Of all the popular movie genres, the biopic has ruled American box offices. The biopic, short for biographical picture, often focuses on a segment of a person’s life and adds drama to historical events. Recently, biopics, such as Race and Selma, have captivated viewers and given us a better understanding of our history. “[Biopics] can be a good thing because …it can shine a light on someone who never got credit for something they did,” English teacher Zachary Lowe said.
Though biopics vary in topics, they have certain themes in common. Compelling biopics, and films in general, have a strong dose of tension, failure and success. Most of all, the story must be a thrilling ride and leave audiences educated and inspired.
With that criteria, these American heroes deserve to be immortalized in Hollywood and have their stories told on the big screen.
- Orville and Wilbur Wright
David McCullough’s biography The Wright Brothers masterfully told the story of the first in flight, but the story of these two pioneers needs the Hollywood treatment. Orville and Wilbur Wright worked for years on building the first manned aircraft and became a worldwide sensation when, after incredible trial, their flying machine proved successful.
The Wright Brothers were the fathers of aviation and changed America and the world. Fortunately, it looks like their story is moving towards the big screen. HBO is producing a miniseries based on McCullough’s biography and a full-length film could be in the works.
- Walt Disney
Saving Mr. Banks, a recent movie about Walt Disney’s attempt to acquire the movie rights to Mary Poppins, has Disney as a main character but doesn’t capture the innovation and influence of the American legend. Disney encountered failure again and again in the motion picture industry before finding success with Mickey Mouse and later produced revolutionary full-length animated movies. Even after the initial success, Disney faced more setbacks, including the war and a devastating company strike.
“His movies and ideas were influential in a lot of people’s lives,” junior Ben Shapiro said. “Seeing that the studio is going through another renaissance, it seems that now would be a good time to make a biography about Walt Disney.”
- Lopez Lomong
He isn’t a natural-born citizen or a prominent figure in American history, but the incredible story of Lopez Lomong is built for the big screen. Lomong, whose story is chronicled in his autobiography Running for my Life, was kidnapped as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan and struggled to stay alive in captivity. Lomong, along with three other boys, escaped the camp and crossed the border to Kenya. A writing contest gave Lomong a life-changing opportunity- being adopted in the U.S.
After moving in with a family in New York, he found success in athletics and ran in high school, college, and professionally. In the 2008 Olympics, Lomong served as the flag bearer for the U.S. National team and competed in the 1500-meter run.
As long as they are well-done and accurate, biopics about these amazing Americans would be classics.
Published in Wootton’s Common Sense newspaper.