The first feature-length film based on a true story was “The Kelly Gang,” a western made in 1900 about the outlaw Ned Kelly.
According to the Ranker Website, “Between 1900 and 2000, there were a total of 211 films with the distinction of being based on a true story. In the 13 years since 2000, there have been 221. Yeah. So, in the past 13 years Hollywood has made more ‘true story’ films than in the 100 years prior.”
Note: According to the True Stories Database, there have been close to 150 additional films based on actual events since that 2013 Ranker count.
Following are the Top 10 movies “based on a true story” as selected by Ranker. They note, “The films on this list dove deep, did the research, and created a film as honest and true to the facts as possible.”
10) “American Sniper” (2014) — Cranky but patriotic Clint Eastwood gives us this tragic story about Chris Kyle (Bradley Cooper), the Navy SEAL sniper who served four tours in Iraq, but died by bullet on a Texas practice range.
9) “Tombstone” (1993) — Wyatt Earp (Kurt Russell) and his brothers join Doc Holliday (Val Kilmer) for the shootout at the O.K. Corral. As Doc says, “I’m your huckleberry …”
8) “Walk the Line” (2005) — That Man in Black, Johnny Cash (Joaquin Phoenix), sings his way to stardom with his gravelly voice.
7) “Braveheart” (1995) — Blue-faced William Wallace (Mel Gibson in kilt) leads a revolt against King Edward I of England.
6) “A Beautiful Mind” (2001) — Brilliant mathematician John Nash (Russell Crowe) goes down the rabbit hole while convincing himself he’s on a secret assignment.
5) “Black Hawk Down” (2001) — More than 100 US troops (Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor, etc.) get trapped behind enemy lines in Somalia.
4) “Catch Me If You Can” (2002) — A tireless FBI agent (Tom Hanks) pursues Frank Abagnale Jr., a master imposter (Leonardo DiCaprio).
3) “Goodfellas” (1990) – Martin Scorsese recounts life in the mob for wise guy Henry Hill (Ray Liotta).
2) “Apollo 13” (1995) – US Astronauts Jim Lovell, Fred Haise and Jack Swigert (Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton and Kevin Bacon) face danger when their spaceship malfunctions.
1) “Schindler’s List” (1993) – Steven Spielberg created a masterpiece when telling the story of Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), a German industrialist who saved 1,200 Jews from the Nazis during World War II.
True stories, all. But what about “12 Years a Slave,” “Titanic,” “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” Hidden Figures” or “Bohemian Rhapsody”?
Which ones would you add to the Ranker list?