Whether you realize it or not, Hollywood has made its bones by aping the crazy, inspiring, or unbelievable things that happen in the real world. In fact, the first full-length feature film, 1906’s The Story of the Kelly Gang, was based on a true story. In the century since the film’s release, moviemakers have not lost their appetite for real-world stories. A lot of the time you can’t trust all the facts you see in a “based on a true story” movie, but that doesn’t make them any less magical. The stories we relate to most have some element of truth, perhaps that’s why Hollywood keeps going to the “true story” well so often — or maybe it’s easier reading a newspaper than coming up with creative, new fiction. Either way, films that are based on a true story carry with them some extra, ineffable expectation, something we can hardly define, but that’s no less obvious when it’s in front of us. In the long history of Hollywood aping the true stories happening all around us, here are some of the best.
15. Good Morning, Vietnam
This is one of those “true” films that’s described as being based “loosely” on real events. That is to say that Robin Willam’s character, Adrian Cronauer, was indeed a hugely popular radio DJ during the Vietnam war. Beyond that, pretty much everything is fictional. Robin Williams even improvised his own radio broadcasts rather than use Cronauer’s originals. That doesn’t stop the film from being uproariously funny while capturing some glimmer of reality of the human toll that the Vietnam War took on its people.
More in Movies
12 Movie Bloopers That Accidentally Became Movie History
Unlike a lot of other art forms, filmmaking is a genuinely collaborative effort. There’s no such thing as complete control on...February 2, 2018
These 12 Holiday Movies Are Definitely on Santa’s Naughty List
What would Christmas be without all of the great movies that focus on it? Many families include their favorite films in...December 8, 2017
10 Reasons Winter 2017 Is the Best Movie Season in Years
With 2017 essentially over, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the only things left to check off on your to-do list...December 4, 2017
9 Reasons to Get Excited About James Franco’s ‘The Disaster Artist’
As the annual Academy Awards race begins to heat up, there is one movie among the pack that seems like a...December 1, 2017
Here’s What ‘World War Z’ Really Looks Like Without Visual Effects
In 2013, the zombie action film World War Z was released starring Brad Pitt. The movie, which was based on a...November 28, 2017
12 Movie Sets You Can Actually Visit
What happens to movie sets after filming is complete? While many sets are built on studio lots and unassembled when filming...November 16, 2017