Babylon is a comedy film that explores the endless filth and obvious debauchery of show business. Set in 1920s Hollywood, the film follows the lives of several unique people with big ambitions and dreams. Her rise to fame and fall from decadence are portrayed in the extravagant film. Written and directed by Damien Chazelle, Babylon showcases the outrageous expectations and aspirations that people in Hollywood have. The film boasts an ensemble cast of incredible actors including Margot Robbie, Brad Pitt and Tobey Maguire.
Additionally, Babylon expresses how Hollywood works and the pitfalls of getting involved in such an industry. Damien Chazelle weaves an intricate story that celebrates and applauds people’s undying admiration for Hollywood. If you want to see films that explore the depravity of early Hollywood and highlight the madness surrounding certain work profiles, then the following films are for you. You can watch most of these movies similar to Babylon on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.
10Hail, Caesar (2016)
The comedy-drama was written and directed by brothers Ethan Coen and Joel Coen. Hail, Caesar follows a day in the life of Eddie Mannix as he navigates the difficulties of his job as a fixer for Capitol Pictures. It shows the dark side of Hollywood as Eddie deals with a pregnant actress and gossip reporters and solves the mystery of a kidnapping.
Josh Brolin and George Clooney star in the hit film, along with other actors. The film showcases the passion and drama that always surrounds Hollywood. Both Babylon and Hail, Caesar paint a wonderful picture of the way Hollywood operates and deals with the controversies that arise.
9. The Libertines (2004)
Directed by Laurence Dunmore, The Libertine tells the story of a seedy 17th-century poet. Century. John Wilmot, better known as the Earl of Rochester, drank and engaged in licentious activities only to die prematurely. The poet never received the recognition he deserved. Only after his death did he receive recognition and applause for his life’s work. Johnny Depp plays the main character Wilmot. Although the historical drama has no connection to Hollywood, the debauchery and endless outrages portrayed in the film resemble events in Babylon.
8. Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)
Who can go to Las Vegas for work and escape the pleasures there? This is what happens to Raoul and his lawyer when they make their way to the city of sins of gambling and illegal business. Raoul is a journalist who wants to cover a motorcycle race. Their plans to work are thwarted when the duo are drawn to drugs and psychedelic pursuits.
The film is inspired by Hunter S. Thompson’s 1971 book of the same name. Directed by Terry Gilliam, ‘Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas’ reflects the sins and vices committed in Vegas. The worlds of Vegas and Hollywood are very similar, from how they work to how they attract innocent people who dream of making it big. The film shows similarities with Babylon.
7. Caligula (1979)
Caligula is a drama based on the script by Gore Vidal and directed by Tinto Brass, Bob Guccione and Giancarlo Lui. It is a dramatization of Caligula’s rise to power and subsequent reign as one of ancient Rome’s most notorious tyrants. We witness his ambition, cunning, depravity, corruption, cruelty and madness. Malcolm McDowell stars as the titular character.
The film depicts the historical circumstances that led to Caligula’s rule and his consequent actions that rightly characterize him as a tyrant. From rampant sex to power play, every sin and vice in the book is portrayed in the film. Like Hollywood in Babylon, the so-called prestigious Roman Empire had its share of outrages. In both films, the vicious aspects of the locations are brilliantly portrayed.
6. Enter the Void (2009)
The point of view of the protagonist Oscar is the only perspective used in this psychedelic journey into the afterlife. Oscar’s soul wanders from the past through the present to the future, which he views from beyond the grave. His death is caused by the police in a botched raid and is the result of his best friend’s betrayal. His soul wants to come back to life, but first he has to face the consequences of his actions in life.
The whole film is a trippy affair, exploring the experience of being high on drugs. The film, written and directed by Gaspar Noé, chronicles Oscar’s vice-ridden life. Though he’s not a Hollywood superstar, the sins of his life are similar to those of the people of Babylon. The characters in both films share a love of pleasure and promiscuity.
5. Hurly Burly (1998)
‘Hurlyburly’ is a comedy film based on the 1984 play of the same name directed by David Rabe. He describes the common practice of men working in Hollywood reflecting on their life events while under the influence of drugs and alcohol. Along the way, they face daunting trials that make it difficult for them to stay sober. This is the story of Eddie (Sean Penn) who is headstrong but doesn’t know what to do with his life.
Eddie’s friends are one step ahead of him when it comes to committing injustice and sin. Directed by Anthony Drazan, the film shares many similarities with Babylon. Both films offer viewers a glimpse into the world of Hollywood, soaked in alcohol and drugs that ease the pain of being entangled in the industry.
4. Some Like It Hot (1959)
‘Some Like It Hot’ is a romantic comedy film written and directed by Billy Wilder. It follows the anxious adventures of two musicians who witness a mafia murder. They later try to flee the country by posing as women in an all-women band, but as the film progresses, other problems take shape. Jack Lemmon and Tony Curtis also star in the famous Marilyn Monroe film.
Seduction, sex and crime are portrayed in the 1959 film to provide a comedic element and to advance the narrative. The two men do everything to save their lives and protect themselves from the mafia. The people of Babylon also resort to all means to make their dreams come true.
3. The Day of the Locust (1975)
Set in 1930s Hollywood in the sprawling Southern California city of Los Angeles, The Day of the Locust is a satire on the role of Hollywood for every dreamer across the country. The film, based on Nathanael West’s 1939 novel of the same name, sheds light on the way people project their big dreams of big time in show business.
The lives of three actors and artists intersect as they set out to fulfill their ambitions. The film sheds light on the business’ dominance over dreams and struggling artists. Directed by John Schlesinger, The Day of the Locust is a reflection of Hollywood and its machinations. There are several similar aspects to Chazelle’s Babylon as in the 1975 film.
2. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)
Credit: Mary Cybulski/Paramount Pictures
The comedy film chronicles the tremendous success and rise to fame and glory of one of the most devious stockbrokers, Jordan Belfort. Jordan lives in the lap of luxury, quite literally, but he’s falling as fast as he’s rising – under the weight of crime, drugs, his own vanity and sex. The Wolf of Wall Street focuses on the downfall of people, whether in Hollywood or in business, when they take their eyes off the ball. Directed by Martin Scorsese, Leonardo DiCaprio delivers one of his best performances to date in this film. The corruption, slander and decadence in this film are similar to the activities shown in Babylon.
1. Sunset Boulevard (1950)
The film Sunset Boulevard centers on aging silent film icon Norma Desmond, who thinks she is beginning her second career when a screenwriter offers to write a story tailored just for her. Unfortunately, the two’s collaboration takes a dangerous turn. The film Sunset Boulevard is known for its unforgivingly true portrayal of Hollywood dancing over its own grave.
The film also seems hauntingly eternal. Directed by Billy Wilder, film noir is even more relevant in Hollywood today than it was in 1950. Furthermore, the destructive relationships and harmful connections that stalk those in the industry are just a few similar facets of Sunset Boulevard and Babylon.