Greatest True Story Movies

by mitchell-zahn | created - 3 months ago | updated - 1 day ago | Public

I tried to put these in order as best I could based on how much I personally like them. Hard to compare, all great, it is actually near impossoble to determine a solid order for me. Top 12 are basically impeccable. Also; I excluded movies that claim to be loosely based on real events.. such as ‘The Godfather’, ‘The Departed’ and the Tarantino movies. I included movies that are very much allegedly true or dramatized.. such as ‘The Irishman’ and ‘American Gangster’. Enjoy my list that changes every time I watch one of them. All must-see movies.

 Refine See titles to watch instantly, titles you haven't rated, etc
  • Instant Watch Options
  • Genres
  • Movies or TV
  • IMDb Rating
  • In Theaters
  • On TV
  • Release Year
  • Keywords





IMDb user rating (average) to
Number of votes to »




Reset



Reset
Release year or range to »




































































































1. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

R | 160 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

68 Metascore

Robert Ford, who's idolized Jesse James since childhood, tries hard to join the reforming gang of the Missouri outlaw, but gradually becomes resentful of the bandit leader.

Director: Andrew Dominik | Stars: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Mary-Louise Parker

Votes: 161,432 | Gross: $3.90M

2. Casino (1995)

R | 178 min | Crime, Drama

73 Metascore

A tale of greed, deception, money, power, and murder occur between two best friends: a mafia enforcer and a casino executive, compete against each other over a gambling empire, and over a fast living and fast loving socialite.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Sharon Stone, Joe Pesci, James Woods

Votes: 434,462 | Gross: $42.44M

3. The Irishman (2019)

R | 209 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

94 Metascore

A mob hitman recalls his friend Jimmy Hoffa.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, Joe Pesci, Harvey Keitel

Votes: 240,885

4. Papillon (1973)

R | 151 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

58 Metascore

A man befriends a fellow criminal as the two of them begin serving their sentence on a dreadful prison island, which inspires the man to plot his escape.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Steve McQueen, Dustin Hoffman, Victor Jory, Don Gordon

Votes: 116,184 | Gross: $53.27M

5. Goodfellas (1990)

R | 146 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

90 Metascore

The story of Henry Hill and his life in the mob, covering his relationship with his wife Karen Hill and his mob partners Jimmy Conway and Tommy DeVito in the Italian-American crime syndicate.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Ray Liotta, Joe Pesci, Lorraine Bracco

Votes: 952,870 | Gross: $46.84M

6. JFK (1991)

R | 189 min | Drama, History, Thriller

72 Metascore

New Orleans District Attorney Jim Garrison discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Kevin Costner, Gary Oldman, Jack Lemmon, Walter Matthau

Votes: 134,661 | Gross: $70.41M

7. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

94 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, industrialist Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazis.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 1,143,557 | Gross: $96.90M

8. The Pianist (2002)

R | 150 min | Biography, Drama, Music

85 Metascore

A Polish Jewish musician struggles to survive the destruction of the Warsaw ghetto of World War II.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay, Emilia Fox

Votes: 677,103 | Gross: $32.57M

9. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

96 Metascore

In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Director: Steve McQueen | Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt

Votes: 601,627 | Gross: $56.67M

10. The Great Escape (1963)

Not Rated | 172 min | Adventure, Drama, History

87 Metascore

Allied prisoners of war plan for several hundred of their number to escape from a German camp during World War II.

Director: John Sturges | Stars: Steve McQueen, James Garner, Richard Attenborough, Charles Bronson

Votes: 212,348 | Gross: $12.10M

11. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

R | 180 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

75 Metascore

Based on the true story of Jordan Belfort, from his rise to a wealthy stock-broker living the high life to his fall involving crime, corruption and the federal government.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jonah Hill, Margot Robbie, Matthew McConaughey

Votes: 1,089,542 | Gross: $116.90M

12. In Cold Blood (1967)

R | 134 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

89 Metascore

After a botched robbery results in the brutal murder of a rural family, two drifters elude police, in the end coming to terms with their own mortality and the repercussions of their vile atrocity.

Director: Richard Brooks | Stars: Robert Blake, Scott Wilson, John Forsythe, Paul Stewart

Votes: 22,665

13. Black Mass (2015)

R | 123 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

68 Metascore

The true story of Whitey Bulger, the brother of a state senator and the most infamous violent criminal in the history of South Boston, who became an FBI informant to take down a Mafia family invading his turf.

Director: Scott Cooper | Stars: Johnny Depp, Benedict Cumberbatch, Dakota Johnson, Joel Edgerton

Votes: 160,538 | Gross: $62.58M

14. Walk the Line (2005)

PG-13 | 136 min | Biography, Drama, Music

72 Metascore

A chronicle of country music legend Johnny Cash's life, from his early days on an Arkansas cotton farm to his rise to fame with Sun Records in Memphis, where he recorded alongside Elvis Presley, Jerry Lee Lewis, and Carl Perkins.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Joaquin Phoenix, Reese Witherspoon, Ginnifer Goodwin, Robert Patrick

Votes: 223,018 | Gross: $119.52M

15. I, Tonya (2017)

R | 119 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

77 Metascore

Competitive ice skater Tonya Harding rises amongst the ranks at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships, but her future in the activity is thrown into doubt when her ex-husband intervenes.

Director: Craig Gillespie | Stars: Margot Robbie, Sebastian Stan, Allison Janney, Julianne Nicholson

Votes: 159,406 | Gross: $30.01M

16. Raging Bull (1980)

R | 129 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

89 Metascore

The life of boxer Jake LaMotta, whose violence and temper that led him to the top in the ring destroyed his life outside of it.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Cathy Moriarty, Joe Pesci, Frank Vincent

Votes: 302,270 | Gross: $23.38M

17. Ford v Ferrari (2019)

PG-13 | 152 min | Action, Biography, Drama

81 Metascore

American car designer Carroll Shelby and driver Ken Miles battle corporate interference and the laws of physics to build a revolutionary race car for Ford in order to defeat Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in 1966.

Director: James Mangold | Stars: Matt Damon, Christian Bale, Jon Bernthal, Caitriona Balfe

Votes: 138,571

18. Downfall (2004)

R | 156 min | Biography, Drama, History

82 Metascore

Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel | Stars: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Köhler

Votes: 315,557 | Gross: $5.51M

19. In the Name of the Father (1993)

R | 133 min | Biography, Drama

84 Metascore

A man's coerced confession to an I.R.A. bombing he did not commit results in the imprisonment of his father as well. An English lawyer fights to free them.

Director: Jim Sheridan | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Pete Postlethwaite, Alison Crosbie, Philip King

Votes: 146,908 | Gross: $25.01M

20. The Fighter (I) (2010)

R | 116 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

79 Metascore

Based on the story of Micky Ward, a fledgling boxer who tries to escape the shadow of his more famous but troubled older boxing brother and get his own shot at greatness.

Director: David O. Russell | Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Melissa Leo

Votes: 325,243 | Gross: $93.62M

21. Rush (I) (2013)

R | 123 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

74 Metascore

The merciless 1970s rivalry between Formula One rivals James Hunt and Niki Lauda.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Daniel Brühl, Chris Hemsworth, Olivia Wilde, Alexandra Maria Lara

Votes: 408,388 | Gross: $26.95M

22. The Revenant (2015)

R | 156 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

76 Metascore

A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.

Director: Alejandro G. Iñárritu | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hardy, Will Poulter, Domhnall Gleeson

Votes: 657,262 | Gross: $183.64M

23. Patton (1970)

GP | 172 min | Biography, Drama, War

91 Metascore

The World War II phase of the career of controversial American general George S. Patton.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: George C. Scott, Karl Malden, Stephen Young, Michael Strong

Votes: 90,365 | Gross: $61.70M

24. Lincoln (2012)

PG-13 | 150 min | Biography, Drama, History

86 Metascore

As the American Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Votes: 234,967 | Gross: $182.21M

25. All the President's Men (1976)

PG | 138 min | Biography, Drama, History

80 Metascore

"The Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam

Votes: 96,279 | Gross: $70.60M

26. Green Book (2018)

PG-13 | 130 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

69 Metascore

A working-class Italian-American bouncer becomes the driver of an African-American classical pianist on a tour of venues through the 1960s American South.

Director: Peter Farrelly | Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Mahershala Ali, Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco

Votes: 290,068 | Gross: $85.08M

27. Patriots Day (2016)

R | 133 min | Action, Crime, Drama

69 Metascore

The story of the 2013 Boston Marathon bombing and the aftermath, which includes the city-wide manhunt to find the terrorists responsible.

Director: Peter Berg | Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Michelle Monaghan, J.K. Simmons, John Goodman

Votes: 80,967 | Gross: $31.89M

28. Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

R | 110 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

52 Metascore

A chronicle of the crimes of Ted Bundy from the perspective of Liz, his longtime girlfriend, who refused to believe the truth about him for years.

Director: Joe Berlinger | Stars: Lily Collins, Zac Efron, Angela Sarafyan, Sydney Vollmer

Votes: 63,900

29. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

R | 157 min | Drama, Thriller

95 Metascore

A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L.s Team 6 in May 2011.

Director: Kathryn Bigelow | Stars: Jessica Chastain, Joel Edgerton, Chris Pratt, Mark Strong

Votes: 259,019 | Gross: $95.72M

30. Public Enemies (2009)

R | 140 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

70 Metascore

The Feds try to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: Christian Bale, Johnny Depp, Christian Stolte, Jason Clarke

Votes: 268,411 | Gross: $97.10M

31. Dunkirk (2017)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Drama, History

94 Metascore

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy

Votes: 501,006 | Gross: $188.37M

32. Moneyball (2011)

PG-13 | 133 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

87 Metascore

Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane's successful attempt to assemble a baseball team on a lean budget by employing computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.

Director: Bennett Miller | Stars: Brad Pitt, Robin Wright, Jonah Hill, Philip Seymour Hoffman

Votes: 339,938 | Gross: $75.61M

33. Zodiac (2007)

R | 157 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

78 Metascore

In the late 1960s/early 1970s, a San Francisco cartoonist becomes an amateur detective obsessed with tracking down the Zodiac Killer, an unidentified individual who terrorizes Northern California with a killing spree.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Jake Gyllenhaal, Robert Downey Jr., Mark Ruffalo, Anthony Edwards

Votes: 417,147 | Gross: $33.08M

34. Argo (2012)

R | 120 min | Biography, Drama, Thriller

86 Metascore

Acting under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film, a CIA agent launches a dangerous operation to rescue six Americans in Tehran during the U.S. hostage crisis in Iran in 1979.

Director: Ben Affleck | Stars: Ben Affleck, Bryan Cranston, John Goodman, Alan Arkin

Votes: 550,181 | Gross: $136.03M

35. American Gangster (2007)

R | 157 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

An outcast New York City cop is charged with bringing down Harlem drug lord Frank Lucas, whose real life inspired this partly biographical film.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Josh Brolin

Votes: 376,255 | Gross: $130.16M

36. Bridge of Spies (2015)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, History, Thriller

81 Metascore

During the Cold War, an American lawyer is recruited to defend an arrested Soviet spy in court, and then help the CIA facilitate an exchange of the spy for the Soviet captured American U2 spy plane pilot, Francis Gary Powers.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Hanks, Mark Rylance, Alan Alda, Amy Ryan

Votes: 272,409 | Gross: $72.31M

37. Foxcatcher (2014)

R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

81 Metascore

U.S. Olympic wrestling champions and brothers Mark Schultz and Dave Schultz join "Team Foxcatcher", led by eccentric multi-millionaire John du Pont, as they train for the 1988 Olympic Games in Seoul, South Korea, but John's self-destructive behavior threatens to consume them all.

Director: Bennett Miller | Stars: Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, Mark Ruffalo, Vanessa Redgrave

Votes: 129,111 | Gross: $12.10M

38. Rescue Dawn (2006)

PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Biography, Drama

77 Metascore

A U.S. fighter pilot's epic struggle of survival after being shot down on a mission over Laos during the Vietnam War.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Christian Bale, Steve Zahn, Jeremy Davies, Zach Grenier

Votes: 97,393 | Gross: $5.49M

39. Operation Finale (2018)

PG-13 | 122 min | Biography, Drama, History

58 Metascore

A team of secret agents set out to track down the Nazi officer who masterminded the Holocaust.

Director: Chris Weitz | Stars: Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley, Mélanie Laurent, Lior Raz

Votes: 25,911 | Gross: $17.61M

40. Escape from Alcatraz (1979)

PG | 112 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

76 Metascore

Alcatraz is the most secure prison of its time. It is believed that no one can ever escape from it, until three daring men make a possible successful attempt at escaping from one of the most infamous prisons in the world.

Director: Don Siegel | Stars: Clint Eastwood, Patrick McGoohan, Roberts Blossom, Jack Thibeau

Votes: 109,210 | Gross: $43.00M

41. Pain & Gain (2013)

R | 129 min | Action, Comedy, Crime

45 Metascore

A trio of bodybuilders in Florida get caught up in an extortion ring and a kidnapping scheme that goes terribly wrong.

Director: Michael Bay | Stars: Mark Wahlberg, Dwayne Johnson, Anthony Mackie, Tony Shalhoub

Votes: 192,905 | Gross: $49.88M

42. Valkyrie (2008)

PG-13 | 121 min | Drama, History, Thriller

56 Metascore

A dramatization of the July 20, 1944 assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Adolf Hitler during World War II.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Carice van Houten, Kenneth Branagh

Votes: 219,432 | Gross: $83.08M

43. Reversal of Fortune (1990)

R | 111 min | Biography, Drama, Mystery

93 Metascore

Wealthy Sunny von Bülow lies brain-dead, husband Claus guilty of attempted murder; but he says he's innocent and hires Alan Dershowitz for his appeal.

Director: Barbet Schroeder | Stars: Jeremy Irons, Glenn Close, Ron Silver, Annabella Sciorra

Votes: 13,752 | Gross: $15.45M

44. Blow (2001)

R | 124 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

52 Metascore

The story of how George Jung, along with the Medellín Cartel headed by Pablo Escobar, established the American cocaine market in the 1970s in the United States.

Director: Ted Demme | Stars: Johnny Depp, Penélope Cruz, Franka Potente, Rachel Griffiths

Votes: 230,321 | Gross: $52.99M