Top 10 Most Historically Accurate Movies Ever Made

The first thing history enthusiasts want to see in movies that are based on real-life events is historical accuracy. For that to be achieved, everything from the costumes, the sets and the reenactment of the historical narrative have to be as close to reality as possible.

Of course with all historical sources, we can never get an objectively 'accurate' version of events, but we can try to navigate what the sources tell us. As such it's impossible for every historical movie to be 100% accurate, especially with all the liberties film directors often take, but that doesn't take away from the enjoyment. Here are the most historically accurate movies ever made.
The Top Ten
1 Apollo 13

Filmmakers are known to take many liberties when making films, but in the case of Apollo 13, its director Ron Howard committed to portraying events as true to life as he could. It seems he succeeded, as experts agree that Apollo 13 is a largely accurate depiction of the true story.

Apollo 13 is an amazing film! I loved the acting, directing, and the factual content within the movie. The only problem was the phrase "Houston, we have a problem." In real life, they actually said, "Houston, we had a problem."

2 All The President's Men

All the President's Men is a 1976 American biographical political drama-thriller film about the Watergate scandal that brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon. The portrayal of the two Washington Post journalists who covered the story, the depiction of the events that took place to uncover the scandal, and the rendering of the steps that led to Nixon's resignation from office are all very accurate.

3 Schindler's List

Schindler's List is based on a true story and follows Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who saved more than 1,300 Jews from the Nazis. When the SS started killing Jews during the war, Schindler arranged to have his Jewish workers protected, saving many lives.

4 The Pianist

The Pianist is an adaptation of the autobiography "The Pianist: The Extraordinary True Story of One Man's Survival in Warsaw, 1939-1945" written by Wladyslaw Szpilman, a Polish Jewish radio station pianist. The movie follows his life and difficult times, where he had to hide in the Warsaw Ghetto after being separated from his family during Operation Reinhard.

5 The Assassination of Jesse James By The Coward Robert Ford

This film is regarded by many as the most historically accurate portrayal of the iconic Wild West outlaw Jesse James. Both Brad Pitt and Casey Affleck play their respective roles very well. Brad Pitt nails the role of Jesse James, an outlaw who knows his end is coming. Affleck nails the role of Robert Ford, the frail, angry, vengeful, weak-willed man who lusted after recognition.

6 Saving Private Ryan

Although the plot of Saving Private Ryan did not happen in real life, the movie does an amazing job of portraying how D-Day and World War II were like. Many history experts have praised the film for its realism in how the characters behave and in the action scenes.

There are stories about parts of this movie being so realistic that it triggered PTSD in some WWII veterans who watched it.

So freaking good! Easily my favorite war film.

7 Lincoln

Lincoln is a movie based on former US President Abraham Lincoln and is set during a short period of a few months in early 1865. Its overall plot is entirely factual, though there are a few inaccuracies. For instance, the film takes some liberties with the final vote tally on the 13th amendment.

Despite these liberties, Lincoln achieved exactly what it aimed to accomplish and is a great depiction of what happened in the last few months of the sixteenth president's life.

8 Downfall

Downfall is a movie about World War II which depicts Adolf Hitler's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII. The screenplay was based on the books Inside Hitler's Bunker by historian Joachim Fest and Until the Final Hour by Traudl Junge, one of Hitler's secretaries. The film follows Junge's account closely.

The film received both praise and controversy for its portrayal of the Fuhrer, which aimed to show more of the man and what was going on in his mind rather than just the dictator who has been demonized over the years for his terrible actions. Historical accounts from people close to him during the war said he was different in person than when giving his speeches. He could be charming, persuasive, and charismatic. At other times, he could say things that chilled the blood.

Overall, the film is an accurate depiction of the events and paints a good picture of Hitler's downfall, pun intended.

9 Full Metal Jacket
10 12 Years a Slave

12 Years a Slave is a 2013 biographical drama film based on the 1853 slave memoir Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup. In 1841, Northup was a free black man, but he was drugged and then sold into slavery. The movie follows exactly what was written in the book, with very minor changes made for cinema.

This is the only movie on the list I have seen, and it was a great movie. It was definitely scary how even a black man who thought he was free and secure could find himself in slavery because a couple of guys wanted a quick buck.

The Contenders
11 A Night to Remember

A Night to Remember is regarded as the most historically accurate depiction of that fateful night on 15 April 1912 during which the RMS Titanic sank, even more so than the famous Titanic movie from 1997. There is one mistake in this film: the ship isn't shown to have broken in half, as it did in real life.

It is a forgivable mistake considering people at the time doubted the ship split in two.

12 Green Book

One of my personal favorites. The main character (Tony Lip or Tony Vallalonga, although I wonder if I spelled that right) - his son Nick was, I believe, a producer or something.

13 Zodiac

This 2007 movie about the case of the Zodiac killer is often praised for its historical accuracy because it portrays many events related to the Zodiac and the people who were trying to catch him. One such example is how Arthur Leigh Allen was suspected of being the Zodiac. Obviously, this is based on the hearsay of the people involved, but it is still a great portrayal of these events.

14 The Conjuring
15 Black Robe

Black Robe tells the story of the first contacts between the Huron Indians of Quebec and the Jesuit missionaries from France who came to convert them to Catholicism. The film is historically authentic not only in its locations but also in the depiction of the conditions in which these people lived.

The actors even spoke in the Cree, Mohawk, and Algonquin languages. It is considered one of the most meticulously researched representations of indigenous life put on film.

16 Epic

It's dedicated to the teenage nature activist Mary Katherine (portrayed in the film as a 17-year-old) and her life. Although it had fictional elements and scenarios (such as shrinking down to the size of a common bug), it also focused on the reality of her lifestyle.

For these reasons, it's the most historically accurate CGI animated film to use fictional elements besides the Ice Age films. R.I.P. M.K. (1994-2012).

17 The Lion in Winter

Parts of the plot are not historically accurate, but the setting and the visuals are accurate to medieval times. The political situation from that time is also well represented.

18 Tora! Tora! Tora!

This movie is a fairly accurate account of Japan's attack on Pearl Harbor on 7 December 1941 and the events that preceded it. Compared to the movie Pearl Harbor, this is far more historically accurate.

19 Glory

A very good and accurate Civil War film, which is the first to touch on the subject of African-American soldiers who fought during the war.

20 Das Boot

This movie's dialogue is in German, but it's still good to watch. It gives a good idea of what it was like to be in a submarine in WWII.

21 Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
22 Stalingrad (1993)
23 The Longest Day
24 Letters from Iwo Jima
25 Flags of Our Fathers
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