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The truly fascinating stories behind famous movies


The truly fascinating stories behind famous movies

Some stories seem like they were taken from the wildest imagination of their creator, but they are in fact more real than the reality itself. If you don’t mind spoilers, check out these too good to be real movies.

Moneyball

Both the film and the book Moneyball are based on the true story of the Oakland Athletics MLB team and how they made their spectacular turnaround in the 2002.

Moneyball

It tells the story of how the Athletics general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt) was the first team to use analytics and an evidence based approach to hiring new rookies, thus bringing them the championship, and creating a method which has been used in sports ever since.

The Devil Wears Prada

Based on the novel written by Lauren Weisberger, the film The Devil Wears Prada is a tell all of Weisberger’s experiences working as the personal assistant to Anna Wintour – the head of Vogue magazine.

The Devil Wears Prada

Wintour herself is considered to be one of the toughest people in the fashion industry, explaining why Meryl Streep’s character in the movie, named Miranda Priestly, is so mean spirited and rough.

Catch Me If You Can

In the hit movie Catch Me if You Can, serial imposter Frank Abagnale pretends to be a whole plethora of people – from an airline pilot to a lawyer to even a doctor!

Catch Me If You Can

This may sound too crazy to be true but Frank, who was played by Leonardo DiCaprio in the movie, actually did all of this and more. After spending several years in federal prison, the FBI finally gave him his freedom on the condition that he teach the FBI how he was able to defraud so many people.

Big Eyes

This movie chronicling the life of 1960’s era artist and painter Margaret Keane. She would typically draw and paint subjects with big, over the top, almost alien like eyes, something which would go on to become her trademark.

Big Eyes

However, the premise of the movie rests on the lawsuit she had against her husband, Walter Keane, who was taking credit for all of her hard work and energies.

Deepwater Horizon

The Deepwater Horizon was a deep water drilling platform in the Gulf of Mexico which, one day in 2010, exploded, taking the lives of 11 people and injuring 17 others. What resulted was the worst man made accidental marine oil spill of all time.

Deepwater Horizon

Oil reached everywhere from Florida to Alabama to Louisiana to Texas, devastating local industry there, and destroying natural habitats. The area was so polluted from this spill that there are even defects in the animals in the Gulf of Mexico to this day.

The Danish Girl

The film of The Danish Girl tells the story of the first person to ever undergo gender reassignment surgery. This person, born Einar Magnus Andreas Wegener, would eventually go on to become a woman in the medical sense.

The Danish Girl

The movie portrays how she had to deal with being transgender even though she was married to another woman, and how her art influenced her to make her brave decision.

Seabiscuit

Starring Tobey Maguire as jockey Red Pollard, Seabiscuit is the movie about a thoroughbred racehorse who was one of the most winningest horses in all of American racehorse history.

Seabiscuit

Thought to be a runt and too small to race or run quickly, he ended up beating all of the other racehorses in race after race, inspiring people. The horse did all of this during the great depression, and gave people hope that things will get better.

Walk The Line

Portraying world famous legendary country music star Johnny Cash, Joaquin Phoenix accurately portrays how Cash rose in prominence in the country music scene.

Walk The Line

It shows him going to perform his famous show in San Quentin prison, his relationship with June Carter Cash, and his descent into substance abuse which he eventually got out of after finding religion. The movie was critically acclaimed by the press and was widely enjoyed by Johnny Cash’s family.

Hachi

The film Hachi: A Dog’s Tale is the heartwarming true story of a dog named Hachiko in Japan. Hailing originally from Odate in the Akita prefecture of Japan, this dog (whose breed is also called Akita) was immortalized in film due to his strong loyalty to his owner.

Hachi

After his owner died, the dog would go to his grave and mourn. The dog would do this every day until the dog himself died nine years later.

Apollo 13

The story of what was supposed to be the third manned United States Space mission to the moon, Apollo 13 experienced a catastrophic oxygen tank explosion.

Apollo 13

Using their advanced training and a lot of ingenuity, the astronauts were able to get back to earth safely. The film itself was actually filmed in what is known as the “vomit comet,” an airplane which simulates what happens when there is no gravity.

The Imitation Game

Starring British superstar actor Benedict Cumberbatch as Alan Turing, this is the story of how Turing built a machine that would be of utter importance during World War II.

The Imitation Game

A mathematician and scientist, Turing was the first person to be able to break the enigma machine’s code. He then had the honor of deciding when to tell the British government when a German U-boat would hit a British ship. Due to having an alternative lifestyle, he was shunned from British history and imprisoned.

Gangs Of New York

The motion picture Gangs of New York is based on a book of the same name written in the early 1900’s. The story is set in the mid 1800s, and portrays the life of the average person in the impoverished Five Points neighborhood in Lower Manhattan, specifically the average person in a gang there.

Gangs Of New York

This included all manner of morally egregious behavior, such as saloons and gambling dens.

Hacksaw Ridge

In the movie Hacksaw Ridge, Desmond Doss is an army medic and pacifist serving in the Pacific theatre of World War II. This true story shows how, despite not believing in war due to his religious, Seventh-Day Adventist beliefs, he still showed courage under fire and saved countless lives without firing a single shot at the Battle of Okinawa.

Hacksaw Ridge

Due to his heroism, Doss would go on to win the distinguished Medal of Honor.

The Terminal

Inspired by the true story of Iranian dissident Mehran Karimi Nasseri, The Terminal, starring Tom Hanks, shows the life of a man who is forced to live in New York’s JFK airport as he is not allowed neither into the US nor back to his home country.

The Terminal

This is exactly what happened to Nasseri, who upon legally landing at Charles de Gaulle International Airport in Paris, was not allowed to enter France. He was also expelled from Iran so he could not return home. He ended up living in the airport for 18 years.

American Gangster

The movie American Gangster is the fictionalized re-telling of the story of Frank Lucas, a man who after the Vietnam war became powerful dealer of illegal substances on the streets of New York.

American Gangster

Originally from North Carolina, Lukas, played by Denzel Washington, would go directly to Vietnam and Cambodia to bring back illegal substances, which his gang would sell on the streets of many major cities.

The Bling Ring

The Bling Ring seemed like it was an act based on film and not the other way around. The film, however, is based on a group of eight young men and women who broke into several celebrities homes between October 2008 and August 2009 and proceeded to steal expensive items.

The Bling Ring

The worth of the products they stole was somewhere in the $3 million mark. Some of the high-profile individuals who were targeted were Orlando Bloom, Lindsay Lohan, and Paris Hilton.

The Wolf Of Wall Street

In another one of Leonardo DiCaprio’s famous roles, he plays the character of a man named Jordan Belfort. The Wolf of Wall Street is Belfort’s actual life story. The entirety of the movie centers around how Belfort actually got rich relatively quickly by committing various acts of quasi-legal to illegal fraud as well as stock market manipulation.

The Wolf Of Wall Street

Spoiler alert: Belfort ended up going to jail for his crimes, but was released after 22 months in prison.

American Hustle

American Hustle is based on the very real events of a sting operation by the FBI. In the 70s and 80s, the FBI planted an Arab Sheikh in a situation where he would try and bribe his way to a fast-tracked citizenship into the US.

American Hustle

The FBI used a real con man to track down the officials who helped the planted Sheikh get his expedited papers. All in all there were 19 people who were arrested in this sting operation, including a senator, mayor, and congressmen.

Titanic

The movie Titanic is a film adaptation of the tragedy which occurred to the ship of the same name in 1912. It details the sinking of this “unsinkable ship” in which over 1,500 people sank to their deaths, constituting one of the most deadly maritime incidents in modern history.

Titanic

Director James Cameron was driven to make the movie after watching an IMAX movie about the disaster. He said that he didn’t necessarily want to make the movie, he just wanted the studios to pay for his dive down there.

The Founder

The founder is the amazing true story of Ray Krock. Krock was a business partner of two brothers named the McDonald’s brothers who asked him to help franchise out their burger restaurants.

The Founder

He did so well with not only sales but in standardizing everything so that it tasted exactly the same, that he ended up turning the company (after he bought it of course) into an international super-franchise. In fact, there is a McDonalds scale, where the number of Mcdonald’s in a country indicates how democratic it is.

Black Mass

Black mass is the story of Whitey Bulgar who was the boss of the Boston area Winter Hill gang. Bulgar, who was played by Jonny Depp, was in control of most of the organized crime in south Boston until a new gang, the North End Angiulo Brothers, came to town and started becoming a threat.

Black Mass

Bulgar then went to the FBI to try and get them to bring down his rivals. Bulgar is now an old man sitting in jail for the rest of his life.

The Revenant

The hit film The Revenant is based off of the true story of the life of a man named Hugh Glass. Glass was a trader, explorer, and a frontiersman who was mauled by a grizzly bear and left for dead by the people he was leading.

The Revenant

However, it turns out he was still alive, and wound up crawling on his belly for over 200 miles until he reached the nearest outpost. For doing this, he has become a legend in the state of South Dakota.

Donnie Brasco

Donnie Brasco is about a man named, you guessed it, Donnie Brasco, which was the alias name of an FBI agent named Joe Pistone. Played by Johnny Depp, Donnie Brasco portrays how Joe infiltrated and worked undercover with the Bonanno as well as the Colombo crime families.

Donnie Brasco

He helped prove to the FBI how crucial undercover work was, and was reportedly able to get so close due to his Sicilian heritage.

Goodfellas

The crime movie Goodfellas is loosely based on Henry Hill, a New York City mobster who was associated with the Lucchese crime family between the years 1955 up until he became an FBI informant in 1980.

Goodfellas

Due to his becoming an informant, several high ranking mafia members were arrested and stopped in New York City, including James Burke and Paul Vario, along with 48 other people.

Everest

The movie Everest is based off of the incredible survivor of a mountain climber on Mt. Everest. After being left for dead in a snowstorm by his climbing party in 1996 on the slopes of the world’s tallest mountain, he managed somehow to survive the snowstorm and trek back down the mountain alone.

Everest

This was despite the fact that he was blinded by the ultraviolet radiation that high up in the mountains.

Jackie

Jackie Kennedy is portrayed in the recent film Jackie by the lovely Natalie Portman. The film is based on the life of Jackie Kennedy directly following the assassination of John F. Kennedy, then-US president and her husband.

Jackie

The film is based off of an interview Jackie did with Life magazine. Natalie’s performance was said to be very compelling, while the story itself had people see a new side of Jackie.

McFarland, USA

McFarland, USA is a Disney film that brought to life the true story of the track team at McFarland High School in the city of McFarland, California. The team’s story was of interest as they had a very impressive 24 ICF Central Section championship winning streak that lasted 26 years.

McFarland, USA

The reason for the teams success was thought to have been thanks to the team’s coach, James White, who was portrayed by Kevin Costner.

Beauty and the Beast

The live action version of the film Beauty and the Beast, which is based on the Disney film from many years ago, actually goes back to the true story of a young man who suffered from hypertrichosis, a rare genetic condition that had a large amount of hair grow on his body and face.

Beauty and the Beast

The young man in question was brought to King Henry II of France’s court and later married to a woman named Catherine. He and Catherine had seven children, four of which inherited their father’s condition.

Lion

A moving tale of a boy who went missing and was adopted by a family and taken from India to Australia. While the story is incredible, it is very true. Saroo Brierley was five years old when he was separated from his family in India by being left in a train station by his brother for a period of time.

Lion

Little Saroo ended up boarding the train and was taken to one of the biggest cities in India after a few days trip. He was found by an orphanage and eventually adopted by an Australian family that took him home. 25 years later, Saroo decided he needed to find his birth family and used Google Earth and Google Maps to find his way home.

Hidden Figures

The inspirational true story of three female African-American women who changed the course of history for women and women of color. The three women, who are portrayed in the Academy Award nominated film, were mathematicians who worked at NASA during the Space Race with Russia.

Hidden Figures

The women in question are Katherine Globe Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson. The film shows the path these women took to help NASA despite being women in an all male field.

The Pursuit Of Happyness

Will Smith starred as Chris Gardner in the movie Pursuit of Happiness, chronicling the true story of Gardner and his rise from success. But he truly started from the bottom.

The Pursuit Of Happyness

He was homeless as he was both raising his son and working as an unpaid intern at a stock broking company. However, all of his hard work paid off, and today, Gardner is now one of the most successful futures traders in the world.

Unbroken

Directed by Angelina Jolie, Unbroken is the story of a brave American World War II airman named Louis “Louie” Zamperini. An olympic track star before the war, he survived a plane crash in the pacific after his plane was shot down by an enemy Japanese aircraft.

Unbroken

He was then forced to survive for six weeks in a raft, until finally being picked up… by Japanese boats. He was then moved around Japanese prison and work camps for the next two years until his release.

The Blind Side

Carolina Panthers offensive Tackle Michael Oher has a fascinating story to tell. In high school, he was the child of an abusive mother, and lived in a very rough part of town in Mississippi.

The Blind Side

However, with the loving help of Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock), a mother of one of his classmates, Oher was able to rise up and become a professional football player, overcoming what would have otherwise been insurmountable obstacles.

Joy

The critically acclaimed film Joy is based off of the true story of the life of a woman named Joy Mangano who was both a businesswoman as well as an inventor, most notably inventing the Miracle Mop.

Joy

The mop revolutionized cleaning by being a self wringing mop, and eventually sold her mop making company to the Home Shopping Network, which would go on to sell over $10 million in mops.