Entertainment

The Best "Based On A True Story" Movies From Lifetime  

Ranker TV
4.2k votes 739 voters 41.7k views 73 items

List Rules Vote up the best Lifetime movies that were based on real events.

Lifetime has a built a brand out of ripped-from-the-headlines, made-for-TV drama - but it’s not just for middle-aged, bored divorcees like the stereotype. The network is absolutely loaded with action-packed retellings of true crime that deal with hyper-gritty subjects. In fact, the list of Lifetime originals based on true stories might even be more impressive than every season of Law & Order: SVU combined.

It’s true that most of the Lifetime movies that really happened focus on mothers, daughters and the struggles they’ve overcome, but sometimes it’s straight-up serial killers like The Happy Face Killer and Blue-Eyed Butcher. Other times, it’s a heartwarming coming-of-age triumph like the ultimate Lifetime classic Gracie’s Choice.

These Lifetime movies based on true events are the best of the best and the worst of the worst. Vote for your favorites to pick an ultimate, action-packed, drama-filled winner.

list ordered by
1
The Face on the Milk Carton is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best
The Face on the Milk Carton Jill Clayburgh, Sharon Lawrence, Kellie Martin

A teenage girl (Kellie Martin) sees a photograph of herself one day in the school cafeteria - on a Missing Persons column on the side of a milk carton. But her beloved parents would never kidnap anyone and there's a deeper mystery ahead.

2
Cleveland Abduction is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best
Cleveland Abduction Taryn Manning, Raymond Cruz, Katie Sarife

A single mother who becomes the first victim of kidnapper Ariel Castro (Raymond Cruz) finds herself trapped in his home for 11 years, where she eventually becomes a friend and sister to two other women who are taken captive by Castro.

3
I Am Elizabeth Smart is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best
I Am Elizabeth Smart Elizabeth Smart, Alana Boden, Skeet Ulrich

Police launch a high-profile investigation after a teenager (Alana Boden) is abducted from her bedroom in Salt Lake City.

4
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Abducted: The Carlina White Story Sherri Shepherd, Keke Palmer, Roger Cross

A baby abducted at birth and raised by the woman who took her, eventually discovers she is a missing child, reconnects with her birth parents, and struggles with choosing between her two identities.

5
Jodi Arias: Dirty Little Secre... is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best
Tania Raymonde, David Zayas, Jesse Lee Soffer

 

Based on the disturbing trial that gripped the nation, this Lifetime Original Movie tells the story of a seductive, aspiring photographer found guilty of ending the life of her former lover.

6
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Mercedes Ruehl, Avan Jogia, Nolan Gerard Funk

The true story of Gwen Araujo, a young trans woman who was brutally slain by four men in 2002.

7
No One Would Tell is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best
No One Would Tell Shannen Doherty, Mira Sorvino, Matreya Scarrwener

Based on a true story and a remake of the 1996 film of the same name.  A shy high school student's seemingly perfect relationship with a popular jock quickly turns abusive and dangerous.

8
Fifteen and Pregnant is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best
Kirsten Dunst, Katee Sackhoff, Park Overall

Based on a true story, 15 year old Tina Spangler discovers she is pregnant. Her choices are abortion, adoption, or a lonely, exhausting life as a single parent.

9
Girl Fight is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best
Girl Fight Anne Heche, Jodelle Ferland, James Tupper

A video of an assault on a teenager surfaces on the Internet.

10
Gracie's Choice is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best
Gracie's Choice Kristen Bell, Diane Ladd, Shedrack Anderson III

A teenage girl tries to raise her three half-brothers and one half-sister on her own after their drug-addicted mother is sent to jail.

11
Homeless to Harvard: The Liz M... is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best
Ellen Page, Thora Birch, Kelly Lynch

Based on a true story. Liz Murray is a young girl who is taken care of by her loving, but drug-addicted parents. Liz becomes homeless at 15 and after a tragedy comes upon her, she begins her work to finish high school.

12
The Capture of the Green River... is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best
James Marsters, Sharon Lawrence, James Russo

A pair of girls seeking adventure beyond the their Western Washington trailer park encounter the area's most ruthless serial killer.

13
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Ashley Benson, Tatum O'Neal, Jenna Dewan

A teacher is harassed by a group of snotty, popular cheerleaders who think they can get away with anything. However, the teacher has no intention of taking their rude behavior.

14
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Thora Birch, Nancy Travis, Camryn Manheim

Inspired by the true story of teenagers at Gloucester High School in Massachusets who agreed to get pregnant at the same time.

15
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Murder in the Hamptons Poppy Montgomery, Diego Klattenhoff, Shawn Christian

When multi-millionaire Ted Ammon is found bludgeoned to death at his East Hampton estate, suspicion falls on his estranged wife, Generosa Rand, and her lover, Danny Pelosi.

16
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Jennifer Love Hewitt, Cybill Shepherd, Kandyse McClure

Riley (Jennifer Love Hewitt) is a single mother living in a small Texas town and leading a shocking double life.

17
The Brittany Murphy Story is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best
The Brittany Murphy Story Amanda Fuller, Sherilyn Fenn, Eric Petersen

A chronicle of Brittany Murphy's rise to fame in the 1990s, her struggles with self-esteem, and her tragic early death.

18
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Lisa Edelstein, Sara Paxton, Annie Wersching

Texas beauty Susan Wright appeared to have a fairytale life with an adoring husband, Jeff, two beautiful kids, and close family and friends. But in 2003, six years into their marriage, the fairy tale crumbles when Jeff is found dead and buried in the backyard of their suburban home. 

19
Baby for Sale is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best
Dana Delany, Hart Bochner, Bruce Ramsay

 

A couple discover that the baby girl they're trying to adopt is being auctioned off to the highest bidder. The couple become part of a sting operation to bust the baby-selling ring.

20
Girl in the Bunker is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best
Girl in the Bunker Julia Lalonde, Henry Thomas, Moira Kelly

A teenage girl is abducted and held in a forest in an underground bunker by a sexual predator.

21
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Lizzie Borden Took an Ax Christina Ricci, Clea DuVall, Billy Campbell

In Massachusetts in 1893, Lizzie Borden is put on trial for ending the lives of her father and stepmother with an axe.

22
Menendez: Blood Brothers is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best
Menendez: Blood Brothers Nico Tortorella, Aliyah O'Brien, Courtney Love

This film explores the inner lives and motivation behind the slayings of entertainment executive Jose Menendez and his wife Kitty at the hands of their sons Lyle and Erik in 1989.

23
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Catherine Dent, Amy Gumenick, Tracy Pollan

An 18 year old girl, Natalee Holloway (Catherine Dent), goes on a senior class trip to Aruba, only to mysteriously disappear after meeting a man at bar.

24
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An Officer and a Murderer Gary Cole, Laura Harris, Catherine Disher

The riveting film is based on the true story of a powerful and respected military officer who committed numerous brutal crimes and was eventually brought down by a tenacious small town police detective.

25
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Fatal Honeymoon Harvey Keitel, Amber Clayton

A man is accused of drowning his wife during their scuba diving trip at Australia's Great Barrier Reef.