List Of Films Based On Actual Events

This is a list of feature films that are based on actual events. Not all movies have remained true to the genuine history of the event or the characters they are portraying, often adding action and drama to increase the substance and popularity of the movie. True story movies[1] gained popularity in the late 1980s and early 1990s with the production of movies based on actual events that first aired on CBS, ABC, and NBC. The Movies Based on True Stories Database by Traciy Curry-Reyes was the first to compile a list of movies based on true stories and was the first site to coin the term "movies based on true stories" in the 1990s. This list should only include movies supported by a Wikipedia article.





















  • 10 Rillington Place (1971) - depiction of the events surrounding the wrongful execution of Timothy Evans, a Welshman framed for the death of his daughter by his landlord, English serial killer John Christie, who killed women in his flat at 10 Rillington Place; parts of the film were filmed in the actual location; exterior shots were filmed in Number 10; interiors were shot in Number 7
  • Brian's Song (1971) - the story of Brian Piccolo, a running back for the Chicago Bears, his cross-racial friendship with teammate Gale Sayers, and his ultimately losing battle with cancer, starring James Caan as Piccolo and Billy Dee Williams as Sayers
  • Dirty Harry (1971) -inspired by the Zodiac killings of the 1960s and early 70s; the detective on the case, Dave Toschi, was the inspiration for Harry Callahan and Frank Bullitt in Bullitt (1968)
  • The French Connection (1971) - based on the story of drug smuggling from Marseilles to New York City in the 1960s
  • Nicholas and Alexandra (1971) - Czar Nicholas II, the inept monarch of Russia insensitive to the needs of his people, is overthrown and exiled to Siberia with his family
















































  • 50 to 1 (2014) - American drama film based on the true story of Mine That Bird, an undersized thoroughbred racehorse who won the 2009 Kentucky Derby in one of the biggest upsets in the history of the race.
  • American Sniper (2014) - American biographical war drama film based on the life of Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. military history
  • The Admiral: Roaring Currents (2014) - South Korean war drama based on Yi Sun-Shin in Joseon's final stand at the epic Battle of Myeongnyang in 1597
  • Bad Country - a film based on a true story starring Matt Dillon, Willem Dafoe, Amy Smart, and Tom Berenger.When Baton Rouge police detective Bud Carter busts contract killer Jesse Weiland, he convinces Jesse to become an informant and rat out the South's most powerful crime ring. So when the syndicate orders Carter's death and Weiland's ID'd as a snitch, the two team up to take down the mob and the crime boss who ordered the hit.
  • Chaar Sahibzaade (2014) - Punjabi language Indian 3D computer-animated historical film based on the sacrifices of the sons of 10th Sikh guru Guru Gobind Singh-Sahibzada Ajit Singh, Jujhar Singh, Zorawar Singh and Fateh Singh
  • Citizen Four (2014) - about Edward Snowden and the NSA spying scandal
  • A Dark Reflection (2014) - British independent investigative thriller based on actual events surrounding the issue of Aerotoxic Syndrome
  • The Face of an Angel (2014) - British psychological thriller inspired by the book Angel Face, drawn from crime coverage by Newsweek / Daily Beast writer Barbie Latza Nadeau, based on the real-life story of Amanda Knox who was accused of the murder of Meredith Kercher in 2007
  • Foxcatcher (2014) - American biographical true crime drama loosely based on the events surrounding multimillionaire E.I. du Pont family heir and wrestling enthusiast John E. du Pont's 1986 recruitment of 1984 U.S. Olympic gold medalist wrestlers Mark Schultz and his older brother Dave to help coach U.S. wrestlers for participation in national, world, and Olympic competition
  • Heaven Is for Real (2014) - based on the book of the same name. Four-year-old Colton reports seeing visions of Heaven during emergency surgery. His father struggles with the question of whether his son's experience was genuine or a hallucination.
  • An Honest Liar (2014) - the life of former magician, escape artist, and skeptical educator James Randi, in particular the investigations through which Randi publicly exposed psychics, faith healers, and con-artists
  • Houdini (2014) - a two-part, four-hour, look at the life of famed illusionist and escape artist Harry Houdini
  • The Imitation Game (2014) - a British historical thriller loosely based on the biography Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges about the British cryptanalyst Alan Turing, who helped solve the Enigma code during the Second World War and was later prosecuted for homosexuality
  • Kajaki (2014) - The plot is based on the true story of Mark Wright and of a small unit of British soldiers positioned near the Kajaki dam, in Afghanistan.
  • Kill the Messenger (2014) - a 2014 American crime thriller film directed by Michael Cuesta and written by Peter Landesman. It is based on the book of the same name by Nick Schou and the book Dark Alliance by Gary Webb which focuses on CIA involvement in Contra cocaine trafficking.
  • Love & Mercy (2014) - American biographical film about musician and songwriter Brian Wilson of The Beach Boys
  • Marvellous (2014) - British drama television film about the life of Neil Baldwin
  • Mary Kom (2014) - Indian biographical sports drama about five-times female World Boxing Champion and Olympic bronze medalist Mary Kom, the only woman boxer to have won a medal in each one of the six world championships
  • Million Dollar Arm (2014) - based on the true story of baseball pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel who were discovered by sports agent J.B. Bernstein after winning a reality show competition
  • The Monuments Men (2014) - American-German war film loosely based on the non-fiction book The Monuments Men: Allied Heroes, Nazi Thieves and the Greatest Treasure Hunt in History, by Robert M. Edsel with Bret Witter; the film follows an Allied group from the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program, tasked with finding and saving pieces of art and other culturally important items before their destruction or theft by the Nazis during World War II
  • A Murder Beside Yanhe River (2014) - Chinese historical film based on the murder case of Huang Kegong, who was a general of the Chinese Workers' and Peasants' Red Army
  • Noble - is a 2014 film written and directed by Stephen Bradley about the true life story of Christina Noble, a children's rights campaigner, charity worker and writer, who founded the Christina Noble Children's Foundation in 1989.
  • Pride (2014) - British LGBT-related historical comedy-drama film written by Stephen Beresford and directed by Matthew Warchus; depicts a group of lesbian and gay activists who raised money to help families affected by the British miners' strike in 1984
  • Rosewater - In 2009, London-based Iranian-Canadian journalist Maziar Bahari is detained in Iran after he reports on violence against protesters of the country's presidential election.
  • Selma (2014) - American historical drama based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting rights marches
  • The Theory of Everything (2014) - British biographical coming of age romantic drama adapted from the memoir Travelling to Infinity: My Life with Stephen by Jane Wilde Hawking, which deals with her relationship with her ex-husband, English theoretical physicist Stephen Hawking
  • Timbuktu (2014) - The film looks at the brief occupation of Timbuktu, Mali by Ansar Dine. Parts of the film were influenced by a 2012 public stoning of an unmarried couple in Aguelhok.It was shot in Oualata, a town in south-east Mauritania.
  • Unbroken (2014) - The film revolves around the life of USA Olympian and athlete Louis "Louie" Zamperini, portrayed by Jack O'Connell. Zamperini survived in a raft for 47 days after his bomber crash landed in the ocean during World War II, then was sent to a series of prisoner of war camps.


  • The 33 (2015) - English-language Chilean film based on the real events of the 2010 mining disaster, in which a group of thirty-three miners were trapped inside the San José Mine in Chile for over two months
  • The Big Short (2015) - four denizens of the world of high-finance predict the credit and housing bubble collapse of the mid-2000s, and decide to take on the big banks for their greed and lack of foresight
  • Black Mass (2015) - American action organized crime-drama based on the 2001 book Black Mass: The True Story of an Unholy Alliance Between the FBI and the Irish Mob, written by Dick Lehr and Gerard O'Neill, about Irish-American mobster Whitey Bulger
  • Born to Be Blue (2015) - The film is about American jazz musician Chet Baker, portrayed by Hawke.
  • Bridge of Spies (2015) - American historical spy thriller based on the 1960 U-2 incident, in which lawyer James B. Donovan is thrust into the center of the Cold War when he is given a mission to negotiate the release of Francis Gary Powers, a pilot whose plane was shot down in the Soviet Union
  • Captive (2015) - American crime-drama thriller based on the non-fiction book An Unlikely Angel by Ashley Smith about Brian Nichols, who escaped from the Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta on 11 March 2005 and held Smith as a hostage
  • Child 44 (2015) - loosely based on the case of Andrei Chikatilo
  • Colonia (2015) - The film is set against the backdrop of the 1973 Chilean military coup and the real "Colonia Dignidad", a notorious cult in the South of Chile, led by German lay preacher Paul Schäfer.
  • Concussion (2015) - American sports drama, based on the 2009 GQ article "Game Brain" by Jeanne Marie Laskas, focused on a forensic pathologist and neuropathologist, Dr. Bennet Omalu, who discovers CTE in the brains of two NFL players
  • The Danish Girl (2015) - the remarkable love story inspired by the lives of artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener, whose marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili's groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer
  • Danny Collins (2015) - American comedy-drama inspired by the true story of folk singer Steve Tilston
  • Everest (2015) - American historical biography action adventure disaster thriller based on the real events of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster and the non-fiction book Into Thin Air by Jon Krakauer
  • The Finest Hours (2015) - American disaster drama based on the 2009 book of same name, by Casey Sherman and Michael J. Tougias, about the true story of the Pendleton rescue mission attempt by U.S. Coast Guard ships
  • I Killed My BFF (2015) - a Lifetime television film starring Katrina Bowden, Chris Zylka and Olivia Crocicchia. It was written by Blake Berris and Danny Abel, and directed by Seth Jarrett. I Killed My BFF is inspired by a true story, the murder of Anne Marie Camp by Jamie Dennis and her husband, Michael Gianakos, in Minnesota in 1997.
  • In the Heart of the Sea (2015) - American biographical thriller based on Nathaniel Philbrick's 2000 non-fiction book of the same name, about the sinking of the whaleship Essex
  • Ip Man 3 (2015) - It is the third in the Ip Man film series based on the life of the Wing Chun grandmaster Yip Man and features Donnie Yen reprising the title role. The film also stars Mike Tyson, and Yip Man's pupil Bruce Lee is portrayed by Danny Chan.
  • Joy (2015) - American biographical comedy-drama about a struggling single mom of three children, Joy Mangano, who invented the Miracle Mop and is the President of Ingenious Designs, LLC.
  • The Lady in the Van (2015) - a British comedy-drama film directed by Nicholas Hytner, written by Alan Bennett, and starring Maggie Smith and Alex Jennings. It tells the true story of Mary Shepherd, an elderly woman who lived in a dilapidated van on Bennett's driveway in London for 15 years.
  • Legend (2015) - British crime thriller based on real-life London gangsters, the Kray twins; adapted from the book The Profession of Violence: The Rise and Fall of the Kray Twins by John Pearson
  • Manjhi - The Mountain Man (2015) - biopic based on the life of Dashrath Manjhi, popularly known as the "Mountain Man", who lived in Gehlaur village, near Gaya, in Bihar; directed by Ketan Mehta; starring Nawazuddin Siddiqui and Radhika Apte
  • Manto (2015) - Pakistani biographical drama film based on the life of Pakistani short-story writer Sadat Hassan Manto, starring Sarmad Sultan Khoosat
  • McFarland, USA (2015) - American sports drama based on the true story of a 1987 cross country team from a predominantly Mexican-American high school, McFarland High School, in McFarland, California
  • Pawn Sacrifice (2015) - American biographical film portraying Cold War-era championship chess match between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky
  • The Revenant (2015) - American western thriller adapted from Michael Punke's 2003 novel of the same name, partially based in the life of frontiersman Hugh Glass
  • Rudramadevi (2015) - Indian Telugu 3D historical film based on the life of Rudrama Devi, one of the prominent rulers of the Kakatiya dynasty in the Deccan Plateau, and one of the few ruling queens in Indian history
  • Spare Parts (2015) - American drama based on the true story of a group of high school students who compete in a 2004 underwater robotics competition
  • Spotlight (2015) - American crime drama film based on the true story of John Geoghan, an unfrocked priest accused of molesting boys; an investigative team of journalists from the Boston Globe investigates the allegations.
  • The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015) - The plot tells the story of the Stanford prison experiment in which students play the role of a prisoner or a prison guard conducted at Stanford University under supervision of psychology professor Philip Zimbardo in 1971
  • Steve Jobs (2015) - American biographical drama based on the life of Apple Inc. co-founder Steve Jobs, based on a screenplay adapted from Walter Isaacson's biography Steve Jobs
  • Straight Outta Compton (2015) - American biographical drama which revolves around the rise and fall of the Compton, California rap group N.W.A
  • Suffragette (2015) - historical period drama based on the early feminist movement
  • True Story (2015) - American drama film based on the memoir of journalist Michael Finkel about his encounter with wanted murderer Christian Longo, who hid under Finkel's identity
  • Trumbo (2015) - biographical drama film following the life of Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo and his exile due to his political beliefs
  • The Walk (2015) - American biographical film based on the story of French high-wire artist Philippe Petit's walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center on 7 August 1974
  • Woman in Gold (2015) - British-American drama based on the true story of Maria Altmann, an elderly Holocaust survivor who, together with her young lawyer, E. Randol Schoenberg, fought the government of Austria to reclaim Gustav Klimt's painting of her aunt, Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I, which culminated in the 2004 case before the Supreme Court of the United States, Republic of Austria v. Altmann
  • Woodlawn (2015) - American Christian sports drama film based on the true story of Tony Nathan and the Woodlawn High Colonels football team as coaches and teammates struggle to ease racial tensions during the 1973 desegregation of the Birmingham, Alabama school system
  • "Visaranai" (2015) - An Indian Tamil-language docudrama-crime thriller film based on the novel Lock Up which tells the true story of police brutality, corruption, and loss of innocence in the face of injustice.


  • 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016) - American war film based on Mitchell Zuckoff's 2014 book 13 Hours; recounts the true life events of six members of a security team who fought to defend the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi, after waves of terrorist attacks on September 11, 2012
  • Airlift (2016) - Bollywood movie based on evacuation of Indian people from Kuwait during invasion of kuwait by Iraq.
  • Aligarh (2016) - Biographical bollywood drama film based on professor Ramchandra Siras who was shacked from Aligarh University for his homosexuality.
  • All the Way (2016) - An American HBO biographical TV drama film based on events of the presidency of Lyndon B. Johnson.
  • Amateur Night (2016) - An American biographical comedy film based on the early experiences of film writers Joe Syracuse and Lisa Addario in Hollywood.
  • Anthropoid (2016) - Historical thriller that tells the story of Operation Anthropoid, the World War II assassination of Reinhard Heydrich by Exile Czechoslovak soldiers on May 27, 1942.
  • Azhar (2016) - Based on life of former captain of Indian cricket team Mohammad Azharuddin.
  • Confirmation - It is about Clarence Thomas' Supreme Court nomination hearings, and the controversy that unfolded when Anita Hill alleged she was sexually harassed by Thomas.
  • Deepwater Horizon (2016) - American biopic disaster film directed by Peter Berg, written by Matthew Sand and Matthew Michael Carnahan, and starring an ensemble cast including Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, John Malkovich, Gina Rodriguez, Dylan O'Brien and Kate Hudson. It is based on the 2010 Deepwater Horizon explosion and oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico.
  • Denial (2016) - based on the true story of Holocaust denier David Irving's libel case against author Deborah Lipstadt in the Irving v Penguin Books Ltd case.
  • Florence Foster Jenkins (2016) - The film stars Meryl Streep as Florence Foster Jenkins, a New York heiress who became an opera singer known for her painful lack of singing skill.
  • The Founder (2016) - based on a true story about Ray Kroc and the start of the MacDonald franchise, starring Michael Keaton.
  • Free State of Jones (2016) - American war film inspired by the life of Newton Knight and his armed rebellion against the Confederacy in Jones County, Mississippi, during the American Civil War. Written and directed by Gary Ross, the film stars Matthew McConaughey, Gugu Mbatha-Raw, Mahershala Ali and Keri Russell.
  • Gold (2016) - The film is loosely based on the true story of the 1993 Bre-X mining scandal, when a massive gold deposit was supposedly discovered in the jungles of Indonesia.
  • Hacksaw Ridge (2016) - A biographical war drama film about the World War II experiences of Desmond Doss, an American pacificist combat medic who was a Seventh-day Adventist Christian, refusing to carry or use a firearm or weapons of any kind. The film was directed by Mel Gibson and stars Andrew Garfield.
  • Hidden Figures (2016) - American film about African American female mathematicians who worked at the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) during the Space Race. The film stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan and Janelle Monáe as Mary Jackson.
  • I'm Not Ashamed (2016) - based on Rachel Scott, the first victim of the Columbine High School massacre.
  • Infiltrator (2016) - American crime drama film directed by Brad Furman and written by Ellen Brown Furman. The film is based on the autobiography of the same name by Robert Mazur, a U.S. Customs special agent, who in the 1980s helped bust Pablo Escobar's money-laundering organization by going undercover as a corrupt businessman. The film stars Bryan Cranston, Diane Kruger, Benjamin Bratt, John Leguizamo, and Amy Ryan.
  • Lion (2016) based on the true story of Saroo Brierly who got lost at a train station in India and his remarkable journey to find home by using Google maps.
  • Loving (2016) - based on the inspiring true story of Richard and Mildred Loving, an interracial couple who were plaintiff's in the 1967 U.S Supreme Court decision Loving v. Virginia, which deemed anti-miscegenation laws unconstitutional.
  • Masterminds (2016) - American comedy film based on the 1997 Loomis Fargo Robbery in North Carolina. Directed by Jared Hess and written by Chris Bowman, Hubbel Palmer and Emily Spivey, the film stars Zach Galifianakis, Owen Wilson, Kristen Wiig and Jason Sudeikis.
  • Miracles from Heaven (2016) - based on a 10 year old girl Annabel Beam who was diagnosed with a digestive disorder with no known cure. After a severe fall she suffers only a concussion, then unexpectedly recovers from her illness. Afterwards she says her soul left her body during the fall and God promised that she would be cured.
  • M.S. Dhoni: The Untold Story (2016) - Indian film based on a journey of Mahendra Singh Dhoni becoming a master cricketer and captain of Team India.
  • Neerja (2016) - Bollywood biographical thriller movie based on highjacking of Pan Am Flight 73 and life sacrifice of flight attendant Neerja Bhanot during the event.
  • Pelé: Birth of a Legend (2016) - The film is centered on the relationship between the character Pelé and his father.
  • Race (2016) - biographical sports drama film about African American athlete Jesse Owens, who won a record-breaking four gold medals at the 1936 Berlin Olympic Games
  • Rustom (2016) - Bollywood movie loosely based on the real life incident of Naval Officer K.M. Nanavati and businessman Prem Ahuja.
  • Sarbjit (2016) - Bollywood biopic of Sarabjit Singh who was an Indian national convicted of terrorism and spying by a Pakistani court. However, Sarabjit claimed he was a farmer who strayed into Pakistan from his village located on the border, three months after the bombings.
  • Snowden (2016) - American biographical political thriller based on the books The Snowden Files by Luke Harding and Time of the Octopus by Anatoly Kucherena
  • Sully (2016) - On Jan. 15, 2009, Capt. Chesley "Sully" Sullenberger (Tom Hanks) tries to make an emergency landing in New York's Hudson River after US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese. Miraculously, all of the 155 passengers and crew survive the harrowing ordeal, and Sullenberger becomes a national hero in the eyes of the public and the media. This film is based on memoir Highest Duty: My Search for What Really Matters written by Chesley Sullenberger and Jeffrey Zaslow (1958-2012) describing the events of US Airways Flight 1549."
  • Veerappan (2016) - South Indian movie based on the real-life Indian bandit Veerappan and the events leading to Operation Cocoon, a mission to capture and kill him.
  • War Dogs (2016) - American biographical black comedy war film directed by Todd Phillips and written by Phillips, Jason Smilovic and Stephen Chin, based on a Rolling Stone article by Guy Lawson. Lawson then wrote a book titled Arms and the Dudes detailing the story. The film follows two arms dealers, Efraim Diveroli and David Packouz, who receive a US Army contract to supply munitions for the Afghan National Army worth approximately $300 million and are eventually charged with fraud for repackaging Chinese ammunition. The film is heavily fictionalized and dramatized, and some of its events, such as the duo driving through Iraq, were either invented or based on other events, such as screenwriter Stephen Chin's own experiences.


See also


External links

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