Hollywood’s Most Accurately Made Historical Films

Many films start with the words, “based on a true story,” but what they really mean to say is “may be very loosely related to people and/or things that once occurred.”
 
Those films are not known for their historical accuracy, but there are, however, some films that are quite accurate, rare as they may be. How many of these films have you seen?

Saving Private Ryan

“Saving Private Ryan” begins with an intense 27-minute long recreation of the Omaha Beach landing. That scene sets the tone for the entire film, and was hailed as the “best battle scene of all time.”

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Director Steven Spielberg and his team made sure all the details in the scene were as accurate as possible. The search for Private Ryan may be fictional but it is based on an actual directive instituted in 1942, known as the “sole-survivor policy.”

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

Unlike other films on this list, the plot of this movie is almost entirely fictional. The reason this film does belong on this list, however, is for its amazing production value. Never before have such accurate costumes or ships been seen on film.

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The sound of the naval battles matches their description in the novels of Patrick O’Brian’s Aubrey–Maturin, which the film is based on, and makes you feel like you have stepped back in time to the 1800s.

The Wolf of Wall Street

Former stockbroker Jordan Belfort wrote a bestselling memoir that tells the story of how he, and his fellow Wall Street cronies engaged in fraud for years before they were eventually brought down for securities fraud by the Federal Government.

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The movie was based on Belfort’s account of events. The accuracy of it is a hotly debated issue, with several law enforcement agencies claiming that parts are untrue. The film is, however, true to the book and the way in which the protagonist sees things.

Spartacus

The film provides a very accurate account of Spartacus’ time at the gladiator school in Capua, including the brutality of the instructors. The real Spartacus did lead the revolt and he and the other gladiators did set up camp in Mount Vesuvius.

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The battles in the film are also fairly accurate. Director Stanley Kubrick’s action-packed, and glamorous epic manages to remain surprisingly true to the historical record. The film was a hit with viewers and critics alike and won four Oscars.

Gangs of New York

While many of the characters in the film are based on actual people, some are fictional. The film, however, is accurate in its depiction of the realities of New York City in 1863. Many of the gangs that appeared in the film actually existed at the time.

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Scorsese also spent a lot of time and money on making sure that the New York in the film was authentic. Historian Tyler Anbinder was impressed with the sets and said that they, “couldn’t have been much better”.

All the President’s Men

This film recounts the exact chain of events that led to the discovery of the break-in at the Democratic National Committee in the Watergate complex, and the political aftermath that would eventually lead to the resignation of President Richard Nixon.

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The film is based on the book written by journalists Bob Woodard and Carl Bernstein, they are the ones who revealed the scandal to the public. Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman even spent time in the newsroom where the story broke.

12 Years a Slave

Many films have tried dealing with the difficult subject of slavery in America, but making a well-balanced, thoughtful film is no easy task. The movie is an adaptation of the 1853 memoir by Solomon Northup of the same name.

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The memoir offers an unpleasant look at his time as a slave. Oscar-winning director Steve McQueen beautifully captures the horrific way in which Northup is treated, but also his complex relationships with other slaves, slave owners, and other free men.

Apollo 13

The film gets the story as close to true events as possible is Ron Howard’s Apollo 13, it came out 25 years after the harrowing mission took place. Howard waited until film technology had improved enough so that he could capture the exact feeling of the Apollo 13 mission.

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All the details of the spacecraft are spot on, and the actors manage to portray what the astronauts went through so convincingly, viewers felt like they were right there with them.

Downfall

“Downfall,” tells the story of Adolf Hitler’s last days and succeeds, at least partially, to make one of the most hated men in history somewhat relatable. This portrayal caused quite a stir because many people felt that Hitler should not be humanized.

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Although not much information exists about what actually took place in the bunker in the last ten days of Hitler’s life, director Oliver Hirschbiegel tried to be as accurate as possible.

Selma

The 2014 historical drama, “Selma,” is based on Dr. Martin Luther King’s march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, to secure equal voting rights. SCLC activist and former Mayor of Atlanta, Andrew Young, told The Washington Post that the depiction of the relationship between Johnson and King “was the only thing I would question in the movie.

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Everything else, they got 100 percent right.” Director Ava DuVernay and writer Paul Webb also got points for recreating important historical scenes, like the attack by local police and state troopers on the peaceful protesters, which became known as Bloody Sunday.

The Last Emperor

The story of the life of China’s last emperor is a source of constant debate by historians because not that much is known about the period. Even today, scholars are still trying to put together an accurate picture of events and when they took place.

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Therefore, the film The Last Emperor, cannot claim to be entirely accurate, but director Bernardo Bertolucci and writer Mark Peploe went to tremendous lengths to depict what is known. Details of the emperor’s life may be vague, but the depiction of the royal family’s opulent lifestyle and the shocking politics of the time are considered by many to be spot on.

Suffragette

Suffragette, which depicts British women’s struggle to win the vote in the 1910s, is different from other films on this subject because it focuses on working-class women. Laura Schwartz, an Assistant Professor of Modern British History has praised the way the focus was on life-like characters who worked in a laundromat.

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The fictional East End laundry workers Maud Watts (Carey Mulligan) and Violet Miller (Anne-Marie Duff), gave a voice to the experiences of real-life suffragettes of the time.

Tora! Tora! Tora!

Although it may have handsome leading men and a lot of explosions, Michael Bay’s film, “Pearl Harbor,” is not exactly ripped from the history books. The film “Tora! Tora! Tora!,” is actually the closest to telling the story of the attack on Pearl Harbor like it happened.

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To make things look even more real, parts of the film were shot on the Yorktown, an actual aircraft carrier, which was provided by the Navy before being decommissioned.

Stalingrad

The battle of Stalingrad, which took place in World War II, was one of the largest and most gruesome battles in history. Many directors have tried to use the battle as a backdrop for other stories, but the 1993 film “Stalingrad” was determined to show the battle as it was.

 

Director Joseph Vilsmaier focused on a small band of soldiers who face actual atrocities that take place at the time. The film’s accuracy stems from its insistence on showing the actual violence and horror of war.

The King’s Speech

Director Tom Hooper’s heartwarming film about King George VI took the world by storm and even won four Oscars. Although some aspects of the story were exaggerated, the film was for the most part historically accurate.

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Additionally, although historian Andrew Roberts has some specific criticisms of the film, especially regarding the pivotal final scene, he does praise it overall.

Schindler’s List

The story of German businessman Oskar Schindler was immortalized in the Steven Spielberg’s film “Schindler’s List.” He starts out trying to make money off the war, but once he witnesses the horrific massacre of Jews, Schindler decides to save as many Jews as he can.

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The film does take some dramatic liberties with the story, changing a few characters and events, the overall narrative, however, remains true to the novel “Schindler’s Ark” by Thomas Keneally on which it was based.

Green Book

The sleeper hit “Green Book” tells the story of “Tony Lip” Vallelonga, an Italian bouncer who is looking for work and becomes the driver of an African American classical pianist who is touring the South in the 1960s, with the two become unlikely friends.

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The film is considered by many to be extremely accurate since Vallelonga’s son Nick is one of the screenwriters. The film won three Oscars for Best Picture, Best Original Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actor.

Black Robe

The film “Black Robe” is a story about a priest in 1600 who is traveling to find a remote Canadian mission amongst Huron settlements. The film focuses on the lives and culture of the indigenous people and was hailed for its respectful and accurate representation.

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Director Bruce Beresford decided to make the film adaptation after reading the novel by the same name by Brian Moore. He made it his mission to bring the people in the book to life as accurately as possible.

Gettysburg

If you’ve ever been curious about one of the most decisive battles in the Civil War, then Gettysburg is the film for you. The films deliberately slow pace offers director Ronald F. Maxwell the chance to show not only the two front lines but also what took place behind the scenes.

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The film focuses on every detail and has received praise from both audiences and critics, both for its incredible performances and for how it tried to represent the historical events accurately.

The Lion in Winter

These days Medieval films try to accurately portray the hardships experienced by lower classes, but they used to be all about glamour. Although the characters in “The Lion in Winter look polished,” it makes more sense because the film is mostly about royalty. Its greatest strength, however, is in its depiction of the life of King Henry II.

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The film focuses on his failure to choose an heir to his throne and how his sons and his wife manipulate his decision for their own personal gain. The riveting story and incredible acting earned the film three Oscars.

Moneyball

“Moneyball” is based on a bestselling novel of the same name written by Michael Lewis. It tells the amazing true story of the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season, in which general manager Billy Beane uses his small budget and a new way of choosing players in order to create a winning team.

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Most people involved claim that the film stuck mostly to the facts but did change around the order of some events. Nonetheless, director Bennett Miller’s film was a box office hit and was even nominated for six Oscars.

Fruitvale Station

Hollywood films which tell the story of someone’s wrongful death are common, but films that tell the true story of someone’s last day in a thoughtful way are much rarer. Michael B. Jordan’s performance as Oscar Grant III was applauded by critics.

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The film tried to stay true to who Grant was and the tragedy of his last moments. To keep the film even more authentic, the final scenes were shot in Oakland, California, on the very same platform in which the real Oscar Grant III was killed.

Captain Phillips

Paul Greengrass directed this dramatic biographical thriller about the hijacking of an American ship by Somali pirates. The film was based on Richard Philips’ own account as documented in his book, “A Captain’s Duty: Somali Pirates, Navy SEALs, and Dangerous Days at Sea.”

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The film stays true to the book, and the harrowing story drew audiences to the movie theaters, was well received by critics, and received six Oscar nominations.

Lincoln

The film focuses on the last months of Lincoln’s life and his attempt to abolish slavery. Lincoln highlights both the public and the private persona of America’s 16th president and gives viewers a chance to identify with him as a man and not just a political figure.

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The movie is both riveting and, according to historians, true to the feel and events which took place at the time. It is believed that actor Daniel Day Lewis’s portrayal of the great man, is the most accurate to date, including his surprisingly high voice.

Born on The Fourth Of July

Directed by Oliver Stone, this film is a biography of Vietnam War veteran turned political activist Ron Kovic. The film is based on Kovic’s autobiography of the same name. Stone and Kovic and they set out to make a film for veterans everywhere.

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Stone’s first-hand knowledge of the war helped make the film look and feel right and he also understands the emotional turmoil veterans go through during and after the war.

Das Boot

The film “Das Boot,” about a German submarine in WWII, really let you experience the frustrating reality of fighting a war inside a submarine. It highlighted the difficult reality of being protected on the one hand and also extremely vulnerable on the other.

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Wolfgang Peterson, who directed the film, conveys the powerful emotions felt by the crew and the fatigue which arises when engaged in a never-ending fight. The battle scenes were intense and give audiences a new perspective on submarine warfare.

The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

The film, “The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford,” directed by Andrew Dominik, is not only a great western that features many of the genre’s main elements but is also based on the truth.

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The film tells the story of the last seven months in the life of famous outlaw Jesse James but centers on his relationship with the young Robert Ford. The film’s historical accuracy and convincing performances earned its nominations for two Oscars.

The Iron Lady

Political biographer John Campbell who answered questions about Thatcher for the film was asked if he felt that the filmmakers got things right and replied, “I think it’s a remarkable achievement, it rings very true as a portrayal of her.”

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Film critic Baz Bamigboye of the Daily Mail wrote: “Only an actress of Streep’s stature could possibly capture Thatcher’s essence and bring it to the screen. It’s a performance of towering proportions that sets a new benchmark for acting.”

Cold Mountain

Cold Mountain, based on the book of the same name, tells the tale of a wounded Confederate army deserter at the end of the Civil War, who travels home to reunite with his beloved. The characters are fictional, but the time and events depicted are not.

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The film also gets high marks for its portrayal of what Southern women went through during the war.  The film was a surprise hit at the box office, was well received by critics, and won an Academy Award.

Zodiac

During the 1960s in Northern California, there was a serial killer famously dubbed the Zodiac Killer. Until this day he has never been identified or caught. The movie Zodiac tells the story of the hunt for him like it occurred.

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Many viewers did appreciate the 18 months of research that went into the film, and the numerous details which shaped it into what some belief is Fincher’s best work.

 A Night to Remember

The sinking of the RMS Titanic is one of the most famous tragedies in human history. The most famous are James Cameron’s “Titanic” and Roy Ward Baker’s “A Night to Remember.”

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“A Night to Remember,” focuses more on the people of different classes who were on the ocean liner and how they struggled through the night to survive the disaster. The film portrays events in a gritty and realistic manner through the eyes of the ship’s second officer.

Goodfellas

Acclaimed director Martin Scorsese picked up the book Wiseguy, a non-fiction novel on the life of mafia mobster-turned-informant Henry Hill, by crime reporter Nicholas Pileggi and immediately knew he wanted to make a movie out of it.

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Scorsese co-wrote the screenplay with Pileggi and they based everything that took place on Pileggi’s news reports and the famous Lufthansa airline heist in 1978. They tried to change the book as little as possible, but only make the adjustments necessary so that it would work on the big screen.

Joyeux Noel

French film Joyeux Noel tells the story of the World War I Christmas truce from the point of view of French, British, and German soldiers. It is a touching film about an informal truce that took place on the Western Front on Christmas Day in 1914.

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The story may be hard to believe, but it is completely true. The characters in the film may be fictional, but everything else is based on fact. The film was even shot in three languages, French, English, and German.

The Pianist

The Pianist was based on an autobiographical book of the same name, written by Polish-Jewish pianist Władysław Szpilman. The book was lauded for its incredibly touching tale of how Szpilman had survived the horrors of the Holocaust.

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The film was directed by the controversial figure, Roman Polanski, who was deeply passionate about the project due to his own escape from the Krakow Ghetto in the Second World War. Polanski managed to find shelter in a farmer’s barn and stayed there until the end of the war.

127 Hours

Mountain climber Aron Ralston was canyoneering alone in the Utah desert when he became trapped by a boulder and was forced to cut off his arm in order to survive. He told his story in a book that he wrote, and that book inspired the film “127 Hours.”

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Ralston gave the film high praise for its accuracy. The only scene which he felt differed from what happened was when he showed two hikers a hidden pool when in reality he gave them climbing tips. Of the rest of the film, Ralson said it was “so factually accurate it is as close to a documentary as you can get and still be a drama.”

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This war drama is not based on an actual mission from the Vietnam War, but it has cobbled together different accounts into an incredibly realistic story. Many veterans from that war have said this film is one of the most accurate depictions of what it was actually like to be there.

 

The film, which was shot in the rough documentary “found footage” style, on a tiny budget, did not garner a lot of attention from audiences. In fact, you have probably never even heard of it before. Respected film critic Roger Ebert stated, “I’ve never seen a combat movie that seemed this close to actual experience.”

City of God

The Brazilian film, “City of God,” from 2003 was applauded around the world following its release. It is based on a semi-autobiographical book written by Paulo Lins with the same name. The book describes the rise of organized crime in the “Cidade de Deus” (City of God) suburb of Rio de Janeiro.

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The story is told from the point of view of two boys, one grows up to be a photographer, while the other becomes a kingpin. Lins, who wrote the book, actually grew up in the Cidade de Dues, which allows him to tell the story from his unique point of view.

Rush

The movie “Rush,” directed by Ron Howard, does its best to depict the rivalry between Formula One racers James Hunt and Niki Lauda in the 1970s. Most of the events in the film and the look and feel of the races themselves are fairly accurate, while Howard took dramatic license with the relationship between Hunt and Lauda, making them intense rivals.

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The website, Information is Beautiful stated the film was 82.9% accurate, summarizing that there was “a little staging to get Lauda and Hunt in the same locations sometimes, but otherwise true”.

Jackie

Natalie Portman takes on the iconic role of Jackie Kennedy in the 2016 biopic, “Jackie.” Director Pablo Larraín and writer Noah Oppenheim tried to make the film as true to her life as possible.

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The most accurate part of the film is the televised White House tour that Jackie gives to the country. Despite a few murmurs about inaccuracy in the portrayal of Jackie’s relationship with Lyndon and Lady Bird Johnson, the film was well-received.

The Martian – Honorable Mention

So, we get what you are thinking, and you are right, The Martian has clearly not happened… at least not yet. The film, based on the novel by Andy Weir, tells the story of an astronaut who is left behind on Mars when a mission goes wrong and must survive on that inhospitable planet alone until he can be rescued.

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We do believe that this film belongs on this list, because although the story is completely fictional, the science behind it is not. NASA experts and engineers were involved with the story from day one, explaining exactly how they would deal with the situation if it arose.

Milk

Director Gus Van Sant directed the 2008 biopic about the life of Harvey Milk, the first openly gay elected official in California history, with accuracy in mind. He used Milk’s own recorded oral history as voice-overs in the film, the production worked closely with LGBT activist Cleve Jones who was close to Milk, and writer Dustin Lance Black.

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The film uses a lot of archive footage and most of it was shot on location in San Francisco, the crew even recreated Milk’s Castro Camera store by using old photos and consulting with his friends.

Come and See

Despite what some war movies will have you believe, war is not cinematic and organized, it is a brutal, messy business. That feeling shines through in this film, which gives audiences a glimpse into the horrifying reality of World War II as seen by a Belarusian whose village is massacred.

 

It was important to director Elem Klimov to show the true story behind Russia’s involvement in the Second World War. Historians gave the film high marks for its honest portrayal of death camps, resistance fighters, and the difficult emotions.

Munich

The film “Munich” is a historical drama, directed by Steven Spielberg, and based on the novel Vengeance, which tells the story of the Israeli government’s secret retaliation against the PLO that was a response to the Munich massacre at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

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Spielberg attempted to make the depiction of the hostage-taking and killing of the Israeli athletes historically accurate and the film uses actual news clips shot while the hostage situation was taking place. The deaths of the members of Black September also stick mostly to the facts.

Miracle

If you love sports movies and have missed this one, you should watch “Miracle” on your next movie night. The film tells the story of the United States men’s hockey team in the 1980 Winter Olympics, as they take on the favored Soviet team in the semifinals.

 

It’s a true underdog story and the match has since become known as the “Miracle on Ice.” Director Gavin O’Connor mixed actual footage from the match into the film in such a way that it is almost impossible to tell which is which.

Flags of Our Fathers

The 2006 war film, “Flags of Our Fathers,” was directed, co-produced, and scored by Hollywood icon Clint Eastwood. The film was based on the New York Times nonfiction bestseller of the same name and tells the story of the five Marines and one Navy corpsman who raised the American flag on Iwo Jima.

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The moment was famously captured by war photographer Joe Rosenthal. The movie did not do as well as expected at the box office but was fairly well-received by critics, many of whom were impressed by Clint Eastwood’s respect for sticking to the facts.

Bridge of Spies

Steven Spielberg is back on the list with “Bridge of Spies,” which tells the story of a lawyer who is charged with negotiating a hostage exchange during the Cold War between an Air Force pilot who was shot down and a convicted Soviet KGB spy.

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Although the film does not always portray events accurately, critics have forgiven the departures and lauded the film for maintaining the spirit of the events. In this case, Information is Beautiful declared the film was 88.8% accurate, summarizing it as “pretty damn truthful, reflecting a general trend in Hollywood towards more historically accurate tales”.

Glory

The film “Glory,” directed by Edward Zwick, tells the story of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, which was the first all-black volunteer company in the American Civil War. The screenplay, written by Kevin Jarre, was based on several books.

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James M. McPherson, a Civil War historian, stated the film “accomplished a remarkable feat in sensitizing a lot of today’s black students to the role that their ancestors played in the Civil War in winning their own freedom.”

Kingdom of Heaven

Like any film which tries to depict a religious conflict, Ridley Scott’s “Kingdom of Heaven” was controversial from day one, and that controversy also applied to the film’s historical accuracy. The film tells the story of Balian of Ibelin who travels to Jerusalem during the Crusades and ends up becoming the city’s defender.

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Despite a few dramatizations, many of the characters in the film are based on actual historical figures, and events, such as the Battle of Hattin, are shown accurately. The film succeeds in the portrayal of the battles and helps explain the decline and fall of the First Kingdom of Jerusalem.

Spotlight

The film “Spotlight” from 2015, centers around the Boston Globe’s investigative journalism team of the same name. The film centers on their investigation into the systemic sexual abuse of children by numerous Roman Catholic priests in the Boston area.

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The reports on which the film is based earned the paper a Pulitzer Prize and the story and performances in the film earned the filmmakers an Academy Award for Best Picture. According to the website, Information is Beautiful, the movie was rated 76.2 percent accurate when compared to the actual events.

The Imitation Game

Like several other movies on this list, this 2014 film also deals with one of the events of World War II. This time, it’s from a British perspective. It tells the story of Alan Turing, a man who is considered to be one of the first computer scientists ever and a mathematical genius in general.

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Historically speaking, the events in the film are dubbed as true to reality. When it comes to Turing’s character, however, it seems that there are some inaccuracies – Turing is portrayed as socially inept, while it appears that in reality, he had good social skills.

Elizabeth

Having a full historical period named after you means you left quite a legacy. Queen Elizabeth I is one of the few people to be awarded this honor. With her uncompromising stance in the face of patriarchy, it’s hardly a surprise.

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We would be rightfully skeptical thinking there is no way that dialogues were historically accurate. When it comes to thrones changing hands, however, there are books and proofs galore. Visually speaking, in order to capture the true sense of the time, costumes, hair, and makeup were based on portraits of the queen from back then.

Frost/Nixon

This biopic was directed by Ron Howard, who adapted it from a play of the same name. The film is essentially a retelling of the interviews that talk show host David Frost had with President Richard Nixon. What started as Nixon’s attempt to gain forgiveness and possibly rebuild his political career turned into a discussion of his Watergate failures.

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Scenes that depict what happened backstage or off-camera were subjected to dramatic license. The film was nominated for dozens of awards. It ended up winning Las Vegas Film Society Awards, including Best Film and Best Director.

Gandhi

Perhaps the most famous pacifist in the world, Mohandas Gandhi is another historical character with an inspiring biographical drama. The film covers key points in his life, starting from when he was taken off a white-only train compartment in 1893, and ending with his 1948 death and funeral.

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Ben Kingsley got to embrace his Indian roots and play Gandhi himself – a role which has won him an Oscar as Best Actor. Given that the original Gandhi fought (non-violently, of course) the British colonialism, we believe that he would approve of the joint British-Indian efforts to make the film happen.

Letters from Iwo Jima

World War II had so many fronts and participants it seems like it would never stop inspiring filmmakers. The 2006 film Letters From Iwo Jima is telling the story of one of the WWII battles, a battle that became known as the Battle of Iwo Jima.

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The film is predominantly in Japanese, covers the Japanese side of the battle, and features mostly Japanese cast. Interestingly enough, however, the film was an American production directed by Clint Eastwood. One famous scene in the film involves Lieutenant Ito attacking a tank by strapping himself to a mine. This powerful scene is based on the real story Satoru Omagiri.

Raging Bull

This cinematic masterpiece has Martin Scorsese as a director and Robert De Niro as the lead. And honestly, it’s hard to create something less than perfect with those two. The film tells the life story of Jake LaMotta – the legendary boxer with a temper.

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The film was adapted from LaMotta’s autobiography titled “Raging Bull: My Story.” The real LaMotta actually met De Niro and boxed with him in order to prepare him for the portrayal of his own character. It is said that LaMotta watched the movie with his wife Vikki and was surprised by his own bad behavior. When he asked Vikki if it was true to reality, she replied by saying he was even worse back then.

The Passion of Joan of Arc

The oldest film on this list is also the only silent film on it. It brings to the screen the final hours in the life of Joan of Arc. We know what you’re thinking – how historically accurate can a 1928 film be if it portrays events that happened in 1431? Apparently – pretty accurate.

 

As it turns out, Joan’s life was incredibly documented for her time. There are the actual records from the trial as well as of the appeal of her case on which the film could be based. Director Carl Theodor Dreyer researched the trial transcripts for more than a year before he even began working on the script.

Bohemian Rhapsody

This is one of the biggest musical movies in the last few years. This biographical drama follows the life of Freddy Mercury, the lead singer of Queen. It starts from 1970’s Mercury and ends with his iconic performance at Live Aid in 1985.

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Portraying Mercury is Remi Malek, who won an Oscar for the role. Those who made sure that the films maintain a close relationship with reality are Brian May and Roger Taylor. Both are Queen members who knew Mercury personally and served as consultants to director Bryan Singer.

Rocketman

It would be safe enough to assume that people didn’t spontaneously burst into song throughout key point in Elton John’s life, but that didn’t stop this musical feature from happening. The film follows the eccentric musician through his formative years from childhood until his global rise to fame.

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Serving as executive producer, Elton John didn’t want this film to be a full-on documentary, but real people and events portrayed in the film are based on reality. One such occurrence is Reggie Dwight deciding to name himself Elton, after a fellow musician.

I, Tonya

Margot Robbie plays former figure skater Tonya Harding in this 2017 comedic drama. The film follows Harding’s life and her involvement in the attack on Nancy Kerrigan, a rival skater, in 1994. In preparation for their respective roles, Robbie met with Harding, and Sebastian Stan met with Jeff Gillooly, Harding’s ex-husband.

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So the preparation work in order to make things true to reality was done. The only trouble is that people sometimes have different recollections of the same events.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil, and Vile

This film is not for the faint of heart as it deals with the life and trial of a real-life serial killer – Ted Bundy, who brutally murdered dozens of young women. This movie portrays Ted Bundy through the eyes of Elizabeth Kendall.

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Kendall was his girlfriend at the time of the trial and believed him to be innocent for way too long. This means that it holds true to Kendall’s recollection of the events. It is based on “The Phantom Prince: My Life With Ted Bundy,” Kendall’s memoir.

Ford v Ferrari

This film is about cars, adrenaline, and American determination. It is based on the events leading up to the 1966 Le Mans race in France. It is a 24-hour long race – the longest endurance race in the world.

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Both Shelby and Miles are superstars in the eyes of almost any racing fans you ever meet. They were both tasked by Henry Ford II to build a car that would end the reign of the Ferrari racing team in Le Mans.

Saving Mr. Banks

“Saving Mr. Banks” may choose to portray Walt Disney in a nearly care-bear state, despite his temper in real life, but this is not the character that gave this film a spot on our list. P.L. Travers, the woman who wrote the book, was never happy with the hit “Mary Poppins.”

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Travers really was reluctant to make the changes and adaptations Disney wanted to make. While in real life Travers and Disney didn’t meet many faces to face, many of the scenes in the film are based on real telegrams, letters, and phone calls the two had.

BlacKkKlansman

Black cop infiltrating the KKK sounds too dangerous to be true. That is exactly what director Spike Lee thought when he heard about the story of Ron Stallworth. The real Stallworth was the first black police officer in Colorado who infiltrated a KKK chapter to bring it down from the inside.

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While the director did use some dramatic license and added cinematic elements, most of the events in the film are pretty accurate. “BlacKkKlansman” is based on “Black Klansman,” a memoir written by Stallworth himself.

The Blind Side

There is so much hope in rags to riches kind of plots and people just can’t get enough of them. Michael Oher’s story is just that, now known as a big football star he had a rough childhood that included extreme poverty and several foster homes.

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Leigh Anne Tuohy, a rich white mother of two, notices Oher’s hardships, takes him in, and adopts him officially. She hires a private tutor to help him improve his grades and he starts receiving recognition as a talented athlete, specifically on the football field.

Ali

Will Smith plays the role of Muhammad Ali in this 2001 biopic. The film covers 10 years of Ali’s life and includes not only key points in the boxer’s career but time-relevant issues in America. Prior to the film being made, writers Stephen J, Rivele, and Christopher Wilkinson researched Ali’s life from when he was just a child.

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Interestingly enough, Smith wasn’t even inclined to take to the part when it was offered to him. What made him take the part after all was a personal call from Ali himself asking him to do it.

The Return of Martin Guerre

Perhaps one of the earliest documented cases of identity theft, the real events depicted in this movie took place in 16th century France. Transcripts of Martin Guerre’s trials were published in a book written by the presiding judge in Guerre’s case.

 

The original Martin Guerre went off to war, leaving his village, wife, and child behind. About nine years later, he comes back, much to the villager’s surprise. Later on, however, doubts begin to arise about his identity until he eventually faces trial.

Gladiator

We can’t really vouch for the story of Maximus, the Roman soldier turned gladiator. But this film is here for its overall portrayal of ancient Rome. Ridley Scott, who directed this film in 2000, was keen on sticking to history as best as he could.

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For the sake of historical authenticity, he hired a number of historians as consultants on that matter. One interesting historical bit that didn’t find its way into the film was gladiators promoting different products before they fight.

300

In the Battle of Thermopylae battle, King Leonidas and his small brigade of 300 Spartans fought the Xerxes and his Achaemenid Empire. Spartan discipline and education were extremely strict and focused on values of bravery and physical shape.

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Proof of that bravery can be found in Leonides’s line “come and get them” as he teases his rivals to fight his army and take his soldiers’ weapons. That line was actually said by Leonides according to Herodotus, the ancient Greek historian.

Amistad

The Amistad was a real ship that was meant to ship kidnapped Mende tribesmen from Sierra Leon to be sold as slaves. The film depicts how the captive people took over the ship by the shores of Cuba. They were eventually captured by an American revenue cutter.

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The film has a long line of big names and professionals who have worked on it. Playing the main roles are Morgan Freeman, Sir Anthony Hopkins, Djimon Hounsou, and Matthew McConaughey. They were all directed by Steven Spielberg.