Art Films: 30 Films Where The Screen Is Saturated With Art

Art films feature a broad cinema category by focusing on many areas of art. Learning about the lives and works of great artists is now as easy as watching a movie. We have compiled the 30 best movies that we think you will not want to miss among art movies. If you’re ready, let’s start.


30) Klimt (2006) | IMDb: 5.2

Director: Raul Ruiz

Cast: John Malkovich, Veronica Ferres, Stephen Dillane

Rotten Tomatoes: 32%

The film is about the life of Austrian artist Gustav Klimt, full of flamboyant and sexual portraits. In the film, which presents a portrait symbolizing the Art Nouveau style of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Klimt dies in a hospital in 1918 and flashbacks begin. “I expect to hear criticism of this script similar to the criticism of Klimt’s art,” said Raul Ruiz, both writer and director of the film, just before the film’s release.


29) Gauguin: Voyage de Tahiti (2017) | IMDb: 5.9

Director: Edouard Deluc

Cast: Vincent Cassel, Tuhei Adams, Malik Zidi

Rotten Tomatoes: 41%

In 1891, Gauguin settled in Tahiti, where he hoped to inspire his work as an artist and live as a free man in the wilderness, away from all the moral, political and aesthetic codes of civilized Europe. He faces loneliness, poverty, and sickness in the forest and meets Tehura. He becomes the life partner of Tehura Gauguin, whom he has a great passion for. Tehura becomes the main subject of his paintings, which became Gauguin’s greatest inspiration.


28) Cézanne and I (2016) | IMDb: 6.0

Director: Daniele Thompson

Cast: Guillaume Canet, Guillaume Gallienne, Alice Pol

Rotten Tomatoes: 53%

Painter Paul Cézanne (Gallienne) develops a strong friendship with writer Émile Zola (Canet) in 19th century France. In the film, the director offers a portrait of the extremely close but often contentious relationship between Cezanne and Emile Zola, beyond conveying the art and the lives of the artists.


27) Final Portrait (2017) | IMDb: 6.3

Director: Stanley Tucci

Cast: Geoffrey Rush, Armie Hammer, Clemense Poesy

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%

Famous artist sculptor and painter Alberto Giacometti asked American writer James Lord to pose for a portrait in Paris in 1964. Waiting to model for a few days, Lord puts herself at the mercy of the notorious self-criticism artist for three weeks. Lord went to Giacometti’s studio for over three weeks, repeatedly delaying his return ticket to America. Considered by many critics to be Giacometti’s last great painting, the artwork is slowly revealed throughout the film depicting the creative process.


26) Surviving Picasso (1996) | IMDb: 6.4

Director: James Ivory

Cast: Anthony Hopkins, Natascha McElhone, Julianne Moore

Rotten Tomatoes: 32%

World-famous painter Pablo Picasso (Hopkins) is famous for his infidelity. But his French lover, Françoise Gilot (McElhone), manages to weather his tumultuous relationship with her better than most other women. An artist in her own right, Gilot is Picasso’s muse and mother of his two children while he has to struggle with relationships with other women, including his wife, dancer Olga Khokhlova (Jane Lapotaire) and photographer Dora.


25) Little Ashes (2008) | IMDb: 6.4

Director: Paul Morrison

Cast: Robert Pattinson, Javier Beltran, Matthew McNulty

Rotten Tomatoes: 24%

Amid pre-Spanish Civil War oppression and political unrest, eccentric artist Salvador Dalí and famous poet and revolutionary Federico García Lorca form a bond where they find their artistic and sexual freedom. An intense homoerotic flirtation takes place between Dali and Lorca. While Lorca is known to be gay, Dali’s sexuality is more ambiguous (she has been married for decades). The film tells that she is essentially asexual, acting as a magnet for men and women.


24) Boom for Real: The Late Teenage Years of Jean – Michel Basquiat (2017) | IMDb: 6.6

Director: Sara Driver

Cast: Jim Jarmusch, James, Nares, Fab 5 Freddy

Rotten Tomatoes: 88%

Featuring never-before-seen artifacts, writings, and photographs, the documentary provides an insight into the life of young Jean-Michel Basquiat in New York in the late 1970s. We see Basquiat, who died at a young age, in this documentary when he was 17 years old. This production, in which we share the process of how time, people, and the movements of the city helped Basquiat create his artistic vision, also successfully reflects the spirit of the period.


23) Renoir (2012) | IMDb: 6.6

Director: Gilles Bourdos

Cast: Michel Bouquet, Christa Theret, Vincent Rottiers

Rotten Tomatoes: 71%

Famous painter Pierre-Auguste Renoir lost his wife in 1915. The painter, who surrenders himself to pain after his wife’s death, meets a young woman named Andree. Andree, who is both young and very beautiful, becomes the new model of the painter. The painter’s young son, Jean, is wounded in the war and has to return to his father. This is where Jean Renoir’s career, which went to become a famous French director, began, who fell under the spell of Andree as soon as he returned.


22) Caravaggio (1986) | IMDb: 6.6

Director: Derek Jarman

Cast: Nigel Terry, Sean Bean, Michael Gough

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

The film chronicles the life of Caravaggio, the influential late Renaissance painter, through the lens of an imaginary sexual obsession and a range of modernist influences. Caravaggio (Terry) is a thrill-seeker, bisexual lecherous who discovers the object of his desire, Ranuccio (Bean), at a nude boxing match. The painter often uses prostitutes and the homeless as models for his time-lauded work. With two very different lovers, Ranuccio (Bean) and Lena (Tilda Swinton), Caravaggio leads a troubled life that, despite his relative success, his reckless behavior drives him to his early grave.


21) Artemisia (1997) | IMDb: 6.7

Director: Agnes Merlet

Cast: Michel Serrault, Valentina Cervi, Miki Manojlovic

Rotten Tomatoes: 67%

Artemisia (Cervi) is the proud, ambitious, and talented 17-year-old daughter of Orazio (Serrault), a well-known seventeenth-century artist in the Florentine tradition. When his father learned of his drawing skills, he took him out of convent school and allowed him to sketch for his frescoes. Orazio later breaks tradition and enrolls Artemesia in the all-male Academy of Fine Arts. There she falls in love with her father’s flirtatious colleague Agostino Tassi (Manojlovic). When their affair comes to light, Orazio decides to take his rival to court on rape charges. Artemisia gives herself to art.


20) Mr. Turner (2014) | IMDb: 6.8

Director: Mike Leigh

Cast: Timothy Spall, Dorothy Atkinson, Marion Bailey

Rotten Tomatoes: 97%

Joseph Mallord William Turner (1775-1851) is credited as the most incredible landscape painter of the 19th century and a pioneer in the artistic exploration of light. Eccentric British painter Turner (Spall) has spent the last 25 years living in a seaside town with his aged father and faithful servant Hannah (Atkinson). Turner is in love with Booth (Bailey), the landlady of the beach house. Hannah is in love with Turner. Although this creative artist can meet the challenges of her art, she is not very good at dealing with the imperatives of human relations. The film was screened at the 52nd New York Film Festival.


19) At Eternity’s Gate (2018) | IMDb: 6.9

Director: Julian Schnabel

Cast: Willem Dafoe, Rupert Friend, Oscar Isaac

Rotten Tomatoes: 78%

Definitely, the best movie ever made about the genius artist Vincent van Gogh, who opens our bodies, minds, and souls to the wonders of a sensuous world. The master director has created an extraordinary film from Dafoe’s passionate acting as Van Gogh. The director wants the viewer to see the world as the painter Van Gogh, to experience the emotions associated with the act of creating art and the devotional nature of this endeavor. Schnabel also addresses Van Gogh’s world-famous letters in the film, which repeatedly reveal how the artist uses love, beauty, meaning, and almost everything in connection with the invisible.


18) Girl with a Pearl Earring (2003) | IMDb: 6.9

Director: Peter Webber

Cast: Colin Firth, Scarlett Johansson, Tom Wilkinson

Rotten Tomatoes: 73%

A must-have on the art movie list, Girl with a Pearl Earring is based on Tracy Chevalier’s best-selling novel about the possible events behind one of Vermeer’s most captivating works, Girl with a Pearl Earring. The director has brought an erotic masterpiece and one of the best dramas among art films to the big screen. Griet (Scarlett), whose father is blind, has to go to work as the maid of the painter Johannes Vermeer (Firth). While cleaning the house, Griet forms an unlikely friendship with Vermeer. Vermeer and Griet are forced to spend long hours together when wealthy boss Van Ruijven (Wilkinson) begins to lust after Griet and orders a painting of her.


17) Goya’s Ghosts (2006) | IMDb: 6.9

Director: Milos Forman

Cast: Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgard

Rotten Tomatoes: 30%

Spanish Inquisition member Lorenzo (Bardem) tries to win the favor of the Inquisition by arresting Ines (Portman), the muse of artist Francisco Goya (Skarsgard). When Ines is seen rejecting a plate of pork in a tavern by Inquisition spies, she is pulled in, accused of Judaism, and tortured until she confesses her “sin”. Lorenzo’s plan backfires when Ines’ father, a wealthy merchant, captures and tortures Lorenzo, and Lorenzo incurs the wrath of the other inquisitors.


16) Basquiat (1996) | IMDb: 6.9

Director: Julian Schnabel

Cast: Jeffrey Wright, Michael Wincott, Benicio Del Toro

Rotten Tomatoes: 68%

Despite living in extreme poverty in Brooklyn, graffiti artist Jean-Michel Basquiat (Wright) strives to rise to the top of the dizzying New York art scene of the 1970s and 1980s. He becomes the brightest star of Neo-Expressionist painting and one of the most successful painters of his time. He even develops a friendship with Andy Warhol (David Bowie). But Basquiat’s turbulent life, especially heroin addiction, eclipses his rise to fame, threatening his own life and then everyone around him.


15) Pollock (2000) | IMDb: 7.0

Director: Ed Harris

Cast: Ed Harris, Marcia Gay Harden, Amy Madigan

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

Pollock is produced and directed by Ed Harris, who also co-stars. Written by Barbara Turner and Susan J. Emshwiller, the screenplay is based on the Pulitzer Prize-winning biography of Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith. Covering the period from 1941, when Jackson Pollock first met Lee Krasner (Marcia Gay Harden), to his death in an automobile accident in 1956, the drama does a good job of introducing us to the most influential figures in the artist’s life. A painter himself, Brooklyn-born Krasner is fascinated by this unusual man. The film shows how Pollock’s rise to celebrity status fueled his self-harming tendencies.


14) Big Eyes (2014) | IMDb: 7.0

Director: Tim Burton

Cast: Amy Adams, Christoph Waltz, Danny Huston

Rotten Tomatoes: 72%

Big Eyes is among the favorites of the art movies list. In the late 1950s and early 60s, artist Walter Keane (Waltz) achieved incredible fame and success with his round-eyed portraits. But no one realizes that his wife Margaret (Amy Adams) is the real painter behind the brush. Margaret is horrified to learn that Walter is marketing her business as her own, but she is too docile to object out loud. The truth is not revealed until Keanes’ marriage is dissolved and filed a lawsuit.


13) Peggy Guggenheim: Art Addict (2015) | IMDb: 7.1

Director: Lisa Immordino Vreeland

Cast: Peggy Guggenheim, Lisa Immordino Vreeland, Stanley F. Bunctual

Rotten Tomatoes: 90%

This documentary about renowned art collector Peggy Guggenheim will appeal to and entertain anyone with the slightest interest in modern art. Guggenheim was born into a wealthy family and lost his father on the Titanic. In search of escape from the boring life of wealth, he fled to Paris, where he was fascinated by the creativity, rebellion, and exotic lives of artists and writers such as Salvador Dali, James Joyce, Fernand Leger, and Wassily Kandinsky. Director Vreeland presents the many contributions this “lone wolf” has made to the modern art world, with archival footage, stories and expert commentary from art critics and others.


12) Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang – (2016) | IMDb: 7.3

Director: Kevin Macdonald

Cast: Ian Buruma, Guo-Qiang Cai, Wen-You Cai

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

Cai Guo-Qiang is a very popular Chinese-born and New York-based environmental artist who has mastered the art of fireworks.
Director Macdonald brings Cai’s dream project, which he has been working on for 20 years, to the big screen. The artist envisions the “Sky Ladder” as a spiritual image that connects the world and the rest of the universe. In the project’s background are pictures of Saturn V rockets going to the moon. Narrated in the artist’s own words and the words of family, friends, and observers, the film follows Cai’s rapid rise and examines why she produces works of art that stretch as far as the eye can see.


11) Modigliani (2004) | IMDb: 7.3

Director: Mick Davis

Cast: Andy Garcia, Elsa Zylberstein, Hippolyte Giradot

Rotten Tomatoes: 4%

Modigliani, which I think is one of the best films in the list of art films, sheds light on the life of painter Amadeo Clemente Modigliani. 20. In Paris at the turn of the century, Pablo Picasso (Omid Djalili) is building a place for himself in the art world, while his friend and artistic rival Modigliani (Garcia) tries to catch up. Modigliani’s problems escalate when he fathers a child out of wedlock with noblewoman Jeanne Hébuterne (Zylberstein). Now, the starving artist must find money for his family. As soon as he finds the money and makes his family happy, unexpected events lead him to death.


10) Woman in Gold (2015) | IMDb: 7.3

Director: Simon Curtis

Cast: Dame Helen Mirren, Ryan Reynolds, Daniel Bruhl

Rotten Tomatoes: 57%

Sixty years after escaping Vienna, an elderly Jewish woman, Maria Altmann (Mirren), tries to reclaim family property seized by the Nazis. Among them is a famous portrait of Maria’s beloved Aunt Adele: “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I” by Gustave Klimt. With the help of young lawyer Randy Schoenberg (Reynolds), Maria embarks on a long legal battle to save this painting and several other paintings. But getting the painting will not be easy, as Austria sees them as national treasures.


9) Camille Claudel (1989) | IMDb: 7.3

Director: Bruno Nuytten

Cast: Isabelle Adjani, Gerard Depardieu, Laurent Grevill

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

The two artists begin a scandalous love affair when famous French sculptor Auguste Rodin (Depardieu) notices the sculptural talent of the beautiful Camille Claudel (Adjani). Camille becomes Auguste’s muse and assistant. She sacrifices her own work to contribute to her sculptures. Claudel has spent the last 30 years living in a mental institution. Camille Claudel is an ambitious film about an overlooked artist and a confident woman whose story is worth reflecting on.


8) Frida (2002) | IMDb: 7.4

Director: Julie Taymor

Cast: Salma Hayek, Alfred Molina, Geoffrey Rush

Rotten Tomatoes: 75%

Frida Kahlo (1907 – 1954) is a star of Mexican art whose most ardent qualities are fearlessness, passion, and creativity. The film’s co-producer and star, Salma Hayek, has devoted seven years to bringing the story of the colorful and controversial artist to the screen. By pairing Frida’s audacity on the canvas with her own audacious images on the screen, director Julie Taymor also found a soulful ally. The result of this collaboration is a captivating drama that will appeal to the disharmony within all of us. It is one of the most admired of the art movies list.


7) La Belle Noiseuse (1991) | IMDb: 7.6

Director: Jacques Rivette

Cast: Michel Piccoli, Emmanuelle Beart, Jane Birkin

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

La Belle Noiseuse is a four-hour French masterpiece directed by Jacques Rivette. Art lovers will find themselves in seventh heaven while watching this movie. Rivette explores the creative process, the complex relationship between artist and model, and the various stages of a painting’s life in a relaxed and psychologically rich way. A young model (Birkin) who takes the place of his wife (Béart) inspires a tired painter (Piccoli) to take up a job he left ten years ago.


6) Midnight in Paris (2011) | IMDb: 7.7

Director: Woody Allen

Cast: Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams, Marion Cotillard

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

Gil Pender is a screenwriter and aspiring novelist. After spending an ordinary night on vacation in Paris with his fiancee Inez, Gil decides to wander the streets of Paris alone. At midnight, a 1920s car stops and passengers call Gil to the car. Gil joins them. Then he comes to a party attended by the most influential people of the 1920s. She meets Ernest Hemingway. After this meeting, she starts to argue with him about the article. As he leaves the building to get his novel, the building suddenly changes. It does not stay with the change of the building and goes back to the present. The more time Gil spends with these cultural heroes of the past, the more unhappy he is with the present. It is one of the must-see films as one of the most enjoyable romantic comedies among art films.


5) Loving Vincent (2017) | IMDb: 7.8

Director: Dorot, Kobiela, Hugh Welchman

Cast: Douglas Booth, Robert Gulaczyk, Eleanor Tomlinson

Rotten Tomatoes: 84%

A movie like art among art movies: Loving Vincent. The film is the first fully oil-painted feature film in history. The directors were created by 125 painters selected from more than 5,000 submissions from around the world to complete the 65,000 hand-painted frames. The paintings of this visually rich production shine with the same brilliance as Van Gogh’s original works. Did Vincent Van Gogh commit suicide or was he accidentally or deliberately shot by a local youth? Armand comes to his own answer, but the movie incident leaves the door open for other explanations.


4) My Left Foot (1989) | IMDb: 7.9

Director: Jim Sheridan

Cast: Daniel Day-Lewis, Ray McAnall, Brenda Fricker

Rotten Tomatoes: 98%

One of the sine qua non of the art films list is My Left Foot. Directed by Jim Sheridan, My Left Foot is a relentless portrait of a determined and determined individual struggling to make his dreams come true. In the most poignant performance of his career, Daniel Day-Lewis captures Christy Brown’s ardent will and desperate desire to find a woman to love. Although Christy has cerebral palsy, his siblings take his around with a wheelbarrow. At age seven, he makes a chalk mark between the toes of his left foot, the only functional limb in his body. At the age of nine, Christy writes ‘mom’ on the ground. However, even the artistic talents expressed in the pictures cannot force him to accept a girl he likes.


3) Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski – (2018) | IMDb: 8.0

Director: Ireneusz Dobrowolski

Cast: George DiCaprio, Rebecca Forstadt, Adam Jones

Rotten Tomatoes: 93%

The Struggle: The Life and Lost Art of Szukalski has all the ingredients to make an excellent documentary. It has an interesting and/or controversial topic. Stanislav Szukalski (December 13, 1893 – May 19, 1987) was a man of passion who could inspire those he met. He was also a man with many flaws, with a dark past that some, even those who once considered him as a friend, cannot forgive. Struggle features old Betamax footage from dozens of interviews with Szukalski who brought to life a man who died 31 years before this movie was released. These videos and testimonies of those closest to him make up the bulk of the film’s subtext.


2) Andrei Rublev (1966) | IMDb: 8.1

Director: Andrei Tarkovsky

Cast: Anatoly Solonitsyn, Ivan Lapikov, Nikolay Grinko

Rotten Tomatoes: 95%

A comprehensive Russian drama, this film focuses on the life of respected religious icon painter Andrei Rublev (Solonitsyn). The peace-seeking monk, dragged from place to place in a turbulent age, eventually gains fame for his art. But after Rublev witnesses a brutal war and involuntarily gets involved, he takes a vow of silence. Spends time away from work. When he starts to satisfy his pessimistic soul, he takes steps to become a painter again.


1) Edward Munch (1975) | IMDb: 8.2

Director: Peter Watkins

Cast: Geir Westby, Gro Fraas, Johan Halsborg

Rotten Tomatoes: 100%

The most admired of the art movies list is Edward Munch. This docudrama follows the life of Expressionist Norwegian artist Edvard Munch (Westby), best known for his iconic painting “The Scream.” Munch’s childhood is marred by death. When he loses his sister and mother, he becomes seriously ill. He almost comes face to face with death. Munch discovers his talent as a painter at university. Immersed in the art world, he becomes part of a cultural revolution led by the nihilist Hans Jæger (Kare Stormark).

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