Top Films Based on True Stories

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Interesting stories come in all forms but nothing is better than a film based on a true story. Such stories are more captivating and you can learn from real-life vents. Whether you are interested in a sweet love story or a serial killer mystery, there is something or you. Here are some top films based on true stories.


Voting rights demonstrators in 1965 tried to cross the Edmund Pettus Bridge in Selma. However, heavily armed police officers disrupted their match causing lots of injuries. The day is referred to as ‘Bloody Sunday’ as 17 of the demonstrators were hospitalized. 50 of them suffered minor injuries.

This match was an important part of the fight against voter suppression on racist grounds. Televised images of the brutality against the marchers shocked the country. The demonstrators led by Martin Luther King Jr., Hosea Williams, and other civil rights leaders continue to fight voter suppression even after this event.

The events of this day form the backdrop of the film Selma. It demonstrates the months leading up to this match and shows the complex nature of the civil rights movement. Selma immortalizes leaders of the movement and pays tribute to those whose courage helped the country achieve social justice.


Card counting in blackjack was very profitable in the early 90s. At that time, one team of students was very well-known for their card counting skills. The team was made up of tactful and highly intelligent undergraduate students. They managed to beat the most popular casinos in Las Vegas at 21.

In the movie directed by Robert Luketic, a math professor, Micky Rosa, guides the student. He passes on his skills to six of his most intelligent students, advising them to play the system and never give in to emotions. He puts the students through various tests to ensure that they are at their peak performance. The team even comes up with a secret language to throw the casino’s security off.

Most of the movie revolves Ben Campbell, an extremely intelligent student. He has dreams of joining Harvard Medicine School but cannot afford the high fee. His chances of getting a scholarship are low as he does not really stand out. You can read a review here to lean more about the movie 21 and blackjack, the game it was based on.

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The Sounds of Music

This 1965 film is a classic. It is based on the story of Maria, a non-conformist nun who is sent to be the governess of musical children right before World War II. She marries Georg Von Trapp who in reality, was much older than her. The family formed the Von Trapp choir and toured Europe together.

In 1936, they fled Austria which the Nazis had annexed. They went to New York and held their first concert in America in 1938. The Sounds of Music stays true to the story of Maria.

It demonstrates how authoritarianism and bigotry quickly creeped into society. The film shows the slow integration of Nazi ideology and symbolism. It is a story of talent, young love, and dictatorships.

12 Years a Slave

This triple Academy Award winning film was directed by director Steve McQueen. It features Lupita Nyong’o and Chiwetel Ejiofor in a raw and petrifying document. Ejiofor stars in the role of Solomon Northup, a free black man living in New York. In 1841, he is lured and sold as a slave in Louisiana. The film documents his treatment as a slave on the plantation, his freedom, and eventual reunion with his family.

The film is mostly popular for its artistic excellence and historical accuracy. It accurately depicts the original story of Solomon Northup.

Escape from Alcatraz

Escape from Alcatraz is a masterful storytelling piece. For most of its length, it demonstrates life in prison. It is based on Alcatraz, a prison on a San Francisco Bay island. It was a very secure prison and escaping it seemed like an insecure task. In 1962, however, three daring men, Jack Thibeau, Clint Eastwood, and Fred Ward made a successful attempt to escape it. Even though their success is still disputed, they made an interesting narrative.

The French Connection

In the 1930s, the Corsican gangsters formed a complex drug trafficking scheme. They shipped poppy seeds from Lebanon and Turkey to Marseille. The seeds were made into heroin before being shipped to the United States. By the 1960s, they were moving up to 44 tons to the US every year. President Richard Nixon was forced to organize a crackdown on drugs.

Even though the film is slightly fictional, it is a thrilling narrative about real-life drug dealing. The French Connection portrays the seediness of New York especially in the late 1960s and early 1970s. It is perfect for those who enjoy New York films.


This film stars Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, and Racheal McAdams as members of an investigative team of journalists. They put in effort to uncover the systematic sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Boston and its history. It is a portrayal of the true events published by the Boston Globe Spotlight in 2002. The series of articles exposed abuse from Roman Catholic priests.

In the film, Marty Baron, the Globe editor at the time, is portrayed as Live Schreiber. The best thing about this film is how well it has been written and directed. It portrays the story in a realistic fashion and the personal lives of the victim and their abuse are told delicately and respectfully.

All the President’s Men

While Bob Woodward is now popular for his chronicles of Trump and his administration, he has a lot more to offer. In the past, he used to write about the secrets of a different president: Richard Nixon.

He and a colleague, Carl Bernstein, started an investigation on the break-in at the Democratic National Convention. After research, it was established that the break-in was part of a campaign to sabotage and cause political espionage against Nixon’s opponents. The scandal caused the downfall of his presidency.

The film was released just four years after the break-in. The screenwriter, William Goldman, perfected the journalistic piece in a nerve-wrecking and captivating detective story.

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