The best movies based on a true story

Real life is often more surprising than imagination. That’s why many famous screenwriters and directors for their movies gets inspired by reality, by the facts and the news, telling stories that have actually happened. The seventh art is the most flexible narrative form and the observation of reality has always been a popular subject.

Faithfully respecting historical facts, carefully rebuilding events just as they happened is quite a hard task. For this reason, many stories are romanticized and don’t reflect fully the reality. Some little changes are often useful in order to adjust the narration for the spectators. But for sure the inspiration of real facts and true stories have given birth to many masterpieces.

An aspiring filmmaker, Vugar Efendi, showed on his Vimeo channel some true story movies besides the real facts that gave them life.

The films taken from real events are countless. Here you can find a selection of the essential ones:

  • JFK (the reconstruction of the mysterious murder of John Fitzgerald Kennedy and subsequent investigations, 1991)
  • Seven Years in Tibet (inspired by the autobiographical book written by Heinrich Harrer, 1992)
  • Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (the life of the actor and martial artist Bruce Lee, 1993)
  • Apollo 13 (the space mission became famous for the problem that make the moon landing impossible, 1995)
  • Donnie Brasco (FBI agent Joe Pistone infiltrating New York Mafia under a false name, 1997)
  • Erin Brokovich (the fight against Pacific Gas and Electric Company, which polluted the water in Hinkley, 2000)
  • A Beautiful Mind (the life of mathematician and Nobel prize John Forbes Nash, 2001)
  • Ali (ten years of the life of Muhammad Ali, former world Heavyweight Champion, 2001)
  • K-19 (the film inspired by the actual facts happened to the Russian nuclear submarine K-19, 2002)
  • The Social Network (from the founding of Facebook to the trial against its founder, 2004)
  • Downfall (a German film that narrates the last days of Hitler in its bunker, 2004)
  • Walk The Line (the story of the young singer Johnny Cash and his love story with June Carter Cash, 2005).
  • The Pursuit of Happiness (film inspired by the life of Chris Gardner, millionaire entrepreneur, who lived days of intense poverty in the 80s, with a kid and no house where to live, 2006)
  • Into the Wild (based on the book of Jon Krakauer about the true story of Christopher McCandless, who started a two years long journey through the United States with no money, until the deep Alaska, 2007)
  • Valkyrie (the attempt to kill Hitler organized by some Wehrmacht German military and by Colonel Claus Scenk von Stauffenberg, 2008)
  • 21 (some MIT students who between 1980 and 1990 won enormous amounts of money in many casinos, 2008)
  • Frost/Nixon (film adaptation about the real interviews done by the British journalist David Frost to Nixon in 1977, 2008)
  • Invictus (1995 Rugby World Cup, held in South Africa after Nelson Mandela became President, 2009)
  • 127 Hours (the true story of Aron Ralston, an American mountaineer who in April 2003 was trapped in a canyon in Utha, 2010)
  • Lincoln (the last months of President Abraham Lincoln’s life and the problem he faced with the abolition of slavery, 2012)
  • Rush (the intense rivalry between Formula 1 pilots James Hunt and Niki Lauda, 2013)
  • The Wolf of Wall Street (the rise and fall of Jordan Belfort, unprejudiced New York broker, 2013)
  • Selma (the marches from Selma to Montgomery that in 1965 marked the demonstrations for civil rights in the United States, 2014)
  • The Theory of Everything (biographical film about the young Stephen Hawking, famous physicist, astrophysicist and cosmologist, 2014)
  • The Big Short (the history of the recent financial crisis, 2015)
  • Bridge of Spies (the arrest and prosecution resulting in the condemnation of the Soviet spy Rudolf Abel, 2015)
  • Jackie (the life of First Lady Jacquelin Kennedy, 2016)
  • Snowden (the story of former CIA employee and computer technician who revealed secret government information on intelligence programs, 2016)
  • The Founder (the true story of entrepreneur Ray Kroc and his acquisition of McDonalds, 2016)
  • Elvis & Nixon (when Elvis Presley met President of the United States of America Richard Nixon, 2016)
  • Dunkirk (the evacuation by sea of Dunkerque during the Second World War, 2017)
  • Borg vs. McEnroe (the famous rivalry between the two tennis players Björn Borg and John McEnroe, 2017)
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