Film Lists

Five historical figures that need a biopic

Biopic movies have always been a popular genre. There’s something about learning that a story that seems so unreal is actually based in reality that can leave an audience feeling awed or inspired. And films about celebrities and their lives tend to do well for these kind of stories. But there are so many amazing stories out there, of people you’ve probably never heard of before. Here is a list of people from across history whose stories are so wild that they need to be put on screen.

Leo Major

Credit: Public Domain.

Leo Major was born in the 1920s in Canada, and had a fairly normal life for much of his childhood until he went to join the army in his late teens. Having joined the military in time for World War II, he soon found himself taking part in D-Day, where he single-handedly captured an enemy vehicle filled with important codes. He would lose an eye to an SS patrol, but kept on fighting, claiming he only needed the one to spot his enemies, and that he got to look like a pirate.

Major went on to achieve fame when he single-handedly captured 100 German soldiers (at the same time), and when he captured a German-held town on his own, driving the enemy forces out with attacks that made it look like an entire army was there. He would also be injured in a grenade attack that left him crossing enemy territory on broken legs. All of that is impressive enough, and would make for a hell of a story, but he also took part in several heroic deeds during the Korean War that would turn the tide of a number of battles. Leo Major’s story is at times ridiculous, he does things that no real human should be able to, but his bravery and abilities make him a figure that would appear larger than life.

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Boston Corbett

Credit: Photograph by: Mathew Benjamin Brady – Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division. Brady-Handy Photograph Collection; Public Domain.

We’ve all heard of Abraham Lincoln and how he was assassinated, but chances are you’ve not heard about the man who killed the assassin. Boston Corbett’s early life was spent working as a hatter, around the highly dangerous chemical mercury nitrate (which will explain much of the rest of his life). After the death of his wife and child drove him to drink, Corbett was found by a street preacher who helped him discover God. This would be a huge point in his life, and alter his actions going forward. He would run around the city, trying to preach at people, and even castrated himself to ‘please’ God.

When the US Civil War broke out he joined the Union Army, but was thrown out for constantly arguing with his superiors for their ‘ungodly’ behaviour and language. He later rejoined a different regiment. His new regiment were sent to capture John Wilkes Booth for the assassination of Lincoln, and Corbett ended up shooting him in a fiery barn shootout, killing him. He was court-martialled for this, but received some fame because of his actions. After an incident in which he chased people with guns he was sent to an institution, which he promptly escaped from. The last known sighting of Boston Corbett was of him fleeing the institute on the back of a horse.

Apparently, a feature film has been made about Corbett, but currently there are no details of a release date.

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Jacqueline Cochrane

Credit: Unknown photographer, U.S. National Archives and Records Administration; Public Domain.

Born in 1906 in the US, Jacqueline Cochrane had a fairly normal life to begin with. After her first marriage ended she worked as a hairdresser for a number of years before going on to start her own cosmetics company. After a friend of hers took her flying in a plane she decided that she wanted to learn how to fly, and got her pilot’s license in three weeks. She used her flying to help promote her business, called the Wings of Beauty, by flying around the country. Her lipstick line would be endorsed by Marilyn Monroe. But it’s not her cosmetics that make her notable, but her flying.

She was one of only three women to complete the MacRobinson Air Race in 1934, and from there would enter several others, as well as work alongside Amelia Earhart to help women pilots. When World War II began, Cochrane was instrumental in getting women pilots involved, and would play a major part in women pilots’ roles during the war. She would receive a distinguished service medal for this. She was present for the surrender of Japanese General Tomoyuki Yamashita, was the first non-Japanese woman to enter Japan after the war, and was at the Nuremberg trials. She then entered the Air Force, where she achieved the rank of Colonel.

After the her Air Force service she continued to fly, and was the first woman to fly a jet craft and go ‘supersonic’. She became the first woman to break the sound barrier, the first woman to take off and land on an aircraft carrier, the first woman to fly a bomber over the Atlantic, the first woman to perform a blind landing, amongst many other firsts. At the time of her death she held more speed, altitude, and distance flying records than any other pilot, regardless of gender.

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Bass Reeves

Credit: Unknown photographer, The Western History Collections at the University of Oklahoma Library; Public Domain.

Bass Reeves was born into slavery in Arkansas in 1838, but was moved to Texas when he was just eight years old when his owner moved. When the US Civil War began, Reeves, along with many other slaves, was forced to enter the Confederate Army by his owner. Luckily, Reeves was able to escape during the war, and fled into the nearby Indian Territory, where he lived amongst the Cherokee, Creek, and Seminoles people, learning their languages, until slavery was abolished years later.

When there was a push to hire 200 deputy US Marshals in the Indian Territory, Reeves was approached thanks to his knowledge of the area and people. Reeves would serve as a Marshal for 32 years, and became one of the most respected. He had the highest arrest record, and brought in some of the most dangerous fugitives of the time. Despite being shot at numerous times, he was never wounded. He was known for his detective skills and ability to track down wanted men, and arrested more than 3,000 felons; he was forced to shoot and kill 14 in order to defend himself. He even captured his own son for murder, insisting that it was his responsibility to bring his son to justice. A number of historians consider Reeves to be the lead inspiration for the hero The Lone Ranger.

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Robin Friday

Credit: Photographer not recorded, Reading Evening Post; Fair Use.

Sports movies are popular, and the life of Robin Friday would make for a hell of a sports movie. Born in London in the 1950s, Friday grew up loving football, and was a skilled player from a very young age. He was recruited to a number of teams during his teens, but thanks to his attitude would often find himself being moved from team to team. He had a number of odd jobs in his early twenties, but continued to work on his football skills, and was eventually hired on a professional team.

Over the coming years Friday would receive acclaim for his abilities on the pitch, but thanks to his wild drinking, drugs use, womanising, frequent fights, refusal to listen to authority, and him often injuring his own teammates, he became something of a loose cannon. He would have feuds with other players, and one time took a shit in another players kit bag whilst the match was still going on. His exploits on the pitch made him one of the best players in British football at the time, and his exploits off the pitch were pretty wild. A biopic about Friday could easily showcase the skills and ability he had, whilst also being an incredibly funny and ridiculous film.

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