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I recently realized that so far there have been 4 movies about Steve Jobs' life, however ridiculous that might be, it made me wonder if there was another person that has enjoyed the same amount of interest or greater, I think for the sake of brevity we should exclude figures that weren't around the 20th and 21st century. I'm interested in recent public figures.

So to summarize the question: What's the record for highest number of biographies on a single person?

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@AndrewMartin Doesn't most or all most-appearances fall under same kind of problem? – Ankit Sharma Feb 4 at 10:34
@AndrewMartin you're absolutely correct, and tbh i'm not interested much in every historical figure. So i'll modify the question to narrow it down. – yondaime008 Feb 4 at 10:34
@AnkitSharma: Possibly. Either way, I think it's too broad to get a definitive answer. So I post an answer I think is the most. Someone else posts one with more. Someone else posts one with more - and you end up with a list basically. Which I actually don't mind, I think it's a useful question to be honest - but not sure if it's on-topic or not, that's all. – Andrew Martin Feb 4 at 10:39
I guess there are countless movies about Hitler, you can find many different list with 40+ movies. But then it will become difficult, which movies are biographies, this is difficult to decide in many cases... The efford to join all lists and filter for "real" biographies about him is to high for me, so i dont post this as an answer. – kl78 Feb 4 at 10:48
Is scope limited to Hollywood movies only ? In bollywood I can guess that there are 7 movies about Bhagat Singh and would be many more for Mahatma Gandhi. Wiki:… – Anuj Tripathi Feb 4 at 15:02
up vote 37 down vote accepted

I took the very unscientific approach of using Wikipedia and their List of biographical films. I then put all the information into a spreadsheet, removed a lot of annoying merged cells and came up with a list and turned this into a hopefully pretty graph:

enter image description here

Using this, and ignoring non 20th/21st century people, it looks like Adolf Hitler and Albert Schweitzer lead the way with seven films each.

Of course, Wikipedia's list of biographical films can be edited by anyone and is in no way definitive - but I can't find any other list on the Internet tracking it. Interestingly, they had just three films for Steve Jobs (as out of the six films created about him, they considered three biographical and three documentaries.

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12 films for Jesus is way less then I would have expected – Marv Feb 4 at 13:32
yes - maybe it's because he was looking only under biographical films. Including other categories in where Jesus would be better categorized, like religious films, or maybe fiction would have resulted in a lot more films for sure. – jimm-cl Feb 4 at 14:34
Where does "Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter" fit? Or for that matter "Jesus Christ, Vampire Hunter"? That also is a thing that exists for some reason. – Darrel Hoffman Feb 4 at 15:16
The biggest shocker on this list for me is Albert Schweitzer - he's the only one I'd never heard of. I find it highly suspect that he's tied for first place with Hitler, but I guess it all comes down to how strictly you define "biography". (Also, most of his movies are in French or German, so maybe he's just not that well known in the English-speaking world...) – Darrel Hoffman Feb 4 at 18:35
@DarrelHoffman: Like you, I had never heard of him either, so it was definitely a surprise to me. – Andrew Martin Feb 4 at 18:35

There are literally dozens of movies about Wong Fei-hung, who died in 1924 and therefore qualifies for your time range. Granted, most of those movies aren't well-known outside China / Hong Kong.

And you might want to make a very close inspection before declaring that e.g. Iron Monkey (1993) is a "biographical" account of his childhood! So not all of them qualify as biographies. I think you'd be able to find almost a continuum from "sincere attempt to recount events that actually occurred" to "complete fiction that just uses his name", and draw the line where you want within that.

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And you might want to make a very close inspection before declaring that e.g. Iron Monkey (1993) is "biographical"! - I'm not sure who you're referring to. Who has made the claim? Agree about the difficulty of understanding what's biography, what isn't and who qualifies, but Wong Fei-hung looks a decent bet. – Andrew Martin Feb 4 at 12:38
@AndrewMartin: I'm not saying anyone made the claim, I just mean that the raw number of movies in which Wong Fei-hung is a major character, doesn't translate to a number of "biographies". And unfortunately I'm not equipped even to estimate how many of them can reasonably be called biographical, we need a Hong Kong cinema buff. – Steve Jessop Feb 4 at 12:39
Ah got it, understood. That makes sense. Well, +1 from me: this certainly seems to be fit with OP's ask. – Andrew Martin Feb 4 at 12:40
I feel like he has become more of a legend. Most movies about him might be as biographical as Young Guns is to Billy the Kid. Meaning I suspect there's a lot of embellishment, to say the least. – Todd Wilcox Feb 4 at 17:33
I'm not saying they shouldn't be counted on that ground. I'm pre-emptively explaining why some people might never have heard of this movie staple, just on the off-chance that anyone reading isn't familiar with the huge amount of work around Wong Fei-hung ;-) – Steve Jessop Feb 5 at 11:37

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