Quiz: Pick Your Favorite Biopics & Get a Biography Recommendation

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Alison Doherty

Senior Contributor

Alison Doherty is a writing teacher and part time assistant professor living in Brooklyn, New York. She has an MFA from The New School in writing for children and teenagers. She loves writing about books on the Internet, listening to audiobooks on the subway, and reading anything with a twisty plot or a happily ever after.

If you are looking for a true story to read and you’re a fan of movies, this biography quiz is here to help you out. You’ll be asked to pick your favorite biopic movies, choosing from classics like The Sound of Music and Bonnie and Clyde and more current movies like Malcolm X and Marie Antoinette. Once you pick your favorites between these matchups, the quiz will recommend a biography for you to read.

There are some amazing biographies on this list. Some feature true heroes that you might never have heard about — like Constance Baker Motley, an amazing lawyer who was the first Black woman to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court. Other biographies offer new insights and information about people you might think you know a lot about, like America’s first president, George Washington. No matter which biography recommendation you get, it should be an interesting and illuminating read. And best of all, if you aren’t that interested in your recommendation, then you can take the quiz again. Or scroll to the bottom of the page and see all the potential results.

The Results

cover Civil Rights Queen by Tomiko Brown-Nagin

Civil Rights Queen: Constance Baker Motley and the Struggle for Equality by Tomiko Brown-Nagin

Constance Baker Motley accomplished so many amazing things, you are going to be mad you never learned about her in school (at least that’s how I felt). She was the first Black female lawyer to argue a case in front of the Supreme Court. She was Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s lawyer in Birmingham. She was instrumental in turning over many Jim Crow laws throughout the South. And these are just a few of the many ways she fought for racial and gender justice throughout her incredibly interesting life.

Cover of Like Water A Cultural History Bruce Lee

Like Water: A Cultural History of Bruce Lee by Daryl Joji Maeda

Bruce Lee was a legendary martial artist and actor who popularized Hong Kong action films in America through movies like The Way of the Dragon and The Orphan. This book weaves together a biography of Bruce Lee’s life with a deep look into the cultural impact he had on the world as the first Asian American star. It also ties what was happening in Lee’s life to larger historical contexts of Asia and America’s many connections with each other.

Book Cover for Romantic Outlaws

Romantic Outlaws: The Extraordinary Lives of Mary Wollstonecraft & Mary Shelley by Charlotte Gordon

Mary Wollstonecraft and Mary Shelley shared a first name, a brilliant talent for writing, a nontraditional approach to life and love, and even their DNA as mother and daughter. But given that Mary Wollstonecraft died of an infection shortly after giving birth, they two never had a relationship. However, the parallels between their lives and works are fascinating to read about in this dual biography. Pirates! Revolutions! Sexy graveyard scenes! This is a long book, but the drama of both women’s lives keeps the pages turning.

Book Cover for Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands

Bad Mexicans: Race, Empire, and Revolution in the Borderlands by Kelly Lytle Hernández

This book tells the story of Ricardo Flores Magón and the radical Magonistas who agitated the 1910 Mexican Revolution. Magón and his comrades were determined to end the rule of Porfirio Díaz, a dictator who controlled Mexico for decades with support and protection from the United States. The story delves into labor, feminist, and Indigenous perspectives on this time, while also emphasizing the effects of the revolution on both sides of the border.

Book Cover for Shackleton

Shackleton by Ranulph Fiennes

Shackleton is a legendary Antarctic explorer known for surviving three failed expeditions. He is most famous for his 1915 attempt to be the first to make a land crossing of Antarctica, where his ship the Endurance became trapped in ice. This biography is particularly interesting because it is written by one of the greatest living explorers of today who has literally walked in Shackleton’s footsteps. This gives him the opportunity to weigh in on Shackleton’s motivations and choices during a time when there were no good choices to make.

Cover of The Woman They Could Not Silence

The Woman They Could Not Silence: One Woman, Her Incredible Fight for Freedom, and the Men Who Tried to Make Her Disappear by Kate Moore

In 1860, Elizabeth Packard was put away in an insane asylum by her husband of 21 years. He wanted to get rid of her after she refused to stop publicly sharing her belief in women’s rights and the abolition of slavery. With no official diagnosis or evaluation, she was declared insane and locked in an asylum, where she found many other women in the same situation. She was determined to be declared sane and use the legal system to gain her freedom. In doing so, she became both a media sensation and an advocate for better treatment of people with mental illness.

cover of You Never Forget Your First by Alexis Coe

You Never Forget Your First: A Biography of George Washington by Alexis Coe

You might think there’s nothing new for you to learn about George Washington, but I dare you to read this book without getting a new perspective. From examining the lies and myths that have developed around George Washington, to extensively researched information about the enslaved people and indentured servants at Mount Vernon, Coe presents a very different picture of the United States’ first president.

Book Cover for   Want to read   Buy on Amazon       Rate this book Rebels Against the Raj: Western Fighters for India's Freedom

Rebels Against the Raj: Western Fighters for India’s Freedom by Ramachandra Guha

The book offers seven mini-biographies of foreigners who came to India and became committed to fighting for Indian independence against Great Britain. The author vividly tells each of their stories, while tracking their different relationships and connections with Mahatma Gandhi.

Thanks for taking this biography quiz! I hope you walked away with a biography recommendation that you love — or at least some new ideas for biopic movies to watch! If you want another book recommendation, pick your favorite period piece films and get a historical fiction book to read!