Biggest-Ever Biopics | EW.com

Movies

Biggest-Ever Biopics

These films struck a chord with fans and won big at the box office

1. Walk the Line, 2005
$119.5 million
Joaquin Phoenix nailed that Johnny Cash voice, but it was Reese Witherspoon who walked away with an Oscar for her role as the long-suffering June Carter.

2. 8 Mile, 2002
$116.8 million
Although technically not an Eminem biopic, this movie-that-clearly-is-an-Eminem-biopic had surprisingly heartfelt turns from the rapper and the late Brittany Murphy.

3. Ray, 2004
$75.3 million
The real Ray Charles gave his blessing to this film — starring Jamie Foxx in an Oscar-winning role — which came out just months after Charles’ death in 2004.

4. Coal Miner’s Daughter, 1980
$67.2 million
Based on the hardscrabble life of country legend Loretta Lynn, this musical drama turned coal dust into Oscar gold for star Sissy Spacek.

5. La Bamba, 1987
$54.2 million
Who knew the true story behind everybody’s favorite wedding/bat mitzvah song would make such a compelling movie? It’s all thanks to Lou Diamond Phillips.

6. Amadeus, 1984
$51.6 million
Less a Mozart biopic than the story of Salieri, the composer who got All-About-Eve’d by Wolfgang — and whom nobody would remember if not for this eight-time Oscar-winning epic.

7. What’s Love Got To Do With It, 1993
$39.1 million
Nobody can sing and dance like Tina Turner — but Angela Bassett came close enough in this drama-packed movie to snag herself a Best Actress nod.

8. Notorious, 2009
$36.8 million
Christopher Wallace’s life story — including his tragic shooting death at the age of 24 — came to the big(gie) screen, with newcomer Jamal Woolard winning raves.

9. Shine, 1996
$35.9 million
Geoffrey Rush made beautiful music as troubled Australian pianist David Helfgott, earning him the Academy Award for Best Actor.

10. Selena, 1997
$35.3 million
The story of Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla Perez honored the murdered star — and created a new one, with Jennifer Lopez’s breakthrough performance in the title role.