Movies Based On True Stories


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I have been thinking recently after watching The Bank Job, Alpha Dog and Defiance about how true the storys are in the movies. I have enjoyed these movies and I have really enjoyed looking up what actually happened.

I found the story that Alpha Dog was based around very sad indeed and the fact that the parents of the teens were against the movie but after watching it thought the actors were great and that they played the charactors perfectly.

In The Bank Job the amount of money taken in the 70's was around 4 million and in todays money it would be around the 33 million mark and that most of the charactors in the movie were real and have had some jail time. But there was one man thought to of got away scott free.

I love these movies and the others that I have seen and think it is great how the storys can be brought to life in film. What are your thoughts on this subject?
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I always enjoy watching movies based on true stories, especially horror films. I just keep in mind when I do, that most of the time, movies based on true stories are very loosely based on the actual events depicted in them (again, especially concerning horror films).

Off the top of my head, I was very intrigued by Open Water; almost immediately after I finished watching it, I went online to research the true story. It was pretty interesting stuff. Same thing regarding Wolf Creek and The Texas Chainsaw Massacre. Those films practically made me Backpack Killer and Ed Gein aficionados. :P
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The trouble is that movies based on true stories Hollywood style means that they often have only the most tenuous connections like; The Patriot, Titanic, U-571 and such nonsense. Hollywood is in the entertainment business. Not the education business. Unfortunately some people learn their history from such films.
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There doesn't seem to be any legal recourse for using one of these catch phrases.

Based on a true story; this is a real story, and the even more vague, inspired by true events.

Inspired by true events, Loner: The All Time Leader in NHL Scoring.

It's not an outright lie, I did play hockey, and so did Wayne Gretzky.

Okay, so it was only rec-league, but I was really inspired.

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen tag-line; Remarkable. Unbelievable. Impossible. And true.

Fargo from IMDB.

The film is not actually "Based on a true story". The Coens later admitted that they added that disclaimer so the viewer would be more willing to suspend disbelief in the story.

Thanks for bringing this topic up n3wt.

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Some aren't bad, but most are very loosely based. Movies are meant for entertainment like Cyberia mentioned. Some movies that tie in real life events into an interesting plot I've got to give credit to.
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Movies based on true stories???? Jeeze, how much time do you have????
First of all, practically every film with a title like The Glenn Miller Story, The Benny Goodman Story, The Gene Krupa Story. These films rarely follow the facts, but they're based on real people.

Then there are all sorts of other titles of films based on real people, like The Joker is Wild, Stanley and Livingstone, Yankee Doodle Dandy, To Hell and Back, The Desert Fox, Elizabeth and Essex.

Then there are the battles: The Longest Day, Zulu, Zulu Dawn, The Alamo, They Died with their Boots on, Charge of the Light Brigade, Pork Chop Hill, Glory, A Bridge too Far. Naked Prey, set and filmed in Africa, was based on a real event that happened to a mountain man in the early West. The Great Escape was about a real breakout from a camp of British prisoners (there were no Americans involved) during World War II.

Politics: All the President's Men, Sunrise at Campobello, Young Mr. Lincoln, The Wind and the Lion (although the only truth in that film were the names of the political figures like Roosevelt and Hay, and the fact that an American was taken by a Berber chief--but the captive was a man from Italy who had become a US citizen, not a woman and her children).

Religion: The Greatest Story Ever Told, The Prophet, The Ten Commandments, and many others.

Then there are the hybrids, like Sands of Iwo Jima; 99.9% of the film is fiction about fictional characters. Yet the Marines did invade Iwo Jima, a flag was raised, and the three survivors who actually raised that flag were in the movie. From Here to Eternity was a work of fiction about military life leading up to the very real Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, and was filmed on location in the real Scofield barracks, which was targeted in that attack. Psycho was very loosely based on a real mass killer who liked to eat parts of corpses and wear their skin.

And on and on and on.....

Thing is, there's a touch of truth in many fictional films, while the true stories are often "fictionized" to make a better box office.

Deadman Walking, which is based on the book.

Other Side of the Mountain, which is about Jill Kinmont, a famous young skiier who's also a candidate for the upcoming Olympics. During the final tryouts for the upcoming winter Olympics, Jill Kinmont has a devastating accident that renders her a quadrapeligic, but, through extensive and intensive rehabilitation and physical therapy, she regains some use of her hands, fights for the right to study at a large University, and ultimately becomes a teacher and a painter. This, too, is based on a true story, and on a book.

Grizzly Man, an actual documentary film about a guy who, for 13 summers, goes and lives in the mountains of Alaska, among the grizzly bears. Unfortunately, he ultimately pushes his luck too far, gets way too close to the bears, and meets with a tragic end....he gets eaten. The reaction to what happened to the Grizzly Man vary from no sympathy to "sorry he got eaten, but he crossed boundaries that he shouldn't have crossed" responses.

Monument Avenue: Although fictionalized to some degree, this is about the Code of Silence in Boston's Charlestown section and its grisly consequences.

Southie About Southie's (South Boston) feudal system, run by the Bulger brothers, and its ultimate consequences, although it, too, is fictionalized, to some degree or other.


Schindler's List

From Montgomery to Memphis: About the early part of the Civil Rights Movement, and the life and assassination of Martin Luther King, as the movie title aptly puts it, from Montgomery, AL, to Memphis, TN. A real documentary.
"It does not take a majority to prevail, but rather an irate, tireless minority, keen on setting brush fires of freedom in the minds of men." -- Samuel Adams (1722-1803)

Does HBO count? The Gathering Storm is one of our favorite historical dramas. Albert Finney as Churchill and Vanessa Redgrave as Clemmie. Fantastic.

I watched The 300 Spartans film the other day with Richard Egan. Based on real events some 2,400 years ago and probably as accurate as anything Hollywood turns out.

So many good movies, so little time.
I just watched Dog Day Afternoon (1975) again. It really is an amazing movie.

The movie really shows what a good actor Al Pacino once was.

It also is one of the five movies John Cazale was in, all of which were nominated for Best Picture Oscar (The Conversation, The Godfather, The Godfather 2 and The Deer Hunter were the others) with three of them winning. How crazy is that!

It is also one of the first (the first?) movies with a gay lead character.

Here is a clip from the real newscast on which the movie is based


"Those are my principles. If you don't like them I have others."- Groucho Marx

loves movies .... but willing to know more :)
most of the time, when i watch movies which are based on true stories, i look for the stories from which the movies were based from. i just enjoy reading and knowing about what the real stories were. then maybe compare the movies and the true events to see which among the details were added or eliminated

I absolutely agree that there is something thrilling about the fact that it really happened in real life, that this is not something invented. It attracts a lot, but at the same time it can be discouraging when you follow a plot and see that it all would be quite different if written by scriptwriter.
The latest film based on a true story I watched was “Public Enemies” with Johnny Depp where he played John Dillinger amazingly. For those who did not know the story, the end was unpredictable, that the person who managed to flee away so many times, was just so easily killed in the street. What can be done about it? Nothing for it is based on a true story.

The two that pop into my head at the moment are Julie & Julia and the Young Victoria (just saw the trailer for it the other day), but there are so many.
I read this the other day, it's hilarious:
7 Movies Based on a True Story (That are Complete Bulls**t)********.html
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I have to commend you on your taste with Alpha Dog, I recently gave that movie a change (kept ingnoring it cause Justin Timberlake is in it) but actually it is an incredible movie. I couldn't believe how will the movie draws you in and attaches you to the characters like they are you best friends. Great movie, a must see for sure.
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I just watched Dog Day Afternoon (1975) again. It really is an amazing movie.

The movie really shows what a good actor Al Pacino once was.

It also is one of the five movies John Cazale was in, all of which were nominated for Best Picture Oscar (The Conversation, The Godfather, The Godfather 2 and The Deer Hunter were the others) with three of them winning. How crazy is that!

It is also one of the first (the first?) movies with a gay lead character.

Here is a clip from the real newscast on which the movie is based

I, too, have seen the movie Dog Day Afternoon, and thought Al Pacino did a great job in that film. Not long after I saw it for the first time, however, I read an article/interview by the real people who were involved in this whole sordid incident as it actually occurred (Wojitz and his wife, Angie), who didn't like the way he and his wife were depicted in the film one bit. But, leave it to Hollywood to exaggerate, sometimes.

Other movies that I've seen that're based on true stories, which, are also based on books, are as follows:

Serpico: About a NYC cop who exposes the corruption in the NYPD and is hated for it.

King of the Gypsies: About a gypsy family operating in NYC and Boston, where they make thievery and con-scams into an art, and frequently resort to Mafia-type tactics in order to justify their means and get what they want.