What do you call a movie that shows how a person became who he is known for? Let's take for example, Batman and Superman. Both of them became who they are through a series of meaningful events that made them become who they are today? What do you call a movie that shows those events so that people can understand who they were and why they became the people they are known for?

Here's an example sentence:

Elvis, the movie, is a ___ that shows how Elvis became the singer he is known for.

2 Answers 2


The events themselves are called the origin story, so it's called an origin story movie:

For example:

I generally don’t mean the origin-story movie, which depicts an artist’s early days and leaves off on some moment of triumph, as if to say, “And, well, the world knows the rest.”
Nico, 1988 Makes the Case for the Slice-of-Life Music Biopic

It might be better to just reword the sentence though:

Elvis, the movie, shows Elvis's origin story.

  • That citation is the first time I've ever heard/read the phrase "origin story" used in reference to non-fiction. Before this moment, I've only ever heard the words biography, documentary, and biopic. Personally, I'd never use the phrase "origin story" for a real person - but I'm in my 50s and language changes. The phrase has been used so much since the introduction of the Marvel Comic Universe movies that it's likely applicable now.
    – JBH
    Jun 2, 2022 at 0:48

A documentary is a movie based on facts and/or a true story.

This word works for movies about REAL PEOPLE/ANIMALS/THINGS. (Not superheroes.) It would, however, work perfectly for the movie Elvis.

Example: Elvis, the movie, is a documentary that shows how Elvis became the singer he is known for.

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