Film Industry

Movies Based On True Stories: Our Top 10 Favourites

Photograph of the blog post author, Cristian Poow

Cristian Poow

12.3.2021

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Many of Hollywood’s finest movies are inspired by true events and personal stories of tragedy, strength and success. Check out our list of 10 of our favourite movies based on true stories and prepare to be inspired!

movies based on true stories

What gathers us in this article is a group of films that try to lead the viewer to details of stories that have actually happened, beyond the decorum added by the screenwriter and director.

It is about making the public participate in a story that at least one person was able to tell. Either through investigations of criminal cases such as personal growth stories, wars, love stories, space travels, supernatural events, or music careers that failed or succeeded. 

The important thing to highlight is the ability that many directors have had to apply psychological resources to make us believe that for a moment, we are part of the story.  

With all of that being said, let’s get into 10 of the best movies based on true stories. Stay tuned for some awesome movie inspiration!

Top 10 Best Movies Based On True Stories 

Let’s jump straight in and review 10 of the best movies based on true stories.

You never know, you might just discover your new favourite movie thanks to us!

1. The Sound Of Music (1965)

the sound of music

Although many skeptical would not believe this actually happened. The five-time Academy Award-winner story of the Von Trapp family is real. Despite the changes in the screenplay

The Sound Of Music is based on the 1959 musical adaptation of “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”. The memoirs of Maria Augusta von Trapp’s, written in 1949. 

The movie tells the story of Maria Kutschera and Capt. George von Trapp before World War 2. The movie differs about 10 years from when the actual story took place. However, it is not that big of a deal for the development of the events. 

Maria falls in love with George who is about to marry arrogant Baroness Schraeder, the antagonist. Who of which will do her best to have Maria out of the way. Even sacrificing her own relationship with her children. 

The course of events is going to get messy for Maria. Until she is accepted to marry George, a soldier who ultimately seems to have had several women holding the line throughout his life as a nobleman. 

2. Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

bohemian rhapsody

It is so difficult to make a strictly objective criticism of this film. Anyone who claims to be a music lover has to know the story of Freddie Mercury and Queen. 

So difficult is the possibility of criticizing Ramy Malek in such a superb and perfect performance, that it pushes us to see the film as many times as it appears.

This film won four Oscars, and the title comes from the most famous song by Queen. Nominated on many music charts as the best song of all time. 

The interesting thing about this story about Freddie Mercury and his partners-in-crime Brian May, Roger Taylor, and John Deacon is mainly the respect the real story relies on upon. Understanding the time and personality of each of the characters. Reaching the part that we all fear: Freddie’s disease.  

We could assume that the band preferred to focus on the most interesting facts of the group and Freddie’s life. The film entertains us without pause either at the beginning when the characters introduce themselves, or when we get to see the progress of Freddie from a regular worker to a rockstar.

Many people throughout the world have been able to experience the 15-minute iconic show at the Wembley Stadium in 1985. Considered the best rock performance in history. 

3. Sid & Nancy (1986)

sid and nancy

A spectacular biography starring Gary Oldman. The man with a thousand faces, this time portraying the exotic punk Sid Vicious who allegedly took the life of his girlfriend Nancy Spungen. 

Two people lost to the ultimate adventure punk could bring – heroin. Sid meets Nancy on a night of bars and alcohol when he was playing bass with the Sex Pistols. 

The great leap of this couple with high levels of toxicity (no pun intended) is going to take place when, after the tour in the United States and the separation of the band, Sid tries a solo career. Not counting on the best company we must say.

One night, Nancy is found dead in a bathroom, and Sid, a day before conviction, also dies. 

4. Jaws (1975)

jaws

When we talk about scary theatre moments in the 70s, this type of film caused real shock of panic among viewers. Turning it into one of the best horror movies based on true stories. 

Beyond Steven Spielberg’s creativity as the director of a summer motion picture, we must consider the true story from which the idea was derived. A series of strange events in New  Jersey in 1916.

About five people were attacked by sharks. One of the sharks is supposed to be found dead with human remains in the stomach. The film takes place during the investigation on Amity Island, by gathering a group of experts in the field of crime and biology.

The success of  Jaws was only surpassed by the premiere of the Star Wars saga in 1977. Jaws OST today is practically a meme. Being used at any moment of horror humor on television.

5. Goodfellas (1990)

goodfellas

For those keen on searching for crime movies based on true stories, this one takes you through the Henry Hill journey as described in the book “Wiseguy” by Nicholas Pileggi.

A then boy drops out of school to fulfill his dream of being a New York gangster. Which he ultimately achieves beginning with his first sparks of protection from a group of mobsters of Italian origin. Who of which, would not allow Henry’s school to report any news to his parents.

His criminal life would rise to the highest levels when carrying out the famous Air France and Lufthansa heists. A great story about the mafia lifestyle and the mistakes that are paid with life.

6. Gladiator (2000)

gladiator

Beyond the fact that they are not telling an exact story,  the scenes in this film have a lot to do with the type of life that was carried out in ancient Rome.

Marco Aurelio and his son Commodus’ fate would depend on his rivalry with Maximus. A Hispanic general turned slave and fighter who will do everything to avenge the death of his family.

The important thing here is that the film manages to make us feel part of Maximus’ life. Thanks to the incredible musical work of Hans Zimmer. 

7. Dunkirk (2017)

dunkirk

Action movies based on true stories must have several characters to tell something interesting. This particular movie will make you feel like Dunkirk bombings are happening right now. 

It is wild, dramatic, and yet has Christopher Nolan’s signature softness. Of course, it has the music of Hans Zimmer, it could not be less.

The scenes are extremely intense to think about. It’s crazy that these events really happened. The story tells about Operation Dynamo, carried out between May and June 1940 in order to save the Allied troops from a failed landing in a France occupied by Nazi Germany.

8. Victory (1981)

victory

Right after the success of Rocky, Silvester Stallone stars in this state-of-the-art adaptation of one peak moment in an occupied Paris 1941.

Football is cleverly used as an excuse for the Germans to show off their alleged superiority, as they pushed full propaganda while in war.

The match itself remains the main reason to set this film among the best football movies based on true stories. As it counts with an unforgettable list of real players the likes of Osvaldo Ardiles from Argentina. As well as the great Pelé from Brazil, and top of the tops Bobby Moore.

9. The Vow (2012)

the vow

A story that will make you cry from the very beginning. The truth is that this film does not take long to tear our hearts apart and then have us full of hope, immovable.

A beautiful story that is full of courage and a lot of love. This movie teaches us the value of giving everything.

It contains an official soundtrack completely made by the talented Rachel Portman and Michael Brook. Who of which, will be generators of the tears that we cannot avoid throughout the film. When really looking for love movies based on true stories, you ought to pick this one over the rest. 

10. Platoon (1986)

platoon

A film that tells the unfunny part of the Vietnam war from the point of view of a true battlefield soldier, the multi-awarded director Oliver Stone. 

This movie will make you think about what it’s like to be in front of the enemy. As well as the decisions to make in order to save a comrade life.

A real gem when you look up war movies based on true stories. 

Our Final Thoughts

movies based on true stories

All films contain one ingredient in common that you should think of whether when searching for movies based on true stories on Netflix or Amazon Prime. They will trigger very strong sensations from within.

Given the length of many of these films, this list calls for several weekends to explore all of these wonderful real stories adapted to the cinema, and that is why they are good movies based on true stories to choose from.

Over at Music Gateway we have plenty more movie content for you to read. Check out Best Romantic Movies Of All Time, Best Comedy Movies Of All Time and Best Business Movies Of All Time, we know you’ll love them!

Are You A Filmmaker?

Are you an independent filmmaker, or interested in the crossover between music and film? Then check out our article on music supervisors. With our concierge and service and extensive music library, allow us to help you find music for your film. Sign up free for Music Gateway now!

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