Crazy Movies Based On True Stories

January 24, 2022 | Benjamin Carpenter

Fiction encompasses a wide variety of stories with no limits on what can be told. However, real-life stories have some of the most unpredictable turns, and they can be even more surprising than what any fiction writer could invent. Truth is stranger than fiction and these movies are perfect examples of that. In this blog post, we list 8 crazy movies based on true stories. These movies have twists and turns to the narrative that you’ll doubt happened in real life. This list is in no particular order.


8 Crazy Movies Based On Real Life

8. The Wolf of Wall Street

The Wolf of Wall Street, directed by Martin Scorsese and starring Leonardo DiCaprio, broke records because of how much profanity was used in the film. Scorsese felt the over-the-top material was necessary to capture the lavish lifestyle of Jordan Belfort. The movie takes us through Jordan Belfort’s rise to being a wealthy stockbroker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption, and the federal government. The Wolf of Wall Street is based on a 2007 memoir by Jordan Belfort.


Where To Watch The Wolf of Wall Street

Paramount Plus


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7. Zodiac

The stories of serial killers are tales we’d love to be fiction, however, they rarely are. The zodiac killer is one of the most infamous killers in American history and David Fincher’s film tells the story of how the police and citizens tried to find out the killer’s identity. Zodiac takes place between 1968 and 1983. The movie follows a San Francisco cartoonist who becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree. For those unfamiliar with the story, Zodiac is one of the craziest movies based on real events.


Where To Watch Zodiac

Prime Video
Apple TV
Google Play Movies & TV


6. Dog Day Afternoon

This crime drama is about one of the most bizarre heists you’ll ever see, made all the more strange because it’s based on a true event. The heist that was done by John Wojtowicz and Salvatore Antonio “Sal” Naturile, is one of the biggest media circuses of the 1970s. Dog Day Afternoon centers around this heist and tells the story of three amateur bank robbers who create a simple plan to hold up a bank that becomes a complicated nightmare as everything that could go wrong does. Al Pacino gives a performance as the robber that is both desperate and sympathetic. Dog Day Afternoon proves to be one of Pacino’s best performances of his career.


Where To Watch Dog Day Afternoon



5. Changeling

Every once in a while there is a convergence of different events that make a story feel too strange to be nonfiction. Changeling is one of those movies, but almost everything in the film took place in real-life. The film is about grief-stricken mother Christine Collins (Angelina Jolie) who takes on the L.A.P.D. to her own detriment when it tries to pass off an obvious impostor as her missing child. Changeling is a shocking, frustrating, and haunting tale, owing in large part to the police department’s behavior toward Christine, the boy pretending to be her missing child, and many other elements that you’ll have to see to believe.


Where To Watch Changeling



4. Memories Of Murder

Before the film Zodiac, there was Memories of Murder. Directed by Bong Joon-Ho, Memories of Murder centers around South Korea’s first string of serial murders from 1986 to 1991. The film follows two detectives as they struggle with the case of multiple young women being found raped and murdered by an unknown culprit in a small Korean province in 1986. Bong Joon-Ho created the film believing that the killer, who wasn’t identified at the time, would watch it to relive the murders. However, unbeknownst to Joon-Ho, the killer was serving life in prison already and would be identified 6 years later.


Where To Watch Memories of Murder



3. The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Whether you are religious or not, The Exorcism of Emily Rose is an important and unfortunate story based on true events. Despite the film’s title, the film is actually a courtroom drama that recounts an exorcism in pieces. The Exorcism of Emily Rose is about a lawyer who takes on a negligent homicide case involving a priest who performed an exorcism on a young girl. Jennifer Carpenter gives a convincingly creepy performance as Emily Rose and showcases why she is an extremely underrated actress. Faith is pit against science in the film and although there isn’t ever an answer between the two, the dramatization of events puts a lot more emphasis on the supernatural.


Where To Watch The Exorcism of Emily Rose

Prime Video
Apple TV
Google Play Movies & TV


2. The Stanford Prison Experiment

The Stanford Prison Experiment was a role-play simulation that caused many waves across the country. The experiment revealed a lot about humanity and how power can corrupt absolutely. Tim Talbott wrote the screenplay for the film that impeccably portrays the true events of the experiment. The Stanford Prison Experiment movie is about twenty-four male students in 1971 who are selected to take on randomly assigned roles of prisoners and guards in a mock prison situated in the basement of the Stanford psychology building. The experiment is both disturbing and illuminating when it comes to what people are capable of. The movie will leave you with one question, with power and opportunity, do we all have the potential to be cruel?


Where To Watch The Stanford Prison Experiment

Prime Video w/ AMC+


1. Argo

Argo is based on the true operation commissioned by the CIA to rescue six Americans from a hostage crisis. The operation was intricately planned and it’s hard to believe that it was as successful as it was. Ben Affleck stars and directs Argo to recount the operation and all of the things that needed to go right for it to work. The movie is about a CIA agent who acts under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film and launches an operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis of 1979. Argo has convincing performances, a thrilling story, and is overall extremely well-made. The movie won Best Picture at the 2013 Academy Awards.


Where To Watch Argo



Fictional Stories Are Inherently Inspired By Real-Life

As an audience, we are inherently skeptical to stories. Films have to create intricate and well-crafted worlds to convince us to suspend our disbelief and in many cases, it is fiction that mimics the real world. Well-developed characters, expansive worlds, and consistent rules to the world are needed in one way or another to create an immersive experience. And naturally, nonfiction has all of those qualities and a whole lot more. The real world is complex and rich with detail. It provides a mass of material for writers, directors, and artists to pull from. These eight movies are some of the most interesting movies that are based on true stories.

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