‘Babylon’ is a comedy–drama movie that showcases the endless sleaze and evident debauchery in show business. Set in 1920s Hollywood, the movie follows the lives of several unique people with great ambitions and dreams. Their eventual rise to fame and fall due to decadence finds depiction in the extravagant movie. Written and directed by Damien Chazelle, ‘Babylon’ charts the outrageous expectations and aspirations that people have in Hollywood. The movie boasts an ensemble cast with incredible actors like Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt, and Tobey Maguire.
Furthermore, ‘Babylon’ expresses how Hollywood works and the pitfalls of getting involved in an industry like it. Damien Chazelle weaves an intricate tale that celebrates and applauds the undying admiration in people for Hollywood. If you want to watch movies that touch upon the depravity in the early years of Hollywood and accentuate the madness around certain work profiles, then the following movies are perfect for you. You can watch most of these movies similar to ‘Babylon’ on Netflix, Hulu, or Amazon Prime.
10. Hail, Caesar (2016)
The comedy-drama movie is written and directed by brothers Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. ‘Hail, Caesar’ showcases a day in the life of Eddie Mannix as he navigates the tribulations of his job as a fixer for Capitol Pictures. It shows the darker side of Hollywood as Eddie deals with a pregnant actress and gossipmonger writers, and he solves the mystery of a kidnapping.
Josh Brolin and George Clooney star in the successful movie along with other actors. The movie showcases the passion and drama that always surrounds Hollywood. Both ‘Babylon’ and ‘Hail, Caesar’ paint a wondrous picture of the way Hollywood operates and deals with the controversies that come up.
9. The Libertine (2004)
Helmed by Laurence Dunmore, ‘The Libertine’ narrates the tale of a sleazy poet from the 17th century. John Wilmot, better known as the Earl of Rochester, drank and indulged in lustful activities only to die too soon. The poet never received the appreciation he deserved. Only after his death he got appreciation and acclaim for his life’s hard work. Johnny Depp plays the central character, Wilmot. Though the historical drama movie has no connection to Hollywood, the debauchery and endless outrageous acts presented in the movie are similar to the events of ‘Babylon.’
8. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Who can possibly go to Vegas for work and keep away from the indulgence it offers? The same happens with Raoul and his lawyer as they make their way to the sin city of gambling and illegal businesses. Raoul is a journalist who wants the cover a motorcycle race. Their plans to work get derailed as the duo gets pulled towards drugs and psychedelic acts.
The movie takes inspiration from the 1971 book of the same name written by Hunter S. Thompson. Directed by Terry Gilliam, ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ reflects the sins and vices undertaken in Vegas. The world of Vegas and Hollywood is very similar, from their functionality to the way they pull in innocent people with dreams to go big. Consequently, this is how the movie shares similarities with ‘Babylon.’
7. Caligula (1979)
Adapted from Gore Vidal’s screenplay, ‘Caligula’ is a drama movie helmed by Tinto Brass, Bob Guccione, and Giancarlo Lui. A dramatization of Caligula’s rise to power and subsequent rule as one of ancient Rome’s most infamous tyrants. We witness his ambition, cunning, depravity, corruption, cruelty, and insanity. Malcolm McDowell is featured as the titular character.
The movie charts the historical situations that led to the reign of Caligula and his consequent actions that rightfully label him a tyrant. From rampant sex to the power play, every sin and vice in the book finds portrayal in the movie. Like Hollywood in ‘Babylon,’ the so-called prestigious Roman Empire reportedly also had its share of turpitude. Both movies present the malicious aspects of the settings brilliantly.
6. Enter the Void (2009)
The viewpoint of the protagonist, Oscar, is the sole perspective used in this psychedelic journey into life after death. Oscar’s soul traverses from his past, present, to the future, which he views from beyond the grave. His death is caused by police during a botched bust and is a result of his best buddy’s betrayal. His soul seeks to go back to life, but first, he has to suffer the repercussions of his actions in life.
The whole movie is a trippy affair and explores the experience of being high on drugs. Co-written and directed by Gaspar Noé, the movie portrays the vice-riddled life of Oscar. Even though he is no Hollywood superstar, his life’s sins resemble those of the people in ‘Babylon.’ The characters in both movies share their love for pleasure and promiscuity.
5. Hurlyburly (1998)
‘Hurlyburly’ is a comedy-drama movie that finds its origins in the 1984 play of the same name by David Rabe. It depicts the common practice among men working in Hollywood who ponder upon their life events under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Albeit, they face tremendous ordeals that make it harder for them to stay sober. Such is the story of Eddie (Sean Penn), who is headstrong but puzzled as to what to do with his life.
Eddie’s friends are one step ahead of him when it comes to committing iniquity and sins. Helmed by Anthony Drazan, the uproarious character-driven movie shares numerous similarities with ‘Babylon.’ Both films offer viewers an insight into the world of Hollywood, drenched in alcohol and drugs that alleviate the pain of their involvement in the industry.
4. Some Like it Hot (1959)
‘Some Like it Hot’ is a romantic comedy movie co-written and directed by Billy Wilder. It follows the trepid adventures of two musicians who witness a mob hit. They later attempt to escape the country by posing as ladies in a band with only women, but other problems take shape as they go ahead. The famous Marilyn Monroe movie also stars Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis.
Seduction, sex, and crime are depicted in the 1959 movie to offer a comic element and further the narrative. The two men go to any lengths to save their lives and protect themselves from the mob. Likewise, the people in ‘Babylon’ adopt any means necessary to make their dreams come true.
3. The Day of the Locust (1975)
Set in the 1930s age of Hollywood in the sprawling Southern Californian city of Los Angeles, ‘The Day of the Locust’ is a satire on the role of Hollywood for every dreamer across the country. Adapted from the eponymous 1939 novel by Nathanael West, the movie strives to shed light on the way people project their humongous dreams of making it big in the show business.
The lives of three actors and artists intersect as they manage to make their way toward fulfilling their ambitions. It sheds light on the dominance of business over dreams and struggling artists. Directed by John Schlesinger, ‘The Day of the Locust’ acts as a mirror to Hollywood and its inner dealings. Several aspects similar to the 1975 film are presented in Chazelle’s ‘Babylon.’
2. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
The comedy movie charts the tremendous success and rise to fame of one of the most conniving stock brokers, Jordan Belfort. Literally living the high life, Jordan falls as quickly as he rises under the brunt of crime, drugs, his own vanity, and sex. ‘The Wolf of Wall Street’ focuses on the downfall of people, whether in Hollywood or business, when they take their eyes off the ball. Directed by Martin Scorsese, the movie features Leonardo DiCaprio in one of his best performances to date. The corruption, salacity, and decadence in the movie are akin to the activities featured in ‘Babylon.’
1. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
‘Sunset Boulevard’ is a film that centers upon an aging silent-film icon named Norma Desmond, who believes she is about to start her second innings when a screenwriter offers to create a story tailored specifically for her. Unfortunately, their collaboration starts taking a perilous turn. The movie ‘Sunset Boulevard’ is notable for its mercilessly true portrayal of how Hollywood dances over its own grave.
The movie also seems hauntingly everlasting. Directed by Billy Wilder, the film-noir finds relevance in Hollywood today, possibly even more so than in 1950. Furthermore, the obliterating relationships and harmful associations that bring downfall to the people in the industry are just a few similar facets of ‘Sunset Boulevard’ and ‘Babylon.’
Read More: Where Was Babylon Filmed?