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Movies Based on a True Story

Can you identify these recent films based on actual events?
"Based" on actual events does not mean the movie is factually accurate
Last updated: September 19, 2017
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Year
Description
Movie
2017
British soldiers must be evacuated from France in the opening days of WWII
Dunkirk
2016
Oil rig workers in the Gulf of Mexico must deal with a massive blowout and fire
Deepwater Horizon
2015
Eccentric investor makes money by betting against the U.S. housing market
The Big Short
2014
Olympian spends 47 days in a raft before being sent to a prisoner-of-war camp
Unbroken
2014
Civil rights leader marches in campaign to secure equal voting rights
Selma
2014
Navy SEAL's battlefield shooting accuracy saves countless lives
American Sniper
2013
Merchant mariner is taken hostage by Somali pirates
Captain Phillips
2013
Free African-American is kidnapped and sold into slavery
12 Years a Slave
2013
Rodeo man smuggles drugs to his fellow AIDS patients
Dallas Buyers Club
2012
Decade-long manhunt for Al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden
Zero Dark Thirty
2012
Fake film crew rescues Amercan diplomats in Iran in 1979
Argo
2011
Black maids and white employer have a complicated relationship in 1960s Mississippi
The Help
2011
The 2002 Oakland Athletics build a roster of undervalued players
Moneyball
2011
Dolphin gets fitted with prosthetic tail
Dolphin Tale
2010
Mark Zuckerberg creates Facebook, but makes a few enemies on the way
The Social Network
2010
American outdoorsman is trapped under a boulder and must amputate his own arm
127 Hours
2010
King George VI suffers from a stammer
The King's Speech
2009
Nelson Mandela inspires the South African rugby team
Invictus
2009
Family adopts a future NFL offensive lineman
The Blind Side
2008
German army officers plot to assasinate Adolf Hitler
Valkyrie
+1
level 73
Sep 10, 2014
Grrr...I was off by one hour.
+1
level 60
Oct 10, 2014
Me to! I could not remember how many hours, but mt guesses were far short. And for the Jackie Robinson, I tried every number in the 40s and 50s except 42.
+1
level 67
Sep 19, 2017
I knew how many hours, but forgot 5 years...
+2
level 54
Oct 7, 2014
Not sure The Help is a true story....
+4
level 31
Oct 9, 2014
It isn't. In fact, the author was sued for stealing someone's story and the lawsuit was thrown out (although for statute of limitations). The author claims she only met the woman briefly.
+2
level 69
Dec 6, 2016
The story being inspired/borrowed/stolen by the author doesn't make it untrue. Most of these films have scripts that divert from actual facts anyway
+1
level 82
Sep 20, 2017
The Help is based on a novel. Katherine Stockett, the author of the novel, has repeatedly insisted that it is NOT based on a true story. She was sued by someone who said a character was based on a real person, but the case was dismissed. Cite: https://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/celebritology/post/the-help-lawsuit-against-kathryn-stockett-dismissed/2011/08/16/gIQAiCWqJJ_blog.html?utm_term=.35f1c1f3fd76
+1
level 52
Oct 7, 2014
All I could think of was Seabiscuit for horses
+1
level 36
Oct 7, 2014
me too...that and that crappy film with the zebra!!!
+1
level 43
Nov 5, 2015
Racing Stripes is a quality piece of film. How dare you call it crappy! I can guarantee that you've never seen a better duet of CGI flies singing Ebony and Ivory.
+1
level 74
Oct 7, 2014
I saw most of these, but just couldn't remember the correct titles. I tried A Dolphin Tale, The Dolphin Tale, Dolphin's Tale. Then I was thinking, "What was that movie where Captain Phillips was taken hostage by pirates???" Sigh.
+1
level 59
Oct 7, 2014
All of these films are recent, all of them I'm aware of at least through publicity and reviews. And I could remember maybe half the films' titles.
+1
level 2
Oct 7, 2014
good quizz
+1
level 51
Oct 11, 2014
Thank you!
+1
level 27
Oct 9, 2014
My efforts were absolutely woeful! I've only seen 4 on this list. I really should watch more movies.
+1
level 10
Mar 16, 2016
I got only one. Talk about bad!
+1
level 61
Jan 12, 2017
I got 14/20 but I've only seen one of them...42.
+2
level 43
Oct 9, 2014
Could you accept the k-k-k-k-k-king's sp-sp-sp-speech? :-D
+2
level 37
Oct 11, 2014
I thought the last one would be Inglourious Basterds, until I realized the soldiers in that movie were more of Fresh/Jewish-Americans.
+1
level 37
Oct 11, 2014
*French
+1
level 68
Oct 12, 2014
Yeah, I also thought Inglourious Basterds was there as a joke, and Valkyrie is a 2008 movie after all.
+2
level 73
Aug 23, 2015
Inglorius Basterds is pretty much pure fantasy. Not based on anything even if it takes place with the backdrop of real historical events.
+2
level 56
Aug 23, 2015
American Sniper is not a totally true story. Creating a villain of another ethnicity just to make the protagonist not evil? Great job... Nothing more than disgusting propaganda.
+6
level 66
Aug 23, 2015
Says the guy who didn't see the movie. If you had you would know that that wasn't the story.
+5
level 73
Aug 23, 2015
Yeah this comment is absurd. And I'm not in favor of the Iraq war, nor do I have anything against Iraqis as a people, nor am I a big fan of the protagonist in the film, nor would I say that the film gets many points for being totally accurate. But still... ridiculous comment. And I'm sure Zippy is probably right.
+2
level 59
Oct 20, 2016
I agree. I saw it, and it's hardly pro-war. There's action, then he gets PTSD (spoiler) and has trouble with his wife. It's not all "MERICA!
+1
level 73
Feb 27, 2018
exactly. After all the negative press, and knowing what Clint Eastwood's politics are like, I was actually expecting a heavy handed jingoistic movie that made Kyle out to be Sergeant York. But it wasn't that at all. At the very end at the funeral scene it did start to veer slightly into that territory, but up until then it was a well-told story about the high cost of war and the toll it takes on all those involved. There was definitely nothing at all racist about it.
+2
level 80
Sep 20, 2017
There's nothing in the notes saying the stories are "totally true". In fact, quite the opposite. Hollywood is riddled with movies "based on actual events" that bear very little resemblance to reality. Creative license is quite regularly taken with "true stories". That's show biz.
+1
level 73
Feb 27, 2018
On the follow-up quiz I authored I tried to include a mix of films: some that are very historically accurate and others that are a load of bollocks, just to perhaps stir up conversation.
+1
level 58
Mar 2, 2018
American movies about American heroes should always be taken with a big truckload of salt. (and before you get butthurt, same goes for other countries making films about their achievements).
+1
level 73
Mar 2, 2018
Have you seen the movie?
+1
level 73
Mar 2, 2018
I actually find Americans to be *much* more willing to be self-critical than almost any other group of people on Earth. Brits are often a bit self-deprecating, maybe that's in part where they get it from, but I feel like Americans take it to a different level. If you look at other countries is it *exceptionally* rare that you find anything in their art, literature, or news media that is self-critical or even self-reflective. And when I talk to people from these places it's often the case that they just assume that this is the way it should be and so are very confused by American media. But look at films like... American History X, Apocalypse Now, Platoon, Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee, Syriana, Fahrenheit 9/11, White Light/Black Rain, The Fog of War, Three Kings, Green Zone, Roots, Dances With Wolves, etc and it would seem like Americans have no problem protraying themselves as flawed and imperfect people capable of moral failings.
+1
level 73
Mar 2, 2018
and, while the film includes some exploits by Chris Kyle that might be exaggerated or altered for dramatic effect, and it was based on his book which has attracted a lot of critical scrutiny, I would also include American Sniper on that list. It does not portray the Americans in the film as unrealistically virtuous- they are simply human beings just like the Iraqis portrayed in the same film.

Not to say that all American films are great. There is also jingoistic melodramatic crap like The Patriot.
+1
level 73
Mar 2, 2018
anticipating someone strawmanning me and launching into some hysterical overreaction about how films from their country are also self critical, I did NOT say that no other people are capable of this. There are plenty of fine reflective and self-critical films from places like France, Japan, Poland, Israel, and so on. I just said it's rare. I don't feel like you see it as much anywhere outside of the USA, and in some places... Saudi Arabia or Thailand, for example... you don't really see it at all. Many countries tightly control and censor their media if it's not just directly controlled by the state. Many others have laws against criticizing the government or the monarchy or the state religion. Some conflate criticism of groups of people with hate speech. Most don't have very robust protections for free speech or artistic expression. Before you respond think of the entire world, not just your section of it.
+1
level 61
Aug 23, 2015
It would be nice if "The Dallas Buyers Club" could also work. :)
+1
level 75
Apr 4, 2016
I think it's better to say "A man gets his hand trapped under a boulder for 5 days" or whatever so people don't know how he finally escapes.
+1
level 71
Nov 4, 2016
In my memory, 127 hours was an Australian story. Weird.
+1
level 48
Apr 30, 2017
The guy was American, but it happened in Australia.
+2
level 53
Jul 13, 2017
Actually it happened in Utah
+1
level 48
Apr 30, 2017
If you're not into war, or American sport (as I'm not) this one is tough.
+1
level 73
Feb 27, 2018
Doesn't really matter unless you also don't like movies. Also, there is only one of these movies that I would label a true "sports movie," and that one is about South African sports. I hate sports, but I still found Moneyball entertaining.

Only 3, maybe 4, that I would label as "war movies." But they've all got other things going on; even Dunkirk which is the most war-centric of all of them.
+2
level 66
Sep 22, 2017
Yeah a tad too American centric this one.
+2
level 73
Mar 2, 2018
Americans make the most movies that are widely seen and popular all over the world. But that aside this quiz features films that take place entirely or mostly in: France, England, Somalia, Germany, Japan, Iran, England again, South Africa, and more Germany. You people are silly.
+1
level 74
Dec 23, 2017
Dunkirk description also fits Darkest Hour.
+1
level 53
Feb 27, 2018
The Dunkirk dilemma, though central to Darkest Hour's storytelling and purpose, was really more of a subplot than anything. Actual Dunkirk is on-screen for less than ten minutes, and the subplot isn't completely resolved within the movie, instead leaving the viewer to figure out how it ended for themselves.
+1
level 74
Feb 27, 2018
I know most people thought Dunkirk was fantastic, but I was disappointed in it, and all members of my family who saw it agreed. I suppose it was a case of unfulfilled expectations. But I immediately knew which film it was from the description. (Great quiz, BTW.)
+1
level 48
Feb 27, 2018
In the hint for "Argo", American is misspelled Amercan. Also, please include Sully(2016).
+1
level 73
Feb 27, 2018
I didn't really like Sully. But there are of course plenty of films based on true stories out there. So many anyone who felt inclined could easily make a sequel.
+1
level 53
Feb 27, 2018
Sully was good! I mean, it had its problems, especially with overdramatisation, but most films on this list suffer from similar errors.
+1
level 73
Feb 27, 2018
meh... the story just didn't appeal to me.
+1
level 74
Feb 27, 2018
I enjoyed Sully, too. I've seen all but five of these, and enjoyed them all except, as I stated earlier, Dunkirk. It was a real disappointment for me with no characters to really care about, and much of it almost like a documentary.
+1
level 73
Feb 27, 2018
I enjoyed Dunkirk but... yeah I can see your point, ander
+1
level 73
Feb 27, 2018
Actually Quizmaster already made a sequel. So I made part 3

I even included a Chinese movie on the quiz but I'm sure less than 2% will get that one.
+1
level 73
Feb 27, 2018
I made another one with Sully in it. here you go
+1
level 73
Mar 5, 2018
Another problem I had with Sully in addition to it not being a terribly interesting story to me is that most of the drama in the film comes from the NTSB attacking and being antagonistic toward hero-pilot Sully... which just never happened. They investigated the crash but it wasn't like in the film. If the movie was true to life it would have been even more boring.
+1
level 50
Feb 27, 2018
got 15/20 and the only one i've actually seen is Argo.
+1
level 33
Feb 27, 2018
19/20, and I knew Unbroken was directed by Angelina Jolie but I could pull the title. Good Quiz!
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