30 Best Movies on Netflix Based on True Stories

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Movies are exciting in their kind of way, every new film brings us a new story but the excitement gets to another level when the movie is based on “true” stories.

Here we have brought you the top 10 movies which are based on true stories and are available on Netflix to binge on.

30. Full Out 2: You Got This!

Director: Jeff Deverett
Stars: Sydney Cope, Logan Edra, Liza Wilk
Release Date: February 1, 2020

A fun loaded movie with a lot of sports or most specifically gymnastics. The movie is a true story based on a team of girl gymnasts.

Released on Netflix in the year 2020, the story revolves around the gymnasts of Oklahoma Sooners who struggle to find a strategy to win their 2nd national championship without their star, Brenna Dowell.

However, they meet a local break dancing enthusiast, who helps them gain a new level of skills.

Find your courage and confidence with the team!

29. Hillbilly Elegy

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Gabriel Basso, Glenn Close, Amy Adams
Release Date: November 11, 2020

J.D. is a former marine and law student at Yale, on the verge of getting his dream job. However, a family problem forces him to return to his home in southern Ohio to the family he tried to forget.

He must in fact face the complex dynamics of his Appalachian family, in particular the difficult relationship he has with his mother Bev, struggling with addiction.

Thanks to the memories of his grandmother Mamaw, a strong and intelligent woman who has always looked after him, J.D. faces a personal journey that leads him to understand and accept his family.

28. Operation Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal

Director: Chris Smith
Stars: Matthew Modine
Release Date: March 17, 2021

The documentary Varsity Blues: The College Admissions Scandal, directed by Chris Smith; is a re-creation of the 2019 college admissions corruption scandal investigation.

In this investigation, the FBI examines the methods Rick Singer used to convince wealthy clients to cheat an education system already designed to benefit students the better off.

Using montage mixing interviews and conversations between Rick Singer and his clients, the film explores the true story behind the scandal.

27. Rose Island

Director: Sydney Sibilia
Stars: Elio Germano, Matilda De Angelis, Tom Wlaschiha
Release Date: December 9, 2020

Sometimes life doesn’t give us many options other than running from our problems. Runaway to a deserted place and start a new life. It sounds very interesting, doesn’t it? Just like our protagonist.

RELATED: 100 Best True Crime Podcasts of All Time

The Italian movie first aired on the 9th of December is a story about Giorgio Rose who found a small country in 1968 near the Rimini coast. The movie is directed by Sydney Sibilia.

It got all over the news and was a huge success. So what’s the wait for go and binge the amazing story of discovery on Netflix.

26. Seoul Searching

Director: Benson Lee
Stars: Justin Chon, Jessika Van, Cha In-pyo
Release Date: January 2015

During the 1980s, the Korean government created a special summer camp for “gyopo” or foreign-born teenagers where they could spend their summer in Seoul to learn about their homeland. While the intentions of the show were honorable, the teenage activities were not.

The program was finally canceled after a few years because the government simply could not control the youth. Seoul Searching is a teenage comedy and coming-of-age film, based on a true story about one of the summer camps that took place in 1986.

25. The Most Hated Woman in America

Director: Tommy O’Haver
Stars: Melissa Leo, Josh Lucas, Peter Fonda
Release Date: March 14, 2017

In 1995, Madalyn Murray O’Hair is kidnapped along with her son Garth and granddaughter Robin by three men: David Waters, Gary Karr, and Danny Fry. The three abductees would recognize one of them, David Waters.

The scene moves to the early 1960s. Madalyn has had her two children, Garth and eldest William J. “Billy Boy” Murray, Jr., out of wedlock and is a proud atheist, pressuring her Christian parents.

Madalyn is baffled to learn that Billy is being forced to recite the Lord’s Prayer at school, and launches a campaign to ban school prayer, which ultimately translates into a Supreme Court ruling that makes mandatory prayers in schools illegal. And she quickly became one of the most harassed figures in America.

24. Brain on Fire

Director: Gerard Barrett
Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz, Jenny Slate, Richard Armitage
Release Date: September 14, 2016

Susannah, 21, is a budding journalist for the New York Post. Shortly after meeting her boyfriend Steve, her behavior begins to change. At first, she finds it difficult to concentrate, soon she suffers from mood swings, anxiety attacks, epileptic seizures, and hallucinations, and increasingly has no control over herself.

Eventually, she has to be admitted to a clinic and becomes catatonic. The doctors are at first at a loss and finally turn to the specialist Dr. Souhel Najjar for advice. After a brain biopsy, he diagnoses anti-NMDA receptor encephalitis, a special form of inflammation of the brain.

After a lengthy therapy, Susannah finally finds her way back to life. On the advice of her superior Richard, the recovered Susannah begins to write her memoir.

23. Barry

Director: Vikram Gandhi
Stars: Devon Terrell, Anya Taylor-Joy, Ashley Judd
Release Date: September 10, 2016

In 1981, 20-year-old Barack Obama, commonly known as “Barry,” came to New York City to attend Columbia University as a transfer student from Occidental College. Unable to contact his long-awaited roommate Will, Barry spends the night on the streets.

The next day, Barry manages to contact Saleem, a man he met at a party a few months ago, who receives him in his apartment. Later, Barry meets his roommate Will and they both start living in his off-premises apartment on 109th Street.

The movie explores the life of a young Barack Obama during his college years, showing how he became the man America elected, both ideologically and privately.

22. Penguin Bloom

Director: Glendyn Ivin
Stars: Naomi Watts, Andrew Lincoln, Jacki Weaver
Release Date: January 21, 2021

Life is not always fair. Sometimes it takes a 360 turn and changes everything in a second. But, “hope” can keep you going no matter what.

And when I talk about this I recall about Samantha Bloom. A woman who breaks her back in an unfortunate accident and is now paralyzed below the chest.

However, one day her sons bring in an injured Magpie. And that one little bird changes the life of everyone in the family just like the title of the book suggests, “Penguin Bloom: The Odd Little Bird Who Saved a Family”.

21. First They Killed My Father

Director: Angelina Jolie
Stars: Sreymoch Sareum, Kompheak Phoeung, Tep Rindaro
Release Date: February 18, 2017

Loung Ung was five years old when the Pol Pot regime seized power in Cambodia. Her father was a wealthy government employee, that is, a prime target for the Khmer Rouge. Loung, her parents, and several siblings had to leave their home in Phnom Penh, emptied of its inhabitants in April 1975, leaving overnight without a destination.

They were forced to leave all their belongings behind, pretending to be a peasant family in order to avoid capture, and were eventually sent to a labor camp.

Adapted from the memoirs of Loung Ung, a Cambodian-born human rights activist, from where she fled in 1975, after the Civil War that brought the Khmer to power.

The story is told through Ung’s own eyes during Pol Pot’s repressive regime, from when she was 5 years old and the Khmer Rouge took power until she was 9 years old. Throughout that time her family struggled to stay together.

20. Chef

Director: Jon Favreau
Stars: Jon Favreau, John Leguizamo, Sofía Vergara
Release Date: March 7, 2014

When chef Carl Casper (Jon Favreau) suddenly quits his job at a famous Los Angeles restaurant, confronting his controlling owner (Dustin Hoffman) and refusing to give up his creative integrity, he has to figure out what his next step is.

Due to things in life, he is in Miami and associates with his ex-wife (Sofía Vergara), his friend (John Leguizamo), and his son (Emjay Anthony) to set up a Cuban street food stand. Along the way, Carl returns to his roots and regains his passion for cooking and enthusiasm for life and love.

19. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind

Director: Chiwetel Ejiofor
Stars: Maxwell Simba, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Aïssa Maïga
Release Date: January 25, 2019

The film was initially released in the year 2019 and was directed by the actor turned director, Chiwetel Ejiofor, who also played the part of Trywell Kamkwamba.

The movie revolves around a 13-year-old Nigerian boy who gets drawn out by the school when his family fails to pay his fees. And at the same time, natural circumstances occur in his village.

The curious and kind boy, who desperately wants to help his village in this tough situation sneaks into a library and learns the process of building a windmill.

Watch an inspiring story of the little boy and learn more about life.

18. The Duchess

Director: Saul Dibb
Stars: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Charlotte Rampling
Release Date: September 5, 2008

The plot of the film is based on the book by Amanda Foreman about the life of the Duchess of Devonshire, Georgiana Cavendish. Beauty and charisma brought her success in society, and extravagance, gambling, and love – a shame.

Having married a very young woman to the mature, cynical, and indifferent to her Duke of Devonshire, Georgiana was able to become a trendsetter of fashion and style, a loving mother, an astute political manipulator, close to high society and ordinary people. But the core of the plot is a desperate search for love.

17. On My Skin

Director: Alessio Cremonini
Stars: Alessandro Borghi, Jasmine Trinca, Milvia Marigliano
Release Date: September 12, 2018

The movie is a Netflix production that aired in 2018. It is based on a true incident about Stefano Cucchi, who gets arrested by the police for a small drug-dealing case.

However, after five days of his arrest, he is found dead inside the prison due to police torture. The storyline is enraged with a motion of slow and righteous way of direction.

The movie got nominated for nine David di Donatello awards and successfully bagged three.

16. Lost Girls

Director: Liz Garbus
Stars: Amy Ryan, Gabriel Byrne, Thomasin McKenzie
Release Date: January 28, 2020

What’s worse than a family member going missing? And that member being a young daughter is over the top.

The movie first aired on March 13 on Netflix. The story revolves around a missing case of a 24-year-old sex worker, Shannan Gilbert.

The case raises a roar over the entire New York City especially when Mari Gilbert, Shannan’s mother claims justice for her daughter. Her investigation leads the police to the roots of many unsolved murder mysteries of sex workers.

15. Into the Wild

Director: Sean Penn
Stars: Emile Hirsch, Marcia Gay Harden, William Hurt
Release Date: September 21, 2007

Christopher McCandless is a wealthy American boy who, immediately after graduating in social sciences from Emory University in 1990, decides to donate to Oxfam the money his parents had provided him to continue his studies and to abandon friends and family to escape from a consumerist and capitalist society in which he can no longer live.

His restlessness, partly due to the bad relationship with his family and partly to the readings of non-conformist authors such as Thoreau and London, led him to travel on foot for two years in the United States and northern Mexico, under the pseudonym of Alexander Supertramp.

14. The Dig

Director: Simon Stone
Stars: Carey Mulligan, Ralph Fiennes, Lily James
Release Date: January 14, 2021

Waking up a day to discover that the place you live in has many more secrets within and you had no idea sounds scary and exciting at the time.

The same happened with Edith Pretty, a widow who hires an archeologist, Basil Brown to investigate her land. While in the process, Brown and his team members find an Anglo-Saxon ship within.

The incident took place in 1939 and John Preston, who was a part of the archeologist team penned a book in May 2007 of the same name.

13. Rush

Director: Ron Howard
Stars: Chris Hemsworth, Daniel Brühl, Olivia Wilde
Release Date: September 2, 2013

The film is based on a true story, and is centered around race drivers James Hunt (played by Chris Hemsworth) and Niki Lauda (Daniel Brühl), and is an insight into their lives and rivalry.

Lauda was known to have been in a violent crash that almost cost him his life while fighting for the World Cup title in 1976, but he came back and took up the fight with Hunt for the title.

Hunt, on the other hand, had a wild lifestyle off the field, where he partied a lot and lived a playboy life abroad, but who wanted to appear different from the image he acquired.

12. Philomena

Director: Stephen Frears
Stars: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Michelle Fairley
Release Date: August 31, 2013

Ireland, 1952. Philomena Lee (Judi Dench) is a young woman who has a newborn child when she is sent to a convent. At the convent, she is put to do hard laundry work seven days a week to “pay for the sin” and is forced to give her son up for adoption, sold by the convent to an American couple never knowing anything about him again.

Fifty years after giving birth, Philomena begins a search for her son, along with the help of Martin Sixsmith (Steve Coogan), a strong-willed journalist. While traveling to the United States, they discover incredible information about the life of Philomena’s son and create an intense bond of affection between the two.

11. Dolemite Is My Name

Director: Craig Brewer
Stars: Eddie Murphy, Keegan-Michael Key, Mike Epps
Release Date: September 7, 2019

First aired on 7th September 2019, produced by Eddie Murphy, who is also the main lead of the movie, Rudy. The comedy-themed movie is based on the true story of Rudy Ray Moore. The famous comedian gained popularity after creating a character called “Dolimite”.

The character gained a lot of popularity which made Rudy base an entire film on it. The movie is very entertaining with artists like Wesley Snipes, Snoop Dogg, and many others performing.

10. The Social Network

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake
Release Date: September 24, 2010

One evening in 2003, Harvard University student and computer programmer Mark Zuckerberg (founder of Facebook) sits down at his computer and starts working on a new idea.

As a result of crazy content blogging and programming, it will soon create a global social network and revolutionize communication. However, success drags this young entrepreneur into personal and legal turmoil. It is also about the lawsuits filed by Eduardo Saverin and the Winklevoss Twins against Mark Zuckerberg, the founder of Facebook.

This is a truly unique masterpiece by David Fincher, usually known for his mind-bending movies, but who has dwelled into more realistic waters in this film.

9. Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom

Director: George C. Wolfe
Stars: Viola Davis, Chadwick Boseman, Glynn Turman
Release Date: November 25, 2020

The movie released on the Netflix platform in 2020 is based on the Oscar-winning drama released in the year 1982 of the same name which was taken from an award-winning play written by August Wilson.

The incredible movie showcases a day in the life of iconic singer Ma Rainey and her band. The plot is about a day when Ma and her bands are all set for the recording of their new album. With Ma running late to the studio, her band members (Toledo, Levee, Culter, and Slow Drag) pass few jokes which turn into a mess with a fight erupting between Levee, Toledo, and Culter.

The tension in the room deepens when Ma arrives with her nephew and offers that he could speak the introduction of the title song which further enrages the group. Things worsen when Levee stabs Toledo, killing the man as well any future aspirations for himself.

8. The Two Popes

Director: Fernando Meirelles
Stars: Jonathan Pryce, Anthony Hopkins
Release Date: August 31, 2019

Frustrated by the leadership of the Catholic Church, Argentinian Cardinal Bergoglio asked Pope Benedict XVI for permission to resign in 2012. He plans to retire away from the bustle of the curia, while continuing to serve the Church as a local priest.

RELATED: 100 Best Movies Based on True Stories of All Time

Instead, Benedict XVI summons his most severe critic and the future successor to Rome to reveal his intention to step down. Behind the walls of the Vatican, the two men confront their values and worldview in order to find common ground for more than a billion faithful around the world.

7. Erin Brokovich

Director: Steven Soderbergh
Stars: Julia Roberts, Albert Finney, Aaron Eckhart
Release Date: March 17, 2000

Erin Brockovich is raising her three children on her own, and being unemployed, she is desperate for work. Victim of a traffic accident, she contacted a law firm headed by Edward L. Masry to represent her. He is convinced that the driver will be condemned, but against all odds, she loses the case.

Erin pressures Masry to hire her; he accepts but relegates her to the archives. She will discover, in a minor case, that an energy distribution company, the Pacific Gas and Electric Company (PG&E), a subsidiary of a large company, bought one by one the houses of a small Californian town of Hinkley in the Mojave Desert.

There, many residents suffer from serious health problems, such as cancer. Investigating on the spot, she manages to show that these serious diseases are caused by drinking water containing toxic discharges, in particular hexavalent chromium (or chromium-6), from the cooling water of the plant.

Alone at first, she leads the fight, gathers evidence, motivates the inhabitants one by one, convinces her boss of the magnitude of the case, to finally obtain significant compensation for each of the victims from the offending company.

6. The Trial of the Chicago 7

Director: Aaron Sorkin
Stars: Sacha Baron Cohen, Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance
Release Date: September 25, 2020

In August 1968 Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, Tom Hayden, Rennie Davis, David Dellinger, Lee Weiner, John Froines, and Bobby Seale prepare to protest at the Democratic National Convention in Chicago. Five months later, all eight are arrested and accused of inciting a riot.

John N. Mitchell, the Attorney General, appoints Tom Foran and Richard Schultz as prosecutors, while all the defendants, except Seale, are represented by William Kunstler and Leonard Weinglass. Seale’s attorney cannot attend as he is hospitalized, which leads Judge Julius Hoffman to insist that Kunstler represent all eight defendants, a proposal that is repeatedly rejected by both Kunstler and Seale.

The judge shows significant bias in favor of the prosecution and begins to remove jurors suspected of sympathizing with the defendants, also accusing the defendants and their lawyers of multiple outrages to the court. Numerous undercover local police officers and various FBI agents are called to testify at the trial.

5. Spotlight

Director: Tom McCarthy
Stars: Michael Keaton, Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams
Release Date: September 3, 2015

In 2001 the Boston Globe’s Spotlight journalistic team, led by the new director Martin “Marty” Baron, began a sensational investigation that revealed the sexual abuse perpetrated by about seventy priests of the Archdiocese of Boston against minors, abuses that had been continuously covered up by the ecclesiastical authority.

Aware of the risks they face in going against an institution like the Catholic Church, Marty Baron and Ben Bradlee Jr., plus the four members of the newspaper’s investigation team, Walter Robinson, Mike Rezendes, Sacha Pfeiffer, and Matt Carroll, are more determined than never to bring to light the truth about a story that for years has been ignored by the authorities and the media.

The film ends with a list of places, both in the United States and around the world, where the Catholic Church has been involved in covering up abuses perpetrated by priests; following the scandal, Cardinal Bernard Francis Law was removed from his post in Boston and promoted to archpriest of the Basilica of Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome, one of the largest and most important in the world.

4. Mank

Director: David Fincher
Stars: Gary Oldman, Amanda Seyfried, Lily Collins
Release Date: November 13, 2020

Mank got aired in the year 2020 showcasing life in the Hollywood in 1930s. The story is being told from the screenwriter Herman J. Mankiewicz’s point is the view.

The story is revolving around the time, the writer is eager to finish writing “Citizen Kane”, a movie released in the year 1941.

Watch the 30s world through the eyes of the writer and enjoy the moments you knew you never could experience.

3. Roma

Director: Alfonso Cuarón
Stars: Yalitza Aparicio, Marina de Tavira
Release Date: August 30, 2018

The film is partly inspired by the childhood of Alfonso Cuarón. In the early 1970s, a wealthy family lived in Mexico City in the Colonia Roma neighborhood. Cleo is one of the native servants of this family along with Adela.

The family is made up of parents Sofía and Antonio, children Pepe, Sofi, Toño and Paco, and Teresa, Sofía’s mother. Sofía is left by her husband. The two women, Cleo and Sofia, will then help each other.

The words Shantih, Shantih, Shantih conclude the film (we also hear them in The Sons of Man). The same words end the poem La Terre Vaine (The Waste Land) by T. S. Eliot. The word “shantih” is a Sanskrit word that means “peace”.

2. The Pianist

Director: Roman Polanski
Stars: Adrien Brody, Thomas Kretschmann, Frank Finlay
Release Date: May 24, 2002

The film tells the story of the Polish Jewish pianist Władysław Szpilman. The story takes place in Warsaw, Poland during World War II. W. Szpilman was then the official pianist of Polish Radio and a well-known figure in Polish cultural circles.

When the Nazis seized the city, they gradually suppressed the rights of the Jews, then parked them in the ghetto created to regroup them for their extermination. W. Szpilman barely manages to escape the ghetto and is hidden by Polish resistance fighters who regularly bring her survival.

Hungry and thirsty, Szpilman then hides from the Germans in a small attic, but ends up being discovered by Wilm Hosenfeld, a music-loving German officer. The latter, learning that W. Szpilman is a pianist, and convinced of losing the war soon since the entry of Soviet troops into Warsaw seems inevitable, will secretly provide him with the food necessary for his survival every day.

1. Schindler’s List

Director: Steven Spielberg
Stars: Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes
Release Date: November 30, 1993

In September 1939, the persecution of the Polish Jews begins. The film shows the compulsory relocation of Jews from the Kraków area to the Kraków Ghetto. Oskar Schindler, a hitherto unsuccessful businessman, goes to Krakow to see if he can get cheap labor there.

He makes himself popular with the Germans, and with their support Schindler manages to acquire a pot and pan factory.

Through the Jewish man Itzhak Stern, Schindler comes into contact with a number of Jewish businessmen, who are willing to lend him money in exchange for some pots and pans; themselves, the Jews in the ghetto where they were put in by the Nazis no longer have any money.

Stern uses his appointment as manager at Schindler’s factory to save the lives of a number of Jews, initially without Schindler’s knowledge.

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