Top 20 Movies Based on True Stories


The cinema is a great place to unwind and take a break from real life, but sometimes a great movie is actually based on a true story. A great movie doesn’t always need high action scenes and over the top comedy. Sometimes, telling the truth is more interesting and fans love a good movie based on real life. Life can be complex and exciting, and for the movies we have listed, the true stories captivated audiences around the world.

1. Catch Me if You Can

Leonardo DiCaprio and Tom Hanks are major characters in this story based on the life of Frank Abagnale Jr.

A major con artist, Frank was successful at stealing millions of dollars, acting as a Pan Am pilot, a doctor and a legal prosecutor – all before his 19th birthday.

This story of a tricky character and his pursuer is both comical and dramatic.

DiCaprio is a convincing lead in this movie, capable of convincing everyone he comes across that he is the real deal.

Hanks spends the entire movie chasing down DiCaprio and is often one step behind the crafty Abagnale. Both characters work well together on screen, and it’s a dramatic movie with some good comedic breaks.

Abagnale is on the run, trying to recoup the losses his father sustained because he was in trouble with the IRS.

He takes off with $25 in his bank account, vowing to help his father. Abaganale writes more than $4,000,000 in bad checks and he uses the money trying to get his parents back together.

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Through the talents of FBI agent Carl Hanratty Jr, played by Hanks, the FBI is eventually able to track down Abagnale and he is tried and convicted. Abaganale receives a twelve year sentence for embezzlement, check forgery, and other charges. He is sent to a maximum security prison, where Hanratty visits him.

Hanratty shows Abagnale some counterfeit checks, and Abagnale is able to identify the counterfeiter. He serves out his sentence working for the FBI in the check fraud department, catching crooks much like himself.

  • Shubham Ojha

    “The Imitation Game” must be put on top of this True story movies list , which is based on the great contribution of Alan Turing , during the world war 2 in code breaking. Today every computer Science Engineer has a subject based on his ideology, that is “Turing Machines” .

    • I very much agree! I recently watched that movie and was completely enthralled!

    • Yes, exactly. It is a great movie and should have been on this list 🙂

  • Sumeet Thakur

    i am surprised where is “Persuit of happiness” .

  • giorgakis

    Where is Serpico? Or Mob Squad

  • Imaad Shahrukh

    The list should also include Frost/Nixon, Malcolm X, Nixon, Gandhi, Valkyrie and Che.

    • Syed Gufran

      whr i can download Che movie’s

  • Arnav Gupta

    where is flash of genius ,rush, imitation game ,theory of everything ,pursuit of happiness,

  • Madison Chaperon

    Yeah, I agree, why wasn’t the ‘Night of the Living Dead’ make the true stories list.

    • DJS

      Thank you Madison. I’m with you! What could be more true to life than a movie about dead people wandering aimlessly around the streets and farmlands of rural Pennsylvania looking for someone to eat!

  • Shubham Ojha

    “The Imitation Game ” is the best case of a true story movies, Alan Turing’s contribution deserve enough to make its movie on the top of the list.

  • Arya Hasheminasab

    That was sarcasme right?

    • DJS

      Oh gosh no Arya. rdh53 is absolutely right!

  • Mahen Nowzadick

    Ask for Movies based on true stories, shows ALL American stories…

    • IKR!! Not only that, most of them are about sports too..american sports.. (yawn)…not exactly what I consider ‘true story’ when sport is about a game to begin with..not the reality of real life and the hand that fate deals which is more fitting with the ‘true story’ genre.
      I got better ideas of what to watch (my reason for reading this list in the first place) from this comment section. so thank you to the people who commented with the names of other (and better) true story movies. I ended up watching The Imitation Game and agree with those who suggested it that it was totally enthralling.

  • Alpha

    Poor choice of movies. Where’s Into The Wild, Letters from Iwo Jiwa, The Pursuit of Happyness, The Immitation Game etc.?

    • DJS

      Perhaps Alpha. But I was under the impression most of us knew that the planet is made up of very complex individuals with distinctly different DNA patterns who have experienced different influences growing up and are all from diverse backgrounds and ethnic groups.

      So I thought most people today were acutely aware that no matter what the question is, if you ask ten different people, you’re more than likely to get ten different answers.

      So I’m guessing that for the person who wrote this review for “” this list was actually a GOOD choice of movies. Moreover, if you had written the article, I would have to suspect that your “good choices” would have very likely been different.


    october sky, good will hunting, life is beautiful, are the best movies based on true story.

  • AnnouliV

    I’m going to mention a movie that made me sick of our kind (of course i don t mean all human nature).”An American crime”!it’s a movie i cannot watch for a second time which is based on the true story of the torture murder of Sylvia Likens! Good evening guys!!

  • where’s RUSH? PURSUIT OF HAPPINESS? ZODIAC?? and all those really good movies? I’m so surprised that all these didn’t make it to the list.

  • Al

    Apollo 13 was a great movie, but using the term “shuttle” is a bit confusing. Yes, the Apollo 13 was a space ferry, and yes, by 1970 Apollo launches had become a bit routine, but the first “Shuttle launch” occurred on April 12th 1981 when the space shuttle “Columbia” was launched from the Kennedy Space Center. And while both spacecraft were “space ferry’s,” they were designed for completely different purposes. just sayin…