598 voters

The Best Medical Movies Based on True Stories

Updated October 4, 2020 3.6k votes 598 voters 47.8k views39 items

List RulesVote for the best movies inspired by true medical events.

What are the best medical movies based on true stories? This list includes great historical movies such as Philadelphia, Patch Adams, and Awakenings. All of these movies recount incredible stories about people and their ailments throughout history. Be it about disease, doctors, studies, or medical advancements, these stories are all based on true stories and touch viewers at their core.

Which movie inspired by real medical events is the best? That's up for the voters to decide. Vote up which movie you think is the best, and if you don't see your favorite on here, be sure to add it. This list is votable and rerankable, so have at it!

  • 1

    Patch Adams

    Robin Williams, Philip Seymour Hoffman
    Patch Adams is a 1998 semi-biographical comedy-drama film starring Robin Williams, Monica...  more

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  • 2

    A Beautiful Mind

    Jennifer Connelly, Russell Crowe
    A Beautiful Mind is a 2001 American biographical drama film based on the life of John Nash, a...  more

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  • 3

    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest

    Jack Nicholson, Danny DeVito
    One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest is a 1975 drama film written by Lawrence Hauben and Bo Goldman...  more

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  • 4


    Tom Hanks, Denzel Washington
    Philadelphia is a 1993 American drama film and one of the first mainstream Hollywood films to...  more

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  • 5

    Erin Brockovich

    Julia Roberts, Marg Helgenberger
    Erin Brockovich is a 2000 biographical film directed by Steven Soderbergh and written by...  more

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  • 6

    Rain Man

    Tom Cruise, Dustin Hoffman
    Rain Man is a 1988 American drama film directed by Barry Levinson and written by Barry Morrow...  more

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  • 7


    Robert De Niro, Robin Williams
    Awakenings is a 1990 American drama film based on Oliver Sacks' 1973 memoir of the same title....  more

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  • 8

    Girl, Interrupted

    Angelina Jolie, Winona Ryder
    Girl, Interrupted is a 1999 American drama film, and an adaptation of Susanna Kaysen's 1993...  more

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  • 9

    The Elephant Man

    Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt
    The Elephant Man is a 1980 American-British biographical film about Joseph Merrick, a severely...  more

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  • 10

    50 First Dates

    Drew Barrymore, Adam Sandler
    50 First Dates is a 2004 American romantic comedy film directed by Peter Segal. Henry Roth...  more

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  • 11

    M*A*S*H (movie)

  • 12

    Brian's Song

    Dick Butkus, James Caan
    Brian's Song is a 1971 ABC Movie of the Week that recounts the details of the life of Brian...  more

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  • 13


    Jessica Lange, JoBeth Williams

    If you like this flick, check out our list of the best docudrama movies.

    Sybil is a 2007 American docudrama directed by Joseph Sargent. The teleplay by John Pielmeier...  more

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  • 14

    Lorenzo's Oil

    Susan Sarandon, Nick Nolte
    Lorenzo's Oil is a 1992 American drama film directed by George Miller. It is based on the true...  more

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  • 15

    The Vow

    Rachel McAdams, Channing Tatum
    The Vow is a 2012 romantic drama film directed by Michael Sucsy, starring Channing Tatum and...  more
  • 16

    The Karen Carpenter Story

    Louise Fletcher, Cynthia Gibb
    The Karen Carpenter Story is an American television film about singer Karen Carpenter and the...  more


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  • 17

    Dallas Buyers Club

    Jennifer Garner, Matthew McConaughey
    Dallas Buyers Club is a 2013 American biographical drama film, co-written by Craig Borten and...  more

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  • 18


    Meryl Streep, Cher
    Silkwood is a 1983 American drama film directed by Mike Nichols. The screenplay by Nora Ephron...  more

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  • 19

    And the Band Played On

    Ian McKellen, Steve Martin
    And the Band Played On is a 1993 American television film docudrama directed by Roger...  more

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  • 20

    My Left Foot

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Fiona Shaw
    My Left Foot: The Story of Christy Brown is a 1989 Irish drama film directed by Jim Sheridan...  more

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  • 21

    Something the Lord Made

    Gabrielle Union, Alan Rickman
    Something the Lord Made is a 2004 film about the black cardiac pioneer Vivien Thomas and his...  more

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  • 22

    Brain on Fire

    Chloë Grace Moretz, Jenny Slate
    Brain on Fire is a 2016 American-Canadian-Irish biographical drama film directed by Gerard...  more
  • 23

    The Three Faces of Eve

    Joanne Woodward, Lee J. Cobb
    The Three Faces of Eve is a 1957 American CinemaScope film adaptation based on a book by...  more
  • 24

    The Intouchables

    Omar Sy, François Cluzet
    The Intouchables is a 2011 French comedy-drama film directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric...  more

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  • 25

    My Own Country

    Marisa Tomei, Hal Holbrook
    My Own Country is a 1998 drama TV film directed by Mira Nair....  more