Biographical Movies

Don’t let the title deter you! Biographical movies can be some of the most powerful and inspiring movies you will ever see.

Most of our first experiences with nonfiction (biographical or autobiographical) come from elementary or middle school, usually in the form of one research project or another. It’s almost like we’re taught from the beginning to believe that history and facts are boring, but that’s not always the case. Sometimes reading a nonfiction book filled with information and facts can be tedious or slow-going, but that’s why there are movies based on fact that bring the information to life right in front of your eyes.


Here are a few biographical movies you can check out from the Aurora Public Library District with their book counterpart:

Hidden Figures is based off of the book Hidden Figures: The American Dream and the Untold Story of the Black Women Mathematicians Who Helped Win the Space Race by Margot Lee Shetterly

Sully is based off of the book Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters by Captain Chesley B. Sullenberger, III.

Eat, Pray, Love is based off of the book Eat, Pray Love: One Woman’s Search for Everything Across Italy, India, and Indonesia by Elizabeth Gilbert

Heaven is For Real is based off of the book Heaven is For Real: A Little Boy’s Astounding Story of His Trip to Heaven and Back by Todd Burpo and Lynn Vincent

The Theory of Everything is based off of the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Hawking

Julie & Julia is based off of the the memoir Julie and Julia: My Year of Cooking Dangerously by Julie Powell

12 Years a Slave is based off of the memoir 12 Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

Schindler’s List is based off of the nonfiction novel Schindler’s List by Thomas Keneally

127 Hours is based off of the memoir Between a Rock and a Hard Place by Aron Ralston

The Lost City of Z is based off of the life of Percy Fawcett, who disappeared during an expedition to find the fabled lost city in the Amazon.

The Butler is based off of the memoir The Butler: A Witness to History by Wil Haygood

The Blind Side is based off of the books The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis and I Beat the Odds: From Homelessness, to The Blind Side, and Beyond by Michael Oher

The Zookeeper’s Wife is based off of the book The Zookeeper’s Wife by Diane Ackerman

Captain Phillips is based off of the book A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy Seals, and My Dangerous Days at Sea by Richard Phillips and Stephen Talty


Here are some new biographical stories being made into films this year or that have already been released:

Dunkirk is based off of the rescue of thousands of French and British troops during World War II from the Nazi “blitzkrieg.” For more information, check out these titles: The Miracle of Dunkirk by Walter Lord and Dunkirk by R. Conrad Stein.

Darkest Hour is based off of the first few days of Winston Churchill’s term as Britain’s Prime Minister and how he stood up to fight the peace treaty with Nazi Germany.

The Greatest Showman is based off of the life of P.T. Barnum, the founder of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum and Bailey Circus.

The Glass Castle is based off of the memoir The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls.

The Founder is based off of the story of Ray Kroc, the man who gained a fortune from the restaurant chain McDonald’s by questionable means.


Biographical movies can be as entertaining as they are inspiring and truthful, and they should definitely be given a chance. Check out any of these titles, or look for The King’s Speech, Moonlight, Selma, Deepwater Horizon, and more on our DVD shelves at the Aurora and Dillsboro branches.

Happy Watching!