Movies About True Stories

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Movies About True Stories

Multiple movies have reported on Movies About True Stories. Here are 25 of our favorites.

Goodfellas (1990)

Goodfellas
★★★★
★★★★
3.5 out of 4 stars

From Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco
Rated R

Goodfellas is a 1990 crime film directed by Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta and Joe Pesci. The film follows the story of Henry Hill, an Italian-American mobster, as he rises through the ranks of the criminal underworld. It details his relationship with his friends Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito, his relationship with his wife Karen, and his eventual arrest. Along the way, we get to witness Hill's volatile relationships with his associates and his attempts to stay one step ahead of the law. The film is an unflinching look at the violent and corrupt world of organized crime, and showcases Scorsese's masterful direction and use of music.

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts (20062007)

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts
★★★★
★★★★
3.4 out of 4 stars

From Stars: Darleen Asevedo, Jay Asevedo, Shelton Shakespear Alexander, Lee Arnold, starring
Rated TV-MA

When the Levees Broke: A Requiem in Four Acts is a 2006-2007 HBO documentary film directed by Spike Lee. It chronicles the events surrounding the failure of the levees that caused the devastating flooding of New Orleans in the wake of Hurricane Katrina. Through interviews with survivors, family members of victims, government officials, and rescue workers, the documentary paints a picture of the chaos, confusion, and despair that engulfed the city. It also looks at the long-lasting effects of the disaster and the failure of the government to adequately respond to the crisis. With its unflinching look at a tragedy that touched the lives of so many, When the Levees Broke stands as a powerful testament to the resilience of the human spirit.

Raging Bull (1980)

Raging Bull
★★★★
★★★★
3.3 out of 4 stars

From Martin Scorsese, starring Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent
Rated R

Raging Bull is a biographical drama directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Robert De Niro as the Italian-American middleweight boxer, Jake LaMotta. The film follows LaMotta's rise to fame and his tumultuous relationship with his brother, Joey, as well as his wife, Vickie. The film showcases LaMotta's violent temper and his eventual descent into alcoholism and depression. The story is told in flashbacks, with LaMotta narrating his own history. It culminates in a climactic scene in which LaMotta realizes his own self-destructive behavior. The film was a critical and commercial success, earning eight Academy Award nominations, including Best Actor for DeNiro.

In the Name of the Father (1993)

In the Name of the Father
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Jim Sheridan, starring Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite, Alison Crosbie, Philip King
Rated R

In the Name of the Father is a 1993 biographical drama film directed by Jim Sheridan and based on the true story of the Guildford Four, four people wrongly convicted of the 1974 IRA bombing of a pub in Guildford, England. The film follows the struggles of Gerry Conlon, an Irishman who is wrongfully accused and sent to prison where he must battle not only his own personal demons but also the British legal system. The film stars Daniel Day-Lewis as Gerry Conlon, Emma Thompson as his lawyer, Pete Postlethwaite as his father Giuseppe, and John Lynch as Paddy Armstrong, one of the other wrongly accused. The film chronicles Gerry's fight for justice and the relationships between the Conlon family, with their determination to prove their innocence despite the odds. Despite the odds, Gerry and his family eventually win a landmark case against the British government for wrongful imprisonment, although Gerry's father dies before he can be exonerated.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Catch Me If You Can
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Steven Spielberg, starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken, Martin Sheen
Rated PG-13

Catch Me If You Can is a 2002 biographical crime drama film directed by Steven Spielberg and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, and Christopher Walken. The story follows the life of Frank Abagnale, Jr. (DiCaprio), a young man who manages to successfully con millions of dollars' worth of checks as a seasoned imposter and master of deception. Along the way, he is pursued by FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Hanks) who is determined to bring him to justice. In the end, Frank is forced to choose between his deception and a life of crime or a chance at redemption. Both Frank and Carl ultimately find redemption, with Frank becoming an FBI consultant and Carl achieving the recognition and respect he always wanted. The film's inspiring message of hope and redemption is one of its greatest strengths.

Gandhi (1982)

Gandhi
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Richard Attenborough, starring Ben Kingsley, John Gielgud, Rohini Hattangadi, Roshan Seth
Rated PG

Gandhi is a 1982 British-Indian biographical drama film based on the life of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi, the leader of India's non-violent, non-cooperative independence movement against the British Raj during the 20th century. Directed by Richard Attenborough and written by John Briley, the film stars Ben Kingsley in the titular role. The story covers Gandhi's life from a defining moment in 1893, as he is thrown off a South African train for being in a whites-only compartment, and concludes with his assassination and funeral in 1948. The film examines Gandhi's personal transformation from lawyer seeking civil rights for Indians in South Africa to peaceful spiritual leader of India. Along the way, it chronicles his political activities and philosophy, his organization of peaceful civil disobedience to gain rights for India's oppressed people, and his uniting of all religions in an attempt to bring peace. The film also covers his relationships with his family, and his various collaborations with other important figures in the Indian independence movement.

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011)

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Directors: Joe Berlinger, Bruce Sinofsky, starring Gary Gitchell, Todd Moore, Dana Moore, Pam Hobbs
Rated Not Rated

Paradise Lost 3: Purgatory (2011) is a documentary film that follows a group of teen boys who were wrongfully convicted of the 1993 murder of three young boys in West Memphis, Arkansas. The film focuses on the extended legal battle of Damien Echols, Jessie Misskelley, and Jason Baldwin, known as the West Memphis Three, as they fight for their freedom. Through interviews and archival footage, the documentary examines the prosecution's case as well as the intense public scrutiny the three endured. As new evidence surfaces in the case, the West Memphis Three struggle to prove their innocence with the help of their attorneys, family, and friends. The film culminates with the ultimate resolution of their case, when the three are released from prison after 18 years.

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012)

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Alex Gibney, starring Alex Gibney, Terry Kohut, Gary Smith, Pat Kuehn
Rated TV-14

Mea Maxima Culpa: Silence in the House of God (2012) is a documentary by director Alex Gibney that investigates and exposes the abuse of power in the Catholic Church. The film follows the story of four deaf men who were abused as children in a Milwaukee Catholic school for the deaf. The film details the struggles of these men to seek justice from their abuser, Father Lawrence Murphy, and from the Catholic Church hierarchy that protected him. Through interviews with survivors and other experts, Gibney reveals the systemic cover-up of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church and the culture of silence that allowed it to go unchecked for decades. The film ultimately serves as a powerful indictment of the Catholic Church and a call for justice and accountability.

Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief (2015)

Going Clear: Scientology & the Prison of Belief
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Alex Gibney, starring Paul Haggis, Jason Beghe, Spanky Taylor, David Miscavige
Rated Not Rated

Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief is a 2015 documentary film directed by Alex Gibney based on Lawrence Wright's 2013 book of the same name. The film examines the history and influence of the Church of Scientology, with a focus on the experiences of some of its former members. It covers the church's origins, the life of its founder L. Ron Hubbard, its complex relationships with celebrities and its methods of recruitment. The documentary also examines the allegations of abuse, exploitation and persecution made against the church and its use of litigation as a tool for silencing its critics. Through interviews with former members, as well as archival footage and documents, the film offers an inside look at the operations and practices of the Church of Scientology.

The Thin Blue Line (1988)

The Thin Blue Line
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Errol Morris, starring Randall Adams, David Harris, Gus Rose, Jackie Johnson
Rated Not Rated

The Thin Blue Line is a 1988 American documentary film directed by Errol Morris. The film examines the 1976 murder of a Dallas police officer and the subsequent conviction of Randall Dale Adams. The film seeks to demonstrate that Adams was wrongly convicted while suggesting the actual killer was a man named David Harris. The film features police officers, prosecutors, and other personnel connected to the case, along with dramatic re-enactments of the crime and court proceedings. It is widely credited with indirectly leading to Adams' exoneration and release from prison. The film received an Academy Award nomination for Best Documentary Feature.

West of Memphis (2012)

West of Memphis
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Amy Berg, starring Jason Baldwin, Damien Wayne Echols, Jessie Misskelley, Michael Baden
Rated R

West of Memphis is a documentary film by director Amy Berg that tells the story of the West Memphis Three, a trio of teenagers who were convicted and incarcerated for a crime they did not commit. The film follows the fight for their exoneration that lasted over 18 years, chronicling the wrongful convictions, the struggle to overturn the convictions, and the ultimate freedom of the three men. It features interviews with lawyers and advocates, family members, and the West Memphis Three, as well as archival footage and news reports. The film also looks at the evidence that was missed or ignored by the prosecution, and documents the power of grassroots activism in helping to free the men. Ultimately, West of Memphis serves as an important reminder of the power of justice and the importance of ensuring innocent people are not wrongfully convicted.

Deliver Us from Evil (2006)

Deliver Us from Evil
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Amy Berg, starring Oliver O'Grady, Thomas Doyle, Adam, Jeff Anderson
Rated Not Rated

Deliver Us from Evil is a 2006 documentary film directed by Amy Berg, which examines the abuse of children within the Catholic Church. The film follows the story of Oliver O’Grady, a Catholic priest who was convicted of molesting over 20 children during his time in the priesthood in California. Berg interviews O’Grady and other victims to explore how the Church handled and covered up the abuse allegations. The film also reveals the different levels of cover-up from the church hierarchy, from parish priests and local bishops to the Vatican. Through interviews and archival footage, the film paints a devastating picture of the scope of the abuse and its long-term effects. The film won several awards, and was praised for its powerful and thought-provoking look at the Catholic Church’s handling of the issue.

The House I Live In (2012)

The House I Live In
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Eugene Jarecki, starring Eugene Jarecki, David Simon, Shanequa Benitez, William Julius Wilson
Rated Not Rated

The House I Live In is a 2012 documentary film directed by Eugene Jarecki that examines the history and current implications of the War on Drugs in the United States. Through interviews with a range of people affected by the War on Drugs, the film critically examines the American criminal justice system, its underlying racism and classism, and the devastating effects that the War on Drugs has had on communities across the United States. The film also looks at alternative solutions to the War on Drugs, such as drug policy reform and treatment-based solutions. Ultimately, The House I Live In makes the case for a more humane and effective approach to the War on Drugs that takes into account the human cost of criminalization and mass incarceration.

Dallas Buyers Club (2013)

Dallas Buyers Club
★★★★
★★★★
3.2 out of 4 stars

From Jean-Marc Vallée, starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Steve Zahn
Rated R

Dallas Buyers Club is a 2013 American biographical drama film directed by Jean-Marc Vallée. It follows the story of Ron Woodroof, a Wyoming electrician and rodeo bull rider diagnosed with AIDS in the mid 1980s when the disease was still a death sentence. Determined to survive, Woodroof smuggles unapproved drugs from abroad, establishes a "buyers club" and distributes them to fellow AIDS patients. The film stars Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto, who all won major awards for their performances. Through the course of the film, Woodroof learns to accept his diagnosis and begins to empathize with other AIDS patients who, like him, have been abandoned by society and the medical establishment. In the end, Woodroof’s legacy is honored by the FDA and he is remembered as a pioneer who fought for the rights of all AIDS patients.

Ed Wood (1994)

Ed Wood
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Tim Burton, starring Johnny Depp, Martin Landau, Sarah Jessica Parker, Patricia Arquette
Rated R

Ed Wood is a biographical comedy-drama directed by Tim Burton and starring Johnny Depp in the title role. The film tells the story of Edward D. Wood Jr., a director and writer of low-budget films in the 1950s, and his struggles to make a name for himself in Hollywood. The film follows Wood's life from his early years as a writer and actor in low-budget films, through his directorial works such as Plan 9 from Outer Space and his friendship with actor Bela Lugosi, to his later years as a talk show host. Along the way, Wood meets a variety of people, both good and bad, and experiences the highs and lows of the film industry. The film is ultimately a celebration of Wood's life and his insane ambition, and it is a testament to Burton's skill as a director that it manages to be both funny and touching at the same time.

The Fighter (2010)

The Fighter
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From David O. Russell, starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo
Rated R

The Fighter is a sports drama film directed by David O. Russell, which tells the true story of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and his older half-brother Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale). Micky is a struggling boxer who is taken under the wing of his controlling mother, Alice (Melissa Leo), and manager/trainer brother, Dicky, a former boxer whose promising career was ruined by drugs and crime. As Micky's career begins to take off, Dicky's self-destructive behavior threatens to destroy both their dreams. With the help of his supportive girlfriend Charlene (Amy Adams), Micky must find the strength to break free from the destructive influences of his family and become a champion.

Cocaine Cowboys (2006)

Cocaine Cowboys
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Billy Corben, starring Jon Roberts, Al Sunshine, Sam Burstyn, Mickey Munday
Rated R

Cocaine Cowboys is a 2006 documentary film directed by Billy Corben. It chronicles the rise of cocaine trafficking in Miami during the 1970s and 1980s, focusing primarily on the historical and economic forces that enabled the massive influx of drugs and money into the city. The film features interviews with major players in the Miami drug trade, including drug traffickers, dealers, smugglers, and law enforcement. It also highlights the influence of the drugs on the city’s culture and lifestyle, as well as the long-term consequences of the drug trade. Cocaine Cowboys paints a vivid portrait of a tumultuous time in Miami’s history, and offers a unique look at the inner workings of the drug trade.

Capturing the Friedmans (2003)

Capturing the Friedmans
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Andrew Jarecki, starring Arnold Friedman, Jesse Friedman, David Friedman, Elaine Friedman
Rated Not Rated

Capturing the Friedmans is a 2003 documentary film directed by Andrew Jarecki. The film tells the story of the Friedman family, a middle-class Jewish family in Great Neck, New York, whose life was torn apart by accusations of child molestation and a subsequent criminal trial. As the Friedmans battle in court, the documentary examines their private lives through interviews and home videos, revealing the complex and contradictory nature of the family's experience. The film ultimately raises more questions than it answers, as the audience is left to decide for themselves who is telling the truth and who is lying. The film won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2003 Sundance Film Festival and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature.

American: The Bill Hicks Story (2009)

American: The Bill Hicks Story
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Directors: Matt Harlock, Paul Thomas, starring Bill Hicks, Dwight Slade, Mary Hicks, Steve Hicks
Rated Not Rated

American: The Bill Hicks Story is a 2009 documentary film about the life and legacy of the late comedian Bill Hicks. The film is a combination of archival footage, photographs, audio recordings, and interviews with family, friends, and colleagues. It tells the story of Bill’s life from his childhood in Houston, Texas, to his rise to fame, his struggles with alcohol and a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer, to his death in 1994 at the age of 32. The film examines how Bill’s comedy changed and evolved over time, inspiring generations of stand-up comedians, and how his comedy was often ahead of its time. Ultimately, the film is a celebration of Bill’s life and his powerful influence on comedy and culture.

Zodiac (2007)

Zodiac
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From David Fincher, starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards
Rated R

Zodiac is a 2007 crime-thriller directed by David Fincher, based on the true story of the unsolved Zodiac Killer. The film follows Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal), a cartoonist for the San Francisco Chronicle, and his obsession with the Zodiac Killer, a serial murderer who terrorized the Bay Area in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Graysmith teams up with Inspector David Toschi (Mark Ruffalo) and crime reporter Paul Avery (Robert Downey Jr.) to investigate the murders and attempt to uncover the identity of the Zodiac Killer. The investigation is complicated by the fact that the killer was never caught or identified and the case remains unsolved to this day. Graysmith's pursuit of the killer leads to him uncovering new evidence, but also putting himself and his family in danger. Despite their best efforts, the investigators are unable to bring the Zodiac Killer to justice.

After Innocence (2005)

After Innocence
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Jessica Sanders, starring
Rated Unrated

After Innocence is a documentary about the struggles of the wrongfully convicted after they are exonerated. The film follows the stories of seven men who were wrongfully convicted and imprisoned for crimes that they did not commit. After spending several years behind bars, they were finally released after new DNA evidence was presented in their cases. The film explores the difficulties the men face in reintegrating into society, and the lasting psychological and emotional damage inflicted upon them. The movie also explores the issue of wrongful conviction and the need to reform the criminal justice system. It is a powerful and emotionally charged exploration of the human cost of a broken system.

Man on Wire (2008)

Man on Wire
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From James Marsh, starring Philippe Petit, Jean François Heckel, Jean-Louis Blondeau, Annie Allix
Rated PG-13

Man on Wire is a 2008 British-American documentary film directed by James Marsh which tells the story of French tightrope artist Philippe Petit's daring 1974 high-wire walk between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center in New York City. The film chronicles Petit's daring feat, depicting the risks and preparations for the event, as well as the celebration and media circus that followed. Through interviews and archival footage, the film also explores the history of the World Trade Center and the unique circumstances that allowed the event to take place. Man on Wire won the 2008 Academy Award for Best Documentary Feature, as well as the BAFTA Award for Best Documentary.

Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Bonnie and Clyde
★★★★
★★★★
3.1 out of 4 stars

From Arthur Penn, starring Warren Beatty, Faye Dunaway, Michael J. Pollard, Gene Hackman
Rated R

Bonnie and Clyde is a 1967 American biographical crime film directed by Arthur Penn and starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway as the title characters Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker. The film tells the story of the infamous real-life outlaw couple who rob banks during the Great Depression. Despite their criminal activities, the couple have a strong bond and are devoted to each other, even when they are pursued by law enforcement. Along the way, they pick up an unlikely ally in the form of a young gas station attendant (Michael J. Pollard). The couple's exploits end in a violent shootout with the police. The film was a massive box office success and was nominated for several Academy Awards. It has since become a classic of the New Hollywood era and is widely hailed as a masterpiece of American cinema.

Crime After Crime (2011)

Crime After Crime
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Yoav Potash, starring Deborah Peagler, Joshua Safran, Nadia Costa, Yoav Potash
Rated Not Rated

Crime After Crime is a 2011 documentary by Yoav Potash. The film follows the stories of Deborah Peagler, an African American woman from Los Angeles, and her attorneys, who fight for her release from prison after more than 25 years for her involvement in the murder of her abusive boyfriend. It follows the lawyers as they battle against a broken legal system to free Peagler and bring justice to her story. Through the film, we see how the legal system failed to protect Peagler as a victim of domestic violence, and how it also failed to recognize the power of redemption. By exploring the intersection of race, gender, and the law, Crime after Crime captures the tragedy of a woman sentenced to life without parole and the possibility of freedom and redemption.

Gonzo (2008)

Gonzo
★★★★
★★★★
3 out of 4 stars

From Alex Gibney, starring Hunter S. Thompson, Johnny Depp, Joe Cairo, David Carlo
Rated R

Gonzo is a documentary about the life and times of Hunter S. Thompson, the legendary writer and cultural icon who pioneered "Gonzo Journalism." The film chronicles his life, from his early career as a sports writer to his later success as the author of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, and his influence on American culture and politics. It features interviews from his closest friends and colleagues, including Jimmy Buffett, Johnny Depp, and George McGovern, as well as archival footage of Thompson himself. The film highlights Thompson's struggle to stay true to his own principles and his unique approach to life and writing, even as he faced personal and professional setbacks. Ultimately, the film pays tribute to Thompson's legacy as a groundbreaking journalist and an important figure in the history of American counterculture.

 



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