films The Best Movies Based on True Stories

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List Rules 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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Apollo 13 Tom Hanks, Bryce Dallas Howard Ed Harris

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

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Walk the Line Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix Ginnifer Goodwin

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Goodfellas is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories
Goodfellas Robert De Niro, Samuel L. Jackson Joe Pesci

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Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories
Schindler's List Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes Ben Kingsley

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Cool Runnings John Candy, Malik Yoba Jay Brazeau

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

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Mississippi Burning Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman Frances McDormand

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The Pursuit of Happyness Will Smith, Thandie Newton Jaden Smith

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Cinderella Man Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger Paul Giamatti

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Dallas Buyers Club Jennifer Garner, Matthew McConaughey Jared Leto

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Moneyball Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill Robin Wright

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The Perfect Storm George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg Diane Lane

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We Are Marshall Matthew McConaughey, Kate Mara January Jones

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Erin Brockovich Julia Roberts, Marg Helgenberger Aaron Eckhart

The Best Oscar-Winning Movies Based on True Stories Stars Who Passed on Iconic Hollywood Roles

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The Aviator Kate Beckinsale, Leonardo DiCaprio Gwen Stefani

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Zodiac Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal Mark Ruffalo

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Gettysburg Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger Sam Elliott

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Monster Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci Rose Byrne

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The Fighter Amy Adams, Christian Bale Mark Wahlberg

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

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Flags of Our Fathers Paul Walker, Ryan Phillippe Jamie Bell

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Miracle Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson Ken Dryden

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The Social Network Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones Rooney Mara

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Ray Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx Terrence Howard

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127 Hours James Franco, Kate Mara Lizzy Caplan

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Into the Wild Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn Zach Galifianakis

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Remember the Titans Hayden Panettiere, Ryan Gosling Denzel Washington

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October Sky Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern Chris Cooper

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Lawrence of Arabia Omar Sharif, Peter O'Toole Alec Guinness

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Argo Ben Affleck, John Goodman Bryan Cranston

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Raging Bull is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories
Raging Bull Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci Martin Scorsese

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12 Years a Slave Brad Pitt, Michael Fassbender Benedict Cumberbatch

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The Revenant Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy Domhnall Gleeson

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JFK Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman Kevin Bacon

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The Right Stuff is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories
The Right Stuff Jeff Goldblum, Ed Harris Dennis Quaid

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

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Patton George C. Scott, Karl Malden Paul Frees

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Amadeus Jeffrey Jones, Cynthia Nixon Christine Ebersole

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Amistad Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey Anna Paquin

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American Sniper Bradley Cooper, Sienna Miller Jonathan Groff

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The Elephant Man Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt Anne Bancroft

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Butch Cassidy and the Sundance... is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid Paul Newman, Robert Redford Cloris Leachman

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Jarhead Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx John Krasinski

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Quiz Show Ralph Fiennes, Martin Scorsese Ethan Hawke

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Hoosiers Gene Hackman, Dennis Hopper Barbara Hershey

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Gangs of New York is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories
Gangs of New York Cameron Diaz, Leonardo DiCaprio Liam Neeson

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Braveheart is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories
Braveheart Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau Brendan Gleeson

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

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The Diary of Anne Frank Shelley Winters, Ed Wynn Millie Perkins