10+ best movies that you didn’t know are based on true stories

When you watch a war film you realize that it's based on actual events. At the end, you'll probably see what happened to the characters in real life after the events portrayed in the film. But war films are not the only ones based on actual events. The thing is that there are lots of movies based on true stories that you didn't even know about. It's not just a saying: sometimes reality truly goes beyond fiction. Let's get real: here you have a list of 50 amazing movies that are based on true stories.



127 Hours


This is a biographical survival drama film. 127 hours is the story of Aron Ralston, a canyoneer who gets trapped by a dislodged boulder in an isolated slot canyon. He was trapped for five days, till he freed himself by… Ok, just watch the movie.

Hotel Rwanda


This is the story of Paul Rusesabagina and his role during the Rwandan genocide. Rusesabagina provided shelter to his family and hundreds and hundreds of refugees in order to save their lives.



This movie tells the story of a serial killer's manhunt. The serial killer killed in San Francisco Bay Area between the 60's and the 70's and he called himself the Zodiac. With the starring of Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo, and Robert Downey Jr., it's worth watching.

Erin Brockovich


This incredible movie was directed by Steven Soderbergh. Erin Brockovich (Julia Roberts), is an unemployed single mother who fights against an energy corporation which contaminates residential groundwater with carcinogenic chromium.

A Beautiful Mind


This film is based on John Nash's life. Nash (Russell Crowe) is a Nobel Laureate in Economics who's brilliant but suffers from paranoid schizophrenia.



The story of a serial killer called Aileen Wuornos. Wuornos (Charlize Theron) is a former prostitute who killed six men and ends up being convicted of the murders and executed.

J. Edgar


This film is about the life and career of J. Edgar Hoover (Leonardo Dicaprio), the first FBI director and his controversial methods. The film was directed and produced by Clint Eastwood.

United 93


This film tells the events aboard the United Airlines Flight 93, which was hijacked during 9/11 attacks. United 93 was written and directed by Paul Greengrass in 2006.

Into the wild


This is a survival film based on Christopher McCandless' experiences in Alaska during his travels across North America. With Emile Hirsch starring as McCandless, this is a great film.

The Aviator


This is the story of Howard Hughes (Leonardo DiCaprio), an American business magnate, film director and pilot known because of his eccentric behavior. The Aviator was directed by Martin Scorsese and won five Academy Awards.



This film is based on the story of Betty Anne Waters (Hillary Swank), a single mother who goes to law school in order to become her brother's attorney. Why? His brother has been wrongly convicted of a murder he didn't commit.



This epic film tells the story of the sinking of the RMS Titanic. Okay, Jack and Rose's story is fictional, but the rest isn't. Titanic was written and directed by James Cameron.

Dangerous Minds


This is the story of U.S. Marine LouAnne Johnson. LouAnne Johnson (Michelle Pfeiffer) is a teacher at a high school in Belmont, California. Most of her students are stricken by poverty and economically deprived, and she tries a different approach with them than every other teacher they've known.

The New World


This film is the story of the founding of the colonial settlement at Jamestown, Virginia. It was inspired by Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell), Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher) and John Rolfe (Christian Bale).



This film tells the story of a runaway freight train and the two men who try to stop it. The story is similar to the events of the CSX 8888 incident when a freight train loaded with hazardous chemicals ran uncontrolled.



This movie tells the story of the aborted Apollo 13 lunar mission in 1970. Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton and Ed Harris appear in this amazing film directed by Ron Howard.

And the Band Played On


This American film is based on the path for the discovery of HIV/AIDS. Although some people found it awkward at first, this movie tackles a really important subject and brings up the right issues and an important message.

The Iron Lady


This British-French film is based on the life and career of Margaret Thatcher. Thatcher (Meryl Streep/Alexandra Roach) was the first female Prime Minister of the UK. Although it suffers from certain historical inaccuracies, The Iron Lady is worth watching.

Good Night, and Good Luck


This film portrays the story of Edward R. Murrow, a famous journalist, and Joseph McCarthy, a Senator from Wisconsin. Murrow criticizes McCarthy's crusade against Communism and his anti-Communist controversial actions.

Citizen X


This movie is based on the investigation of Andrei Chikatilo's crimes. Chikatilo (Jeffrey DeMunn) was a Soviet serial killer of women and children, also known as the Butcher of Rostov and the Rostov Ripper.

American Gangster


Based on the life story of the gangster Frank Lucas, this film was released in 2007. American Gangster, with the starring of Denzel Washington and Russell Crowe, received twenty-one nominations and ended up winning three awards.

The Perfect Storm


This drama is based on the story of a commercial fishing vessel that got lost in the sea. George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and Diane Lane, all appear in The Perfect Storm an incredible film which is worth watching.

Almost Famous


Although the story of the teenage journalist writing for the Rolling Stone magazine and the rock band Stillwater are fictional, "Almost Famous" is based on its director's experiences touring with Led Zeppelin, Eagles, Poco and The Allman Brothers Band. This movie's soundtrack is incredible.

Boys Don’t Cry


This film portrays the story of Brandon Teena, a trans man who ends up being a victim of a brutal crime. "Boys Don't Cry" won a variety of awards.



Did you know this was actually inspired by a true story? 21 is based on the story of the MIT Blackjack Team. This film directed by Robert Luketic and starring Jim Sturgess and Kevin Spacey is breathtaking.

The Believer


This film is based on the story of Dan Burros. Burros was a fanatically violent neo-nazi member of the American Nazi Party and the United Klans of America. But he was actually Jewish. This amazing film was directed by Henry Bean.

Seven Years in Tibet


This movie portrays the experiences of Heinrich Harrer in Tibet. Harrer, an Austrian mountaineer, mountaineers in British India, and when WWII begins he is imprisoned by the British because of his German citizenship. This classic drama film was directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and starring Brad Pitt.



This historical drama is based on the story of a 13th-century Scottish warrior, William Wallace. Wallace led the Scottish in the First War of Independence against King Edward I of England. Mel Gibson was both the director and the main character of this amazing movie.

Schindler’s List


You probably have seen this touching drama which portrays the story of Oskar Schindler. Schindler was a German businessman who saved the lives of more than a thousand Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. If you haven't seen it, it's time for you to watch it.

The Insider


This film is a fictionalized account of a true story. The Insider is based on the experiences of a tobacco industry whistleblower, Dr. Jeffrey Wigand. An amazing movie that keeps you on the edge of your seat and pleases you with an incredible soundtrack.

The Untouchables


This 1987 film is about a team that worked during prohibition to bring Al Capone to justice. Eliot Ness (Kevin Costner) forms this team, named Untouchables. Starring Kevin Costner, Andy Garcia, Sean Connery and Robert De Niro and with Ennio Morricone's music, this is one of the best movies of all times.

The Pianist


This heartbreaking drama is based on the life of Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish-Jewish pianist, and composer who survived WWII. "The Pianist" is an incredible film, and Adrien Brody's performance is just stunning.

My Left Foot


This drama is based on Christy Brown's story. Christy Brown was an Irishman who could control only his left foot due to the fact that he was born with cerebral palsy. Brown (Daniel Day-Lewis) became a writer, despite his illness and the fact he grew up in a poor family. A touching film everyone should see.

Chicago Massacre: Richard Speck


The story of the mass murderer Richard Speck is portrayed in this film. Speck tortured, raped and murdered a group of student nurses in 1966. It's hard to believe that this horror film is actually based on a true story.



This is Mozart's fictionalized biography. You may not take Amadeus as an entirely true story, but the thing is that the entire soundtrack of the movie is Mozart's music. Exquisite.

The Danish Girl


Finally a love story. Although this 2015 film is based on a fictional novel, the novel was actually inspired by the true story of two artists, Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Starring Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander, "The Danish Girl" is an unforgettable film.

The Social Network


This 2010 film portrays the founding of Facebook. Yes, that's right: there's a drama film about Facebook. "The Social Network" was directed by David Fincher, written by Aaron Sorkin and starring Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, and Justin Timberlake.



This film is based on the life of Harvey Milk. Harvey Milk (Sean Penn) was a gay rights activist and politician. The movie portrays Milk's first steps in politics and the battles he had to fight for gay rights.

All the President’s Men


This is a classic. "All the President's Men" is based on the Watergate scandal that ended up with Nixon's resignation. The film stars Robert Redford as Bob Woodward and Dustin Hoffman as Carl Bernstein, the two journalists that investigated the Watergate scandal.



This 2014 crime drama film is based on the story of John E. du Pont. Although there are several plot discrepancies from real-life events, "Foxcatcher" is an incredible film and it's worth watching.



This thriller is based on the 1996 Mount Everest disaster and the attempts to survive of two expedition groups. The film stars Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, John Hawkes, Robin Wright, Michael Kelly, Sam Worthington, Keira Knightley, Emily Watson and Jake Gyllenhaal.



Is there anyone in the world that hadn't seen this film? GoodFellas portrays the story of Henry Hill, a New York City mobster, narrating the rise and fall of his mob between 1955 and 1980.

American Sniper


This war drama is based on the story of the most lethal sniper in the military history of the U.S.: Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper). This movie was directed and produced by Clint Eastwood.

Born on the Fourth of July


This drama film is based on the life of Ron Kovic, a Vietnam War veteran. "Born on the Fourth of July" won two Academy Awards and four Golden Globe Awards. And guess what: the screenplay was co-written by Kovic and Oliver Stone, who happens to be a Vietnam veteran himself.



This war film is based on the story of Louis Zamperini, an US Olympian and army officer during WWII. Zamperini (Jack O'Connell) spent 47 days in the ocean and then he was sent to several war camps. You'll find hard to believe that it's based on a true story.

Malcolm X


This drama film is based on the life of Malcolm X, and Afro-American activist. Denzel Washington's portrayal of Malcolm X is incredible. If you haven't seen it yet, you should do it now.



The 1998 version of Psycho, directed by Gus Van Sant, was almost an exact copy of Hitchcock's version, but made in color and with modern techniques. They are both inspired by the crimes of Ed Gein, a serial killer.

The Fighter


This drama film is based on the lives of professional boxer Micky Ward and his half-brother Dicky Eklund. With Mark Wahlberg as Micky Ward and Christian Bale as Dicky Eklund, "The Fighter" is a film you have to see.

The Stanford Prison Experiment


This thriller is based on an experiment conducted at Stanford University. Under the experiment, students played the role of a prisoner or prison guard. You have to see "The Stanford Prison Experiment".

The Revenant


This is the last one because it's actually hard to believe that this actually happened to someone. This epic drama is based on the experiences of Hugh Glass. Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) goes through an extremely painful journey through the wilderness. Both the story and the cinematography of "The Revenant" are breathtaking.

How many of these films have you actually seen? Go check out the others! But first, share this article with your family, friends, and fans.