Best Movies Based on True Stories

The Best Movies Based on True Stories is a difficult list to create. Thousands of other blogs and movie critics have tried their hand at crafting the best list and there are a lot of duplicates. Like I did on my Best Movies From Each Decade post, I’m only including movies I’ve seen and scored within the past two years to keep it fresh. I’m also purposefully leaving off some of the obvious ones like The Big Short because everyone knows it’s fantastic already. I thought I’d focus on some different ones that may have slipped under your radar. Let’s dive in, shall we? Here are what I consider to be the best movies based on true stories. 

10 – Pain & Gain

An insane true story about excess and greed, starring Mark Wahlberg, Anthony Mackie, and Dwayne Johnson, directed by Michael Bay. It’s really not a GREAT movie, but it’s still shocking and therefore entertaining. Definitely more of a dude bro movie. 

Pain & Gain is currently available to watch on Prime Video.

9 – I, Tonya

Tonya Harding is a psycho. This adaptation of her story starring Margot Robbie and Sebastian Stan is an incredibly entertaining movie. Like many others on this list, certain liberties are taken with the story, but it is a fascinating story nonetheless. 

I, Tonya is currently available to watch on Hulu.

8 – Molly’s Game

This real life thriller will keep you guessing. With a stunning cast and excellent directing, Molly’s Game is an entertaining movie about the shadowy world of underground gambling.

Molly’s Game is currently available to watch on Netflix.

7 – House of Gucci

House of Gucci is entertaining and smartly written with stellar performances from the leads of Lady Gaga and Adam Driver. Ridley Scott is on a substantial role of quality content and does not appear to be slowing down anytime soon. With deception, greed, and lust to spare, House of Gucci does not disappoint and sheds light on the world’s most well-known fashion brand’s darkest secrets.

House of Gucci is currently available to watch on Prime Video.

6 – Catch Me If You Can

A classic Spielberg movie starring Tom Hanks and Leonardo DiCaprio, based on an unforgettable and off the walls crazy (not) true story.

Catch Me If You Can is currently available to watch on Prime Video ($).

5 – Spencer

A dramatic and painful fable about Princess Diana’s time with the royal family and how crushing the weight of family history can be. Pablo Larraín directs the Kristen Stewart and the supporting cast to near perfection.

Spencer is currently available to watch on Hulu.

4 – Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

Hunter S. Thompson is one of the premiere journalists of the 20th century and his radical gonzo journalism style is incredible. While Fear and Loathing is a polarizing movie based on another polarizing story, it is a must watch for fans of the weird. 

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is currently available to watch on Prime Video ($).

3 – King Richard

An award-worthy performance from Will Smith as Richard Williams fuels this incredibly detailed and emotional story about two of the greatest tennis players in history.

King Richard is currently available to watch on HBO Max.

2 – Walk The Line

A great love story wrapped around a biopic for one of the greatest country and rock and roll legends of our time. Walk The Line is heartfelt and soul crushing all at the same time. 

Walk The Line is currently available to watch on Prime Video ($).

1 – Argo

Steeped in the mystique of a recently declassification operation, Argo weaves a story with strands of Hollywood behind the scenes and government espionage. 

Argo is currently available to watch on Netflix.

So how did I do? Does this list capture the best that the Based on a True Story genre has to offer? Sound off in the comments or send me an angry message on my discord server where all the other “real” movie critics like to hangout. 

Dylan M.
Dylan M.

Dylan created Movies Not Films as a fun project to stay occupied during the start of the global COVID-19 pandemic in 2020. He started with a simple movie diary on a spreadsheet and eventually transformed it into with a robust catalog of reviews, suggestions, and ranking lists. Currently living with his now-fiancé and two dogs, Dylan has a full-time career but still makes time to watch all the latest movies and most of the new TV shows.

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