History is a great place to find amazing subjects for films and there are a plethora of real people throughout history to base a film on. With gaps in the facts, two writers can have a completely different take on their adaptation of the truth. After all, these are 5 Great Movies Based on Real People for entertainment. They’re not documentaries.
Amadeus is an opulent period film with gorgeous lighting and fills every shot with splendour. The screenplay was written by Peter Shaffer. It was based on his play of the same name and directed by the brilliant Milos Foreman. You may know him as the Director of ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ (1975) or the Priest in Edward Norton’s ‘Keeping the Faith (2000).
The cast reads like a list of Great Actors of the 20th Century and it’s brimming with talent. They create a sumptuous yet realistic world. Where Composer Salieri (F.Murray Abraham), who is now confined to an insane asylum, tells of his secret rivalry with Mozart (Tom Hulce). Including, how he is responsible for Mozart’s death.
Another adaptation from the stage. Doug Wright’s ‘Quills’ is a fictitious account of one time, among many, that the Marquis De Sade spent in an Insane Asylum. As you can probably guess, if you know anything of the Marquis De Sade, this is not one for the kids. With quotes from the Marquis’ works and similar themes being explored throughout. Geoffrey Rush gives a mesmerising performance as this complex character.
Supported by Joaquin Phoenix, Kate Winslet and Michael Caine the film shows a dark and gritty glimpse of France under Napoleon. It’s almost as if the Marquis had written the film himself.
Elizabeth (1998) & Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
Cate Blanchett’s fiery Elizabeth had a very complex and eventful life. Making her a perfect subject for a film or two. Shekhar Kapur directed both films and it can be seen quite clearly. These are different and great films in their own right but have a common thread within them.
Both films focus on a particularly dangerous time in Elizabeth’s life and in British history. Murder, intrigue, spies and romance, there’s something for everyone.
They are films not to be missed with an all-star cast and great to watch one after the other on a movie night. Whether you’re into history or not.
Directed by Richard Attenborough (Director of Gandhi (1982) and star of Jurassic Park (1993)) and starring Robert Downey Jr as Chaplin. It starts with an elderly Chaplin working with Anthony Hopkins character on his biography.
Chaplin was a controversial and troubled man at times and Downey is brilliant in the part. Geraldine Chaplin plays her own Grandmother as well. I think it is a lovely touch in the film. It’s a peek into the period of silent films with fascinating characters. A must-see for film buffs.
La Reine Margot (1994)
A French film that is set during the period of the Massacre of Bartholomew in Paris. During the Summer of 1572. The Catholic Margot de Valois is forced to marry the Huguenot King Henri of Navarre to impose a peace. It has plenty of poisonings, affairs, conspiracies and a massacre. It’s based on both history and Alexandre Dumas novel, Margot is caught between her ruthless family, her husband and her new lover. It’s beautifully made with lots of interesting characters. You really want to know how it ends and who manages to survive.
Have you seen these films? Do you have any favourite films based on real people that you’d recommend?