We find a movie more captivating when it’s based on real life. Watching a reality that had happened in the past hooks you with the story, and sometimes you can’t believe what you are watching on screen really did happen. These movies with true stories are a special breed of entertainment. Whether you are looking for war-based true stories, serial-killer mysteries, horror stories, historical dramas, or a classic underdog story, we have covered them all in this list. Let’s see 10 of the best epic drama movies based on true events.
1. Apollo 13 (1995)
Apollo 13 is a 1995 movie based on the actual Apollo 13 lunar mission launched by the Kennedy Space Center on April 11, 1970. The mission was not a success as landing on lunar orbit was aborted after an oxygen tank in the service module failed and the team members started working on their survival plan to safely return to Earth.
Apollo 13 is a 1995 American space disaster movie directed by Ron Howard starring massive stars like Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton. The movie is about the Apollo 13 lunar mission by NASA.
It was a seven-crewed mission launched by Kennedy Space Center on April 11, 1970. The movie is the most accurate depiction of real scenarios faced by crew members when the mission was aborted after an oxygen tank in the service module exploded and caused havoc.
The lunar landing was canceled just two days before touchdown, and mission controllers started working on a survival plan. The crew survived in a chilly and wet cabin with limited resources. On April 17, the whole world watched the splashdown of Apollo 13 in the South Pacific Ocean on television. The movie received Academy Film Awards and grossed over $355 million worldwide. (Source)
2. Fair Game (2010)
Fair Game, a 2010 movie based on the real-life story of Valerie Plame, a diplomatic American CIA agent who worked in Iraq and spied on the Iraqi government. Valerie’s cover was blown when her husband publishes an article with critical information that only Valerie could have known.
The 2010 masterpiece, Fair Game, is a biological political drama based on the real-life story of Valerie Plame directed by Doug Liman and starring Naomi Watts and Sean Penn. The story revolves around the real-life character Valerie Plame and her husband Joseph Wilson. She is a diplomatic American CIA agent who works in Iraq and spies on the Iraqi government.
In 2002, she was given the assignment to investigate Saddam Hussein’s nuclear and biological weapons programs. Her job was to report whether Iraq was developing any weapons of mass destruction. After investigating, she came to know that Iraq wasn’t developing any weapons of mass destruction, but she was told to stay quiet by the White House officials.
However, Valerie’s husband decided to do the opposite and published an article in the New York Times claiming that the reports regarding Iraq developing mass destruction weapons are false. As payback for her husband’s article, Valerie’s identity was revealed by the White House officials to discredit her husband’s controversial allegations against the Bush administration. This revelation created havoc in her professional as well as in her personal life. (Source)
3. The Hills Have Eyes (1977)
The 1977 film, The Hills Have Eyes, is a horror drama where a family is preyed upon by a family of psychotic cannibals. The movie is based on a true 16th-century legend of Alexander Sawney Bean and his family of cannibals who used to ambush travelers, rob them, murder, and later dismember them for dinner.
The 1977 cult classic film, The Hills Have Eyes, was directed by Wes Craven. The movie is about a suburban Carter family traveling on a vacation to Los Angeles. An accident leaves them stranded in the Nevada desert unaware of the fact that the place they are stranded is the site of mutant monsters with a developed taste for human flesh.
The story is fictional but inspired by the true 16th-century legend of Alexander Sawney Bean and his family of cannibals who terrorized the travelers of Scotland. They used to rob the travelers and then murder them. Later they dismembered the bodies to prepare them for a feast. Bean and his wife Agnes have nourished their family with meat sourced from abducted travelers for 25 years.
Sawney Bean and his family consumed over 1,000 human beings before a failed abduction ended their horror spree. All the members of the Sawney Bean clan were arrested and executed by King James VI for their heinous crimes. There is another movie inspired by Bean’s case, The Hills Have Eyes, 2006, which also has a similar kind of plot. (Source)
4. Veronica (2017)
Veronica is a 2017 horror movie where a teen girl gets besieged by an evil supernatural force after playing with an Ouija board. In reality, a teenage girl named Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro died mysteriously in 1991, and it was suspected that her death was related to her interest in Ouija boards.
Veronica is a 2017, Spanish, supernatural horror movie based on real events directed by Paco Plaza. The movie is about a teenage girl named Veronica who is still reeling from her father’s death and decides to communicate with her father.
She convinces two of her high school friends to conduct an Ouija board seance during a rare solar eclipse in 1991. The Ouija session goes wrong and something happens to Veronica. She later suffers from hallucinations and horrible visions.
In reality, the teenage girl named Estefania Gutierrez Lazaro in Vallecas, south Madrid, died mysteriously after playing with an Ouija board in 1990. She performed a seance in school with her two friends, trying to contact the spirit of her friend’s boyfriend, but the ritual was interrupted by a teacher.
The group reported that they saw strange smoke going up through Estefania’s mouth and nose. Over the next six months, Estefania started suffering from hallucinations and seizures. Later, she was found dead in her bedroom, and her parents suspected that her death could be related to her interest in the Ouija board. The death of Estefania is still a mystery. (Source)
5. Rescue Dawn (2006)
Rescue Dawn is a 2006 movie narrating the true story of Dieter Dengler who was a survivor of the Vietnam War. In 1966, he was shot down during a mission in Laos and was held captive. He planned an escape with his prison inmates but got lost in the jungle. Twenty-three days after the escape, he was rescued by Colonel Deatrick.
The 2006 movie, Rescue Dawn, is an epic, war-drama film directed by Werner Herzog starring Christian Bale as German-American pilot Dieter Dengler. The movie depicts the true story of the pilot, Dieter Dengler, who was shot down in Laos during the Vietnam War while on a covert attack mission for the United States Navy.
Dengler survived the crash but was captured by Pathet Lao. He was brutally tortured and was taken to a prison camp where he meets his fellow American pilots who have been held captive for years. Dengler and his five other cellmates started planning a mass escape.
Dengler and his friends broke free from the POW camp, but the escape didn’t go as planned, and they got lost in an impenetrable jungle with limited living resources. Twenty-three days after his escape, Dengler was rescued by the pilot Colonel Deatrick who was on a bombing mission and saw Dengler waving his hand. Despite the critical acclaim, the movie was not a box office success but was indeed an inspirable one. (Source)
Also read: 10 Movies That Caused Controversy Before Release