The Best Movies Based on True Stories Films

The Best Movies Based on True Stories

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List Criteria: Some story liberties and combining of characters allowed. All within reason. And yes, Cool Runnings.

"Based on a true story" is so commonly thrown around it's practically the new "in a world where...." as far as trailer plugs go. But the films on this list really were based on true events or a real person's life story. And they weren't just so-so, they were great movies.

The surge in the popularity of movies based on true stories in the last decade is especially staggering. The first feature length film based on a true story was The Kelly Gang, about Ned Kelly. It was released in 1900. Between 1900 and 2000, there were a total of 211 films with the distinction of being based on a true story.

In the thirteen years since 2000, there have been 221. Yeah. So in the last 13 years Hollywood has made more 'true story' films than in the 100 years prior. Whoa.

The films on this list dove deep, did the research, and created a films as honest and true to the facts as possible. Below are the best movies truly based on true stories. Vote up your favorite films on this list, or add a movie you love that was based on a real life story or historical events.
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  1. 1
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    Apollo 13 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Apollo 13 Tom Hanks, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ed Harris

  2. 2
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    Catch Me If You Can is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Catch Me If You Can Leonardo DiCaprio, Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner

  3. 3
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    Walk the Line is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Walk the Line Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, Ginnifer Goodwin

  4. 4
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    A League of Their Own is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    A League of Their Own Madonna, Tom Hanks, Rosie O'Donnell

  5. 5
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    Cool Runnings is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Cool Runnings John Candy, Malik Yoba, Jay Brazeau

  6. 6
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    Moneyball is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Moneyball Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Robin Wright

  7. 7
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    The Pursuit of Happyness is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    The Pursuit of Happyness Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith

  8. 8
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    Cinderella Man is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Cinderella Man Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti

  9. 9
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    The Perfect Storm is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    The Perfect Storm George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane

  10. 10
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    Erin Brockovich is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Erin Brockovich Julia Roberts, Marg Helgenberger, Aaron Eckhart

  11. 11
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    We Are Marshall is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    We Are Marshall Matthew McConaughey, Kate Mara, January Jones

  12. 12
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    Gettysburg is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Gettysburg Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott

  13. 13
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    Flags of Our Fathers is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Flags of Our Fathers Paul Walker, Ryan Phillippe, Jamie Bell

  14. 14
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    Mississippi Burning is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Mississippi Burning Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

  15. 15
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    Monster is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Monster Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Rose Byrne

  16. 16
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    Miracle is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Miracle Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Ken Dryden

  17. 17
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    The Fighter is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    The Fighter Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg

  18. 18
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    Zodiac is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Zodiac Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo

  19. 19
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    The Social Network is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    The Social Network Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones, Rooney Mara

  20. 20
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    October Sky is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    October Sky Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper

  21. 21
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    Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Lincoln Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field

  22. 22
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    Dallas Buyers Club is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Dallas Buyers Club Jennifer Garner, Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto

  23. 23
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    The Aviator is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    The Aviator Kate Beckinsale, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwen Stefani

  24. 24
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    Ray is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Ray Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard

  25. 25
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    Charlie Wilson's War is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Charlie Wilson's War Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Tom Hanks

  26. 26
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    127 Hours is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    127 Hours James Franco, Kate Mara, Lizzy Caplan

  27. 27
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    Into the Wild is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Into the Wild Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn, Zach Galifianakis

  28. 28
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    Ali is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Ali Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith

  29. 29
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    Amistad is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Amistad Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey, Anna Paquin

  30. 30
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    Born on the Fourth of July is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Born on the Fourth of July

  31. 31
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    Jarhead is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Jarhead Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, John Krasinski

  32. 32
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    Capote is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Capote Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Cooper, Catherine Keener

  33. 33
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    The People vs. Larry Flynt is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    The People vs. Larry Flynt Courtney Love, Edward Norton, Woody Harrelson

  34. 34
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    The Last King of Scotland is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    The Last King of Scotland Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, James McAvoy

  35. 35
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    Invincible is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Invincible Elizabeth Banks, Mark Wahlberg, Randy Couture

  36. 36
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    Alive is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Alive John Malkovich, Ethan Hawke, Josh Lucas

  37. 37
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    Patton is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    new! & added by Tom Islava
    Patton George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Paul Frees

  38. 38
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    We Bought a Zoo is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Scarlett Johansson, Matt Damon, Elle Fanning

    ;
  39. 39
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    The Basketball Diaries is listed (or ranked) 39 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    The Basketball Diaries Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Juliette Lewis

  40. 40
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    Elizabeth is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Elizabeth Cate Blanchett, Daniel Craig, Lily Allen

  41. 41
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    The Assassination of Jesse Jam... is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford Brad Pitt, Zooey Deschanel, Jeremy Renner

  42. 42
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    Milk is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Milk James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin

  43. 43
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    Amadeus is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    added by Tom Islava
    Amadeus Jeffrey Jones, Cynthia Nixon, Christine Ebersole

  44. 44
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    8 Seconds is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    added by Wayne Little
    8 Seconds Renée Zellweger, Luke Perry, Stephen Baldwin

  45. 45
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    Frost/Nixon is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Frost/Nixon Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen

  46. 46
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    Lords of Dogtown is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Lords of Dogtown Sofía Vergara, Heath Ledger, Jeremy Renner

  47. 47
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    Antwone Fisher is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Antwone Fisher Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Salli Richardson

  48. 48
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    Mandela is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Danny Glover, Alfre Woodard, Julian Glover

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  49. 49
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    The Informant! is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Matt Damon, Patton Oswalt, Joel McHale

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  50. 50
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    Lovelace is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Lovelace Amanda Seyfried, Sharon Stone, James Franco

57 +

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