Biopics That Infuriated The Real People They Were Based On

Biopics are big business in Hollywood, and they're loved by audiences, too. The movie studios have been pumping out biographical films since as early as 1906, and the massive success of Oppenheimer and Elvis signal that they're still going strong. But these dramatic portrayals of “real life” people don’t always hit the mark with the folks immortalized on screen. Don't believe us? Here are the films that infuriated the real people they were based on.

1. Oppenheimer (2023)

Despite being three hours long and rated R, Oppenheimer boomed past $500 million at the box office to become the highest-grossing movie set during World War II. It also enjoyed critical adulation — it holds a 93 percent certified fresh score on Rotten Tomatoes — and earned the general acceptance that it is about as historically accurate as a movie can be.

But you can't please everybody. J. Robert Oppenheimer’s grandson Charles Oppenheimer told Time, "As a dramatized representation of the history, it was really largely accurate." However, he said, there was one scene he "definitely would have removed."

The apple scene was debatable

"The part I like the least is this poison apple reference," he said. But Charles did concede that he was also not happy with this story being included in the biography American Prometheus: The Triumph and Tragedy of J. Robert Oppenheimer — the book Oppenheimer is based on.

"If you read American Prometheus carefully enough, the authors say, ‘We don't really know if it happened,'" Charles said. "There’s no record of [Oppenheimer] trying to kill somebody. That's a really serious accusation, and it's historical revision. There's not a single enemy or friend of Robert Oppenheimer who heard that during his life and considered it to be true."

2. Pain & Gain (2013)

Michael Bay’s Pain & Gain told the story of the Sun Gym Gang, a group of bodybuilders who were eventually convicted of kidnapping, torture, extortion, and murder. The movie claims outright that it is "a true story," and even pauses to remind viewers that "this is still a true story" when things start getting really crazy.

But despite this, the Rolling Stone critic Peter Travers called Pain & Gain “dumb, shallow, deeply cynical and creatively bereft” — and at least one real person presented in the film agreed with him.

The victim sued the production

The movie’s depiction of an inspired-by-a-true-story kidnapping proved too much for the real-life victim, Marc Schiller, to bear. He chose to sue Paramount Pictures, Viacom, Michael Bay, and star Mark Wahlberg over the film. In 2014 he told the New York Post, "They chose to portray me as a bad person and my assailants as nice guys who were just bumbling fools.

The movie made a mockery of me and of the pain and suffering that I had endured... The horrible person on screen had no resemblance to who I was — or who I am now."