Unspeakable Crimes The Best Movies Based on Real Murders  

Ranker Film
2k votes 562 voters 32.8k views 31 items

List Rules Only films based on murders that really happened, whether focusing on the killers, the victims, or the investigation. No documentaries.

The truth is often stranger than fiction. That's what makes these movies based on real murders some of the scariest projects to ever hit the big screen. The best real murder movies feature talented actors who strike fear into the hearts of audiences with their terrifying portrayals of real-life killers. This is a list of the best movies based on real murders including everything from Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer to Badlands to Wolf Creek.

What movies will you find on this list of the best films about real murders? You might vote Zodiac – directed by David Fincher – up to the top. The film follows several reporters, citizens, and police officers as they try to uncover who committed a horrific killing spree in the 1960s and 1970s. The crimes remain unsolved to this day. Monster, starring Charlize Theron, is another one of the best movies based on a real murderer. Spike Lee's Summer of Sam focused on the lives of New York City residents during the time of the infamous Son of Sam serial killings. Other notable movies featured on this list include Bernie, In Cold Blood, and Dahmer.

Which film about real murders do you think is the best? Give the scariest movies a thumbs up and get in on the conversation in the comments section.

1
172 51
Zodiac is listed (or ranked) 1 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo Zodiac is a 2007 American mystery-thriller film directed by David Fincher and based on Robert Graysmith's non-fiction book of the same name. Zodiac tells the story of the manhunt for a person ...more

2
152 47
Monster is listed (or ranked) 2 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Charlize Theron, Christina Ricci, Rose Byrne Monster is a 2003 drama film about Aileen Wuornos, who was executed in Florida in 2002 for taking six men's lives in the late 1980s and early 1990s. Wuornos was played by Charlize Theron, and ...more

3
102 39
Boys Don't Cry is listed (or ranked) 3 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Tre Cooley added Hilary Swank, Chloë Sevigny, Natalie Zea 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

4
52 25
In Cold Blood is listed (or ranked) 4 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Robert Blake, John Forsythe, Will Geer In Cold Blood is a 1967 film based on Truman Capote's book of the same name. Richard Brooks prepared the adaptation and directed the film. It stars Robert Blake as Perry Smith, Scott Wilson as ...more

5
60 36
Alpha Dog is listed (or ranked) 5 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Olivia Wilde, Amanda Seyfried, Amber Heard Alpha Dog is a 2006 American crime drama film written and directed by Nick Cassavetes, first screened at the Sundance Film Festival on January 27, 2006, with a wide release the following year on ...more

6
53 32
Capote is listed (or ranked) 6 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Kelly Winstead Johnson added Philip Seymour Hoffman, Chris Cooper, Catherine Keener Capote is a 2005 biographical film about Truman Capote, following the events during the writing of Capote's non-fiction book In Cold Blood. Philip Seymour Hoffman won several awards, including ...more

7
59 38
Bully is listed (or ranked) 7 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Bijou Phillips, Rachel Miner, Nick Stahl Bully is a 2001 American film directed by Larry Clark, and starring Brad Renfro, Bijou Phillips, Rachel Miner, Michael Pitt, Leo Fitzpatrick, Kelli Garner, and Nick Stahl. The screenplay was ...more

8
47 28
Henry: Portrait of a Serial Ki... is listed (or ranked) 8 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Michael Rooker, Tom Towles, Tracy Arnold This film is a 1986 American psychological horror film directed and co-written by John McNaughton who seemingly operates with impunity. It stars Michael Rooker as the nomadic killer Henry, Tom ...more

9
38 22
Badlands is listed (or ranked) 9 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Charlie Sheen, Martin Sheen, Sissy Spacek Badlands is a 1973 American film written and directed by Terrence Malick, starring Martin Sheen and Sissy Spacek. Warren Oates and Ramon Bieri are also featured. Malick has a small speaking ...more

10
46 30
Summer of Sam is listed (or ranked) 10 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Mira Sorvino, Jennifer Esposito, Adrien Brody Summer of Sam is a 1999 American thriller film that recounts the Son of Sam. It was directed and produced by Spike Lee and stars John Leguizamo, Adrien Brody, Mira Sorvino, and Jennifer

11
40 26
Bernie is listed (or ranked) 11 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Matthew McConaughey, Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine Bernie is a 2011 black comedy film directed by Richard Linklater, and written by Linklater and Skip Hollandsworth. The film stars Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey. It is ...more

12
43 32
Dahmer is listed (or ranked) 12 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Jeremy Renner, Bruce Davison, Dion Basco Dahmer is a 2002 American biopic horror film about the American serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Jeremy Renner stars in the title role. There are two timelines in the film: The "present" ...more

13
55 44
Black Dahlia is listed (or ranked) 13 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Josh Hartnett, Scarlett Johansson, Aaron Eckhart Black Dahlia is a 2006 United States production horror film that is inspired by the mysterious unsolved murder of "Black Dahlia"—Hollywood actress Elizabeth Short. Instead of ...more

14
32 22
The Boston Strangler is listed (or ranked) 14 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Henry Fonda, Tony Curtis, George Kennedy The Boston Strangler is a 1968 American film based on the true story of the Boston Strangler and the book by Gerold Frank. It was directed by Richard Fleischer, and stars Tony Curtis as Albert ...more

15
35 25
Wolf Creek is listed (or ranked) 15 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Teresa Palmer, John Jarratt, Kestie Morassi Wolf Creek is a 2005 Australian horror film written, co-produced, and directed by Greg McLean, and starring John Jarratt. The story revolves around three backpackers who find themselves held ...more

16
32 24
Ted Bundy is listed (or ranked) 16 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Tom Savini, Tracey Walter, Diana Kauffman Ted Bundy is a 2002 American crime drama film directed and co-written by Matthew Bright. The film dramatizes the crimes of serial killer Ted Bundy. It stars Michael Reilly Burke in the title ...more

17
33 26
Gacy is listed (or ranked) 17 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Adam Baldwin, Allison Lange, Charlie Weber Gacy is a 2003 direct-to-video biographical-drama film directed by Clive Saunders and written by Saunders and David Birke. The story revolves around the life of serial killer John Wayne Gacy.

18
13 6
Wonderland is listed (or ranked) 18 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Casey Nicole added Paris Hilton, Christina Applegate, Val Kilmer Wonderland is a 2003 American drama film co-written and directed by James Cox. The film stars Val Kilmer, Kate Bosworth, Dylan McDermott, Carrie Fisher, Lisa Kudrow, Josh Lucas, Christina ...more

19
45 39
The Snowtown Murders is listed (or ranked) 19 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Lucas Pittaway, Daniel Henshall, Louise Harris

20
21 16
The Hunt for the BTK Killer is listed (or ranked) 20 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Michael Michele, Maury Chaykin, Robert Forster The Hunt for the BTK Killer is a 2005 biographical telefilm directed by Stephen T. Kay. First shown on CBS it is based on the true story of Dennis Rader killing ten people from 1974 to 1991. ...more

21
19 15
Rosewood is listed (or ranked) 21 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Tre Cooley added Jon Voight, Don Cheadle, Ving Rhames Rosewood is a 1997 film directed by John Singleton. While based on historic events of the 1923 Rosewood massacre in Florida, when a white mob killed blacks and destroyed their town, the film ...more

22
27 24
True Story is listed (or ranked) 22 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
James Franco, Jonah Hill, Felicity Jones True Story is an upcoming 2015 American drama film, directed by Rupert Goold and written by David Kajganich. Based on the memoir by Michael Finkel, the film stars Jonah Hill, James Franco, ...more

23
21 18
Pain & Gain is listed (or ranked) 23 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Dwayne Johnson, Mark Wahlberg, Ed Harris Pain & Gain is a 2013 American comedy film directed by Michael Bay and starring Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson and Anthony Mackie. The film is loosely based on a story published in a 1999 ...more

24
17 17
10 Rillington Place is listed (or ranked) 24 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
John Hurt, Richard Attenborough, Robert Hardy 10 Rillington Place is a 1971 British crime drama film, directed by Richard Fleischer. It stars Richard Attenborough, John Hurt and Judy Geeson and was adapted by Clive Exton from the book Ten ...more

25
1 0
22 July is listed (or ranked) 25 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Anders Danielsen Lie, Jon Øigarden, Thorbjørn Harr 22 July is a 2018 drama film directed by Paul Greengrass, based on the aftermath of the 2011 Norway attacks. In Norway on July 22, 2011, right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik (Anders ...more

26
3 3
Billionaire Boys Club is listed (or ranked) 26 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Ansel Elgort, Taron Egerton, Kevin Spacey Billionaire Boys Club is a 2018 American biographical crime drama film directed by James Cox. Led by their fellow preppie friend Joe Hunt (Ansel Elgort), a group of wealthy boys in 1980s Los ...more

27
14 21
Karla is listed (or ranked) 27 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Andy Hope added Laura Prepon, Misha Collins, Brandon Routh Karla is a 2006 American-Canadian psychological thriller film. The film is based on the true story of Canada's two most notorious serial killers, Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka, though the ...more

28
13 20
Zero Day is listed (or ranked) 28 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Cal Robertson, Christopher Coccio, Johanne Keuck Zero Day is a 2003 American film directed by Ben Coccio about a school shooting. It was inspired by the 1999 Columbine High School massacre.

29
10 18
The Honeymoon Killers is listed (or ranked) 29 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Doris Roberts, Tony Lo Bianco, Shirley Stoler The Honeymoon Killers is a 1969 American crime film written and directed by Leonard Kastle, and starring Shirley Stoler and Tony Lo Bianco. It is inspired by the true story of Raymond Fernandez ...more

30
8 19
Deranged is listed (or ranked) 30 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
John Ratzenberger, Rory Calhoun, Roberts Blossom Deranged is a Canadian-American horror film made in 1974 and directed by Alan Ormsby and Jeff Gillen. It is also known by the title Deranged: The Confessions of a Necrophile in the USA. It is a ...more

31
4 21
Polytechnique is listed (or ranked) 31 on the list The Best Movies Based on Real Murders
Karine Vanasse, Johanne Marie Tremblay, Sébastien Huberdeau Polytechnique is a 2009 Canadian film directed by Denis Villeneuve and written by Villeneuve and Jacques Davidts. Set in Montreal, Quebec and based on the École Polytechnique massacre, ...more