True Story: The 10 Best Movies Based on Real Life

You won’t believe that these movies were based on real-life!

Though fiction and fantasy can certainly stimulate the imagination, there’s something deeply thrilling about seeing the words, based on a true storypop up at the beginning of a film. Knowing that the story we’re witnessing is based on real-life events can really add to the emotional impact and drama of the plot! 

There’s a wide range of fantastic true-story films out there, and they can span almost any genre. In this article, we’ll be listing down the 10 of the greatest true-story movies to ever grace the silver-screen. Let’s get started!

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The 10 Best Movies Based On True Stories

10. Temple Grandin (2010)

Director: Mick Jackson

Rating: 100% Rotten Tomatoes, 8.3/10 IMDb

Synopsis: The titular character; Temple Grandin, shows us what it’s like to live with autism and how it affects those around her. Despite everyone doubting her competence, her aunt and professor strongly believe in her abilities. Temple eventually goes on to become an influential advocate campaigning against inhumane animal slaughter.

Why it made it on the list: Clair Danes did an excellent job of capturing Temple Grandin’s quirks and real-life personality. This eye-opening movie offers an in-depth perspective of what a person with autism goes through on a daily basis.

Where to watch it: Netflix

9. Hachi: A Dog’s Tale (2009)

Director: Lasse Hallström

Box Office: 46.7 million USD

Synopsis: Professor Ueno Hidesaburō (Richard Gere) finds an adorable puppy on his way home and the two become inseparable. Hachiko escapes from home every day and waits in front of Shibuya station to greet Ueno arriving back from work.

Why it made it on the list: Dogs are a man’s best friend and this movie shows us why. When real-life Hachiko passed away in 1935, a statue was built for him in front of Shibuya station. To this day, he’s remembered for as the loyal, good boy who never forgot who he loved.

Where to watch it: Netflix, Amazon Prime

8. 127 Hours (2010)

Director: Danny Boyle

Box Office: 60.7 million USD

Synopsis: One man, one boulder, and the sheer resilience to survive against all odds. Stranded between a deep crevice in Bluejohn Canyon, Aron Ralston does everything to make it out alive – including amputating his own arm.

Why it made it on the list: Filmed in the same location of the actual incident, this is one of those real-life movies that seriously gives us nightmares. 127 Hours takes us on an emotional rollercoaster and exhibits the power of the human spirit, even in the worst circumstances.

Where to watch it: Netflix

7. The Notebook (2004)

Director: Nick Cassavetes

Box Office: 115.6 million USD

Synopsis: A dirt poor man and a wealthy girl fall in love in their younger years but are separated by the disapproval of their parents. After enduring seven years apart, Noah and Allie reconnect, rekindle their romance, and get the answers they’ve been dying to know.

Why it made it on the list: Everybody needs a good cry every now and then. Inspired by Nikolas Sparks’ grandparents-in-law, The Notebook makes us believe that true love lasts a lifetime and always finds its way back to us.

Where to watch it: Netflix

6. Million Dollar Baby (2004)

Director: Clint Eastwood

Box Office: 216.8 million USD

Synopsis: Trainer Frankie Dunn (Clint Eastwood) is approached by novice boxer Maggie Fitzgerald (Hilary Swank) who eagerly asks him to show her the ropes. Despite hesitation, Frankie finally agrees to train her and she proves to be a force to be reckoned with in the ring.

Why it made it on the list: Sports movies generally focus on football, baseball, and basketball but Million Dollar Baby shined the light on boxing. This film was a knock-out in Hollywood for illustrating that doing what you love creates meaning in your life. Based on Rope Burns: Stories from the Corner, the movie emphasised the roles of grit and hard work in being successful.

Where to watch it: Netflix

5. The Pursuit of Happiness (2006)

Director: Gabriele Muccino

Box Office: 307.1 million USD

Synopsis: Chris Garnder (WIll Smith) struggled financially after making a bad business investment that left him and his son homeless. To provide his child with a better life, he pursues an internship as a stockbroker and is determined to land the position.

Why it made it on the list: It’s one of the most inspirational films for displaying just how much a doting parent is willing to sacrifice for their kids. To portray a more authentic father-son relationship, Will Smith had his real son, Jaden, play the role of his on-screen child.

4. Schindler’s List (1993)

Director: Stephen Spielberg

Box Office: 322.1 million USD

Synopsis: Oskar Schindler, a Nazi, recruited 1,200 Jews as factory workers and saved them from the gruesome concentration camps during World War II. He proved that positions of power are meant to be used to protect the innocent, not harm them.

Why it made it on the list: This is one of the films based on true stories that we wish never happened. The horrific and inhumane treatment of the Jews is a powerful reminder of the sort of evil that humans are capable of! 

3. The Conjuring (2013)

Director: James Wan

Box Office: 319.5 million USD

Synopsis: The Perron family call up Lorainne and Ed Warren, two well-known paranormal investigators, after experiencing mysterious and creepy incidents in their home. They soon discover that the farmhouse they moved into has a long history of unexplained deaths and suicides.  

Why it made it on the list: The Conjuring is acclaimed as one of the scariest horror movies based on true events. The real-life Warrens are famous for taking on the case of the Amityville hauntings in 1952. They’ve performed numerous exorcisms and seances in an attempt to cleanse evil spirits from family homes. 

Where to watch it: Netflix

2. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Director: Martin Scorsese

Box Office: 392 million USD

Synopsis: Arrogant and young, Jordan Belfort (Leonardo DiCaprio) starts his own firm after discovering a way to manipulate the stock market. When he starts earning millions of dollars, he engages in a rock n’ roll lifestyle of partying and drugs.

Why it made it on the list: If you’re looking for one of the best true crime movies to watch, The Wolf of Wall Street is for you! With its playful storytelling, we’re able to sit back and watch Belfort’s shenanigans in the most entertaining way.

Where to watch it: Netflix

1. The King’s Speech (2010)

Director: Tom Hooper

Box Office: 414.2 million USD

Synopsis: The hot-tempered Prince Albert (Colin Firth) has a terrible stutter which has made him feel unworthy of being seated at the throne. After his wife Elizabeth (Helena Bonham Carter) introduced him to speech therapist Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), he gradually gains confidence in speaking.

Why it made it on the list: Taking the top spot on the list is one of the best true to life movies ever made. This inspiring movie is unique in how it feels so utterly accurate to real-life events. It didn’t win 4 Oscars for nothing!

Where to watch it: Netflix, HBO

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