Entertainment The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books  

Ranker Film
12.5k votes 949 voters 52.5k views 76 items

List Rules Films that were based on non-fiction books. Vote up the best movies that started as a non-fiction book.

Some of the absolute best movies in the history of film were based on non-fiction books, whether written to complete historical accuracy or loosely based on true events. Some of these movies have gone down as classics and have forever shaped the movie industry. They tell some of the most gripping stories of all time and captivate audiences. What are the best movies based on non-fiction books?

This list has the best movies that were based on non-fiction books and memoirs, ranked by the community. This the films on this list span a variety of genres, including romance, inspirational dramas, thrillers, and action adventure.
 
This list features the best movies based on non-fiction books including, Tuesdays with Morrie, Syriana, The Hiding Place, Apollo 13, The Blind Side, The Basketball Diaries, The Call of the Wild, and The Greatest Game Ever Played. Vote up the best films based on a non-fiction book below and see where your favorites rank!

list ordered by

1
388 86
Goodfellas is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books
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Based on Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi Goodfellas is a 1990 American crime film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is a film adaptation of the 1986 non-fiction book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi, who co-wrote the screenplay with Scorsese. ...more

2
345 101
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Based on Lost Moon: The Perilous Voyage of Apollo 13 by astronaut Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger. Apollo 13 is a 1995 American historical docudrama film directed by Ron Howard. The film stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Gary Sinise, and Ed Harris. The screenplay by William Broyles, ...more

3
343 120
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Based on the book of the same name by Sebastian Junger. The Perfect Storm is a 2000 American biographical disaster drama film directed by Wolfgang Petersen. It is an adaptation of the 1997 non-fiction book of the same title by Sebastian Junger, which ...more

4
170 33
Schindler's List is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books
EdWildeman added
Schindler's List is a 1993 American epic historical period drama, directed and co-produced by Steven Spielberg and scripted by Steven Zaillian. It is based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Thomas ...more

5
338 161
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Based on The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael Lewis. The Blind Side is a 2009 American semi-biographical sports drama film. It was written and directed by John Lee Hancock, and based on the 2006 book The Blind Side: Evolution of a Game by Michael ...more

6
266 118
Casino is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books
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Based on Casino: Love and Honor in Las Vegas by Nicholas Pileggi Casino is a 1995 American drama film directed by Martin Scorsese. It is based on the non-fiction book of the same name by Nicholas Pileggi, who also co-wrote the screenplay for the film with ...more

7
207 99
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Based on Escape from Alcatraz by J. Campbell Bruce. Escape from Alcatraz is a 1979 American prison film, directed by Don Siegel and starring Clint Eastwood. It is based on true events. It dramatizes possibly the only successful escape attempt ...more

8
38 2
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Catch Me If You Can is a 2002 American biographical crime drama film based on the life of Frank Abagnale, who, before his 19th birthday, successfully performed cons worth millions of dollars by ...more

9
230 151
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Based on the book of the same name by Marcus Luttrell and Patrick Robinson. Lone Survivor is a 2013 American film written and directed by Peter Berg, and starring Mark Wahlberg, Taylor Kitsch, Emile Hirsch, Ben Foster and Eric Bana. The film is based on the 2007 ...more

10
171 105
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Based on the book of the same name by Michael Lewis. Moneyball is an American 2011 biographical sports drama film directed by Bennett Miller from a screenplay by Steven Zaillian and Aaron Sorkin. The film is based on Michael Lewis's 2003 ...more

11
158 103
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Based on Donnie Brasco: My Undercover life in the Mafia by Joseph D. Pistone Donnie Brasco is a 1997 American film directed by Mike Newell and starring Al Pacino and Johnny Depp. Michael Madsen, Bruno Kirby, James Russo, and Anne Heche appeared in supporting roles. The ...more

12
194 143
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Based on the book of the same name by John Grogan. Marley & Me is a 2008 American comedy-drama film directed by David Frankel, based on the memoir by John Grogan. Newlyweds John (Owen Wilson) and Jenny Grogan (Jennifer Aniston) learn ...more

13
83 32
The Wolf of Wall Street is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books
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Based on the book of the same name by Jordan Belfort

The Wolf of Wall Street is a 2013 American biographical black comedy film directed by Martin Scorsese. The screenplay by Terence Winter is adapted from the eponymous memoir by Jordan Belfort and ...more

14
152 102
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Based on Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln by Doris Kearns. Lincoln is a 2012 American epic historical drama film directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as United States President Abraham Lincoln and Sally Field as Mary Todd Lincoln. The ...more

15
180 133
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Based on Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. Seabiscuit is a 2003 American biographical sports psychological-drama thriller film based on the best-selling non-fiction book Seabiscuit: An American Legend by Laura Hillenbrand. The film is ...more

16
139 92
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Based on the book of the same name by James Bradley and Ron Powers. Flags of Our Fathers is a 2006 American film directed, co-produced and scored by Clint Eastwood and written by William Broyles, Jr. and Paul Haggis. It is based on the book of the same name ...more

17
162 126
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Based on the book of the same name by U.S. Marine Anthony Swofford. Jarhead is a 2005 biographical drama film based on U.S. Marine Anthony Swofford's 2003 memoir of the same name, directed by Sam Mendes, starring Jake Gyllenhaal as Swofford with Jamie Foxx, ...more

18
151 118
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Based on The Accidental Billionaires by Ben Mezrich. The Social Network is a 2010 American drama film directed by David Fincher and written by Aaron Sorkin. Adapted from Ben Mezrich's 2009 book The Accidental Billionaires: The Founding of ...more

19
164 140
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Based on Queen Bees and Wannabes by Rosalind Wiseman. Mean Girls is a 2004 American teen comedy film. Mark Waters directed, and Tina Fey wrote the screenplay, which is based in part on Rosalind Wiseman's non-fiction book Queen Bees and Wannabes, ...more

20
123 94
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Based on The Elephant Man and Other Reminiscences by Frederick Treves and The Elephant Man: A Study in Human Dignity by Ashley Montagu. The Elephant Man is a 1980 American-British biographical film about Joseph Merrick, a severely deformed man in 19th century London. The film was directed by David Lynch and stars John Hurt, ...more

21
135 109
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Based on The Man-Eaters of Tsavo by John Henry Patterson. The Ghost and the Darkness is a 1996 historical adventure film starring Val Kilmer and Michael Douglas set in Africa at the end of the 19th century. It was directed by Stephen Hopkins and the ...more

22
136 120
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Based on Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team, and a Dream by H. G. Bissinger. Friday Night Lights is a 2004 sports drama film, directed by Peter Berg, which documents the coach and players of a high school football team and the Texas city of Odessa that supports and is ...more

23
145 133
Pitch Perfect is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies Based on Non-Fiction Books
Based on Pitch Perfect: The Quest for Collegiate A Cappella Glory by Mickey Rapkin. Pitch Perfect is a 2012 American musical comedy film directed by Jason Moore. Featuring an ensemble cast, including Anna Kendrick, Skylar Astin, Rebel Wilson, Anna Camp, Brittany Snow, Ester ...more

24
105 93
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Based on Public Enemies: America's Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933–34 by Bryan Burrough. Public Enemies is a 2009 American film directed by Michael Mann and written by Mann, Ronan Bennett and Ann Biderman. It is an adaptation of Bryan Burrough's non-fiction book. Set during the ...more

25
121 113
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Based on Boys Don't Cry by Malorie Blackman Boys Don't Cry is a 1999 American independent romantic drama film directed by Kimberly Peirce and co-written by Andy Bienen. The film is a dramatization of the real-life story of Brandon Teena, ...more