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Life on film: what are the best – and worst – biopics ever made?

Clint Eastwood attends the Washington D.C. premier of
Clint Eastwood attends the Washington D.C. premier of "J. Edgar," which Eastwood produced and directed, at The Newseum on November 8, 2011 in Washington, DC.
Riccardo S. Savi/Getty Images

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Leonardo DiCaprio is already drawing raves for his stunning turn as J. Edgar Hoover in J. Edgar. Credit is also certainly due director Clint Eastwood and writer Dustin Lance Black (who also penned the Oscar-winning biopic, "Milk"). Portraying a real-life character is arguably Oscar-bait for any serious actor or director; one of the first to start the trend was Charles Laughton in 1933's "The Private Life of Henry VIII."

We've also seen the Best Actor award go to Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta in "Raging Bull," Forest Whitaker as Idi Amin in "The Last King of Scotland" and Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote in "Capote."

The ladies don’t lag behind – Sally Field in "Norma Rae," Julia Roberts in "Erin Brokovich" and Sissy Spacek as Loretta Lynn in "Coal Miner’s Daughter" all earned their Best Actress statues by playing actual singing, fighting, hell-raising women.


What are your favorite films about real people? Who got it right – from the accent to the attitude – and who missed the mark? Who deserved more applause than they got for bringing a living, breathing historical figure to cinematic life? And which attempts should have been left out of the history books?