When selecting the cast for a biopic, or biographical movie, the director must walk a fine line between selecting someone for their physical similarity vs. selecting them for having the thespian talent required to play the part. Here's a list of actors who definitely succeeded on the physical similarity side of things.

It's not just the actor who does all the work – casting experts and makeup artists also play a huge role in making these famous figures come to life on the big screen.

Many consider biopics to be some of the most difficult and rewarding roles in Hollywood. Most historical figures have a wealth of information available about them, and it is the actor's job to understand and embody all of this available information, all while portraying a historical figure that many people may have strong feelings about.

(h/t: twistedsifter)

#1

Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray

Jamie Foxx as Ray Charles in Ray

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KirstenDohmen 4 years ago

Not bad!

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#2

Daniel Day‑Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln

Daniel Day‑Lewis as Abraham Lincoln in Lincoln

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MaxineMancusoDeVries 4 years ago

Perfect match and excellent performance.

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#3

Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison in The Doors

Val Kilmer as Jim Morrison in The Doors

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SallyWatson 4 years ago

Yep he could've been Jims kid

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#4

Robert Downey Jr. as Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin

Robert Downey Jr. as Charlie Chaplin in Chaplin

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ZeynepGüray 4 years ago

love it

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#5

Ben Kingsley as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in Gandhi

Ben Kingsley as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi in Gandhi

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jennifer4kid 4 years ago

Not that close, but Morgan is a great actor in any part he plays

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#6

Bruno Ganz as Adolf Hitler in Downfall

Bruno Ganz as Adolf Hitler in Downfall

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KirstenDohmen 4 years ago

Eerily close!

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#7

Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs In Jobs

Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs In Jobs

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DianaPrice 4 years ago

Ashton wins my vote for closest lookalike for sure!

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#8

Denzel Washington as Malcolm X in Malcolm X

Denzel Washington as Malcolm X in Malcolm X

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CynaraDesbarats 4 years ago

Epic!

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#9

Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandella in Invictus

Morgan Freeman as Nelson Mandella in Invictus

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ShannonJordan 4 years ago

Other than being older black men, they don't really look that much alike.

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#10

Andre 3000 as Jimi Hendrix in Jimi: All Is By My Side

Andre 3000 as Jimi Hendrix in Jimi: All Is By My Side

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KASWhitlow 1 year ago

👍

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#11

Jennifer Lopez as Selena Quintanilla in Selena

Jennifer Lopez as Selena Quintanilla in Selena

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AngelHu 4 years ago

I think she played it very well. I'm not a fan of JLo, but I loved her in this.

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#12

Adrien Brody As Salvador Dali In Midnight In Paris

Adrien Brody As Salvador Dali In Midnight In Paris

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542af7a3103a2 4 years ago

They don't look like each other

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#13

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady

Meryl Streep as Margaret Thatcher in The Iron Lady

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WilliamTing 4 years ago

Margaret Thatcher has worse teeth.

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#14

Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb as Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen in Sid and Nancy

Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb as Sid Vicious and Nancy Spungen in Sid and Nancy

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AnnaConstantinova 4 years ago

Gary Oldman - Yes! But Chloe Webb definitely older and not that type of... of everything. I mean tottaly unsimilar.

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#15

Hellen Mirren as HM Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen

Hellen Mirren as HM Queen Elizabeth II in The Queen

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StephenESims 4 years ago

I know my eyesight isnt as good as it used to be, but im sure Hellen Merron looks nothing like the Queen,, To Slim and To Young.

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#16

Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock in Hitchcock

Anthony Hopkins as Alfred Hitchcock in Hitchcock

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Elizabeth Strydom 4 years ago

Another goosebump-inducing performance by the Sir - this role was a lot more than the make-up involved.

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#17

Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo in Frida

Salma Hayek as Frida Kahlo in Frida

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TerriGold 4 years ago

Not at all.

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#18

Sean Penn as Harvey Milk in Milk

Sean Penn as Harvey Milk in Milk

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KarenCarty 4 years ago

Several of these are amazingly close.

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#19

Eddie Redmayne And Felicity Jones as Jane And Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything

Eddie Redmayne And Felicity Jones as Jane And Stephen Hawking in The Theory Of Everything

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CavanHardy-Kavanagh 4 years ago

The girl looks way different

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#20

Charlize Theron As Aileen Wuornos In Monster

Charlize Theron As Aileen Wuornos In Monster

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KASWhitlow 1 year ago

👍

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#21

Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan in I’m Not There

Cate Blanchett as Bob Dylan in I’m Not There

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CynaraDesbarats 4 years ago

Cate was channeling Bob! Absolutely mesmerizing perfromance imho.

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#22

James Franco As James Dean In James Dean

James Franco As James Dean In James Dean

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MarceloKuroi 4 years ago

James Franco as James Dean in James Franco LOL

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#23

Geoffrey Rush as Peter Sellers in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers

Geoffrey Rush as Peter Sellers in The Life and Death of Peter Sellers

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#24

Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart in Amelia

Hilary Swank as Amelia Earhart in Amelia

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KristiVoss 4 years ago

That. Mouth. Ugh. Never watched anything w Swank in.

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#25

Audrey Tautou as Coco Chanel in Coco Before Chanel

Audrey Tautou as Coco Chanel in Coco Before Chanel

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Noah Flores 2 years ago

I can see it

#26

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote in Capote

Philip Seymour Hoffman as Truman Capote in Capote

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BramVerdonk 4 years ago

He gets extra points for looking like Matt Damon at the same time.

#27

Sam Riley As Ian Curtis In Control

Sam Riley As Ian Curtis In Control

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Noah Flores 2 years ago

Not bad

#28

Edie Sedgwick & Andy Warhol (sienna Miller / Guy Pearce)

Edie Sedgwick & Andy Warhol (sienna Miller / Guy Pearce)

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MartinedeZoete 4 years ago

Spot on!

#29

Benicio Del Toro As Ernesto "che" Guevara

Benicio Del Toro As Ernesto "che" Guevara

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Elizabeth Strydom 4 years ago

He definitely has strong similar features. And wins because he is Benicio del Toro.

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#30

Hannah Taylor-gordon As Anne Frank In Anne Frank: The Whole Story

Hannah Taylor-gordon As Anne Frank In Anne Frank: The Whole Story

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Noah Flores 2 years ago

Accurate enough

#31

Michael Douglas as Liberace In Behind The Candelabra

Michael Douglas as Liberace In Behind The Candelabra

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FrédéricEeckman 4 years ago

i think that Douglas did an amazing job !

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#32

Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn

Michelle Williams as Marilyn Monroe in My Week With Marilyn

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Kim Bee 4 years ago

Should have been someone like Naomi Watts.

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#33

Jared Leto As Mark David Chapman In Chapter 27.

Jared Leto As Mark David Chapman In Chapter 27.

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#34

John Hurt As Joseph Merrick In The Elephant Man

John Hurt As Joseph Merrick In The Elephant Man

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GrazielaLeon 4 years ago

I believe this is more a merit of the makeup staff than of the casting.

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#35

Glenn Miller And James Steward In The Glenn Miller Story

Glenn Miller And James Steward In The Glenn Miller Story

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JoanieBrown 4 years ago

Stewart, not Steward. :)

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#36

Reese Witherspoon and Joacquin Phoenix as June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash

Reese Witherspoon and Joacquin Phoenix as June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash

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Melodie 4 years ago

neh...

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#37

Stephen Fry As Oscar Wilde

Stephen Fry As Oscar Wilde

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Martine de Zoete 4 years ago

Nope

#38

Sherilyn Fenn As Elizabeth Taylor In Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story

Sherilyn Fenn As Elizabeth Taylor In Liz: The Elizabeth Taylor Story

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Noah Flores 2 years ago

Nice

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#39

Ralph Fiennes as Charles Dickens in The Invisible Woman

Ralph Fiennes as Charles Dickens in The Invisible Woman

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#40

Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman in Man On The Moon

Jim Carrey as Andy Kaufman in Man On The Moon

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#41

Joaquin Phoenix/ Johnny Cash

Joaquin Phoenix/ Johnny Cash

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#42

Will Smith As Muhammad Ali

Will Smith As Muhammad Ali

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#43

Colin Firth as King George VI in The King's Speech

Colin Firth as King George VI in The King's Speech

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#44

Nicole Kidman As Virginia Woolf

Nicole Kidman As Virginia Woolf

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#45

Benedict Cumberbatch As Stephen Hawking In "hawking"

Benedict Cumberbatch As Stephen Hawking In "hawking"

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#46

James Franco As Allen Ginsberg In Howl

James Franco As Allen Ginsberg In Howl

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#47

Peter O'toole As Lawrence Of Arabia

Peter O'toole As Lawrence Of Arabia

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#48

John Goodman As Babe Ruth

John Goodman As Babe Ruth

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#49

Ian Curtis As Sam Riley (joy Divivsion) In Control

Ian Curtis As Sam Riley (joy Divivsion) In Control

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nynerds 4 years ago

Sam Riley played Ian Curtis, not the other way around ;)

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#50

Óscar Janeada As Cantinflas In Cantinflas.

Óscar Janeada As Cantinflas In Cantinflas.

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Cristian Gamarra 4 years ago

No se parece para nada. xD!

#51

Bill Hader As Andy Warhol

Bill Hader As Andy Warhol

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#52

Gary Busey As Buddy Holly

Gary Busey As Buddy Holly

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walkie-talkie 4 years ago

oh those teeth

#53

Vincent D'onofrio As Orson Welles

Vincent D'onofrio As Orson Welles

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#54

#21 Jessica Schwarz As Romy Schneider In Romy

#21 Jessica Schwarz As Romy Schneider In Romy

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#55

Clive Owen As Andrew Hannon In Croupier

Clive Owen As Andrew Hannon In Croupier

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#56

Steve Carell As John Du Pony

Steve Carell As John Du Pony

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MaxiMurdok 4 years ago

It's spelled "du Pont" not "du Pony".

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