51 Movies Based On True Stories That Will Inspire You To The Core

Dare to dream big!

Abhishek Biju Nair

Mar 31, 2021|13 min read


For decades, we have enjoyed watching movies. Today, there are many genres like action, comedy, horror, romance, and motivational movies. Out of all these, watching motivational movies based on a true story gives us a lot of inspiration. In every movie based on a true story, the characters in the movie go through obstacles and struggle to achieve their goals and make their dream possible.

Many inspirational stories are left untold or that people are not aware of. But filmmakers have done a great job by bringing such inspiring stories in the form of movies based on a true story. It is a genre that has been ignored or never heard about for long.

51 Movies Based On True Stories That Will Inspire You To The Core

This list of 51 movies based on a true story will inspire you to the core! These movies are based on the real lives of some extraordinary people, despite all difficulties, who have taken on their goals and succeeded. Trust me, after reading this article, you going to e inspired!

1. The Imitation Game

The first movie on the list is an inspiring story of Alan Turing, a legendary mathematician who cracked the code of an impenetrable German war machine called Enigma. Directed by Morten Tyldum, the movie stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Turning and focuses on his years as a cryptograph for the British military during World War II. In the end, he was driven to suicide by the way the same government he helped save.

2. Schindler's List  

Directed by Steven Spielberg, and starring Liam Nesson in the lead role, the film is about Oscar Schindler, a Nazi businessman who saved thousands of Jews from being annihilated in Nazi concentrated camps set by Adolf Hitler to terminate the jews. The movie is a masterpiece!

3. The Pursuit of Happyness

Directed by Gabrielle Muccino, The Pursuit of happiness is an amazing movie based on the true story of a San Francisco salesman named Christopher Gardner who faced many obstacles in his life to achieve happiness, even being forced to sleep on the streets with his Five-year-old son. The movie stars Will Smith and his son Jaden Smith. It is a beautiful and emotional movie and tells us that if we have a dream then we should never give up; All we have to do is keep trying VA!

4. A Beautiful Mind

Directed by Ron Howard, ‘A Beautiful Mind’ tells the story of a mathematical genius John Forbes Nash. Played by Russell Crowe the movie shows how he discovered a highly complicated mathematical concept. It also shows how he achieved success and failure in life while suffering from Schizophrenia.

5. Spotlight

Directed by Todd McCarthy, the film is about the Boston Globe investigative team that exposed the sexual abuse of children by Roman Catholic priests in Boston. The movie won an Oscar for Best picture!

6. Into the Wild

Based on the story of a real-life hiker Christopher Johnson McCandless who realized that his true calling is somewhere in the wild. Directed by Sean Penn, the movie stars Emile Hirsch in the lead role. Into the Wild was a film that inspired many people to take control of their lives!

7. The Two Popes

Played by Anthony Hopkins and Jonathan Pryce, the film shows the relationship between Pop Benedict XVI and Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio who succeeded Benedict and became Pope Francis in 2013. the movie shows how they earn respect for each other over time, eventually becoming close friends. Even though they don’t seem to be close in real-life, the film is about the backstory of their relationship.

8. Rain Man

Directed by Barry Levinson, the movie stars Tom Cruise and Hoffman in lead roles. The character Raymond Babbit, played by Cruise was inspired by a true person named Kim Peek. Kim had a rare condition called savant syndrome which gave him amazing talents including an outstanding memory. The movie is inspiring, fascinating, often very moving, and regularly funny.

9. Moneyball

Directed by Bennett Miller, the film stars Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in lead roles. It’s a sports movie that tells the story of Billy Beane, the general manager of Oakland Athletics in Major League Baseball. It shows how he helped the team compete against the strongest team in the league through his way of approach. If you’re a fan of sports-drama, this is the right choice for you!

10. Eat Pray Love

Next up on the list is a real-life story based on a memoir of the same name by Elizabeth Gilbert, a woman who visited three places; India, Italy, and Indonesia where she learns valuable life lessons and what’s important in life. The movie stars Julia Roberts in the lead role and is a feel-good one!

11. The Big Short  

Directed by Adam McKay and with a star cast of Christian Bale, Steve Carell, Ryan Gosling, and Brad Pitt, The Big Short is a movie about seven American finance professionals who foresaw and profited from the financial crisis in 2007 and 2008. It is a remarkable piece of cinema and is very inspirational.

12. Catch Me If You Can

Directed by Steven Spielberg, the movie tells the story of Frank Abagnale Jr. played by Leonardo DiCaprio, who was a con-man who worked at multiple different occupations and became one of the countries most notorious bank robbers at the age of just 17. The film is funny and is also one of DiCaprio’s best!

13. Goodfellas

A real-life story of Henry Hill, a New York City Mafia, and his associates who carried out one of the most daring heists of American history! Directed by Martin Scorsese, the movie stars Robert De Niro and Ray Liotta in lead roles. It is a powerful movie showing us how a young man works hard and how he finally enjoys his life of money and luxury!

14. Raging Bull

One of the classic sports movies of Hollywood! Directed by Martin Scorsese, and starring the great Robert De Niro, the film is based on the true story of boxer Jake LaMotta. The movie is a masterpiece and inspiring in many ways. The raging bull was DeNiro’s career-best!

15. The Pianist

Directed by Roman Polanski in 2002, the pianist tells the heartbreaking story of a Polish-Jewish musician Wladyslaw Szpilman, who faces a lot of struggles after losing contact with his family during World War II. It is a beautiful movie and is Polanski’s best work in years!

16. Hidden Figures

‘Hidden Figures' is a fantastic story of three African-American woman mathematicians who worked at NASA and overcame gender and race bias by being the brains behind one among the best operations in history. The movie takes place within the ’60s when women and African Americans were looked down upon. The film stars Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, and Janelle Monae in lead roles.

17. The King's Speech

The King’s Speech, directed by Tom Hooper is a true-life tale of Prince Albert who overcame his stammering problem with the help of a speech therapist Lionel Logue on his way to becoming king George VI and how he led his country through World War II. The movie stars Colin Firth And Geoffrey Rush in lead roles and tells its story with dignity and grace.

18. Lincoln

Next up is a historical drama directed by Steven Spielberg, starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Abraham Lincoln. The movie is based on the final weeks of Abraham Lincoln‘s life and how he helps push the 13 amendment act and bring an end to the civil war. The movie also shows how slavery was abolished in America and also Lincoln’s relationship with his family. An inspirational one!

19. The Wolf of Wall Street  

Based on the memoir of an equivalent name, the movie is that the story of Jordan Bellfort, a replacement York stockbroker who made a living by lying and also conned his thanks to earning many millions within the 1990s. The movie stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Belfort and may be a brilliant and hilarious one!

20. 12 Years a Slave

Based on a true story, the movie depicts the journey of a free black man, that is kidnapped and sold into slavery. He is threatened by his white masters for being able to read and write. Directed by Steve McQueen, starring Chiwetel Ejiofor within the lead role, the film received widespread praise and was the simplest film of 2013. It’s another must-watch.

21. American Hustle

With the star cast of Christian Bale, Amy Adams, Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, and Jeremy Renner, American Hustle is a true story about an FBI sting operation on corrupt officials that took place in the late 1970s and early 1980s which ended with the prosecution of 6 U.S representatives, a U.S senator, and many other public officials. The movie is a beautifully narrated thriller.

22. Apollo 13

Based on the true story of NASA‘s third moon landing machine Apollo 13, which never made it to the lunar surface. The movie shows NASA‘s strategy to return Apollo 13 to Earth safely after the spacecraft underwent damage in the oxygen cylinders when it 200,000 miles from the Earth, putting the lives of three astronauts on board at stake. Starring Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton, and Kevin Bacon in lead roles, the movie is inspirational and a cinematic masterpiece!

23. Zodiac

Zodiac is a thriller movie based on the true story of the zodiac killer wash prominent in northern California throughout the 1960s and 1970s killing over 37 people. Mark Ruffalo, Jake Gyllenhaal, and Robert Downey Jr. were the filmstars. Zodiac is a masterclass both in filmmaking and storytelling. It’s a must-watch!

24. Hotel Rwanda

Directed by Terry George, the movie is based on the Rwandan genocide The film is based on the real-life story of how Mr. Rusesabagina played by Don Cheadle, and his wife Tatiana played by Sophie Okonedo made efforts to secure a safe escape for 1200 people by providing them shelter at the Mille Collines Hotel in Kigali. The movie is inspiring and Don deserved an oscar for this!

25. 127 Hours

Starring James Franco in the lead role, 127 Hours tells the real story of a how a rock climber Aron Ralston, who found himself trapped in the Utah canyon and performs a DIY surgery to save his life. This movie will inspire you to the core and also teaches us that there’s no force in this world stronger than the will to live.

26. Erin Brockovich  

Starring Julia Roberts, the movie is about the real-life story of Erin Brockovich, who, despite her lack of education in law, played a huge role in building a case against the Pacific Gas & Electric company in 1993. The film shows how one mother takes on all-powerful forces and wins against all odds.

27. The Intouchables

Based on a true story, the movie is a story about the friendship between a wealthy guy who is paralyzed and his caretaker who is black and was just released from prison. Don’t miss this exhilarating film.

28. Ford v Ferrari

Directed by James Mangold, the movie tells the story of a 24-hour race called Le Mans in the mid-1960s as American manufacturing company Ford took on Italy’s Ferrari, the defending champion of the race. To stand a chance in the 24-hour race, Ford brought into two racing legends; Carroll Shelby played by Matt Damon and Ken Miles played by Christian Bale to help them win the European title. The movie is inspirational and keeps you thrilled for two and a half hours!

29. Rush

Directed by Ron Howard and starring Chris Hemsworth and Daniel Bruhl the movie is based on the true rivalry between Formula 1 racers James Hunt from Britain and Niki Lauda from Australia in the 1970s. Rush is one of the best racing movies ever made and is a fantastic story!

30. Hacksaw Ridge

Hacksaw Ridge is the true story of Desmond Doss who saved the life of 75 soldiers, without carrying a weapon during the battle at Hacksaw Ridge during World War II, where thousands of Americans and Japanese soldiers were killed. Directed by Mel Gibson, the movie stars Andrew Garfield as Doss. Another masterpiece!

31. Citizenfour

Directed by Laura Poitras, Citizenfour is a documentary about Edward Snowden. Captured in real-time over eight days, Snowden reveals for the first time how the US government spies on its citizens. The film is brave, bold, and an eye-opener.

32. Cinderella Man

Titled after the nickname of World Heavyweight Boxing champion James J. Braddock, one among America’s most loved boxers. Directed by Ron Haward and starring Russell Crowe, Renee Zellweger, and Paul Giamatti in lead roles, the movie is inspired by his life story. The movie is inspirational and emotional at the same time!

33. Gandhi

Next up in this list of inspiring movies needs no introduction. From the title, it’s obvious that the film is based on the life of Mahatma Gandhi. Directed by Richard Attenborough, the movie portrays his revolts against British rule through his philosophy of non-violent protest.

34. The Revenant

Based on the novel of the same name written by Michael phone K the revenant starring their Nadeau DiCaprio is a true story of Hugh class who traveled over 1500 miles through the in pursuit of vengeance against the man who left him for dead after he was mauled by a bear. As raw as realistic, the film is a brilliant one!

35. IP man

A series of martial arts films based on the real-life story of a Chinese Martial Artist and a grandmaster of the martial art Wing Chun. He had many students and one of them is the legend, Bruce Lee. Directed by Wilson Yip, the first movie of the series was Ip man(2008), which was followed by two sequels; Ip man 2 (2010) and Ip man 3 (2015). The last and final movie was Ip Man 4: The Finale (2019). The movie is inspiring and an excellent martial arts biopic. 

36. Dunkirk

This war film written, directed, and produced by Christopher Nolan, is based on the Dunkirk evacuation of World War II, where 300,000 British soldiers were trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk, France, surrounded by the German army on the Beach. The movie is a breathtaking modern war classic!

37. 300

This war classic is based on the Battle of Thermopylae, which took place between the Spartans and the Persians. Directed by Zack Snyder, the film stars Gerard Butler in the lead role, as a powerful and mighty king!

38. Lion

Directed by Garth Davis, the film stars Dev Patel and is the real-life story of Saroo Brierly. The movie is about how he found his way back home to his mother he had left behind, 25 years later after he was separated from his Indian family. This movie roars with emotions and is a must-watch.

39. The Theory Of Everything

The theory of Everything directed by James Marsh is about the life of physicist Stephen Hawking. The movie is adapted from a memoir by Jane Hawking, where she talks about her relationship with her ex-husband Stephen Hawking. The film stars Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones in lead roles. It is one of the most inspiring biopics and the performance of Jones, just makes it better!

40. Selma

Directed by Ava DuVernay, the movie is about Dr. Luther King Jr.’s campaign to secure equal voting rights by an extended march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama in 1965. David Oyelowo plays the role of Luther King, Jr. The movie received numerous appreciation and nominations. The movie was re-released in January 2021 to celebrate Black History Month.

41. Julie and Julia

Starring Amy Adams and Meryl Streep, the movie is a comedy-drama and is the true story of two women who are generations apart but finds solace in culinary arts. Directed by Nora Ephron, Julie and Julia is the first major film to have been based on a blog Thea movie. The movie is pure entertainment!

42. The Blind Side

The movie is about the lifetime of Michael Oher, who may be a homeless black teen and is taken in by a marriage who becomes his trustee , transforming his and their lives. Directed by John Lee Hancock and starring Sandra Bullock and Quinton Aaron in lead roles, the movie is additionally a few woman who fought all odds to bring a toddler to her family and supply him a far better life.

43. Milk

Directed by Gus Van Sant, Milk is based on the life of politician Harvey Milk, who was a gay activist and the first gay person to be elected to major public office in California. The film stars Sean Penn as Milk and his performance was inspiring!

44. Capote

Based on a novel of the same name, Capote directed by Bennett Miller, the movie tells the story of Truman Capote’s non-fictional novel ‘In cold blood’. which was about the murder of a farming family in Kansas in 1959. An extraordinary performance by the lead actor Philip Seymour Hoffman won him the Academy Award for Best Actor.

45. Seabiscuit

A sports film written, directed, and co-produced by Gary Ross. The film is an inspiring story based on the real-life events and the racing career of a horse, Seabiscuit, who was an undersized racehorse who gained fame in the US during the great depression period and also participated in 35 races when it was just two years old. The movie is inspiring with a beautiful story and some great racing sequences.

46. Remember The Titans

Starring Denzel Washington, Remember the Titans is predicated on a real story where a Black man is assigned because the new coach of a faculty eleven. He reduces racism within the community, by making the white players and African-American players play together as a team. Initially, it had been difficult to form that happen, but the reduction of racism leads to the success of the eleven. Another movie that will inspire you to the core!

47. All the President’s Men

Directed by Alan J Pakula, the movie is based on a book of the same name by Carl Bernstein and Bob Woodward which tells the story of the watergate scandal’ which brought down the presidency of Richard Nixon. It is also the story of two hard-working men who wouldn’t give up on the story of the Watergate break-in. 

48. Dog Day Afternoon

Next up in this list is one of the best movies of the 1970s directed by Sidney Lumet, ‘Dog Day Afternoon’ is a true story about the 1972 robbery and hostage situation led by John Wojtowicz at a Chase Manhattan branch in Brooklyn. The movie mainly focused on contemporary tensions over law, media, and sexuality and is a must-watch!

49. Lawrence of Arabia

Directed by David Lean, the movie is predicated on the real-life story of British secret agent T.E. Lawrence and his struggles against enormous natural and political odds to win the liberty of the Arabs against the Ottoman Turks in war I. The movie is inspirational and is taken into account one among David’s masterpieces, winning seven Oscars!

50. Braveheart

An epic war film based on the real-life of William Wallace, a late 13th-century Scottish Warrior. Directed by and starring Mel Gibson, the movie is about the first war of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England. It’s inspiring, brutal, and action-packed.

51. Amadeus

The last one on this list of inspirational movies is predicated on a stage play of an equivalent name by Peter Shaffer. Directed by Milos Forman, the movie is about 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 possess murdered him. it's amazing and doubtless, one among the simplest movies ever made!

Watching all these movies based on a true story will make you pick your phone and start googling to find out what happened and you’ll want to know more. They inspire us in many ways and show us how to achieve success, how to face problems, and how to never lose courage.

All these movies have shown us how life is a struggle and how to overcome it and also amaze you with its incidents and success after so many difficulties. So, the next time you’re looking for a movie that is factual ad inspiring, all you need to do is ready the popcorn, cause this list has 51 movies based on true stories that will inspire you to the core!

If you found the article interesting, make sure you share it with a friend or a family member who is desperately in search of some motivation. This list is going to help’em all. Enjoy!


Abhishek Biju Nair

I grew up with immense love for Performing arts, Movies and Sports. I never thought that I could write an article. But life is worthwhile if you try! You never know what you’re capable of until you try. And then I tried writing for fun, and here I am!



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