Skip to main content

10 Best Movies Based On A True Story

  • Author:
  • Updated date:

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!

Scroll to Continue

Stream these titles and more with Amazon Prime Instant Video.

  • Over 40,000 movies and tv shows
  • Unlimited free 2 day shipping
  • Watch on Kindle, PC, Roku, PS3 and other supported devices.

Free 30 day trial.


#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.


Saiyan on March 26, 2016:

Titanic is a true story but not completely.

The love story is completely fictional.

sarah on February 24, 2013:

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.

Kyle on November 21, 2012:

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

monte cristo on July 29, 2012:

the best is the way back 100_100

Karan on June 25, 2012:

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

ashesh on June 16, 2012:

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

edward on May 30, 2012:

hachiko a dog's tale

Leds from France on May 23, 2012:

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.

Movie LOverz on May 21, 2012:

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

Angela Michelle Schultz from United States on May 10, 2012:

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

harsh garia on March 10, 2012:

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

sharmake on March 03, 2012:

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

Tyler on February 21, 2012:

I agree with Himanshu, especially about beautiful mind

Himanshu on February 20, 2012:

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

norlela leong on January 25, 2012:

what about HACHIKO and DOLPHIN TALE ?

Jim on January 17, 2012:

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

iman on January 13, 2012:

the exorcism film about Emily rose

iman on January 13, 2012:

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

urim on January 05, 2012:

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


The Pianist



Hysteria(for hard rock fanes)

Ash da Pash on January 04, 2012:

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

lovely umer on January 03, 2012:

i love titanic more than all movies

lisajoann88 on December 30, 2011:

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!!

princess ann on December 30, 2011:

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

James bond on December 25, 2011:

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

firdaus on December 25, 2011:

yeah blind side very inspiring

deer antler velvet on December 25, 2011:

i so love the movies above.

creation kshetri on December 23, 2011:

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.......

chloe on December 20, 2011:

soul surfer!!! (L)

HD Amiro on December 17, 2011:

Hachiko the dog story is quite good too

tabetha on December 10, 2011:

david is really good movie and very sad i reommened it

lisajoann88 on November 30, 2011:

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!

eyecandy on November 27, 2011:


dustin on November 26, 2011:

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

eyecandy on November 23, 2011:

i think invictus should be up there.

André Esteves on November 10, 2011:


Sidharth on October 24, 2011:

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

leon on October 24, 2011:

come on where is blow......

Raymond C. on October 17, 2011:

Schindlers List was pretty epic

Himanshu Ganatra on October 10, 2011:

A Beautiful Mind is the best True Story Movie Ever

anon on October 09, 2011:

remember the titans

sarmad on October 07, 2011:

the pursuit of hapiness i really loved it

gabby0506 on October 06, 2011:

Pursuit of happiness!! Loved it

good cash on October 03, 2011:

8 mile is a true story too

Dominic on October 02, 2011:

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

mukul on October 02, 2011:

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

Naz on September 19, 2011:

Great List, but I do miss The Hurricane. Thanks

Z Money on September 17, 2011:

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

Rupam on September 15, 2011:

DEFIANCE is a true based awesome movie.

macho on September 11, 2011:

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

shana on September 10, 2011:

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

kane on September 07, 2011:

boys dont cry has to be in this list

umesh on August 27, 2011:

i like ur stuff

chicita on August 26, 2011:

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

patricia oseguera on August 18, 2011:


Lucy Bell on July 30, 2011:

The Blind Side- Brilliant film

rosh celeste on July 19, 2011:

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

r on July 19, 2011:

i loved titanic as it expressed a disaster in amovie with high quality on July 19, 2011:

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.

tejab13 on July 12, 2011:

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

ringo on July 03, 2011:


ringo on July 03, 2011:

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

KATIE on June 30, 2011:

walk the line!

dave on June 23, 2011:

nice list.

"October sky" deserves a place as well.

Mike on June 17, 2011:

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

elle on June 12, 2011:

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.

Husnain on May 30, 2011:

A walk to remember


waiting for forever

in the land of a women

the girl next door

mar on May 29, 2011:

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

darren on May 14, 2011:

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

just me on May 12, 2011:

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

Rawizc on May 05, 2011:

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.

AKKi on April 14, 2011:

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

Thanks for this !!

Monika on March 27, 2011:

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

Ayswarya on March 26, 2011:

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

Gmfd on March 13, 2011:

Miracle??? Great sports film

David on March 03, 2011:

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.

s.langkilde on February 25, 2011:

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!