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.
List Photo: user uploaded image
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  1. 1
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    - 30
    Apollo 13 is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Tom Hanks, Bryce Dallas Howard, Ed Harris

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  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

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner

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  3. 3
    + 86
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    Walk the Line is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Reese Witherspoon, Joaquin Phoenix, Ginnifer Goodwin

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  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

    Madonna, Tom Hanks, Rosie O'Donnell

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

    John Candy, Malik Yoba, Jay Brazeau

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  6. 6
    + 68
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    Moneyball is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Brad Pitt, Jonah Hill, Robin Wright

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  7. 7
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    Erin Brockovich is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Julia Roberts, Marg Helgenberger, Aaron Eckhart

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  8. 8
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    - 35
    The Perfect Storm is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Diane Lane

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  9. 9
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    The Pursuit of Happyness is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Will Smith, Thandie Newton, Jaden Smith

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  10. 10
    + 54
    - 26
    Cinderella Man is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Russell Crowe, Renée Zellweger, Paul Giamatti

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

    added by Tom Islava
    George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Paul Frees

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  12. 12
    + 47
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    Gettysburg is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Martin Sheen, Tom Berenger, Sam Elliott

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  13. 13
    + 50
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    We Are Marshall is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Matthew McConaughey, Kate Mara, January Jones

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  14. 14
    + 48
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    Mississippi Burning is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Willem Dafoe, Gene Hackman, Frances McDormand

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  15. 15
    + 49
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    Flags of Our Fathers is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Paul Walker, Ryan Phillippe, Jamie Bell

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  16. 16
    + 49
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    Monster is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Rose Byrne

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  17. 17
    + 53
    - 33
    Zodiac is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo

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  18. 18
    + 49
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    Miracle is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Kurt Russell, Patricia Clarkson, Ken Dryden

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

    Amy Adams, Christian Bale, Mark Wahlberg

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  20. 20
    + 59
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    The Social Network is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Justin Timberlake, Rashida Jones, Rooney Mara

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  21. 21
    + 46
    - 29
    Lincoln is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

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

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  22. 22
    + 41
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    October Sky is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Jake Gyllenhaal, Laura Dern, Chris Cooper

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  23. 23
    + 41
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    Dallas Buyers Club is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Jennifer Garner, Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto

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

    Kate Beckinsale, Leonardo DiCaprio, Gwen Stefani

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  25. 25
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    Ray is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Kerry Washington, Jamie Foxx, Terrence Howard

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  26. 26
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    Charlie Wilson's War is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Julia Roberts, Amy Adams, Tom Hanks

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

    Kristen Stewart, Vince Vaughn, Zach Galifianakis

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

    James Franco, Kate Mara, Lizzy Caplan

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  29. 29
    + 38
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    Born on the Fourth of July is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories
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  30. 30
    + 34
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    Jarhead is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Jake Gyllenhaal, Jamie Foxx, John Krasinski

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  31. 31
    + 31
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    The Last King of Scotland is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Kerry Washington, Gillian Anderson, James McAvoy

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  32. 32
    + 31
    - 27
    Ali is listed (or ranked) 32 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Will Smith, Jamie Foxx, Jada Pinkett Smith

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  33. 33
    + 30
    - 26
    Amistad is listed (or ranked) 33 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Morgan Freeman, Matthew McConaughey, Anna Paquin

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  34. 34
    + 31
    - 29
    Alive is listed (or ranked) 34 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    John Malkovich, Ethan Hawke, Josh Lucas

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  35. 35
    + 30
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    The People vs. Larry Flynt is listed (or ranked) 35 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Courtney Love, Edward Norton, Woody Harrelson

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  36. 36
    + 30
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    Capote is listed (or ranked) 36 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Cooper, Catherine Keener

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  37. 37
    + 30
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    Invincible is listed (or ranked) 37 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Elizabeth Banks, Mark Wahlberg, Randy Couture

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  38. 38
    + 3
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    8 Seconds is listed (or ranked) 38 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

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

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  39. 39
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    new! & added by Charles Adams
    Jeff Goldblum, Ed Harris, Dennis Quaid

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  40. 40
    + 2
    - 0
    Amadeus is listed (or ranked) 40 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

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

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  41. 41
    + 28
    - 32
    We Bought a Zoo is listed (or ranked) 41 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Scarlett Johansson, Matt Damon, Elle Fanning

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  42. 42
    + 27
    - 31
    The Basketball Diaries is listed (or ranked) 42 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Leonardo DiCaprio, Mark Wahlberg, Juliette Lewis

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  43. 43
    + 22
    - 25
    Elizabeth is listed (or ranked) 43 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Cate Blanchett, Daniel Craig, Lily Allen

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  44. 44
    + 21
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    The Assassination of Jesse Jam... is listed (or ranked) 44 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Brad Pitt, Zooey Deschanel, Jeremy Renner

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  45. 45
    + 26
    - 31
    Milk is listed (or ranked) 45 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    James Franco, Sean Penn, Josh Brolin

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  46. 46
    + 19
    - 29
    Frost/Nixon is listed (or ranked) 46 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Kevin Bacon, Sam Rockwell, Michael Sheen

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  47. 47
    + 19
    - 32
    Lords of Dogtown is listed (or ranked) 47 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Sofía Vergara, Heath Ledger, Jeremy Renner

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  48. 48
    + 12
    - 24
    Antwone Fisher is listed (or ranked) 48 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Denzel Washington, Viola Davis, Salli Richardson

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  49. 49
    + 12
    - 26
    Mandela is listed (or ranked) 49 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Danny Glover, Alfre Woodard, Julian Glover

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  50. 50
    + 9
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    The Informant! is listed (or ranked) 50 on the list The Best Movies Based on True Stories

    Matt Damon, Patton Oswalt, Joel McHale

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58 +

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