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Movies we can’t believe were based on a true story

Fact, as the saying goes, can often be stranger than fiction. If you’re curious then here are some of our favorite based on true story movies.

Movies we can’t believe were based on a true story

Fact, as the saying goes, can often be stranger than fiction. While we can be inclined to disagree at times (especially with the advent of Riverdale), the saying still holds plenty of water. For those of us who like to know how stranger fact can get from fiction, there are the films that are “based on true stories”.

Whether or not they’re truly taken from real life, well that’s up to us to learn about. For the most part, these films are entertaining, even though it blows our minds later to learn that they are, in some part, true. If you’re curious about them, then here are some of our favorite based on true story movies.

The Men Who Stare At Goats (2011)

For as long as there have been stories about psychics, there have been stories about the government trying to use psychic abilities. Or, well, that’s what the conspiracy theories tell us anyway. The Men Who Stare at Goats is based on the 2004 book of the same name by Jon Ronson, investigating military experiments into psychic abilities.

Now not everything is true to life, George Clooney’s character of Lyn Cassady is an amalgamation of several psychic spies. Still, there were experiments into weaponizing psychic powers and there were goats involved with them. After watching the film, you’ll find yourself down one bizarre rabbit hole.

The Conjuring franchise (2013-Present)

This is a bit of a cheat, but all the films in The Conjuring franchise, which includes Annabelle and The Nun, are actually based on real events. Now for some, such as Annabelle, the horror levels are ramped up. (The IRL Annabelle is a Raggedy Anne doll so also there were licensing issues as well.)

The Conjuring, especially the original 2013 film, focuses on the cases of Ed and Lorraine Warren, who were real-life paranormal hunters. The really terrifying thing is that the majority of the events of the films are not that overly exaggerated. 

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

If you love true crime but want a more light-hearted romp, then definitely check out Catch Me If You Can. This Steve Spielberg-directed film follows the life of con-man Frank Abagnale Jr (Leonardo DiCaprio) and the FBI agent who chased him (Tom Hanks). It’s a fascinating film about the con-man’s life and a very thrilling and funny two hours. 

More importantly, it was made into a musical. Catch Me If You Can has several earworms. So fans of White Collar will definitely love this.

Hidden Figures (2016)

Hidden Figures tells the story of the genuine unsung heroes of the space race: the black female mathematicians. Starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monáe, Hidden Figures looks at the achievements of Katherine Globe, Mary Jackson, and Dorothy Vaughn all while not shying away from the racist and sexist attitudes of the 60s. 

Even so, Hidden Figures tells the stories that deserved to be told and introduces a generation to some true American heroes. 

The Farewell (2019)

We’re still bitter about Awkwafina being snubbed in the Best Actress category of the 2020 Oscars for her work in The Farewell. If you haven’t heard of this film, then now’s the perfect time to check it out. It dramatizes a true story from the life of writer-director Lulu Wang. In The Farewell, a family gathers to spend some time with the matriarch before she dies. Only . . . she doesn’t know she’s dying.

The Farewell is one of the best films of 2019, even if it didn’t get the love at award season that it so richly deserved.

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Bec Heim is a freelance writer who has contributed and edited for sites like NetflixLife, ScreenRant, and 4 Your Excitement. When not talking and writing about pop culture (especially superheroes or any show with a paranormal bent), she is usually tackling her mountain of books, writing scripts or stories, or listening to podcasts.

bheim@filmdaily.co

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