The Best Films Based On True Stories

Welcome to the best films based on true stories list! These motion pictures inspired by real events are a big part of the drama genre. Audiences are intrigued because films depict a reality, good or bad. So, this time we've focused on this element in film, and if you want more you can always check out the extensive library of Drama films. We've compiled a list with some of the best films based on true stories, and we guarantee you'll find something you like. Between classics and some newly released films, you can enjoy in the stories behind these inspiring people and events.
  • 127 Hours (2010)

    Play trailer
    89 minutes

    Every second counts in the film 127 Hours, a film based on a true story of a mountain climber Aron Ralston (James Franco) attempting to save himself after a climbing accident where a falling boulder crashed on to his arm and trapped him. This survival drama is directed by Danny Boyle, a director that needs no special introduction. 127 Hours presents us with a remarkable story of not giving up, even when your resources are almost depleted. Maybe it's not for the squeamish, especially one scene more painful than many a horror film. But it also faces you with a dilemma, how far would you go to ensure your survival? Because Aron does everything he can to make it out alive.

  • Ray (2004)

    Play trailer
    146 minutes

    Ray is the story of the life and career of the legendary musician Ray Charles, and is our next entry for the drama films list based on true stories. The film focuses on 30 years in the life of this rhythm and blues legend, played by Oscar winner Jamie Foxx. Young Ray Charles was raised on a sharecropping plantation in Northern Florida when he went blind at the age of seven. Charles was greatly inspired by his independent mother who insisted he make his own way in the world. That's how this true musical genius found his calling and his gift behind a piano keyboard. The film won two BAFTAs and two Academy Awards (out of six nominations), and it's a biographical film you need to see if you're even remotely interested in music and good drama.

    Director:
    Taylor Hackford
    Cast:
    Jamie Foxx, Regina King, Kerry Washington
    Genre:
    Drama, Music & Musicals
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • Amazing Grace (2006)

    Play trailer
    1h 53min

    See the incredible true story of William Wilberforce, philanthropist and a leader of the movement to eradicate the slave trade. Amazing Grace is about his campaign against slave trade in the British Empire at a time when the slave trade was perceived as acceptable and a necessity for the economy. The film also recounts the tale of John Newton as a crewman on a slave ship and his religious conversion (inspired his writing the poem Amazing Grace later used in the hymn). The cast includes Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon, Benedict Cumberbatch, and Rufus Sewell. Watch it on DVD and experience the film with the commentary by director Michael Apted and star Ioan Gruffudd.

    Director:
    Michael Apted
    Cast:
    Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon
    Genre:
    Drama, Collections
    Availability:
    DVD
  • Remember the Titans (2000)

    Play trailer
    109 minutes

    We're continuing the best films based on true stories with Remember the Titans, one of two films starring Denzel Washington on this list. Sports film directed by Boaz Yakin, focuses on the true story of African-American coach Herman Boone (Washington) and his attempt to integrate the T. C. Williams High School football team in Virginia, in 1971. Remember the Titans is a great film to see, not just because it's a well-done drama film, but it also explores civil topics, such as racism, discrimination, and athletics. This is, as many would say, a remarkable and triumphant story full of soul and spirit. See it on DVD and get an insight in the making of this story.

    Director:
    Boaz Yakin
    Cast:
    Denzel Washington, Will Patton, Wood Harris
    Genre:
    Drama, Sports & Sport Films
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • A Beautiful Mind (2001)

    Play trailer
    2h 10min

    Multi Academy Award winner, A Beautiful Mind is a film based on the life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate and a brilliant but asocial mathematician who accepts secret work in cryptography. As the result of his work, Nash becomes entangled in a mysterious conspiracy. The narrative of the film in some regards differs from Nash's life, but you won't be disappointed with the story and your viewing satisfaction. The film stars Russell Crowe in one of his most praised roles, and it's directed by Ron Howard. Additional all-star cast includes Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Paul Bettany, and Christopher Plummer. Rent it now and get more of extra content such as Meeting John Nash and Inside A Beautiful Mind.

    Director:
    Ron Howard
    Cast:
    Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly
    Genre:
    Drama, Thrillers, Collections
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • Erin Brockovich (2000)

    Play trailer
    126 minutes

    Drama based on the true story of Erin Brockovich, twice-divorced single mother with no money, no job, and no prospects. Steven Soderbergh directed the film, and Julia Roberts stars in the titular role which led to an Academy Award, BAFTA, and Golden Globe Award for Best Actress. Erin Brockovich is a woman who fought against the energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E) attempting to achieve the largest settlement ever paid in a direct-action lawsuit, and you should see the film to experience the pull it has on you as a viewer. Be sure to check it out on DVD or Blu-ray where you can find featurette Personality profile: the real Erin Brockovich.

    Director:
    Steven Soderbergh
    Cast:
    Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, David Brisbin
    Genre:
    Drama
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • Raging Bull (1980)

    Play trailer
    123 minutes

    Raging Bull is a sports drama directed by Martin Scorsese, adapted from Jake LaMotta's memoir Raging Bull: My Story. Robert De Niro stars as Jake LaMotta, an Italian American boxer, and gives an amazing portrayal from self-destructive and obsessive rage to animalistic appetite which destroyed LaMotta's relationship with his wife and family. Violent throughout, this film is a testament to Scorsese's and De Niro's skills, creating a thoroughly absorbing film about such an unlikable character. Now, it's considered one of the best works from Scorcese and De Niro, and even though many think it's too violent, it became a classic. Find out more about LaMotta watching DVD and Blu-ray special features including The Bronx Bull - Making Of Documentary.

    Director:
    Martin Scorsese
    Cast:
    Robert De Niro, Ted Husing, Cathy Moriarty
    Genre:
    Drama, Sports & Sport Films
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • American Gangster (2007)

    Play trailer
    150 minutes

    Our next entry is a drama and a gangster film, which makes it a perfect film for an action-packed movie night. Starring Russell Crowe and Denzel Washington, American Gangster is inspired by a true story of Frank Lucas, a gangster from North Carolina who smuggled heroin into the United States on American service planes returning from the Vietnam War. When police officer Richie Roberts sets out to bring down Lucas's multimillion-dollar empire, it plunges both men into a legendary confrontation. The film is directed and produced by Riddley Scott who has a long list of successful titles before and after American Gangster.

    Director:
    Ridley Scott
    Cast:
    Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor
    Genre:
    Drama
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
  • Schindler's List (1993)

    Play trailer
    3h 7min

    Schindler's List is a drama film that should be on everyone's watch list. This historical epic is directed by Steven Spielberg and it's based on the novel Schindler's Ark by Australian novelist Thomas Keneally. Schindler's List focuses on the incredible true story of the enigmatic Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson), who saved the lives of more than 1,100 Jews during the Holocaust. The film additionally stars Ralph Fiennes and Ben Kingsley among others. This seven Academy Awards winner won't leave you indifferent, even though it depicts horrors of WWII, it also shows the courage and warmth humanity is capable of. Schindler's List is a cinematic masterpiece and you need to see it at least once. Get it on DVD and Blu-ray to enjoy in more extra content.

    Director:
    Steven Spielberg
    Cast:
    Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley
    Genre:
    Drama, Collections
    Availability:
    DVD, Blu-ray
We hope you'll enjoy in these titles as we believe these are some of the best films based on true stories out there. If you're in need of more drama, try browsing our extensive collection of over 90,000 titles, and don't forget you can rent DVD and Blu-ray with our Free Trial offer!

Help & support

Find answers to frequently asked questions and contact us should you need to

How It Works

See prices and levels and find out how Cinema Paradiso service works

Friends for Films

Invite your friends to join and get free subscription each month

RSS

Get live feed of your rental lists and most popular titles