Best Movies Based On Historical Events or People

Names may have been changes, events may have been fictionalized, but the movies are good, and historically grounded.

The Top Ten

1 Schindler's List

A movie every adult should watch someday.

A very real, moving movie. - JESSIEMEN

I did my school project on Schindler when I was in Junior High. Watched this movie... Got an A plus.

This film was awful. This is one of my least favoritE History movies. Movies about History are usually cheap garbage. - AlphaQ

2 Braveheart

William Wallace was a real person, once upon a time, and now his story will live forever. - heather

Historically speaking it was fantasy! The French princess was four years old at the time.

Its awesome and make the people think about freedom even today. Are We really live in freedom?

Beautiful movie - Mel Gibson was magnificent in the role, you could really believe he was this heroic, charismatic historical figure. One of the greatest movies ever! - petrucci75hammet

3 Gladiator

This movie is a very accurate representation of the culture of Rome as well as its political corruptness and brutality - Dandeman7

Best movie ever created!

It is much viable of a motion picture, not though what is consider as the most intelligent times of Rome though. Though not the Colosseum itself or the equipment of the gladiators even the fight in the ring. It is the senseless slaughter that brings in question their sanity. The movie is awesome most of it though. - iliescu

Gladiator is really a heart touching movie if you feel the situation and the characters of the movie deeply. It is one of the best historical movie...

4 Titanic


Titanic was a mix of suspense, romance, and tragedy. It was very romantic. However, I didn't really like the ending. I mean, everyone ends up dying except the female main character, and usually, there are supposed to be happy endings in movies. But since this was based on a true story, it makes sense that there wasn't a happy ending. There is only a 5% chance of someone getting a happy ending in life.

Ok Dear maker of this list,
Titanic was the highest grossing movie worlwide and still is, no movie comes close, granted Braveheart is awesome, just look at the statistics. - Ezekial5016

Actually, Avatar is the highest grossing film of all time. And, highest-grossing doesn't always equal greatest. - EGBrett

I think this pretty much explains itself, but I must make comment about how wonderful I think this movie is. I think it was an instant classic. - heather

5 Saving Private Ryan

Saving Private Ryan is the best WWII and best Normandy movie ever. I heard that a vet who fought at Omaha said the only think missing from the opening battle scene was "the smell. "

On the other end of the spectrum is "Pearl Harbor. " This laughable "movie" should only be on one list. "Worst WWII Movies of All Time. " There were so many factual, visual and technical mistakes in this "movie" it should never have been allowed to open in theatres. The name of the director escapes me right now, but once again he was more concerned about big explosions and mass appeal (to make more money) that he turned out yet another P. O. S. Why did he make a boring teenage love story wrapped around December 7th, 1941?

"American Outlaws" isn't based on anything factual, other than they spelled Jesse James correctly. I almost died laughing. Oh yeah, every woman who lived in the mid west in late 19th century teased their hair... - corebare32

It should have won the Best Picture, The Shakespeare in Love is boring and didn't deserve to win it, this movie on the other hand was based on true events with great action drama and the caring nature of a mother in need of her MIA son. - roblist

best movie on this list I'll tell you that - Razor79

Way Too overdramatic and makes my brain numb at how irritating some certain scenes are. 2/10 - AlphaQ

6 Gone With The Wind

I couldn't believe this wasn't on the top ten...this is based on the most important historical history in the US...come on now and it's the best historical book or movie ever made and it's still watched and talked let's get this movie to where it is supposed to be guys...

You are that Gone with the Wind is based on a book written by Margret Mitchell. The movie is purely fictional. It's about as historically realistic as the Pirates of the Caribbean series. - jezza0

Its the best movie I'av ever seen with regards to expressions, acting and everything, the love to soil and the roots where a person belongs, is beautifully reflected through it...

Lovely book should at least read it once in your life time! 1

Common guys this should be in the top five

1 Comment
7 Kingdom of Heaven

A story very close to history, an inspiring philosophy behind it, really a classical movie about historical events, which have influence until present times - and the best cast (especially Orlando Bloom in the leading role), that may be found for it.

The best what Hollywood made so far when it comes to the history costume movies. Great and uncliche acting by the lead (Orlando Bloom), great cinematography, good music, strong ethical position and philosophy.

The Leper King Baldwin wins at chess against the Islamic Saladin. This movie has more than might complain to. The Templar are against the Muslim, the Crusaders are against the Saracens. Last of all King Baldwin is arch rival of Saladin. Base teams are fine and set this movie remains awesome. Good stuff! - iliescu

Such a nice effort to bring in heaven, I think (Orlando bloom) god has made him for this role.

8 300

They really smash those foreigners out of their country. Wonderful picture and quality to go with it! - iliescu

Every time you watch it, you won't get out of it the next ten days

All the important characters in this movie were real. I'm not sure it's the best on this list but it deserves a load of credit. - Cantonez

It's wonderful guys, I loved it. I think this movie is very informative and young generation must watch that kind of stuff.

9 Troy

Achilles rushes real fast and darn does he smash the giant with speed, grace, agility, intellect, and bold instinct. Awesome movie to their team done perfect just about. - iliescu

It's such one of the amazing movie in historical epic type movie...

It is proven that Illium (Troy) really existed, and this story has been in circulation for thousands of years. Then, they turned around and made a truly epic movie about it. They took and age-old story, and brought it to life with TROY. - heather

Ultimate movie I love the film very much

10 Lawrence of Arabia

Not one of my personal favorites, I can appreciate this movie for its historical quality, and that it was very well liked by many people when it came out. This movies classic status puts it on this list in the top of the historical movie list. - heather

It may be overly long but it's still the epic of all epics. The historical setting adds to the richness and exasperated the detail to perfection. - logblobo

One if the best movies of all time. - Billyv

The Contenders

11 Goodfellas

One of the greatest films of all time and the most entertaining, exhilarating, and detailed biopic. About the rise and fall of mob associate Henry Hill. The movie shows the brutal truth of everyday life in the Mafia.

Best Gangster movie ever made. Goodfellas > Godfather, Scarface, Pulp Fiction, The untouchables, Donnie Brasco and on and on

12 Platoon
13 Full Metal Jacket
14 The Great Escape

A hilarious movie about world war 2. Fairly accurate too. It's pretty surprising how it's a comedy about a horrible prison camp.

This is an AMAZING movie. I first saw it when I was about 9. Every since then, I've loved it!!

An instant classic. A great film. - nic1997ps3


15 Ali
16 Ray

Amazingly acted. Awesome story of a real man. Jamie Foxx was well rewarded with his performance

17 Remember the Titans

This showed the struggle after schools became desegregated. It is a wonderful story. It showed me a lot - freshlivinlovely

18 Pirate Radio

Also known as The Boat that Rocked, this was set in the 1960s, a time when the BBC banned rock and roll on the airwaves so these pirate radio stations smuggled in the tunes. - jezza0

Funny yet accurate at the same time.

This was the true story about regular British guys who caused a rebelion against the goverment and the BBC by airing rock and roll on boats.

Bill Nighy, Chris O'Dowd, Gemma Arteton, Nick Frost and Jack Davenport are only part of this ensemble comedy.

1 Comment
19 Apollo 13
20 Andrei Rublev
21 The Patriot

Some of the names have been changed in this movie, but most of the people actually existed, including Mel Gibson's main charecter, and the bad guy too! The point is, its historical, and its a great movie. - heather

One of the best films ever made!

Best movie I've seen

22 The Aviator

Howard Hughes had a crazy life. - travis13

23 Gandhi

It is incredible how he managed to fight out the independence of India - MatrixGuy

It's a excellent movie. Shows the struggle of independance and father of nation in a religious terrorism

24 Enemy at the Gates

One of the best historical movies I have seen.

25 Wild Wild West
26 Glory

This could also be classified as a war movie, but I think the historical significance of this movie makes in a movie that needs to be on the list. - heather

This movies is so heart warming and moving. I could watch this a hundred times.

27 Gettysburg

Can't believe this isn't higher

28 Public Enemies

Where Johnny Depp was the infamous John Dillinger. - jezza0

29 All The President's Men
30 The Fighter

The fighter is such an amazing film and the final fight really got my heart racing. - sam11855

31 Notorious

The story of probably the greatest rapper of all time Biggie Smalls and his former life on the streets and his ups and downs leading up to his death in 1997 - roblist

32 Downfall

My all time favourite movie.

The last days in Hitler's bunker. Powerful movie!!!!

Bruno Ganz is terrific

33 A Beautiful Mind

Great movie! Russel Crowe is one of the best actors in the present time!

34 The Sound of Music

I love that... It is my favourite movie ever.

Julie Andrews and Christopher Plummer, they are a good match

soo truee, soo peaceful, succh a good movie

35 Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
36 Fahrenheit 9/11
37 Bordertown
38 American Gangster
39 Black Hawk Down

Awesome team of fit troopers. Hope they win it! - iliescu

40 Savior

Probably the saddest film I've ever seen but I love this movie so much. It has real emotions, feelings and... tears - Irina2932

41 The Exorcist

Wait, this was actually based on true stuff? What the Hell!

42 Mississippi Burning

Search for the killers of the three Civil Rights workers. -

43 The Hurt Locker
44 In the Realm of the Senses
45 The Passion of the Christ

The single most important event in history, portrayed very well. Whether you're one of us believers, or a not believer, Christianity has shaped the world for 2000 years. - davidthenurse

if you see this movie, you will know how He loves you - rock2metal

its good that they made a movie about him - moose4life19

I don't know about you guys, but I would really put this in number 1, BECAUSE IT'S ABOUT TRUE LOVE THAT JESUS (GOD) HAS FOR US.

46 Life Is Beautiful

This is a really funny yet sad movie about a Jewish Italian family sent to a concentration camp during the Holocaust. The father, played by the movie's director Roberto Benigni (a big name in the Italian film industry), drives the story with his remarkable sense of humor that persists to guide his family through this time of hopelessness.

I agree that this one should be in the top 10. A very classy way to approach a difficult topic. Shows the power of the human spirit and ability to survive even in the worst of situations.

A great albeit controversial movie. By the way, Fahrenheit 911 is not based on history.

This deserves a spot in the top ten. - tarot_contralto

1 Comment
47 The Amityville Horror

Well the truthfulness of the events in the original book and movies to follow can never be verified nor disproved, but it is historical fact in that the movie is based on an actual family that claimed to be terrorized in a house in the town of amityville formerly occupied by one Ronald Defeo who in fact did murder 6 members of his family. So yes I would say it is historic as well as interesting.

Indeed terrifying, although I cannot understand Amityville's placement in the historical category - unless you consider the supposed "based on true events" tag. Is fascination with a Catholic devil (think The Exorcist) a marker of the 1970s?

Terrifying, can't believe its not on there yet. - clerkatron

48 Alexander

One of the best hero, life, passion, achievements, dreams...
Conquer the world...

49 The Hunt for Red October

My dad knows some people from when it really happened.

50 Grave of the Fireflies (Hotaru no Haka)

I almost cried when I saw this movie.. and I am really insensitive!

I thought, that it was impossible not to cry when watching this movie. You need to be disconnected from any human emotion to be indifferent about this hartbreaking story.

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List Stats

3,000 votes
224 listings
13 years, 56 days old

Top Remixes (14)

1. Braveheart
2. Ray
3. Ali
1. Andrei Rublev
2. Lawrence of Arabia
3. Gone With The Wind
1. Saving Private Ryan
2. Platoon
3. Schindler's List

View All 14

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