Greatest True Story Movies

by mitchell-zahn | created - 13 Nov 2019 | updated - 2 hours ago | Public

My favorite movies that are based on a true story or real people, and my favorite non-fiction movies of all time. Some far more true than others. Here is the link to my list of fictional movies that were excluded: https://www.imdb.com/list/ls093885859

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1. Gangs of New York (2002)

R | 167 min | Crime, Drama

72 Metascore

In 1862, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father's killer.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jim Broadbent

Votes: 416,006 | Gross: $77.81M

2. 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: 146,465 | Gross: $70.41M

3. 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: 481,157 | Gross: $42.44M

4. 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: 1,248,648 | Gross: $96.90M

5. The Godfather: Part II (1974)

R | 202 min | Crime, Drama

90 Metascore

The early life and career of Vito Corleone in 1920s New York City is portrayed, while his son, Michael, expands and tightens his grip on the family crime syndicate.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Robert Duvall, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,165,450 | Gross: $57.30M

6. 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: 657,770 | Gross: $56.67M

7. The Irishman (2019)

R | 209 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

94 Metascore

Hitman Frank Sheeran looks back at the secrets he kept as a loyal member of the Bufalino crime family.

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

Votes: 344,307 | Gross: $7.00M

8. The Thin Red Line (1998)

R | 170 min | Drama, War

78 Metascore

Adaptation of James Jones' autobiographical 1962 novel, focusing on the conflict at Guadalcanal during the second World War.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Jim Caviezel, Sean Penn, Nick Nolte, Kirk Acevedo

Votes: 178,016 | Gross: $36.40M

9. Born on the Fourth of July (1989)

R | 145 min | Biography, Drama, War

75 Metascore

The biography of Ron Kovic. Paralyzed in the Vietnam war, he becomes an anti-war and pro-human rights political activist after feeling betrayed by the country he fought for.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Tom Cruise, Bryan Larkin, Raymond J. Barry, Caroline Kava

Votes: 100,933 | Gross: $70.00M

10. Apocalypse Now (1979)

R | 147 min | Drama, Mystery, War

94 Metascore

A U.S. Army officer serving in Vietnam is tasked with assassinating a renegade Special Forces Colonel who sees himself as a god.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Martin Sheen, Marlon Brando, Robert Duvall, Frederic Forrest

Votes: 622,519 | Gross: $83.47M

11. Once Upon a Time... In Hollywood (2019)

R | 161 min | Comedy, Drama

83 Metascore

A faded television actor and his stunt double strive to achieve fame and success in the final years of Hollywood's Golden Age in 1969 Los Angeles.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Emile Hirsch

Votes: 607,547 | Gross: $142.50M

12. Saving Private Ryan (1998)

R | 169 min | Drama, War

91 Metascore

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers go behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Tom Hanks, Matt Damon, Tom Sizemore, Edward Burns

Votes: 1,275,478 | Gross: $216.54M

13. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

PG-13 | 135 min | Biography, Drama

72 Metascore

After John Nash, a brilliant but asocial mathematician, accepts secret work in cryptography, his life takes a turn for the nightmarish.

Director: Ron Howard | Stars: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly, Christopher Plummer

Votes: 871,997 | Gross: $170.74M

14. The Revenant (2015)

R | 156 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

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: 730,220 | Gross: $183.64M

15. The Silence of the Lambs (1991)

R | 118 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

A young F.B.I. cadet must receive the help of an incarcerated and manipulative cannibal killer to help catch another serial killer, a madman who skins his victims.

Director: Jonathan Demme | Stars: Jodie Foster, Anthony Hopkins, Lawrence A. Bonney, Kasi Lemmons

Votes: 1,312,913 | Gross: $130.74M

16. Heat (1995)

R | 170 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

76 Metascore

A group of professional bank robbers start to feel the heat from police when they unknowingly leave a clue at their latest heist.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: Al Pacino, Robert De Niro, Val Kilmer, Jon Voight

Votes: 597,409 | Gross: $67.44M

17. 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: 330,950 | Gross: $23.38M

18. The Imitation Game (2014)

PG-13 | 114 min | Biography, Drama, Thriller

73 Metascore

During World War II, the English mathematical genius Alan Turing tries to crack the German Enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians.

Director: Morten Tyldum | Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Keira Knightley, Matthew Goode, Allen Leech

Votes: 707,991 | Gross: $91.13M

19. 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: 96,675 | Gross: $61.70M

20. 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: 249,929 | Gross: $182.21M

21. 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: 1,053,925 | Gross: $46.84M

22. 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: 173,041 | Gross: $3.90M

23. Nixon (1995)

R | 192 min | Biography, Drama, History

66 Metascore

A biographical story of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, from his days as a young boy, to his eventual Presidency, which ended in shame.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, Powers Boothe, Ed Harris

Votes: 29,479 | Gross: $13.56M

24. The Godfather (1972)

R | 175 min | Crime, Drama

100 Metascore

An organized crime dynasty's aging patriarch transfers control of his clandestine empire to his reluctant son.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Marlon Brando, Al Pacino, James Caan, Diane Keaton

Votes: 1,679,286 | Gross: $134.97M

25. Inglourious Basterds (2009)

R | 153 min | Adventure, Drama, War

69 Metascore

In Nazi-occupied France during World War II, a plan to assassinate Nazi leaders by a group of Jewish U.S. soldiers coincides with a theatre owner's vengeful plans for the same.

Director: Quentin Tarantino | Stars: Brad Pitt, Diane Kruger, Eli Roth, Mélanie Laurent

Votes: 1,312,953 | Gross: $120.54M

26. On the Waterfront (1954)

Approved | 108 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

91 Metascore

An ex-prize fighter turned longshoreman struggles to stand up to his corrupt union bosses.

Director: Elia Kazan | Stars: Marlon Brando, Karl Malden, Lee J. Cobb, Rod Steiger

Votes: 145,976 | Gross: $9.60M

27. The Great Escape (1963)

Approved | 172 min | Adventure, Drama, History

86 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: 230,595 | Gross: $12.10M

28. Platoon (1986)

R | 120 min | Drama, War

92 Metascore

Chris Taylor, a neophyte recruit in Vietnam, finds himself caught in a battle of wills between two sergeants, one good and the other evil. A shrewd examination of the brutality of war and the duality of man in conflict.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Charlie Sheen, Tom Berenger, Willem Dafoe, Keith David

Votes: 390,835 | Gross: $138.53M

29. The King's Speech (2010)

R | 118 min | Biography, Drama, History

88 Metascore

The story of King George VI, his impromptu ascension to the throne of the British Empire in 1936, and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch overcome his stammer.

Director: Tom Hooper | Stars: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi

Votes: 651,635 | Gross: $138.80M

30. Amadeus (1984)

R | 160 min | Biography, Drama, History

88 Metascore

The life, success and troubles of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as told by Antonio Salieri, the contemporaneous composer who was insanely jealous of Mozart's talent and claimed to have murdered him.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: F. Murray Abraham, Tom Hulce, Elizabeth Berridge, Roy Dotrice

Votes: 377,917 | Gross: $51.97M

31. 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: 758,469 | Gross: $32.57M

32. The Departed (2006)

R | 151 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

85 Metascore

An undercover cop and a mole in the police attempt to identify each other while infiltrating an Irish gang in South Boston.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Matt Damon, Jack Nicholson, Mark Wahlberg

Votes: 1,224,985 | Gross: $132.38M

33. Taxi Driver (1976)

R | 114 min | Crime, Drama

94 Metascore

A mentally unstable veteran works as a nighttime taxi driver in New York City, where the perceived decadence and sleaze fuels his urge for violent action by attempting to liberate a presidential campaign worker and an underage prostitute.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jodie Foster, Cybill Shepherd, Albert Brooks

Votes: 750,442 | Gross: $28.26M

34. The Godfather: Part III (1990)

R | 162 min | Crime, Drama

60 Metascore

Follows Michael Corleone, now in his 60s, as he seeks to free his family from crime and find a suitable successor to his empire.

Director: Francis Ford Coppola | Stars: Al Pacino, Diane Keaton, Andy Garcia, Talia Shire

Votes: 370,734 | Gross: $66.67M

35. 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: 1,241,126 | Gross: $116.90M

36. The Post (2017)

PG-13 | 116 min | Drama

83 Metascore

A cover-up spanning four U.S. Presidents pushes the country's first female newspaper publisher and her editor to join an unprecedented battle between press and government.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Meryl Streep, Tom Hanks, Sarah Paulson, Bob Odenkirk

Votes: 141,264 | Gross: $81.90M

37. 1917 (2019)

R | 119 min | Drama, Thriller, War

78 Metascore

April 6th, 1917. As a regiment assembles to wage war deep in enemy territory, two soldiers are assigned to race against time and deliver a message that will stop 1,600 men from walking straight into a deadly trap.

Director: Sam Mendes | Stars: Dean-Charles Chapman, George MacKay, Daniel Mays, Colin Firth

Votes: 474,612 | Gross: $159.23M

38. Cold Mountain (2003)

R | 154 min | Adventure, Drama, History

73 Metascore

In the waning days of the American Civil War, a wounded soldier embarks on a perilous journey back home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina to reunite with his sweetheart.

Director: Anthony Minghella | Stars: Jude Law, Nicole Kidman, Renée Zellweger, Eileen Atkins

Votes: 142,152 | Gross: $95.64M

39. The Social Network (2010)

PG-13 | 120 min | Biography, Drama

95 Metascore

As Harvard student Mark Zuckerberg creates the social networking site that would become known as Facebook, he is sued by the twins who claimed he stole their idea, and by the co-founder who was later squeezed out of the business.

Director: David Fincher | Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake, Rooney Mara

Votes: 645,715 | Gross: $96.96M

40. American Hustle (2013)

R | 138 min | Crime, Drama

90 Metascore

A con man, Irving Rosenfeld, along with his seductive partner Sydney Prosser, is forced to work for a wild F.B.I. Agent, Richie DiMaso, who pushes them into a world of Jersey powerbrokers and the Mafia.

Director: David O. Russell | Stars: Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence

Votes: 458,228 | Gross: $150.12M

41. The People vs. Larry Flynt (1996)

R | 130 min | Biography, Drama

79 Metascore

The story of controversial pornography publisher Larry Flynt, and how he became a defender of free speech.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: Woody Harrelson, Courtney Love, Edward Norton, Brett Harrelson

Votes: 90,063 | Gross: $20.19M

42. 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: 124,744 | Gross: $53.27M

43. The Aviator (2004)

PG-13 | 170 min | Biography, Drama

77 Metascore

A biopic depicting the early years of legendary Director and aviator Howard Hughes' career from the late 1920s to the mid 1940s.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cate Blanchett, Kate Beckinsale, John C. Reilly

Votes: 342,488 | Gross: $102.61M

44. Paths of Glory (1957)

Approved | 88 min | Drama, War

90 Metascore

After refusing to attack an enemy position, a general accuses the soldiers of cowardice and their commanding officer must defend them.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Ralph Meeker, Adolphe Menjou, George Macready

Votes: 183,953

45. Confessions of a Dangerous Mind (2002)

R | 113 min | Biography, Comedy, Crime

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