The Best Movies Based on True Events – Ranked

There’s something extra special about a film that features the words ‘Based on a true story’. Knowing that the events depicted on screen truly happened in the real world can make a movie so much more exciting and immersive. Not all of these films turn out to be classics, but many have made their mark on cinematic history, winning long lists of accolades and being regarded as some of the finest movies ever made.

50. Trapped for 5 Days – 127 Hours

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Source: film-grab.com

Direct by Danny Boyle and released in 2010, 127 Hours tells the shocking true story of Aron Ralston, a canyon explorer who gets trapped by a boulder in Blue John Canyon, Utah. James Franco appeared in the starring role and almost the entire film takes place within the canyon, focusing on nothing but Franco as he attempts to escape. 127 Hours earned six Academy Award nominations, with Franco being selected among the Best Actor nominees. The film made over $60 million at the box office on an $18 million budget and was a major critical success.

Next, the hunt is on for a serial murderer…

49. The Search for a Killer – Zodiac

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Source: moviestillsdb.com

The 2007 thriller film Zodiac was directed by David Fincher and starred an excellent cast featuring Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Robert Downey Jr. This film follows the harrowing true-life story of the Zodiac Killer, who became infamous in the San Francisco Bay Area during the 60s and 70s, and the detective trying to discover his identity. A modern-day Jack the Ripper, the Zodiac killed several people and left clues and codes to taunt the cops. Zodiac was a big critical success, featuring on many critics’ Top 10 lists, and made a $20 million profit at the box office.

The next film is all about a real-life trickster…

48. The Long Con – Catch Me If You Can

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Source: IMDb

Released in 2002, Catch Me If You Can is a crime caper movie that almost seems too crazy to be true. However, it really was based on reality. The crime follows Leonardo DiCaprio in the role of Frank Abagnale Junior, a teenage conman who successfully tricks people into thinking he’s an airline pilot, earning huge amounts of money in the process. Meanwhile, FBI agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks) tries to track Frank down. The movie was directed by Steven Spielberg and was a huge commercial success, earning over $350 million and receiving two Academy Award nominations.

You’ll want to stay on dry land for the next one…

47. Lost At Sea – The Perfect Storm

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Photo by Warner bros.

Based on the book of the same name, The Perfect Storm is a 2000 disaster movie. It tells the story of a little fishing boat called the Andrea Gail that was lost at sea during the ‘Perfect Storm’ of 1991. The film was particularly popular for its dramatic depiction of the harshness of Mother Nature. The Perfect Storm featured an ensemble cast as the various boat hands including George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, Michael Ironside, and John C. Reilly. It was directed by Wolfgang Petersen and received two Academy Award nominations, as well as performing extremely well at the box office, earning $328.7 in total.

Things get wild in the next movie…

46. A Walk on the Wild Side – We Bought a Zoo

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Photo by respective production studio

We Bought a Zoo is a 2011 release directed by Cameron Crowe and starring Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson. This fun comedy-drama tells the story of a single dad who decides to buy an old zoo, despite having no experience in the business. Together with the zoo’s old staff, he works to bring the place back to life and look after all the different wild animals. The film was based on a British man named Benjamin Mee who really did buy a zoo without any knowledge of how to run it. The film was popular with critics and audiences, earning over $120 million.

Next, one man’s personal war at a time of global conflict…

45. A Story of Resilience and Redemption – Unbroken

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Photo by Universal Pictures

Directed by none other than Angelina Jolie, Unbroken is a war film released in 2014. It tells the astonishing story of Louie Zamperini, an Olympic runner who ended up as a Japanese prisoner of war during World War II. Due to his celebrity status, Zamperini was singled out for abuse and mistreatment by one of the sadistic war camp bosses. The story is based a 2010 non-fiction book by Laura Hillenbrand and stars English actor Jack O’Connell in the starring role. The film earned three Academy Award nominations and won several other awards, taking in a grand total of $163.4 million at the box office.

Laughter really is the best medicine in the next movie…

44. Laughing and Healing – Patch Adams

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Photo by Universal/Getty Images

Patch Adams is a classic comedy film directed by Tom Shadyac and released in 1998. It stars Robin Williams as Dr. Hunter ‘Patch’ Adams and is based on a book written by the real Dr. Adams. Adams takes the old adage ‘Laughter is the best medicine’ very seriously, working as both a physician and a clown to try and bring joy into the lives of people who don’t have too many reasons to smile. The real Dr. Adams is still alive and has brought a lot of happiness into the world. The movie did the same. Despite receiving a mixed response from critics, Patch Adams was a big box office success, earning over $200 million.

Next up, it’s the Greatest…

43. A Boxing Legend – Ali

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Photo by Peter Brandt/Getty Images

As the name implies, Ali was all about the world-famous boxer, Muhammad Ali, also known as Cassius Clay. This 2001 movie was written and directed by Michael Mann and starred Will Smith as ‘The Greatest’. It followed Ali’s whole life, from his success in the ring to his religious conversion, while also showing some key moments of the Civil Rights Movement. Ali didn’t do too well at the box office and actually made a loss on its $107 million budget, but was very popular with critics, receiving two Academy Award nominations and being ranked as one of the best sporting biopics ever made.

Next up, a real-life story of true love…

42. Love and Marriage – Out of Africa

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Photo by Universal Pictures

Based on the book of the same name written by Karen Blixen under the pen name Isak Dinesen, Out of Africa is a 1985 romantic drama directed by Sydney Pollack. It tells the heartwarming and heartbreaking story of Karen Blixen, a Danish woman who moves to Africa for an arranged marriage, but ends up falling in love with a local hunter. The film shows various sequences from Blixen’s life, chronicling the progress of her marriage and romantic developments. The film starred Meryl Streep and Robert Redford. Out of Africa was one of the most critically successful movies ever made, receiving 11 Oscar nominations and winning seven of them.

41. The Life of a Legend – Ray

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Photo by Universal Pictures

Ray was released in 2004 and directed by Taylor Hackford, who also wrote and produced the film. It chronicles the life and times of legendary rhythm and blues musician Ray Charles, who went blind at an early age but still became a celebrity icon. Tragically, the real Charles died just a few months before the film came out. The movie starred Jamie Foxx as Charles, with Foxx winning the Best Actor Academy Award for his performance. Ray was a strong box office and critical success, earning many nominations and awards all around the world.

The realities of war come home in the next one…

40. The Hardships of a Hero – American Sniper

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Photo by Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc

American Sniper is a 2014 film, directed by Clint Eastwood and based on a book of the same name written by Chris Kyle. The movie is based on Kyle himself, a United States Navy SEAL who became one of the most lethal snipers in the history of the armed forces. In the military, he was a hero, but in his personal life back home in America, he struggles to cope with the horrors of all he’s seen. The film offers a startling look at the terrible effects war can have on people. It made over $500 million and received six Academy Award nominations, winning the Oscar for Best Sound Editing.

A different look at a Disney Classic comes next…

39. The Real Story of Mary Poppins – Saving Mr. Banks

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Photo by Disney Enterprises, Inc

Saving Mr. Banks is a 2013 film focused on P.L. Travers, the English author of Mary Poppins, and Walt Disney, the famous American filmmaker who desperately wanted to bring Travers’ book to life on the big screen. The film tracks the troubled relationship between the two creative geniuses and depicts many true-to-life scenes and events. Tom Hanks appeared as Disney, with Emma Thompson in the role of Travers. The film was a commercial and critical success, earning over $110 million at the box office and winning several different awards, but only received one Academy Award nomination.

A noble act during a terrible time is up next…

38. An Atrocity in Africa – Hotel Rwanda

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Photo by United Artists

Hotel Rwanda was released in 2004 and directed by Terry George. The film focuses on the life of hotelier Paul Rusesabagina and his wife Tatiana, occurring during the Rwandan genocide of 1994 and showing how Rusesabagina toiled to save over a thousand refugee lives, offering shelter to people in need at the hotel he managed. The film takes an in-depth look at the atrocities of the genocide, which resulted in the deaths of around 800,000 people, while also showing an astonishing and selfless act of kindness on the part of Rusesabagina. The film didn’t make too much money at the box office but was a major critical success, earning three Academy Award nominations.

Next, a genius begins to unravel…

37. A Broken Genius – A Beautiful Mind

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This 2001 film was directed by Ron Howard and based on a book of the same name, written by Sylvia Nasar. A Beautiful Mind chronicles the fascinating life story of Nobel Prize winner John Nash. It features Russell Crowe as Nash, with Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, and other stars also appearing. A Beautiful Mind charts the tragic mental descent of one of the greatest mathematicians of recent times, showing Nash’s personal life begins to fall apart as he develops paranoid schizophrenia. The film made more than $313 million and won four Oscars, being nominated for eight in total.

Cold War espionage comes next…

36. Frosty Negotiations – Bridge of Spies

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Photo by Twentieth Century Fox

One of several entries on this list directed by Steven Spielberg, Bridge of Spies is a 2015 historical drama starring Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, and Amy Ryan. It tells the real store of Francis Gary Powers, an Air Force pilot who crash lands on Soviet soil in 1960 and is kept as a prisoner, before being exchanged for a Soviet spy at the Glienicke Bridge in Germany. The film was a big box office success, with critics hailing Hanks and Rylance in particular. Bridge of Spies made $165 million and won one Oscar from six nominations.

The life and times of a gay icon come next…

35. A Pioneer for the LGBT Community – Milk

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Photo by Focus Features

Milk is a 2008 movie based on the true-life story of Harvey Milk, the first ever openly gay person to hold a position of public office in the state of California. Harvey Milk was iconic and helped the LGBT community make great strides at a difficult time, with the film showing his rise up the ranks and tragic assassination. Milk starred Sean Penn in the title role, with Penn winning a Best Actor Oscar for his performance, and Josh Brolin in the role of Milk’s assassin, Dan White. The film was a moderate success at the box office, making $54.6 million on a $20 million budget.

Tom Hardy made his debut in the next film…

34. No Man Gets Left Behind – Black Hawk Down

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Directed and produced by Ridley Scott, Black Hawk Down came out in 2001. This war film was based on a 1999 book of the same name, written by American journalist Mark Bowden. The film charts the events of the 1993 Battle of Mogadishu, also known as the Day of the Rangers. The operation was expecting to be relatively quick and simple but turned into a much greater battle for all involved. An impressive ensemble cast featured in the film, including Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, Eric Bana, and Tom Hardy. The film was a box office smash and won two Academy Awards, being nominated for four in total.

The life of a non-violent legend comes next…

33. Peaceful Protest – Gandhi

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Photo by Columbia Pictures

Released in 1982, Gandhi was a historical epic depicting the life and times of one of the most iconic non-violent leaders in world history, Mahatma Gandhi. Ben Kingsley received a Best Actor award for his sterling performance in the title role, showing many key moments in Gandhi’s life, including the incident in 1893 that led to him pursuing non-violent protest and his tragic assassination. This film is one of the most successful biopics ever produced, making $127.8 million at the box office and earning 11 Academy Award nominations and eight wins in total. It was produced and directed by Richard Attenborough.

Houston, we’ve got a problem in the next film…

32. A Miraculous Moon Mission – Apollo 13

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Photo by Universal/Getty Images

Apollo 13 is all about space exploration, but this movie is no work of science fiction. Released in 1995, Apollo 13 chronicles the 1970 mission to the moon, which had to be aborted en route due to an explosion on board. The film features Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton, with Gary Sinise and Ed Harris also appearing in major roles. It was directed by Ron Howard and made more than $355 million at the box office, as well as being nominated for an impressive total of nine Academy Awards, winning two of them.

One of the worst days in American history comes next…

31. September 11 – United 93

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Movie Poster

United 93 was released in 2006, five years after the tragic events that shook the world on September 11, 2001. This film was directed by Paul Greengrass and used factual information to try and depict the events that took place aboard United Airlines Flight 93, one of the planes that were hijacked as part of the terrorist attacks. The film made $76,3 million at the box office, with several million dollars being donated towards the creation of a memorial for the victims of the flight. United 93 was nominated for two Academy Awards and featured an ensemble cast of relatively little-known actors, without any big stars.

The next film has an equine hero…

30. A Heroic Underdog – Seabiscuit

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Photo by Universal Pictures

Seabiscuit is a sports film released in 2003 and directed by Gary Ross. It was based on the non-fiction book entitled Seabiscuit: An American Legend, written by Laura Hillenbrand. The story focuses on a racehorse named Seabiscuit who was relatively small and ignored by experts but went on to enjoy incredible success during the Great Depression era of the United States. The movie starred Tobey Maguire, Jeff Bridges, and Chris Cooper. It was a box office success, earning nearly $150 million worldwide, and received an impressive tally of seven Academy Award nominations, but didn’t manage to win any.

The sporting theme continues in the next film…

29. Low Budget Baseball – Moneyball

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Photo by Sony Pictures and Columbia Pictures

Moneyball is a 2011 sports movie that is also based on true events. This film was inspired by the book of the same name, released in 2003 and written by Michael Lewis. It tells the story of baseball team manager Billy Beane (Brad Pitt) and his assistant manager Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) who have to try and assemble a successful squad with a very limited budget. The film was critically well-received and is known for being very faithful to the true story. It made over $110 million and was nominated for six Academy Awards.

A father’s love made the next movie extra special…

28. The Homeless Salesman – The Pursuit of Happiness

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Photo by Sony Pictures

Directed by Gabriele Muccino and starring Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith, The Pursuit of Happiness is a 2006 biographical film based on the memoirs of Chris Gardner, a businessman who fell on hard times and had to spend nearly a year homeless. The film was very popular with critics and casual cinema-goers, with its story touching the hearts of millions. The Pursuit of Happiness made over $300 million at the box office and resulted in a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for Will Smith. The movie also received many additional nominations from other awarding bodies and won several prizes.

One of the most famous rap stars on Earth features in the next film…

27. Rap Battles – 8 Mile

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Photo by Universal/Getty Images

8 Mile took some liberties with its storyline but is strongly based on the early years of hugely successful rapper, Eminem. The film stars Eminem and was directed by Curtis Hanson, released in 2002. It charts the struggles of a white rapper named B-Rabbit as he attempts to make his mark in a musical genre and scene that is strongly associated with African-Americans. The film was set and shot in Detroit, Michigan, where Eminem first got started and was a huge success. It made over $242 million and resulted in an Academy Award win for Eminem for his song ‘Lose Yourself’.

Next, a British journalist takes on a former US President…

26. Incredible Interviews – Frost/Nixon

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Photo by Universal Pictures

Frost/Nixon is a 2008 historical film that was based on a play of the same name, written by British playwright Peter Morgan. The film was directed by Ron Howard and starred Frank Langella in the role of former US President Richard Nixon and Michael Sheen as British journalist David Frost. The film shows Frost’s attempts to try and land an interview with Nixon in the wake of the Watergate scandal, as well as showing the resulting interviews and their effects on both men. The film didn’t make much of a profit but received rave reviews and five Academy Award nominations.

A movie about a fake movie comes next…

25. An Impossible Rescue – Argo

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Photo by Warner Bros. Entertainment

A 2012 historical drama directed by and starring Ben Affleck, Argo charts the real-life happenings of the ‘Canadian Caper’. This was an astonishing mission in which six American diplomats were rescued from Iran by a team pretending to film a science-fiction movie. Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, and Alan Arkin also appear in the film and were all praised for their performances, along with Affleck for both his acting and direction. Argo made over $230 million on a $44.5 million budget and was nominated for seven Oscars, winning three of them, including the prestigious Best Picture award.

The one and only Daniel Day-Lewis made the next film a big hit…

24. An Unbelievable True Story – My Left Foot

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Movie Poster

Starring one of the greatest actors of all time in the leading role, My Left Foot is a biographical film both written and directed by Jim Sheridan. It focuses on Christy Brown, played by Daniel Day-Lewis, an Irishman who was born with cerebral palsy and was only able to move his left foot. In spite of this incredible misfortune, Brown was able to become a writer and artist, and the film brings this remarkable journey to life. Day-Lewis won the first of several Best Actor Oscars for this performance, with the film also winning in the Best Supporting Actress, Best Director, Best Picture, and Best Adapted Screenplay categories.

An astonishing tale of redemption and revenge comes next…

23. An Unstoppable Adventurer – The Revenant

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Copyright by Twentieth Century Fox

The Revenant is a 2015 release directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu and based on a novel by Michael Punke, which he wrote in 2002. Some parts of the film are fictionalized, but the story is fully based on real events endured and experienced by a famous frontiersman, Hugh Glass. Glass was left for dead by his traveling companions and attacked by a bear but managed to survive and drag his broken body back to civilization. Leonardo DiCaprio won a Best Actor Oscar for his starring role as Glass, with the film also winning two additional Oscars out of 12 total nominations and making over $500 million.

Next up, a real ‘monster’…

22. The Story of Aileen Wuornos – Monster

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Photo by Newmarket Films

Monster is a 2003 crime film both written and directed by Patty Jenkins. It focuses on the life of Aileen Wuornos, one of the most iconic female serial killers in American history. Wuornos was a prostitute who killed her first victim after he sexually assaulted her, going on to kill and steal from several more men while accompanied by her female lover. Charlize Theron played the part of Wuornos and was almost unrecognizable in the role, winning a Best Actress Academy Award for her performance. Monster received rave reviews and made a strong profit at the box office.

A comedy con movie is next on the list…

21. Cops And Robbers Working Together – American Hustle

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Photo by Annapurna Productions LLC

American Hustle is a 2013 comedy crime movie starring an impressive ensemble cast and directed by David O. Russell. The film was inspired by the true story of the FBI’s Abscam operation, which took place in the late 1970s and early 1980s. The film follows an FBI agent (Bradley Cooper) who gets a couple of con artists (Christian Bale and Amy Adams) to organize a string operation on some corrupt political figures. The film was immensely well-received, with all of the actors being praised for their performances. American Hustle made over $250 million and earned ten Oscar nominations in total, but failed to win any of them.

John Hurt needed eight hours of makeup for the next role…

20. The Life of Joseph Merrick – The Elephant Man

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Photo by Brooksfilms

The Elephant Man was a 1980 movie based on a man named Joseph Merrick, who also earned the nickname ‘Elephant Man’ while being shown at a freak show due to his severe deformities. Despite his physical condition, Merrick gradually proved to Victorian society that he was an eloquent, charming, intelligent man, but he had to suffer a lot to finally be respected. The Elephant Man was directed by David Lynch and made a big profit on a relatively small $5 million budget. It starred John Hurt in the title role and was nominated for eight Academy Awards but lost out in all categories.

An iconic mob movie is next up…

19. Criminal Underworld – Goodfellas

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Copyright by Warner Bros.

One of the most popular crime movies ever made, Goodfellas isn’t just any mob movie; it was fully based on real events. This 1990 film was directed by Martin Scorsese and starred Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta. It was originally called ‘Wise Guy’ based on the Wiseguy book written by Nicholas Pileggi. The film’s story follows the real-life ups and downs of mobster Henry Hill and his family. Goodfellas was nominated for six Oscars and won one of them, as well as grossing $46.8 million at the box office.

Modern-day pirates appear in the next classic…

18. Life or Death on the Waves – Captain Phillips

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Photo by Columbia Pictures

Tom Hanks has appeared in a lot of excellent true story movies and Captain Phillips is yet another example. This Paul Greengrass movie was released in 2013 and follows the true story of the hijacking of a cargo ship called the Maersk Alabama. The incident occurred in 2009, with four Somali pirates climbing on board and taking the vessel’s captain, Richard Phillips, hostage. The film was based on a book written by Phillips himself and received six Oscar nominations. It was a huge commercial success too, earning over $218 million at the box office.

Sean Penn directed the next film…

17. American Adventure – Into the Wild

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Photo by Paramount Vantage

Into the Wild is a 2007 movie written and directed by Sean Penn. It was based on a 1996 non-fiction book, also entitled Into the Wild, written by Jon Krakauer. The film follows Christopher McCandless, an American hiker, and explorer who adventured across North America in the early 1990s. Emile Hirsch starred as McCandless, with Hal Holbrook, William Hurt, and Marcia Gay Harden and others in supporting roles. Into the Wild made over $56 million on a $20 million budget and was very warmly received by critics and casual film fans. It received two Academy Award nominations.

A musical legend is honored in the next film…

16. Ring of Fire – Walk the Line

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Photo by Twentieth Century Fox Film

Walk the Line is a 2005 biographical film focusing on the life of singer-songwriter Johnny Cash. The film was directed by James Mangold and based on Cash’s own autobiographies. It charts the ‘Ring of Fire’ singer’s early years and his love story with June Carter, as well as his growing popularity and elevation to celebrity status. Joaquin Phoenix was nominated for the Best Actor Oscar for his performance as Cash, and Reese Witherspoon won the Best Actress award for her turn as Carter. The film made over $180 million and is generally regarded as one of the best music biopics of all time.

A late, great physicist was the subject of the next movie…

15. A Scientific Legend – The Theory of Everything

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Photo by Universal Pictures

The Theory of Everything is a romantic drama movie that was released in 2014 to widespread acclaim. It focuses on the life of the late Stephen Hawking, widely seen as one of the most intelligent men to ever live. Hawking, a successful physicist, suffered from motor neuron disease, also known as amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, but defied doctors’ expectations and published groundbreaking papers, studies, and books. The film starred Eddie Redmayne as Hawking and Felicity Jones as his wife Jane, who wrote the memoir on which the film was based. The Theory of Everything made $123.7 million and earned an Oscar win for Redmayne.

Julia Roberts’ greatest performance came in the next film…

14. One Woman’s Fight – Erin Brockovich

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Photo by Getty Images

Erin Brockovich was released in 2000 and directed by Steven Soderbergh. It was written by Susannah Grant and based on a real-life woman named Erin Brockovich who, despite having no real professional legal education, helped to build a successful lawsuit against a large energy company. It’s an incredible story of what one person can be capable of when they really feel passionate about something, and Julia Roberts, who played the titular role, was simply breathtaking. She won several individual awards, including the Best Actress Oscar, and the film also received additional Academy Award nominations, making over $250 million at the box office.

The next movie takes place in a boxing ring…

13. Addiction, Family, and Boxing – The Fighter

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Photo by Paramount Pictures

Released in 2010, The Fighter is a sports movie directed by David O. Russell. It was inspired by a 1995 documentary called High on Crack Street: Lose Lives in Lowell. The Fighter centers on the lives of Micky Ward (Mark Wahlberg) and Dicky Eklund (Christian Bale). The pair is half-brothers, with Ward being a boxer and Eklund being his trainer. Melissa Leo and Amy Adams also star as Micky and Dicky’s mother and Micky’s girlfriend, respectively. The film was a smash success, earning $129.2 million and six Oscar nominations. It won two of them, with Best Supporting Actor and Actress trophies being handed to Bale and Leo.

A timeless classic comes up next…

12. The Best of British – Lawrence of Arabia

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Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Lawrence of Arabia is by far the oldest film on this list, being released in 1962, but is an undisputed cinematic classic. The film is based on the real-life exploits of T.E. Lawrence, a British military officer who played a key role in the Arabian Peninsula during World War I. Peter O’Toole played the title role and the film has gone down in history as one of the best British movies ever made and one of the great all-time historical epics. It was directed by David Lean and won seven Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Denzel Washington starred in the next movie…

11. An African-American Icon – Malcolm X

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Photo by Warner Bros. Entertainment

An epic biopic released in 1992, Malcolm X was directed by Spike Lee, who also co-wrote the production. The film focused on African-American activist and civil rights icon Malcolm X, who fought back against racism but wasn’t afraid of breaking the law and pushing the limits in his battles. Denzel Washington appeared in the title role and received a Best Actor Academy Award nomination for his superb performance. The film made $48.2 million on a $33 million budget and has since been regarded as one of the most culturally important films to focus on African-Americans in the 1950s and 60s.

Mel Gibson made a name for himself in the next historical epic…

10. A Scottish Hero – Braveheart

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Photo by 20th Century-Fox/Getty Images

Braveheart is a medieval action movie released in 1995, directed by and starring Mel Gibson. Gibson played William Wallace, a Scottish leader who led his people in a war for independence against the English. The film was based on a historical epic poem entitled ‘The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campioun Schir William Wallace’ and was hugely popular on release. It received ten Oscar nominations in total, winning five of them and making over $210 million at the box office. The film was criticized for some inaccuracies but did largely stick to historical accounts.

We’re back in the boxing ring for the next one…

9. An Animal in the Ring – Raging Bull

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Photo by United Artists

Raging Bull is a 1980 sports film starring Robert De Niro and directed by Martin Scorsese. De Niro plays Jake LaMotta, an Italian American boxer who become middleweight champion of the world and was known as one of the most vicious men in boxing, both in and out of the ring. The film shows how LaMotta’s violent nature affected those around him, also featuring Joe Pesci as his brother, who tries to help him deal with his issues. Raging Bull received eight Academy Award nominations, with De Niro winning the Best Actor award, but the film barely made a profit at the box office.

Beautiful melodies and violent conflict are at the heart of the next film…

8. One Man’s Holocaust Experience – The Pianist

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Photo by Focus Features

The Pianist is a 2002 film directed by Roman Polanski and based on an autobiographical book of the same name written by Polish-Jewish pianist, Wladyslaw Szpilman. The film follows Szpilman, played masterfully by Adrien Brody, during the breakout of World War II and the ensuing Holocaust. It’s a tragic, unsettling tale of one of the worst periods in human history. The Pianist made $120.1 million and received universal acclaim, with three Oscar wins from seven nominations. Adrien Brody won the Best Actor award and Polanski was rewarded for his directorial efforts with the Best Director prize.

A tragic code-breaker features in the next movie…

7. Code-Cracking Genius – The Imitation Game

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Photo by Black Bear Pictures

The Imitation Game was released in 2014 and directed by Morten Tyldum. It was based on the biography of Alan Turing written by Andrew Hodges. Turing was an English computer expert and cryptanalyst who helped to decrypt the Enigma machine, used by German military forces to send coded messages during World War II. Turing and his team were instrumental in the Allied effort of the war, but Turing was never really honored for his achievements, instead of being shamed for his homosexuality. Benedict Cumberbatch stars in the film, with Keira Knightley, Rory Kinnear, and Mark Strong also appearing. The film received eight Oscar nominations and won one, earning over $233 million.

Next, a shocking story of slavery…

6. A Stolen Life – 12 Years a Slave

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Photo by Fox Searchlight Pictures

As the title suggests, 12 Years a Slave is a slave story based on the memoir of the same name written by Solomon Northup. Northup was an African-American man who was born free but kidnapped and sold into slavery for 12 long years. Steve McQueen directed the film, which was released in 2013 to huge critical and commercial success. Chiwetel Ejiofor starred in the leading role, with Michael Fassbender, Benedict Cumberbatch, Lupita Nyong’o, Brad Pitt, and others also appearing. The film won three Oscars from nine nominations and made over $187 million at the box office.

A stammering king stars in the next classic…

5. A Magical Monarchy Story – The King’s Speech

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Photo by The Weinstein Company

The King’s Speech was released in 2010 and directed by Tom Hooper. It focuses on King George VI of England as he attempts to overcome his stammer, with help from an Australian speech therapist named Lionel Logue. The story of the film is totally true and warmed the hearts of all who saw it. The King’s Speech made over $400 million off a relatively tiny $15 million budget. Colin Firth won the Best Actor Oscar, Hooper won the Best Director award, and the film also received Oscars for Best Picture and Best Original Screenplay, as well as eight other nominations.

Next, a German World War II hero…

4. The Guardian Angel of the Holocaust – Schindler’s List

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Photo by Universal Pictures

One of the most famous and moving movies of all time, Schindler’s List was directed by Steven Spielberg and released in 1993. This epic historical film focuses on the real-life heroics of Oskar Schindler, a German businessman who, out of the kindness of his heart, worked to save over a thousand Polish Jews during the Holocaust, giving them jobs in his factories. The film stars Liam Neeson as Schindler and Ralph Fiennes as the villainous Nazi officer Amon Goth. The film made more than $320 million and earned a whopping 12 Academy Award nominations, winning seven of them, including the highly prized Best Picture and Best Director awards.

The next movie is about one of the world’s favorite websites…

3. The Facebook Movie – The Social Network

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Photo by Sony Pictures and Columbia Pictures

2010’s The Social Network, directed by David Fincher, tells the fascinating tale of how Facebook was created, including plenty of behind-the-scenes drama that everyday users of the social networking site could never imagine. Jesse Eisenberg plays tech genius Mark Zuckerberg, the main founder of the site, with Justin Timberlake, Armie Hammer, and Andrew Garfield also appearing in starring roles. The Social Network was nominated for eight Academy Awards and won three of them, including Oscars for Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Original Score, as well as earning over $220 million at the box office.

The next film takes place during the bloodiest conflict in global history…

2. The Last Brother Alive – Saving Private Ryan

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Photo by Dreamworks Pictures and Paramount Pictures

Regarded as one of the best war movies ever made, Steven Spielberg’s 1998 classic, Saving Private Ryan, was also based on a true story. The film follows a US Army squad as they attempt to track down a soldier whose three brothers have all been killed. The film’s story is based on the true account of the Niland brothers, four New York siblings who all served in the army. Three were believed dead, so the fourth was sent home. Saving Private Ryan featured an ensemble cast including Tom Hanks, Vin Diesel, Tom Sizemore, and Matt Damon. It won five Oscars and made almost half a billion dollars.

Next up, one of the greatest tragedies in history…

1. True Love and Tragedy – Titanic

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Photo by 20th Century Fox

Unquestionably the most successful film ever to be produced based on a true story, James Cameron’s 1997 movie Titanic starred Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet. It told the tale of the sinking of the famous vessel, which occurred on 15 April 1912. The love story in the film was fictionalized, but the broader story was fully based on what happened, with Cameron going into painstaking detail in his set production. Titanic was nominated for 14 Academy Awards and won 11 of them, also becoming the highest-grossing movie ever made until 2010, when James Cameron beat his own record with Avatar.