10 Best Movies About Ernest Hemingway & Why You Should Watch Them

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Ernest Hemingway was a giant of American literature, known for his concise and powerful writing style and his adventures in far-flung locations around the globe. His life and work have inspired countless documentaries and biographies, each offering a unique perspective on the man and his legacy. Here are ten of the best documentary and biography movies about Ernest Hemingway that are worth checking out:

1. Hemingway Unknown (2021)

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What it’s about: This is a documentary that narrates Hemingway’s life. With the use of archive footage and factual pieces of information, it provides a look into Hemingway’s personal and artistic life.

Why you should watch it: “Hemingway Unknown” is a must-see for fans of the writer’s work, as it provides a unique glimpse into his life and creative process. It’s also a valuable resource for those interested in the history of American literature and the cultural movements of the 20th century.

2. The Legendary Life of Ernest Hemingway (1989)

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What it’s about: ”The Legendary Life of Ernest Hemingway” is a 1989 television movie that tells the story of the iconic American author and journalist, Ernest Hemingway. The film covers key events in Hemingway’s life, including his experiences as a child, then as a war correspondent during World War I, his relationships with other writers and artists, and his adventures in various locations around the world.

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Why you should watch it: The movie offers a deeper understanding of Hemingway’s life and the events that shaped his writing, which can help to enrich your appreciation of his work.

3. Papa: Hemingway in Cuba (2015)

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What it’s about: This biographical drama tells the story of Hemingway’s time in Cuba, where he became involved in the revolution against dictator Fulgencio Batista. It stars Adrian Sparks as Hemingway and Giovanni Ribisi as his friend and revolutionary ally, Ed Mayers.

Why you should watch it: “Papa: Hemingway in Cuba” offers a dramatized version of Hemingway’s life in Cuba, which adds an exciting and emotional element to the story. It also provides a deeper look at Hemingway’s involvement in the revolution and the impact it had on his life and work.

4. Hemingway & Gellhorn (2012)

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What it’s about: This HBO film tells the story of Hemingway’s tumultuous relationship with war correspondent Martha Gellhorn, who would become his third wife. It stars Clive Owen as Hemingway and Nicole Kidman as Gellhorn and follows their adventures as they cover conflicts between them and around them.

Why you should watch it: “Hemingway & Gellhorn” is a captivating love story that provides insight into Hemingway’s relationships and his experiences as a war correspondent. It’s also a powerful tale of two ambitious and independent individuals trying to navigate the challenges of love and work in a tumultuous world.

5. Ernest Hemingway: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick (2021)

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What it’s about: This six-hour documentary series, directed by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick, offers a comprehensive and in-depth look at Hemingway’s life and work. It features interviews with Hemingway’s family, friends, and scholars, as well as archival footage and photographs.

Why you should watch it: “Ernest Hemingway: A Film by Ken Burns and Lynn Novick” is a must-see for fans of Hemingway’s work and those interested in American literature and history. It’s a thorough and well-researched documentary that provides a nuanced and multi-faceted view of Hemingway’s life and legacy.

6. Ernest Hemingway: Rivers to the Sea (2005)

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What it’s about: This documentary, narrated by actor James Naughton, explores Hemingway’s life and work. However, it does not go in-depth regarding Hemingway’s character and persona.

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Why you should watch it: “Ernest Hemingway: Rivers to the Sea” provides a unique and personal look at Hemingway’s life and relationships, and how they influenced his work. It’s a poignant and thought-provoking film that offers a fresh perspective on the writer’s life and career.

7. Hemingway’s Adventures of a Young Man (1962)

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What it’s about: This biographical drama tells the story of Nick Adams, Hemingway’s semi-autobiographical character. We get to see Nick’s early years, from his childhood in Oak Park, Illinois to his time as a young journalist in Europe. It stars Richard Beymer as Nick and Diane Baker as Carolyn, the character that represents Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson.

Why you should watch it: “Hemingway’s Adventures of a Young Man” offers a dramatized look at Hemingway’s early life and career, which adds an exciting and emotional element to the story. It’s also a valuable resource for those interested in Hemingway’s formative years and the events and experiences that shaped his writing.

8. Ernest Hemingway: Wrestling with Life (1998)

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What it’s about: This is a documentary that explores Hemingway’s life and career through archival footage, photographs, and interviews with experts and Hemingway’s friends and family. The documentary covers Hemingway’s early life and his time as a war correspondent during World War I, his experiences in Paris during the 1920s, and his later years as a writer and adventurer.

Why you should watch it: This biography touches on some of the personal struggles and tragedies that Hemingway faced during his lifetime.

9. Hemingway: Between Key West and Cuba (2018)

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What it’s about: This is a documentary that explores the life and work of Ernest Hemingway during the years he spent in Key West and Cuba. The film shows how those locations have influenced his writing and personal life. It also explores the political and cultural climate of the time and how it shaped Hemingway’s worldview.

Why you should watch it: “Hemingway: Between Key West and Cuba” offers a unique perspective on Hemingway’s life and offers insights into his writing process and the events that shaped his worldview. It is a fascinating look at a literary legend and his connection to two of the most vibrant and culturally rich locations in the world.

10. The Old Man and the Sea (1990)

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What it’s about: The movie is actually an adaptation of one of the most popular Hemingway novellas of the same name. It tells the story of an elderly Cuban fisherman named Santiago who goes out to sea, hoping to catch a big fish. Despite facing many challenges, Santiago perseveres and eventually catches a giant marlin.

Why you should watch it: The story is a classic tale of human perseverance and the human spirit, and the novella on which the movie was based has been widely hailed as one of Hemingway’s finest works.

In conclusion, these movies about Ernest Hemingway offer a wide range of perspectives on the writer’s life and work. Whether you’re a fan of Hemingway’s writing or simply interested in American literature and history, there’s something here for everyone. Each of these films offers a unique and valuable look at Hemingway’s life and legacy, and they’re all worth checking out.

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