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.

A movie to watch for greatest performance of life time

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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?

Very violent but very remarkable.

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3 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

It was a mix of stupidity and cancer and is made out of nothing but horrendous acting


KILL ME. - AlphaQ

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4 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

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


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5 Gladiator

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...

Although this movie is excellent, it is only three on the list due to the only thing that is historical is the games, and some of the names. Gladiators existed, Marcus Aurelius existed, Commodus existed, and that is all that is really known. But, that's enought to put in on our list! - heather

One of Top 5 movies ever in my opinion

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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

This is idiotic garbage. what is going on? -1/10 - AlphaQ

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7 300

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.

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

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8 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.

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

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

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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

Die hard fan of tis movie

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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 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.

12 Platoon
13 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

14 Ray

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

15 Remember the Titans

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

16 Ali
17 Apollo 13
18 Andrei Rublev
19 The Aviator

Howard Hughes had a crazy life. - travis13

20 All The President's Men
21 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

22 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


23 The Fighter

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

24 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 truly felt His (Jesus Christ) love while watching this movie, it coud reminds ourselves of how Precious and how loved we are, highly recommended. BEST MOVIE OF ALL TIME

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25 Gettysburg

Can't believe this isn't higher

26 Full Metal Jacket
27 A Beautiful Mind

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

28 Henry: Portrait of a Serial Killer
29 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

30 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.

Nick Frost, Gemma Arteton, Chris O'Dowd, Rhys Ifans, Bill Nighy, Kenneth Branagh, Jack Davenport and the late Phillip Seymoor Hoffman. How can you say no to that ensemble? Let's have a tune I'm sick of this silence.

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31 Raging Bull
32 Bordertown
33 Savior

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

34 Fahrenheit 9/11
35 Bonnie and Clyde

Graeat film can I have a free copy for another vu

36 The Exorcist
37 The Hurt Locker
38 In the Realm of the Senses
39 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

40 Alexander

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

41 Black Hawk Down

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

42 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.

I love main hero - the father. It's so great to save child's life with such nice sharme as he did. Kind and emotional movie) one of my favorites

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43 Public Enemies

Where Johnny Depp was the infamous John Dillinger. - jezza0

44 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

45 The Hunt for Red October

My dad knows some people from when it really happened.

46 Wild Wild West
47 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.

48 American Gangster
49 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

50 Hugo

Not a very good film, but it has lots of information about how special effects were done in the early twentieth century.

The movie may be a kid movie, but its useful. A movie about movies. - zxm

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List Stats

3,000 votes
214 listings
12 years, 80 days old

Top Remixes (13)

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 13

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