Five masterpieces that were Based on True Stories

June 13, 2019
All beautiful stories have a reason to be told. Some are told because the author of the film wants to tell the world something about the way it is, while others get told because the director wants to make you smile or laugh. But it is also true that some of the most touching, moving or powerful stories that have ever been told had to happen in real life first.

Whether based loosely on the original story, or a scene by scene recreation of someone’s life, these films prove to be the most powerful mirrors to the real world. These films often become the best showcases of the condition of the human soul and how it bends or breaks under the immense pressure that the world sometimes exerts on it. The end result is not always beautiful or hopeful, but it is always an important story, one that needs to be told and heard. Sometimes the films become powerful pieces of art and sometimes we forget that these stories have origin in the real world. In order to remind you of these films and of the reasons they were made, here we have provided five films that are based either on true events or on real people.

Into the Wild (2007)

When it first came out, this film caught the attention of many a twenty-year-old and quickly became a guiding light for some. The imaginations of the youth were captured by going out into the wild and hitchhiking across the country, to meet the true face of the local culture and the spiritual enlightenment that comes on the road. Many found the cry for freedom of technology and responsibility to be something that they wanted to follow. Still more thought that the call of the wild was something they wanted to follow. While the most impressionable of the youth believed they could find meaning in nature and in running away, others discovered that the film was based on a book, which was written about a single, real man who had died exactly as the story tells he did in the film.

Christopher McCandless was a real Emory graduate who took off for the Alaskan wilderness, in order to try and find real happiness. He abandoned everything and hitchhiked across the country, keeping a journal. Finally reaching Alaska, he spent more than 100 days surviving in the wilderness. Here he discovered that true happiness can only be achieved when it is shared with those that are close to the heart. He tried to leave but died as a result of starvation. While the film is inspirational, if a little sad, the story itself is indeed sad, as the family of the man grieved him for many years. Scenes of where his mother thinks that he is calling, or wakes up in the night thinking that he is around, are not wrong and have been commented by the sister of McCandless as being true. It serves as a cautionary tale more than anything else. Going out to find happiness is important, but it is also important to not forget what is truly meaningful in life and to not end up making a mistake that will cost you your life and cause a lot of grief for everyone who loves you.

Casino (1995)

There are many stories that are wild and many that are unbelievable. Casino may seem like one such story. The outlandish nature of the Las Vegas world of gambling, the fun and the danger, is a beautiful representation of what true life as a gambler means. The everyday activities of the people involved are hinged upon a gamble and just like with real money blackjack, sometimes asking for more than you already have may mean that you end up having nothing at all. The film became a classic the moment it was released in 1995, and the performances in the film are still hailed as some of the most interesting to have come out of that year. But the film was not just good, it was based on a true story.

Although it is not a secret that a big chunk of Vegas was being run by the mob for a long time, Casino takes the stories it tells to the next level. The events were all based on real things that happened, but the characters that were in the film were all real too. Lefty and Ant were both real and their stories were entirely real, in every single detail. Even if the film is dramatised, it only serves to tell the story of how dangerous Vegas and gambling can be. In Vegas, everybody watches everyone else, while you watch the movie and Vegas unfold.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)

Wolf of Wall Street might be the first true story that Leonardo DiCaprio is famous for, but it is by far not the only one he has been in. Some of the best stories ever told involve him, and in the case of Catch Me If You Can, he is definitely not the only star of the show. Combining the powers of young DiCaprio and Tom Hanks resulted in one masterpiece of a film, the greatest story of a game of catch up that has ever been told and it is also the best that ever took place.

The story of Frank Abagnale is as true as it gets, and he got up to a lot while he was going through the entirety of his career. He made himself an airline pilot, a teaching assistant, a physician and an attorney at different times in his life, and not a single time did he end up being real in any of those positions. This man’s impressive career as a forger allowed him to get through all kinds of fun times, and yet it also got him caught in the end. The story became a book and then it became a movie, after which it finally came into the popular culture as one of the most interesting pieces of storytelling to ever end up in the mind of almost every person who has ever loved movies.

12 Years a Slave (2013)

12 Years a Slave became a breakout success and a critically acclaimed film. The film told the story of a single man, a free man, who was captured and sent down to the South of the United States to become a slave who would inhabit the plantations owned by Southern rich, white men. The story shows all of the cruelties and all of the horrors that were showered on a slave in the times of slavery, which was rampant across the United States, and the true horror of it all is that the story is true in its entirety.

The historians who watched the filmed mentioned that it was the most accurate representation of slavery in the US. And just as a true story should, it does not shy away from all of the cruel and hard to watch details of being a slave. It does not shy away from the pain of being a human but treated as nothing more than property. It tells the story of its protagonist truthfully and, as a result, becomes a defining masterpiece for 2013. Of course, the performances and the filmmaking make the entire story quite powerful, but the importance of the truth of the story is not lost in the dramatisation, making it one of the most important films to watch, if you want to know what a true story should be like.

The Pianist (2002)

The Pianist is a beautiful and sad film that tells the story of a man who has to survive in Warsaw during WW2. The true beauty of the film lies in the way it presents the struggle for survival of a Polish-Jewish man in the time when being one meant certain death. It shows how he has to hide, scour for food and avoid the art that defines him, in order to be able to live. The man is a pianist, and the sadness of the music follows him wherever he goes, simply because he cannot play it.

This film is based on a true story. The story of a man who lived in WW2, Wladyslaw Szpilman. He remained in Warsaw when the Germans invaded Poland, and he had to survive the struggles that followed the invasion. The film depicts the struggles of his survival in a beautiful way while remaining true to the story that took place, which is why it makes it onto our list, today. A film such as this deserves to be remembered for the amazing effect it had on the audience and the impressive story that it told to the world.


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