12 Captivating Films That Are Based on Real Life Events

Movies based on real-world events just hit differently. Not only do you get entertainment, but you also get to feel smart. Fortunately, some of the greatest directors and actors also gravitate toward non-fiction source material. These films are the cream of the true-story crop.

1. The Big Short

The Big Short Christian Bale
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

No film is as constantly relevant as The Big Short. Did you know banks can legally lend out 100% of their customers’ deposits, including yours? Watch The Big Short and truly comprehend that it’s based on a true story, specifically a book by Michael Lewis.

Then, buy gold and put it under your mattress.

2. The Founder

The Founder Michael Keaton
Image Credit: The Weinstein Company.

Want to find out how Americans became morbidly obese while being utterly entertained? Check out The Founder, the true story of McDonald’s rise to America’s (and the world’s) sixth food group.

For an even more authentic viewing experience, Uber Eats a couple of Big Macs before viewing. You already know I did.

3. Dog Day Afternoon

Dog Day Afternoon Al Pacino
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Al Pacino robbing a bank has never been so believable. Because it actually happened.

4. Zodiac

Zodiac Robert Downey Jr., Jake Gyllenhaal
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

David Fincher. Jake Gyllenhaal. Robert Downey, Jr. Brian Cox. Real-life source material. Do I need to go on? If you still need to watch Zodiac, your movie recommendation sites have failed you.

5. The Darkest Hour

The Darkest Hour Gary Oldman
Image Credit: Focus Features.

You know those films where a single actor could have done all the work, and nobody would have noticed the difference? The Darkest Hour is one of those. Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill for the win.

6. Catch Me if You Can

Catch Me If You Can Leonardo DiCaprio
Image Credit: DreamWorks Pictures.

How could the globe-trotting tale of Frank Abagnale Jr.’s ceaseless fraud be true? Faking a life as a pilot and doctor? The suspension of disbelief has its limits.

No, really, Catch Me If You Can is based on a true story.

7. The King’s Speech

The King's Speech Colin Firth, Derek Jacobi, Geoffrey Rush
Image Credit: The Weinstein Company.

Yes, King George VI struggled with a stuttering (or stammering) problem, and he did see a coach to prepare for being king. Don’t worry, George. We heard it’s a low-pressure gig. Basically a no-show job.

8. The Insider

The Insider Al Pacino, Philip Baker Hall, Christopher Plummer
Image Credit: Touchstone Pictures.

Movies based on real-life scandals are often eye-rollers, trying to make legal cases far more dramatic than they are. The Insider, which documents the decades-long dishonesty of Big Tobacco, does not manufacture a drop of its drama. The Insider does the scandal justice.

9. Munich

Munich Ciarán Hinds, Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Mathieu Kassovitz
Image Credit: United International Pictures.

The attacks that marred the 1972 Olympic Games in Munich broke the dream-like haze that most Olympic Games elicit. The revenge plot that ensued afterward? That defies belief.

Yet, it’s all true, and it makes one heck of a thriller in Munich. 

10. The Social Network

The Social Network Jesse Eisenberg
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Yeah, yeah, yeah. We know how Facebook came to be. Isn’t it about time for The Social Network 2: Meta Rising?

11. Captain Phillips

Captain Phillips Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdirahman
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

No film has damaged the Somalian Tourism Ministry’s efforts more than Captain Phillips. It wouldn’t be nearly as discouraging if it weren’t a true story.

12. Dunkirk

Dunkirk Cillian Murphy, Tom Glynn-Carney
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Christopher Nolan plus real-life source material just isn’t fair. The guy made Batman feel as real as Teddy Roosevelt. When Warner Brothers gave Nolan the liberty to make a movie based on the most unbelievable sequence in World War II, they greenlit a movie that would stand the test of cinematic time.

So, what are you watching this weekend?

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This article was produced and syndicated by Wealth of Geeks.

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