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Movies Based On A True Story

Movies based on a true story

The Revenant (2015)

2015’s The Revenant is the film that gave Leonardo DiCaprio his long deserving Academy Award. However, the best part about the film is that it’s inspired by the real life story of fur trapper Hugh Glass. Set in 19th century America, the film re-tells Hugh’s survival from the disturbing bear attack he faced that left him unconscious. In the wake of his attack, Glass found himself abandoned with several injuries and no equipment to survive, making him stand on his own two feet to spread across a journey to get home. Glass’ story of survival has been re-told in different formats from book to screen for over 100 years!

Spotlight (2015)

Tom McCarthy’s latest movie Spotlight is based on the true story that follows Boston Globe’s “Spotlight” Team and the investigation they took on which focused on cases of child molestation. The cases involved a number of Roman Catholic priests in the Boston area and how the churches failed to reform itself after being aware of the reported abuse. The Spotlight team investigate the reports with help from the survivors of those who were abused as children. The film stars Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, John Slattery, Stanley Tucci and Liev Schreiber.

127 Hours (2010)

James Franco stars in the 2010 biographical drama 127 Hours. The film follows the story of how canyoneer Aron Ralston was trapped in an isolated slot in Blue John canyon, southeastern Utah whilst on a hike in 2003 and how he amputated his own arm in order to survive.

Titanic (1997)

James Cameron’s adaptation of the sinking of the Titanic was released in 1997. On April 15, 1912 the RMS Titanic was hit by an ice-berg causing the largest ship (at the time) to sink. The accident resulted in over 1,500 deaths and carried some of the wealthiest passengers in the world along with emigrants seeking a new life at the planned destination in North America. Whilst the love story between Jack and Rose is fictional, the sinking of the ship is factual. The film went on to gross $2.817 billion worldwide and holds the record of being the second highest grossing film of all time, behind Avatar.

The Social Network (2010)

The 2010 biographical drama The Social Network is directed by David Fincher. The film follows the real life story of how Mark Zuckerberg came to create today’s biggest social networking service Facebook. The film also re-tells the lawsuits that followed between Zuckerberg and co-founder Eduardo Saverin and the Winklevoss twins’ lawsuit which claimed Zuckerberg stole their idea to create the site. 

Everest (2015)

The 2015 biographical disaster film Everest is based on the real events of the 1996 Mount Everest disaster and follows the story of two expedition groups that attempted to survive. The disaster was caused by a blizzard and lead eight climbers to their unfortunate deaths during the storm. 

The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

Leonardo DiCaprio plays stockbroker, Jordan Belfort in The Wolf of Wall Street. The film begins with the start of Belfort’s career as a stockbroker and follows him into his downfall which led to a 22 month prison agreement. In 1989, Stratton Oakmont was founded by Jordan Belfort and became extremely successful which slid Belfort into a new lifestyle that revolved around sex and drugs. He illegally made $22 million which led to his arrest to do with money laundering and fraud.  

Joy (2015)

Joy is a 2015 biographical drama film based loosely on the life of Joy Mangano. Mangano is an American self-made millionaire who invented the Miracle Mop. The film follows the overnight success she recieved from her invention after her appearance on the QVC network and how she now runs a successful business with a wealthy lifestyle. Jennifer Lawrence was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress after portraying Mangano in Joy. 

Straight Outta Compton (2015)

Straight Outta Compton follows the rise and fall of the hip hop music group N.W.A who were born and raised in Compton, California. N.W.A was a American hip hop group with members that included Dr. Dre, Ice Cube, DJ Yella, Arabian Prince, Eazy-E and MC Ren. The film follows the groups honest lyrics and how law enforcement perceived their music as a weapon, before they transitioned into global stars.

Black Mass (2015)

Black Mass is based on the true story of Whitey Bulger who was the boss of the Winter Hill Gang and how he became one of the FBI’s most wanted criminals. Bulger is the brother a former state senator William M. Bulger and was sentenced to two life sentences plus five years of imprisonment as consequences to the several crimes he has committed. 

Legend (2015)

Legend is based on the rise of fall of East London’s gangsters, the Krays’ twins during the 50s and 60s. The twin brothers Reggie and Ronnie Kray were perpetrators of organised crime and the murderers of Jack McVitie and George Cornell. The film follows the love story between Reggie and Frances, Ron’s psychopathic problems and their arrests in which they received criminal convictions for murder and lifetime sentences in prison.

The Impossible (2012)

The Impossible is based on what María Belón and her family experienced during the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. Whilst the family were on a trip to Thailand over their Christmas break, her husband and her three sons were swept apart when the tsunami hit. During the disaster, Belón spotted her eldest son Lucas and swam to save him. After another wave hit, Belón was left with several injuries and had lost a lot of blood. Her son helped her climb a tree to safety and they were soon taken to a hospital to be treated. When she was healing in hospital, Lucas was reunited with the rest of their family and after Belón was stable enough to move, the family were transferred to a hospital in Singapore being being able to go home.

Annabelle (2014)

The 2014 horror film Annabelle was inspired by the case files of demonologist’s and paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The Warren’s were contacted by two nurses in 1970 who were told by a psychic medium that their raggedy ann doll was possessed by a spirit named Annabelle Higgins. After attempting to nurture the doll, the two became frightened from its malicious behaviour and contacted The Warren’s to investigate. The Warren’s removed the doll from the nurse’s home and placed it in a glass box where she sits at the family’s Occult Museum in Connecticut. You can see what the real Annabelle doll looks like compared to the eerie doll in the film adaptation. 

Soul Surfer (2011)

Soul Surfer is based on the inspiring true story of surfer Bethany Hamilton’s horrific shark attack. After being bitten by a 14-foot tiger shark, Hamilton’s left arm was amputated in 2003. The then 13 year old was determined to go back to surfing after the accident and returned to her board just three weeks later! She learned to surf with one arm and had a custom made board to assist her.  

Steve Jobs (2015)

Steve Jobs is based on co-founder of Apple Inc,. After the failed attempt of Macintosh, Steve Jobs is fired from Apple and founded a new company NeXT. However, before the launch of the company, Apple CEO John Sculley demanded to know why Steve Jobs was previously fired from Apple, only to find out that he was forced out of the company after defending the failed Macintosh product. In 1998, Sculley got fired from Apple and Jobs was named the new CEO of the company with NeXT also being purchased leading to the launch of iMac. 

Diana (2013)

Naomi Watts plays Diana in the film based loosely on the last two years of Princess Diana’s life. The film begins with her divorce from Prince Charles of Wales and follows the love story between her and Heart Surgeon, Dr. Hasnat Khan. The movie also takes us on the trip she went on whilst she campaigned against the use of land mines before tragically passing from a car accident in Paris. 

Pearl Harbor (2001)

Pearl Harbor re-tells the true story of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941 and the Doolittle Raid that followed. The film stars Ben Affleck and Kate Beckinsale. Although the film recieved a lot of negative reviews, it still grossed $449.2 million at the box office!

Erin Brokovich (2000)

The film is based on the real life story of legal clerk and envrionmentalist Erin Brokovich, who built a case against Pacific Gas and Electrical Company in 1993. She successfully won the case and inspired the 2000 film adaptation which stars Julia Roberts!

12 Years A Slave (2013)

12 Years A Slave tells the true story of how Solomon Northup was tricked and sold into slavery in 1841. He did not get his freedom back until January 1853 after 12 years of working on plantations in Louisiana.

Captain Phillips (2013)

The 2013 biographical drama Captain Phillips is based on the true story of Captain Richard Phillips’ experience and how he was taken as a hostage during the hijacking of the MV Maersk Alabama by Somali Pirates. The hijacking in the Indian Ocean took place from 8-12 April, 2009.

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Dallas Buyers Club is inspired by the true story of Ron Woodroff’s diagnosis with AIDs. After being diagnosed in the mid 80s, Woodroff smuggled pharmaceutical drugs into Texas for treating his symptoms and began distributing the drugs to other patients with AIDs, establishing the Dallas Buyers Club. He turned to the unapproved drug as at the time of his diagnosis, AIDs was under-researched and not fully understood.

The Conjuring (2013)

The Conjuring is inspired by the true files of paranormal investigators Ed and Lorraine Warren. The true case is based on Roger and Carolyn Perron who moved into a farmhouse with their five daughters and experienced haunting and spiritual possessions over the nine years they lived there. They invited The Warren’s to investigate what they were experiencing in their Rhode Island home. 

The Walk (2015)

The Walk is based on the true story of Philippe Petit’s high-wire walk between the Twin Towers and the World Trade Center in 1974. He walked back and forth on the wire several times before getting off and being praised by the crowd below him. He was awarded with a life-time pass to the Twin Towers’ Observation Deck after his brave performance. 

The Theory of Everything (2014)

The Theory of Everything re-tells the diagnosis of Stephen Hawking’s motor neurone disease. The film begins with how he fell in love with his now former wife Jane Hawking and follows the effect it had on his family life and their marriage as his condition worsened over the years. In between the time that Stephen and Jane had children, Stephen developed the Big Bang theory about a black hole creating the universe. His theory made him a recognised physicist leading him to a success in physics. 

American Hustle (2013)

American Hustle is inspired by the true story of FBI’s ABSCAM operation that took place in the late 70s and early 80s. The film loosely follows how two con artists Irving Rossenfeld (played by Christian Bale) and Sydney Prosser (played by Amy Adams) were pressured by an FBI agent to set up a sting operation on corrupt politicians. Six out of the thirty political figures who were investigated, were convicted. 

Million Dollar Arm (2014)

Million Dollar Arm follows the true story of how baseball pitchers Rinku Singh and Dinesh Patel were discovered by J.B. Bernstein. Bernstein who created The Million Dollar Arm contest in India and discovered Singh and Patel on the show. The two contestants went on to win the reality series, and were signed to the Pittsburgh Pirates, becoming the first two Indians to play professional Baseball in US. 

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