First coined in the 1940s, a biopic is a movie that dramatizes the life of one central historical figure. The majority of biographical films focus on the life of an entertainer, politician or otherwise remarkable personality. While biopics have been a part of the movie landscape for a long time, it wasn’t until recent years that they’ve started to dominated the film industry. In 2018 alone, Hollywood produced more than 20 biographical films. So, the next time you see a commercial, trailer or social media post about an upcoming movie, don’t be surprised if you find out that it’s a biography.
Biopic is the combination of the words “biography” and “motion picture.”
There’s some question regarding the correct pronunciation of biopic. Some pronounce it bio·pic and others bi·opic. According to the Cambridge Dictionary, both are correct.
A biopic is not the same as a docudrama, a docufilm, a documentary or a movie based on a true story. Here are basic definitions of these terms …
Biopic: biographical movie centered on one historical figure
Docudrama: dramatized re-enactments of actual events
Docufilm: archival footage and/or interviews supported by narration
Documentary: documentation of reality for educational or instructional use
Based on a true story: recreation of events with changes in the story to suit the audience’s understanding and expectations