Reality Bites: The 25 Best and Worst Biopics

From raging bulls to lizard kings, we look back at the great (and the grating) movies that took on true-life stories
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lawrence of arabia peter o'toole
Courtesy of Columbia Pictures

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BEST: 'Lawrence of Arabia' (1962)

David Lean's three-and-a-half hour historical epic dazzles with desert vistas, massive battle sequences and practical stunts that rival today's effects (there's nothing quite like derailing a train with explosives). None of it would play, however, without an equally grand subject. Peter O'Toole's piercing eyes empower T.E. Lawrence's ambitions — he's a megalomaniac that gambles on "ends justify the means" logic, and strides across Middle Eastern sands knowing he's a hero. We see him at his highs, pulling strings and galvanizing Arab tribes into guerrilla battalions; and we see him at his lows,as he's defeated, tortured, and depleted of his rebellious behavior. Most importantly, we walk away seeing the man in all his ragged glory, captured majestically on immaculate 70mm film yet carefully unwoven by O'Toole's gravitas. MATT PATCHES

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