParents: A staple of the genre, if they had a {{Jerkass}} parent it will probably get a mention.
* AdaptationalAngstUpgrade: Most figures in life who were successful [[RequiredSecondaryPowers had to have been functional and committed]] to some extent, even if they were self-destructive in others. In fiction, expect the flaws and neuroses to be dialled up, and expect to be surprised at wondering how that messed-up classical composer ever managed the concentration to write his major opus.
* AllStarCast: Features a lot of actors in very different roles.
* AluminumChristmasTrees: Occasionally biopics will leave in the more extraordinary details of someone's life.
* ArtisticLicense: Big time. In some cases this is a JustifiedTrope as a fictional work must telescope key moments of the person's life rather than say, all the times, Leonardo sat in his room and waited for his assistants to mix his paints. In other cases this trope exists for legal reasons, for instance if a location where an event ''did'' occur refuse permission to use its locations or if the military refuses to lend assets to a topic it regards as controversial.
* AsHimself: In more recent films, expect TheCameo of the subject.
* {{Bowdlerization}}:
** On account of SocietyMarchesOn, expect to be be surprised (or not really) that such figures as Music/ColePorter was made into a heterosexual in the film ''Night and Day''(starring Creator/CaryGrant in addition[[note]]long rumored to be bisexual[[/note]]) as well as Michelangelo given a romance in ''The Agony and the Ecstacy''.
** This is doubly the case in films set in earlier eras where the different values and cultural norms get played down to make the characters relatable to a modern audience. Expect to see Kings and Politicians MarryForLove in eras where ArrangedMarriage was the norm, and where a PerfectlyArrangedMarriage still allowed room in one's heart for TheMistress.
* CompositeCharacter: Multiple real people might be collapsed to one in particular if they essentially serve the same purpose in the subject's life (this happens frequently with {{love interest}}s). Creator/AndyKaufman's late-in-life girlfriend Lynne Margulies is an example in ''Film/ManOnTheMoon'' (where she's played by Courtney Love); she both represents the real Lynne and other women in his life, and enters the story much earlier than in reality.
** This is sometimes also done for legal reasons as well as artistic reasons, especially in stories set in recent eras. A film may be well researched but implying certain figures are with particular groups at a specific time could be grounds for libel since legally those details are still "off-the-record". This is one reason why heavy ArtisticLicense is sometimes a JustifiedTrope.
* DarkAndTroubledPast: Even in cases where the past is relatively happy or not as troubling, except loads of AdaptationalAngstUpgrade.
* {{Deuteragonist}}: A lot of biopics will usually portray the subject from an AudienceSurrogate POV. For example: Hitler is seen by Traudle Junge (Film/{{Downfall}}), Mozart by Salieri in (Film/{{Amadeus}}) and many others. This is especially the case when the person is supposed to be a bigger than life personality, who writers might regard as difficult or unconventional if shown from within, and easier to do so by a more relatable observer who might at times be a fictional character (see Film/MeAndOrsonWelles).
* DownerEnding: A tragic early death, usually by murder or substance abuse.
* {{Expy}}: Some movies depicting a historical figure will stick close to the outline but change the names for legal and artistic reasons. This happened with Film/CitizenKane which was modelled on William Randolph Hearst and other press moguls and featured a number of {{Biopic}} tropes. It also appears in later films like ''Film/VelvetGoldmine'' (based on Music/DavidBowie [[note]]Who disliked the script and refused to license music for the production[[/note]]) as well as Creator/ClintEastwood's ''White Hunter, Black Heart'' (about Creator/JohnHuston).
* FakeNationality: More often than not, an actor playing a character is not of the same nationality as that character. For example, it is not uncommon for an American character to be played by [[FakeAmerican a non-American actor]].
* {{Flashback}}, often a TroubledBackstoryFlashback.
* ForegoneConclusion: Particularly for famous people who are dead, as the audience already knows this beforehand. In the case of particularly notable historical figures, the audience will obviously know their fate beforehand.
* {{Foreshadowing}}: Certain scenes will use a metaphor or a HarsherInHindsight/HilariousInHindsight line or scene in which the celebrity is shown in the very distant past, anticipating some of the more famous stuff he'll do later in life.
* HardWorkHardlyWorks: Movies about artists, philosophers and scientists will often present work as EurekaMoment or a montage rather then attempt to portray in a believable fashion the evolution of an artistic sensibility, scientific acumen or insight. Some argue that this is because actors are, usually, not painters/musicians/composers/scientists so they can't believably portray the artistic and scientific process, even if the film-makers wanted to go in that direction.
* HistoricalBeautyUpdate: Men and women will often be made more beautiful or attractive than they actually were in RealLife. And always according to modern beauty standards.
* HistoricalDomainCharacter: Expect to see multiple films of some figures, especially prominent and important ones like Lincoln, Nixon, Elizabeth I and Napoleon.
* HistoricalHeroUpgrade/ HistoricalVillainUpgrade: Likely to happen when conflict with another person/group is key to the story.
* HollywoodAtlas: It's expensive to shoot on multiple locations, so different places are collapsed into each other.
* HollywoodHistory: Since Hollywood popularized the genre it often informs biographical misconceptions of famous figures.
* HollywoodOld
* {{Montages}}: With the sheer amount of time covered, transitions from one period to the next are often handled this way.
* MostWritersAreWriters: The reason why biopics about writers are far rarer than composers, dancers, musicians and painters. Writing is generally not considered to be visually interesting since it features men and women in a room (sometimes a cafe) with a piece of paper. Movies which feature writers tend to be about their colourful personal lives and drama (Film/KillYourDarlings) or their involvement in a political cause (''The Life of Emile Zola'' dealing with the Dreyfuss Affair). Shakespeare being that he's a playwright and theatre actor, gets a free pass to the extent ([[ShakespeareInFiction that he has his own trope]]).
* TheMusicalMusical: Usually in biopics about musicians and composers, and especially ones about people who have performed in stage musicals.
* NothingButHits: Common to the genre as a whole, but most pronounced in films about musicians. The musician's {{Signature Song}}s are likely to be used.
* OscarBait: Has been one since the 1930s.
* PoliticallyCorrectHistory: A side effect of the HistoricalHeroUpgrade in particular, but pops up in nearly all of them to varying degrees.
* PostModernism: Because story structure in this genre is so predictable, some more recent films invoke this to freshen things up. Commonly, the filmmakers try to frame the story in the style of the performer's work. For example, ''The Life and Death of Creator/PeterSellers'' has a film-within-a-film structure: Peter (Geoffrey Rush) is making the film and "actually" playing everyone in it. ''Film/ManOnTheMoon'' admits its use of ArtisticLicense in the opening sequence and builds a CreditsGag from it.
** Film-in-a-film/character as himself is also used in ''Beyond The Sea'', to justify Kevin Spacey's tiny bit of DawsonCasting - the subject, singer Bobby Darin died at a relatively early age.
** Todd Haynes' ''Film/ImNotThere'' is about Music/BobDylan's artistic career rather than his personal life, so its a film done InTheStyleOf Dylan's music and personae. An earlier version of this is Creator/PaulSchrader's ''Film/MishimaALifeinFourChapters'' which is a {{Deconstruction}} of the subject's life and work.
* RealPersonCameo: Often at the end.
* RippedFromTheHeadlines: It's extremely rare to see films about famous figures at the height of their fame and level of influence. Some argue that the objectivity and distance of time is needed to get some measure of the life and work to form a worldview. In other cases it's because of legal reasons (fear of libel) which leads instead to {{Expy}} and CaptainErsatz coming to the rescue. A recent notable exception is Creator/OliverStone's ''Film/{{W}}'', made while President UsefulNotes/GeorgeWBush was still in office. A film about Kennedy's war years was released while he was still alive, so there is a precedent, but Stone's film presented a critical view of Bush's presidency ''during'' that period.
* ShownTheirWork: Expect Creator/MartinScorsese and Creator/RobertoRossellini to lean heavily on this trope at least.
* TalentDouble: Frequently averted as noted on the trope page, although a NonSingingVoice[=/=]NotQuiteStarring is often heard.
* TearJerker
* TheyChangedItNowItSucks: Viewers more knowledgeable than others about the subject matter are often aggravated by any changes made to the story, particularly reordering events and/or dropping them. Since different people have different ideas about ''what'' is important, this is extremely subjective. Also, it doesn't just apply to viewers -- the subject and/or their friends/family might have issues with what is and isn't included. This at times lead to later biopics that address the previous ones.
* TimeshiftedActor: Very frequently with the character as a child or teenager.
* TimeSkip: Another common way to handle the passage of time.
* TitledAfterTheSong: Common in biopics about musicians and songwriters. Usually, the name of their SignatureSong is used.
* ViewersAreGeniuses: Some biopics are made for audiences who already know a lot about the person and will alienate the general public who hasn't got enough knowledge beforehand.
* ViewersAreMorons: Things are often simplified in order not to confuse, disturb or make audiences think too much. Often they are downright romanticized.
* WellDoneSonGuy
* WhatTheHellHero: In the more [[WartsAndAll unflinching]] biopics.
* WhenItAllBegan: RuleOfDrama frequently means that real people's motivations will be distilled down to one significant event in their life.

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