15 Best movies based on true stories to watch | Our Top Picks

Best movies based on true stories to watch

/ 07:59 AM June 25, 2021

Whether you’re looking for a movie with a compelling storyline or you’re in for some cold creeps on killer mystery documentaries, nothing beats the distinct curiosity of movies based on true stories. Suppose fictions have exceptional plots, no doubt about that.

True movies can give you captivating satisfaction in learning that what you’re watching is based on facts. Real talk and memories based on the memoir of people are screaming nothing but total honesty, no sugar coating added.
What are movies based on true stories?

From the likes of The Imitation Game to Into the Wild, there are a bunch more true movies that will leave you haunted or inspired after you’ve finished watching. Scroll down and check the list of movies based on true stories that commemorate the memories and real-life events of the characters.

  • Rain Man
  • Zero Dark Thirty
  • Just Mercy
  • Harriet
  • Saving Mr. Banks
  • Judas and The Black Messiah
  • The Pursuit of Happiness
  • Out of Africa
  • Julie and Julia
  • The Two Popes
  • A Beautiful Mind
  • The King

What new movies are based on true stories?

What new movies are based on true stories?

Whatever plot it may be, every scene of a true-to-life story will always remind you that it happened in real life. Never forget that some of Hollywood’s finest movies are inspired by true events that involve resilience, true stories of tragedy, romance, and success based on real people’s lives.

There are many old movies based on true stories, but if you’re after a fresh take, we’ve rounded up a list of new and not-so-new movies depicted for true-life stories.

1. Nomadland

A film that gathered six Oscar nominations depicts the nomadic lifestyle of a woman named Fern, played by Frances McDormand. And oh, she deserves that nomination. Fern’s husband dies, she loses her job, and she starts living out of a van.

This astonishing film that will open your eyes to the world of nomads is based on Jessica Bruder’s 2017 nonfiction book. The book covers the real-life stories of older Americans who embraced nomad life and doing seasonal jobs after losing their permanent ones in the 2008 recession.

2. The Courier

The Courier

Photo Credit: imdb.com

Let’s travel back in time with this historical drama in the era of the Cold War. Played by Dr. Strange (Benedict Cumberbatch) himself, he’s Greville Wynne in this true movie. Wynne was a British businessman. The latter also worked for M16 to hand over secret messages to secret contacts in the Soviet nuclear program. His untimely tactics helped a huge lot in ending the Cuban Missile Crisis.

3. Fatherhood

Get yourself that box of tissue as Kevin Hart will let you in this major tearjerker. Hart plays the role of Matthew Logelin, who has a 2011 memoir, Two Kisses for Maddy: A Memoir of Loss and Love, wherein he recalls the story of courtship and marriage to his wife, Liz.


Logelin faced life’s struggles when his wife died 24 hours after giving birth to their first daughter, who was born prematurely. Follow this heartbreaking story about how Logelin copes in his first year as a single father to their baby Maddy.

Related Article: Best Oscar-Winning Movies to Watch

4. Our Friend

Our Friend

Photo Credit: imdb.com

You’ll appreciate friendship and life’s turns and upside downs with this film based on an essay for Esquire in 2015. A total heartwarming and a tad breaking too, this story revolves around an incredible friend (played by Jason Segel) who leaves everything behind to support and stay with Teague (Casey Affleck) and his family. Teague’s wife Nicole (Dakota Johnson) was diagnosed with terminal cancer, and together they embark on the journey with real and tested friendship.

5. Judas and the Black Messiah

This film swept six Oscar nominations and instantly became a hit when released in early 2021. This is an infuriating story of Black Panther deputy chairman Fred Hampton (Daniel Kaluuya). A young FBI informant played by Lakeith Stanfield aids in making it happen. The moviemakers consulted Hampton’s family with their blessing before producing this.

6. Wild


Photo Credit: imdb.com

While some face a major life breakthrough with a total hairdo makeover, Cheryl Strayed embarks her journey on an Eat, Pray, Love sort of wander in the wilderness. Starring Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl, Wild is based on Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail.

The story revolves around Cheryl, who, after her mom’s death and the fall of her marriage, decides to focus on her self-discovery by hiking 1,100 miles in the Pacific Crest Trail.

7. Spencer

For the record, this film was not released yet as of this writing, but the released date is sometime this fall. Your anticipation of waiting will all be worth it as this film depicting the late Princess Diana’s life will let you in the real world she has as a princess, controversy or not.

It’s been 25 years since her death, but still, Princess Diana’s legacy only seems to pull people’s interest, especially as we’ve followed how her sons grew up until now that each has their own family. Kirsten Stewart will play this Princess Diana’s biopic, and the movie will cover the 1991 Christmas holidays when Lady Di decided she needed a divorce from Prince Charles.

What are movies on Netflix based on true stories?

What are movies on Netflix based on true stories?

Whether it be their original or not, Netflix never fails to surprise us viewers with its full collection of movies on different genres. It’s not surprising that they also have a wide array of movies based on true stories. You can find more information on their official site, but here we’ve gathered a list of true movies you can stream on their platform.

Two Popes

This biographical drama will take you behind the wall of the Vatican and let you in the story of how the liberal Pope Francis and the conservative Pope Benedict shared their ideas to create a new vision for the Catholic Church. Starring Academy Award winner Anthony Hopkins and two-time award winner Jonathan Pryce, this Netflix originals shows the battle of wits between these two religious leaders.

Eat, Pray, Love

Eat, Pray, Love

Photo credit: imdb.com

It’s not a surprise if this film based on Elizabeth Gilbert’s memoir Eat Pray Love chronicles is based on real life. Gilbert embarks on her journey through three different countries post-divorce. While searching for actual self-love, she learns a thing or two about different cultures and beliefs while meeting people along the way. Take a deep dive into life’s lessons while indulging yourself in Italy’s finest up to mastering meditation and self-actualization in India.

Related Article: Top Directors of All Time in 2021

Catch Me if You Can

You’re in for a fun ride in this scammer tale. Is he a doctor? No. Is he a pilot? Not even. He’s a con man! Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio) is a talented and skilled scammer slash forger in the US that catches FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) through his unusual tactics.

Hop in for a wild ride as Abagnale resorts to desperate but intelligently planned gambits to escape the law.


An investigative drama full of suspenseful kicks, this movie shows how the Pulitzer Prize-winning team of Boston Globe journalists uncovers the truth about the decade-long hiding of the Catholic Church. The church is suppressing the priests’ charges, mainly on sexual abuse and pedophile issues.

Schindler’s List

Schindler’s List

Photo Credit: imdb.com

Facing the widespread destruction of World War II, a businessman and Nazi party member Oskar Schindler has a different perspective. He saves the lives of Jewish refugees by letting them work at his factories. Brace yourselves what went on during the Nazi period was highlighted in this movie based on a true story.


While some face a major life breakthrough with a total hairdo makeover, Cheryl Strayed embarks her journey on an Eat, Pray, Love sort of wander in the wilderness. Starring Reese Witherspoon as Cheryl, Wild is based on ild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail. The story revolves around Cheryl, who, after her mom’s death and the fall of her marriage, decides to focus on her self-discovery by hiking 1,100 miles in the Pacific Crest Trail.

Penguin Bloom

Don’t get confused, as the titular character is neither a penguin nor a flower. The bird mentioned in the title is an injured magpie that the Bloom family adopted, later named Penguin. Sam (Naomi Watts), the Bloom family’s loving mother, was paralyzed after a falling accident.

Penguin is also injured when he comes to the blooms, and as he heals, Sam becomes open to the idea of relearning how to spread her wings and fly, too. This heartwarming film will leave you inspiring lessons of resilience and moving forward in life.


Not only is this film true-to-life, but it’s also based on a 2003 book by Michael Lewis. It narrates Oakland A’s general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt), who teams up with Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill), an Ivy Leaguer.

Armed with the same goals of transforming the team despite its low budget and talent, they use data and facts in scouting players. It turns out it worked. Together, they’re able to build and manage a team of underdogs but with a high potential of winning.

Key Takeaway

There’s no denying the fact that some of the world’s greatest films of all time are movies based on true stories. From heartwarming feel-good themes, action-filled to historical war themes, we can’t help but enjoy every genre. What makes these true movies appealing is that they’re not invented as they have occurred in real life.

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TAGS: Best of, interesting topics, movies, nonfiction
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