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10 Best Movies Based On A True Story

Updated on July 13, 2013

Based on Actual Events...

I'm not a film critic, I just play one on Hubpages. I like movies and I like lists so I decided to do one and will probably do a lot more. I've done a couple of movie lists before but I think this one is probably the best so enjoy it.

The movies on this hub were all based on actual events and are movies that I have seen. There are other movies that I wish I could include but I just cant because I haven't seen them as yet. Hopefully you like these and I'd really love to get your feedback, your choices and comments.

So to kick it off...

#10 - What's Love Got To Do With It

I actually couldn't watch Ike beat up Tina like that. It made me cringe and turn away. It made me angry but because of the realness of this movie based on Tina Turner's rise to fame and the abuse she suffered at the hands of Ike Turner, I had to rate this film.

During research for this hub, I found that Ike denied doing some of the stuff portrayed in the movie but just like a lot of the events in the other films on this list are heavily dramatised for entertainment purposes, I guess they did what they had to do to emphasize a point. Depending on how you look at it the director/cast did a good job because they really got me on this one. I could only watch this movie once and this is why I choose to include it on this list & put it at #10.

#9 - Enemy At The Gates

World War II era, the Battle of Stalingrad, two snipers who are trying to kill each other - sounds good right? Well, it is!

Jude Law and Joseph Fiennes reminded me of the Mad cartoon Spy vs Spy, only this was far from funny and was just so intriguing to watch. The best scene was the ending when... well if you haven't seen it I wouldn't spoil it for you but lets just say the part where one of the snipers is killed by the other. That made me jump up out of my seat...made me actually realize how much on the edge of the seat I was too.

#8 - Titanic

Don't tell my girlfriend but I think Titanic is a a good film and I like the story. Its based on actual events - everyone knows that but the reason why I liked this movie is because well, funny story.

I was watching it in the theatre with my girlfriend and she started crying and stuff at the really sad part. So I put my arm around her, you know and she's on my right. Now I could imagine all the girls in the movies were crying and stuff, this girl on my left who I don't even know leans on my shoulder

But I teased my girl after the movie how it was too long and predictable and stuff like that. But hey, it was a really good movie, I have to admit that. Cant say the same for that annoying Celine Dion track, though.

#7 - Ray

I like how Jamie Foxx puts everything into his characters. He literally transformed himself in to a blind, womanizing but talented Georgia born Ray Charles.

I actually rediscovered a lot of Ray's music from this film, some I've heard before as remakes and I learned about Ray's stuggles with drug addiction and a lot of other stuff I didn't know about the singer like his childhood. I didn't know he wasn't born blind so that was interesting to know.

Overall, Jamie Foxx's performance as Ray was amazing, you'd think Ray was playing

#6 - Raging Bull

Raging Bull is a beautiful but brutal movie based on the life of Italian American boxer Jake LaMotta. The scenes engage you emotionally buut what makes this movie so incredible is the classic Scorcese production, the music and acting from Robert De Niro as Jake LaMotta, Joe Pesci as his brother Joey and Cathy Moriarty as his wife.

The peak of this movie is the classic fight between LaMotta and world championship boxer Sugar Ray Robinson where LaMotta gets beaten bloody in the ring and Ray wins in a TKO. While Ray is celebrating the win, LaMotta walks over to him, gets his attention and says, "I never went down. You didn't get me down Ray." Woooooooh! Classic!

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#5 - The Pursuit of Happyness

The Pursuit of Happyness is a touching and inspiring film about Chris Gardner, a sales man of bone density scanners determined to become a stockbroker. The story follows him and his son as he chases his dream often sleeping in homeless shelters and even a public bathroom but never giving up for the sake of his son.

It's a very inspiring movie with Will Smith and his real life son playing the lead characters and at times I couldn't help looking at my own life where I could at times relate.




#4 - GoodFellas

You don't want to mess with Joe Pesci in Goodfellas. Honestly, after seeing this movie I was convinced that if I ever saw Joe Pesci in real life I would have a heart attack. The movie starts off with a brutal scene where a member of the Gambino Crime family who insulted Joe Pesci's character, Tommy, is tied up in the trunk of a car. Tommy mercilessly stabs him with a knife before he is shot to death by Jimmy (played by usual mob flick suspect and Martin Scorcese mainstay, Robert De Niro).

One of my favorite movie quotes came from this movie also - "As far back as I can remember, I always wanted to be a gangster". The movie is based on the life of Henry Hill, played by Ray Liotta.

I love the ending where Lorraine Bracco flushes the drugs down the toilet in desperation to hide it from the DEA & FBI. Really exciting stuff...really exciting movie.

#3 - Catch Me If You Can

Based on the real life of conman, Frank Abagnale, Catch Me If You Can didn't look all that interesting to me but I ended up watching it because there was nothing else on. It turned out to be one of the most enjoyable films I'd seen in a while.

I was intrigued by the cat and mouse story where Frank, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, outwits the FBI and Tom Hank's character.

The story of how Frank managed to counterfeit checks, qualify as a doctor as well as a lawyer and even impersonates a PanAm airline pilot. He does some incredibly unbelievable stuff which makes the movie even more entertaining.




#2 - Black Hawk Down

I was very satisfied coming out of the theatre after watching Black Hawk Down when it was released. I remember saying, 'That is a damn good movie'.

But it was more than just a movie. The film depicted what was known as the Battle of Mogadishu - a situation where 2 Black Hawk helicopters were shot down in Somalia while carrying out a rescue mission. The mission which was supposed to take like 1 hour ends up taking 15 hours as US military forces battled in the streets of Mogadishu with Somali militia.

Black Hawk Down is a very intense film. From the time the movie starts to the time it finishes you're just into the movie because even though its very dramatic the action just doesn't stop. What else would you expect from Jerry Bruckheimer and his team anyways.

#1 - Casino

Casino is my absolute favorite movie based on a true story. I love the brutalness of mobster films and Joe Pesci who's character, Nicky Santoro is based on the real life of Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro really did a good job satisfying all the fans of the gangster genre.

One of my favorite actors, Robert De Niro stars as Sam Rothstein who is the owner of a Las Vegas casino. Sharon Stone also starred as Sam's wife Ginger who really got me into the story for her deceitful ways. I'd often get mad at Sam for being a punk when it came to Ginger.

The movie was really balanced...enough violence, drama, love and emotion to get you wrapped up into every minute of the 3 hour long movie.

Which of the above movies did you enjoy most? If other, leave a comment instead.

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    • profile image

      Saiyan 2 years ago

      Titanic is a true story but not completely.

      The love story is completely fictional.

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      sarah 5 years ago

      I just watched Argo it was a great true story if you people have not seen it you should rent it or buy it off the tv if you can. There was alot of crime and stuff like that have 2 tell you that.

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      Kyle 5 years ago

      Into the Wild ..Shawshank Redemption..Rudy..Emily Rose..Why the hell is titanic on the list?

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      monte cristo 5 years ago

      the best is the way back 100_100

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      Karan 5 years ago

      'The social network' and the 'pursuit of happiness' because they gives you inspiration.

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      ashesh 6 years ago

      watch forrest gump, inception, iam legend, shutter island,secret window, donnie brasco

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      edward 6 years ago

      hachiko a dog's tale

    • Leds profile image

      Leds 6 years ago from France

      Beyond the description... just an amazing list of movies. My personal favorite is Casino, Black Hawk Down, Catch Me If You Can, Goodfellas and The Pursuit of Happyness. I have seen these movies many times. The feel of these movies are just mind boggling.

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      Movie LOverz 6 years ago

      Coach Carter PEOPLE!!! Best TRUE story for High School Basketball!!!!

    • angela_michelle profile image

      Angela Michelle Schultz 6 years ago from United States

      I absolutely love Catch Me If You Can and Pursuit of Happiness. Great list!

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      harsh garia 6 years ago

      yes ur list is gud but i think u forget about the best movee name INTO THE WILD

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      sharmake 6 years ago

      black hawk down was horrible because all the acters were black and made the movie really fake

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      Tyler 6 years ago

      I agree with Himanshu, especially about beautiful mind

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      Himanshu 6 years ago

      What about Schindler's List and A Beautiful mind???

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      norlela leong 6 years ago

      what about HACHIKO and DOLPHIN TALE ?

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      Jim 6 years ago

      This Boy's life,the basketball diaries,both true,both with Leonardo Decaprio,hmm who was also in titanic and catch me if you can,seems Mr Decaprio likes his "based on a true story"movies

    • profile image

      iman 6 years ago

      the exorcism film about Emily rose

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      iman 6 years ago

      what about the emey rose film based on true story .....real scary one.

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      urim 6 years ago

      this list is good just want to add some more based on true story movies:


      The Pianist



      Hysteria(for hard rock fanes)

    • profile image

      Ash da Pash 6 years ago

      My favourtie movie that was based on a true story was Bastard Out of Carolina I thought dat film was very gd nd some parts were sad

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      lovely umer 6 years ago

      i love titanic more than all movies

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      lisajoann88 6 years ago

      ooh keep an eye out 4 'luther' that's another good'n!! and 'ed wood' is a brill depp/ burton true story that is under rated and hardly heard of compared to their other collaborations!!

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      princess ann 6 years ago

      i really love watching a titanic movie . i feel that i touch when leonardo save rose at the time of disaster.....

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      James bond 6 years ago

      why "A Walk in the Clouds" movies i don't see here ???

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      firdaus 6 years ago

      yeah blind side very inspiring

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      deer antler velvet 6 years ago

      i so love the movies above.

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      creation kshetri 6 years ago

      the pursuit of happiness is an inspiring movie. it teaches us not to lose hope and faith on ourself. it is not necessary to achieve the success in every step of life rather we should never give up until we succeed.

      the movie is very nice and i deserve to watch it time to time. everyone should once watch this movie.......

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      chloe 6 years ago

      soul surfer!!! (L)

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      HD Amiro 6 years ago

      Hachiko the dog story is quite good too

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      tabetha 6 years ago

      david is really good movie and very sad i reommened it

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      lisajoann88 6 years ago

      A fantastic 'true life' film every1 should see is 'Goodbye Bafana' its based on the relationship between mandela and his prison guard... the only thing i didn't like was i found it hard to understand the south african accents but that's just me! it really is an awesome film!

      loved the list btw! spesh that i am not the only 1 whom appreciates scorsese films, the 3 u mentiond are all in my fave films listings as well as the aviator... another based on truth! also I love titanic, although at times billy zane's character is very annoying! nd enemy at the gate - well... i know it has its flaws but it really is entertaining and very good acting from all involved!!

      Elizabeth is also another to keep an eye out for! beautifully directed, and Cate Blanchette is increadable in the role of our most iconic queen of england!

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      eyecandy 6 years ago


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      dustin 6 years ago

      we are marshall, hostage, never back down 2, crazy stupid love, the change up,

    • profile image

      eyecandy 6 years ago

      i think invictus should be up there.

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      André Esteves 6 years ago


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      Sidharth 6 years ago

      touch the top of the world is #1 ..without doubt i do not know why it's not posted here :(

    • profile image

      leon 6 years ago

      come on where is blow......

    • profile image

      Raymond C. 6 years ago

      Schindlers List was pretty epic

    • profile image

      Himanshu Ganatra 6 years ago

      A Beautiful Mind is the best True Story Movie Ever

    • profile image

      anon 6 years ago

      remember the titans

    • profile image

      sarmad 6 years ago

      the pursuit of hapiness i really loved it

    • gabby0506 profile image

      gabby0506 6 years ago from Bangalore

      Pursuit of happiness!! Loved it

    • profile image

      good cash 6 years ago

      8 mile is a true story too

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      Dominic 6 years ago

      In my opinion movies lie Missisippi Burning, All the President's men, An American Gangster and Capote should all be up there....

    • profile image

      mukul 6 years ago

      the pursuit of happiness awesome movie, have not find any movie like that inspirational

    • profile image

      Naz 6 years ago

      Great List, but I do miss The Hurricane. Thanks

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      Z Money 6 years ago

      Where is "Mississippi Burning"? And "JFK", if "JFK" didn't make you think about who actually shot Kennedy, then you weren't paying attention- plus, it had probably the best cast of all-time. "Born on the 4th of July" is another great true story. Cruise continuously gets screwed when it comes to Oscar talk

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      Rupam 6 years ago

      DEFIANCE is a true based awesome movie.

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      macho 6 years ago

      How do u have a list like this n not have donnie brasco, blow, the departed, and american gangster

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      shana 6 years ago

      How is Titanic in the top 10? There are so may movies that should have made the list before that.

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      kane 6 years ago

      boys dont cry has to be in this list

    • profile image

      umesh 6 years ago

      i like ur stuff

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      chicita 6 years ago

      I think one of the best true based on a true story movies is ALPHA DOG.

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      patricia oseguera 6 years ago


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      Lucy Bell 6 years ago

      The Blind Side- Brilliant film

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      rosh celeste 6 years ago

      Where is '' Invictus '' ??? !!!

    • profile image

      6 years ago

      i loved titanic as it expressed a disaster in amovie with high quality

    • profile image 6 years ago

      The pursuit of love.I was so upset the scene the car hit him and he lost his shoe then he s gone without shoes to the office.His effert is very tremendeous despis all bad circumstances. I cryed when I was watching. you should watch to love to live love to satisfact with least.

    • profile image

      tejab13 6 years ago

      i think "BLOW" must be in the list.. it's awesome movie.

    • profile image

      ringo 6 years ago


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      ringo 6 years ago

      i think hurricane and shawshank redemption should be in they black hawk down was a good movie but theys hundreds better

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      KATIE 6 years ago

      walk the line!

    • profile image

      dave 7 years ago

      nice list.

      "October sky" deserves a place as well.

    • profile image

      Mike 7 years ago

      Black Hawk Down is on 2nd place and there is no Pianist on List. Ashame .. so American

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      elle 7 years ago

      a beautiful mind- best film I've ever seen and when i found out it was based on a true story i was blown away. absaloutly mind-blowing.

    • profile image

      Husnain 7 years ago

      A walk to remember


      waiting for forever

      in the land of a women

      the girl next door

    • profile image

      mar 7 years ago

      wow...great list. but the list could have been much better if schindler's list movie was included..

    • profile image

      darren 7 years ago

      what about..the blind side amazing movie ,watch it now people

    • profile image

      just me 7 years ago

      i think i cant stand up again like in pursuit of happyness. but, i love money.:):):):)

    • profile image

      Rawizc 7 years ago

      I just watched 'the way back' (2010) by Weir. Once u watch this you will forget all other movies. This is also based on a true story. It's about 6 prisoner escaping from a prison in Siberia (russia) and walks all the way down through the Gobi desert of Mongolia and China and Hemalayes to India.

    • profile image

      AKKi 7 years ago

      Your article was very brilliant and all of the movies were just amazing. I really enjoyed a lot watching them.

      Thanks for this !!

    • profile image

      Monika 7 years ago

      Have you seen Shake Hands with the Devil???this is a kind of film which makes you completely speechless after seeing it...and it’s based on a true story....a terrible story...I recommend it to all of you who don’t want to close their eyes face to face the reality and stay much violence is going on in the world without us actually noticing...this film really made me cry every time I saw it and you’ll make your own opinion...this is my personal winner of the category Best Movies Based On A True Story

    • profile image

      Ayswarya 7 years ago

      "Monster" starring Charlize Theron is a must watch!!!

    • profile image

      Gmfd 7 years ago

      Miracle??? Great sports film

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      David 7 years ago

      LOL at "why isn't 127 hours on here???"

      The list was written 2 years ago...

      Catch Me If You Can is amazing, and most of that list is really good.

      David Fincher's Zodiac is perfect though. Iv watched all 5 hours worth of extra content and the work they went to in order to get every detail right was just simply amazing.

    • profile image

      s.langkilde 7 years ago

      sleepers - the movie. should be on here! It's a true story based on four boys who's lives were changed for the worst by a prank. They suffered un-relavent consequences for their actions but stay strong! Then after many years they set out revenge!

      Such a good sad movie. Also has Robert De Niro in it aswell as Kevin Bacon, Jason Patric and Brad Pitt. Excellent ending!

    • profile image

      Lizard 7 years ago

      Black Hawk Down - 10 out of 10

      GoodFellas - 10 out of 10

      Enemy at the Gates - 9 out of 10

      Casino - 8 out of 10

      the rest don't bother people especially Titanic (bullocks)

    • profile image

      redskull 7 years ago

      you should have put lean on me

    • profile image

      andy  7 years ago

      what about ALTVE what they went through was amazing

    • profile image

      john 7 years ago

      127 hours, a beautiful mind, the fighter where are they?

    • profile image

      Jim 7 years ago

      7 Pounds was an incredible movie.

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      Navaneet 7 years ago

      127 hours must be up there !!!! one of the favourite movies


    • profile image

      Paulie 7 years ago

      Blow & In the name of the Father. 2 excellent movies

    • profile image

      rahul 7 years ago

      hi,this is about a story drives to run for his bread with out options, and he does it with full of honest and life he can spare with his son shelter security is that pulls to me watch (struggle .agressivenss , running for his bread, at lost how he do business and how he get's job which he gets and surrounding can understands and offerd job .

      in a simple line

      life struggle of a father to wins back the heart of his son

      it is great movie

    • profile image

      Fred van horn 7 years ago

      Great page keep it up

    • profile image

      THAT GUY 7 years ago


    • profile image

      Sid Sachdev 7 years ago

      Man , i hope dis list need some corrections .

      Where is the exorcism of emily rose??? & many nice actual based movies are missing

    • profile image

      alix 7 years ago

      its a great list but what about city of god!

    • profile image

      Robert 7 years ago

      What about Ghandi? Amistadt? Glory? Braveheart? Elizabeth? I could go on...

      Are you serious about Titanic/Enemy at the Gates? Both of these are watered down with the love story.

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      james 7 years ago

      catch me if u can is a totally awesome true-based-story! Frank is just a master of undercover! He can be anybody in the world, any professions that he want to be.. For what we think that it is impossible for us to do that without a degree of anything. The way the "true" frank think is beyond human thinking. Please enjoy this movie : )

    • kpfingaz profile image

      kpfingaz 7 years ago from ~~~

      Band of Brothers is a cable tv series, isn't it?

    • profile image

      john 7 years ago

      What about "BAND OF BROTHERS" they are all true stories and it's sad and amaizing i think it should have taken first or atleast have been on the list.

    • profile image

      danny 7 years ago

      titanics not a true story

    • profile image

      jyoti 7 years ago

      catch me if u can is da best movie i ve watched titantc is gd ne ant m still searchin da movie pursuit f happiness haven't watched yet

    • profile image

      Roger 7 years ago

      Into the Wild

    • profile image

      Me 7 years ago

      Apollo 13, Cinderella Man?

    • profile image

      MB 7 years ago

      'Into The Wild' anyone?

      Wonderful film.

      What about 'Rudy'?

      Just inspiring.

    • profile image

      BAGG19 7 years ago

      If BLOW or Reservoir Dogs aint up there idk there by far my favorite movies and i have seen all those movies Eagle Eye is also a great movie

    • profile image

      Esther 7 years ago


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    • profile image

      Dexter Morgan 7 years ago

      All of you have forgotten SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION


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