Movies Based On Positively True Stories

Pride (2014

Realising that they share common foes in Margaret Thatcher, the police and the conservative press, London-based gay and lesbian activists lend their support to striking miners in 1984 Wales.

Rocketman (2019)

Young Reginald Dwight changes his name to Elton John and collaborates with singer-songwriter Bernie Taupin to become one of the most iconic figures in pop history. Set to his most beloved songs, it’s the epic musical story of Elton John, his breakthrough years in the 1970s and his fantastical transformation from shy piano prodigy to international superstar.

Home Team (2022)

Two years after NFL head coach Sean Payton is suspended, he goes back to his hometown and finds himself reconnecting with his 12-year-old son by coaching his Pop Warner football team.

Rescued by Ruby (2022)

Chasing his dream to join an elite K-9 unit, a state trooper partners with a fellow underdog: clever but naughty shelter pup Ruby. Based on a true story.

Zero to Hero (2021)

Based on the true story of medal-winning Paralympian So Wa-wai, who navigated personal and physical struggles with the help of his mother.

The Big Sick (2017)

Kumail is a Pakistani comic, who meets an American graduate student named Emily at one of his stand-up shows. As their relationship blossoms, he soon becomes worried about what his traditional Muslim parents will think of her. When Emily suddenly comes down with an illness that leaves her in a coma, Kumail finds himself developing a bond with her deeply concerned mother and father.

I Still Believe (2020)

The true-life story of Christian music star Jeremy Camp and his journey of love and loss, which attempts to prove there is always hope.

Bohemian Rhapsody (2018)

Freddie Mercury — the lead singer of Queen — defies stereotypes and convention to become one of history’s most beloved entertainers. The band’s revolutionary sound and popular songs lead to Queen’s meteoric rise in the 1970s. After leaving the group to pursue a solo career, Mercury reunites with Queen for the benefit concert Live Aid — resulting in one of the greatest performances in rock ‘n’ roll history.

The Tender Bar (2021)

Directed by George Clooney from a screenplay by William Monahan, The Tender Bar is a coming-of-age dramedy based on the 2005 memoir of the same name by J. R. Moehringer tells the story of his life growing up on Long Island. With Tye Sheridan as the titular character alongside Ben Affleck, this heartwarming story shows a young boy seek out a father figure and bond with his uncle Charlie (Affleck) and the patrons at his local bar.

The Farewell (2019)

The Farewell is based, in part, on director and writer Lulu Wang’s life, and it’s clear this work was personal. In it, a Chinese-American family learns their grandmother has only a short time left to live, so they decide not to tell her. They plan an elaborate ruse for a family gathering so everyone can spend more time with her before she dies. That might sound like a heavy premise, but trust that there’s a lot of heart and laughs along the way.

American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story (2021)

The inspirational true story of Kurt Warner, who overcomes years of challenges and setbacks to become a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Hall of Fame quarterback. Just when his dreams seem all but out of reach, it’s only with the support of his wife, Brenda, and the encouragement of his family, coaches and teammates that Warner perseveres and finds the strength to show the world the champion that he already is.

The Theory of Everything (2014)

In the 1960s, Cambridge University student and future physicist Stephen Hawking (Eddie Redmayne) falls in love with fellow collegian Jane Wilde (Felicity Jones). At 21, Hawking learns that he has motor neuron disease. Despite this — and with Jane at his side — he begins an ambitious study of time, of which he has very little left, according to his doctor. He and Jane defy terrible odds and break new ground in the fields of medicine and science, achieving more than either could hope to imagine.

The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

Life is a struggle for single father Chris Gardner (Will Smith). Evicted from their apartment, he and his young son (Jaden Christopher Syre Smith) find themselves alone with no place to go. Even though Chris eventually lands a job as an intern at a prestigious brokerage firm, the position pays no money. The pair must live in shelters and endure many hardships, but Chris refuses to give in to despair as he struggles to create a better life for himself and his son.

Julie & Julia (2009)

Frustrated with a soul-killing job, New Yorker Julie Powell (Amy Adams) embarks on a daring project: she vows to prepare all 524 recipes in Julia Childs’ landmark cookbook, “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.” Intertwined with Julie’s story is the true tale of how Julia Child (Meryl Streep) herself conquered French cuisine with passion, fearlessness, and plenty of butter.

42 (2013)

In 1946, Branch Rickey (Harrison Ford), legendary manager of the Brooklyn Dodgers, defies major league baseball’s notorious color barrier by signing Jackie Robinson (Chadwick Boseman) to the team. The heroic act puts both Rickey and Robinson in the firing line of the public, the press and other players. Facing open racism from all sides, Robinson demonstrates true courage and admirable restraint by not reacting in kind and lets his undeniable talent silence the critics for him.

The Help (2011)

In 1960s Mississippi, Southern society girl Skeeter (Emma Stone) returns from college with dreams of being a writer. She turns her small town on its ear by choosing to interview the Black women who have spent their lives taking care of prominent white families. Only Aibileen (Viola Davis), the housekeeper of Skeeter’s best friend, will talk at first. But as the pair continue the collaboration, more women decide to come forward, and as it turns out, they have quite a lot to say.

The Dirt (2019)

In this unflinching biopic based on Mötley Crüe’s best-selling book, four LA misfits navigate the monster highs and savage lows of music superstardom.

The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind (2019)

Inspired by a science book, 13-year-old William Kamkwamba builds a wind turbine to save his Malawian village from famine. Based on a true story.

American Underdog: The Kurt Warner Story (2021)

The inspirational true story of Kurt Warner, who overcomes years of challenges and setbacks to become a two-time NFL MVP, Super Bowl champion, and Hall of Fame quarterback.

King Richard (2021)

Armed with a clear vision and a brazen, 78-page plan, Richard Williams is determined to write his two daughters, Venus and Serena, into history. 

The River Runner (2021)

Focusing on Scott Lindgren, a kayaking legend who was an early pioneer of the sport, this is a traditional story of an extreme sports star overcoming odds, but it runs a little deeper than that. Fighting against a brain tumor and his own personal demons, Lindgren is a compelling case study. Must watch stuff.

Resistance (2020) 

Jonathan Jakubowicz’s WWII drama follows Jesse Eisenberg as French mime Marcel Marceau, who along with a group of Boy and Girl Scouts helps save thousands of children orphaned by the Nazis. 

Respect (2021) 

It’s about time Aretha Franklin gets a biopic. Jennifer Hudson is playing the Queen of Soul in this story of how Franklin made her way to superstardom. Fun fact: Before her death, Franklin made it clear that if a biopic of her were to be made, she wanted Hudson in the role. No pressure, Jennifer.  

Dream (2021) 

A feel-good flick! ‘Dream Horse’ shares the story of Dream Alliance, an underdog racehorse (or should I say, dark horse? No? Too much? ) bred by a Welsh bartender, Janet Vokes.

Erin Brockovich (2000) 

Who says women can’t do it all? In this film based off a true story, a single mother becomes a legal assistant and, with sheer determination, takes down a California company polluting the state’s water supply. 

Cadillac Records (2008) 

Blues music, rock and roll, and Beyoncé as Etta James—it can’t get better than Cadillac Records. The biographical drama depicts the early careers of some of music’s best, including Muddy Waters, Little Walter, Etta James, Howlin’ Wolf, Chuck Berry, and record producer, Leonard Chess of Chess Records. 

Nomadland (2020) 

Nomadland absolutely swept the 2021 Oscars and, honestly, it deserved it. Based on the eponymous nonfiction book about people who left their homes for a life on the road after the 2008 recession, Nomadland is an eye-opening and reflective story about what it means to be alive and why “home” isn’t a place. 

The Great Debaters (2007) 

A drama based on the true story of Melvin B. Tolson, a professor at Wiley College Texas. In 1935, he inspired students to form the school’s first debate team, which went on to challenge Harvard in the national championship. 

Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story (1993)

Bruce Lee’s rise begins in Hong Kong, as a young boy receiving traditional Chinese martial arts training. After an altercation compels young Bruce to leave the country, his father sends him to the United States, imploring him to seek success that even Hong Kong will recognize. Bruce begins by teaching martial arts to American students, and eventually becomes a popular actor on the “Green Hornet” television series, known in Hong Kong as “The Kato Show.” 

Glory Road (2006) 

After being appointed the new coach of the 1966 Texas Miners, Don Haskins decides to build a team based on talent rather than race. The conservative townsfolk balk at the new racially diverse lineup despite the fact that the team is winning all their games. When black players like Bobby Joe Hill and team captain Harry Flournoy begin to dominate the court with flashy moves, the racial tension increases, jeopardizing the future of the team. 

Freedom Writers (2007) 

A dedicated teacher in a racially divided Los Angeles school has a class of at-risk teenagers deemed incapable of learning. Instead of giving up, she inspires her students to take an interest in their education and planning their future. She assigns reading material that relates to their lives and encourages them all to keep journals.

Ray (2004) 

Legendary soul musician Ray Charles is portrayed by Jamie Foxx in this Oscar-winning biopic. Young Ray watches his 7-year-old brother drown at age seven. When he loses his sight at the age of 9, his hardworking mother urges him not to feel sorry for himself. He rises through the ranks of the Seattle jazz scene, struggling with drug addiction and infidelity while on the road. Supported by his wife, Ray Charles redefines soul music and inspires a generation.

Eat, Pray, Love (2010) 

A married woman realizes how unhappy her marriage really is, and that her life needs to go in a different direction. After a painful divorce, she takes off on a round-the-world journey to “find herself”. 

Into the Wild (2007) 

After graduating from Emory University, top student and athlete Christopher McCandless abandons his possessions, gives his entire $24,000 savings account to charity and hitchhikes to Alaska to live in the wilderness. Along the way, Christopher encounters a series of characters that shape his life. 

Pay it Forward (2000) 

The story of a social studies teacher who gives an assignment to his junior high school class to think of an idea to change the world for the better, then put it into action. When one young student creates a plan for “paying forward” favors, he not only affects the life of his struggling single mother, but he sets in motion an unprecedented wave of human kindness which, unbeknownst to him, has blossomed into a profound national phenomenon. 

Patch Adams (1998) 

After struggling with depression in a mental hospital, Hunter “Patch” Adams decides he wants to become a doctor. He enrolls at Virginia Medical University but is disillusioned by the school’s clinical perspective on patient care. With the aid of a wealthy friend, Adams opens his own medical clinic for those without insurance. He forms a deep bond with fellow medical student Carin Fisher before a tragedy causes Adams to re-evaluate his approach.

Saving Mr. Banks (2013) 

Spurred on by a promise he made to his daughters, Walt Disney embarks on what would become a 20-year quest to obtain the movie rights to “Mary Poppins.” The author, P.L. Travers, proves to be an uncompromising curmudgeon who has no intention of letting her beloved characters become mangled in the Hollywood machine. However, when the books stop selling and she finds herself in need of money, Travers reluctantly agrees to consider Disney’s proposition. 

Becoming Jane (2007) 

Though Jane Austen’s financially strapped parents expect her to marry the nephew of wealthy Lady Gresham, the young woman knows that such a union will destroy her creativity and sense of self-worth. Instead, she becomes involved with Tom Lefroy, a charming but penniless apprentice lawyer who gives her the knowledge of the heart she needs for her future career as a novelist.

October Sky (1999) 

John Hickam (Chris Cooper) is a West Virginia coal miner who loves his job and expects his sons, Jim (Scott Miles) and Homer (Jake Gyllenhaal), to follow in his footsteps. But Jim gets a football scholarship, and Homer becomes interested in rocket science after seeing Sputnik 1 crossing the sky. John disapproves of his son’s new mania, but Homer begins building rockets with the help of friends and a sympathetic teacher (Laura Dern). Rocketry, he hopes, will prove his ticket to a better life. 

Lean on Me (1989) 

In this fact-based film, a New Jersey superintendent, Dr. Frank Napier (Robert Guillaume), watches helplessly as East Side High becomes the lowest-ranked school in the state. With nowhere else to turn, Dr. Napier enlists maverick ex-teacher Joe Clark (Morgan Freeman) to take over as principal of the declining school. Unfortunately for Clark, before he can focus on improving the student body’s state exam scores, he has to somehow rid the school of its gang and narcotics problems. 

Cinderella Man (2005) 

The story of James J. Braddock, a supposedly washed-up boxer who came back to challenge for the heavyweight championship of the world. 

During the Great Depression, ex-boxer James J. Braddock (Russell Crowe) works as a day laborer until his former manager Joe Gould (Paul Giamatti) offers him a one-time slot against a rising young contender. After he wins a shocking upset, Braddock goes back into the ring full time, against the wishes of his frightened wife, Mae (Renée Zellweger). Dubbed “The Cinderella Man” for his rags-to-riches story, Braddock sets his sights on the defending champion, the fearsome Max Baer (Craig Bierko).

Coach Carter (2005)

In 1999, Ken Carter returns to his old high school in Richmond, California, to get the basketball team into shape. With tough rules and academic discipline, he succeeds in setting the players on a winning streak. But when their grades start to suffer, Carter locks them out of the gym and shuts down their championship season. When he is criticized by the players and their parents, he sticks to his guns, determined that they excel in class as well as on the court.

The Blind Side (2009)

Michael Oher, a homeless black teen, has drifted in and out of the school system for years. Then Leigh Anne Tuohy and her husband, Sean take him in. The Tuohys eventually become Michael’s legal guardians, transforming both his life and theirs. Michael’s tremendous size and protective instincts make him a formidable force on the gridiron, and with help from his new family and devoted tutor, he realizes his potential as a student and football player.

The Great Alone (2015)

Billed as ‘The Last Great Race on Earth’, the Iditarod Trail is the toughest dog sled race in the world. Snaking through over a thousand miles of the Arctic’s harshest wilderness, the race is one of Alaska’s proudest traditions and Lance Mackey is its greatest champion. He’s a man with dog sled racing hard wired into his family, across generations. And he’s a man who has battled homelessness, addiction and cancer, but who has always returned to the sled.

The Aeronauts (2019)

In 1862, daredevil balloon pilot Amelia Wren teams up with pioneering meteorologist James Glaisher to advance human knowledge of the weather and fly higher than anyone in history. While breaking records and advancing scientific discovery, their voyage to the very edge of existence helps the unlikely pair find their place in the world they have left far below them. But they face physical and emotional challenges in the thin air, as the ascent becomes a fight for survival.

Ford V Ferrari (2019)

Academy Award-winners Matt Damon and Christian Bale star in FORD v FERRARI, based on the remarkable true story of the visionary American car designer Carroll Shelby and the fearless British-born driver Ken Miles, who together battled corporate interference, the laws of physics, and their own personal demons to build a revolutionary race car for Ford Motor Company and take on the dominating race cars of Enzo Ferrari at the 24 Hours of Le Mans in France in 1966.

Ride Like A Girl (2019)

As a little girl, Michelle Payne dreams of the impossible: winning the Melbourne Cup – horse-racing’s toughest two-mile race. The youngest of 10 children, Michelle is raised by single father, leaves school at 15 to become a jockey and after early failures she finds her feet, but a family tragedy, followed by her own near fatal horse fall all but ends the dream. Against all the medical advice, and the protests of her siblings, she rides on.

Togo (2019)

From Disney+, “Togo” is the untold true story set in the winter of 1925 that takes you across the treacherous terrain of the Alaskan tundra for an exhilarating and uplifting adventure that will test the strength, courage and determination of one man, Leonhard Seppala, and his lead sled dog, Togo.

Sully (2016)

It’s Tom Hanks. I mean, what else do you need? Okay…Tom Hanks stars in this thrilling portrait of heroic airline pilot Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, re-enacting his incredible successful emergency landing of an Airbus A320 full of passengers on the Hudson River.

The 33 (2015)

The true story of the 2010 collapse of a Chilean mine and the rescue of the 33 miners who were trapped underground for 69 days in a room no larger than your dining room!

Eddie The Eagle (2015)

Inspired by true events, Eddie the Eagle is a feel-good story about Michael “Eddie” Edwards, an unlikely but courageous British ski-jumper who never stopped believing in himself – even as an entire nation was counting him out. With the help of a rebellious and charismatic coach, Eddie takes on the establishment and wins the hearts of sports fans around the world by making an improbable and historic showing at the 1988 Calgary Winter Olympics.

The Man Who Knew Infinity (2015)

In 1913, Srinivasa Ramanujan, a self-taught Indian mathematics genius, traveled to Trinity College, Cambridge, where over the course of five years, forged a bond with his mentor, the brilliant and eccentric professor, G.H. Hardy, and fought against prejudice to reveal his mathematic genius to the world.

50 to 1 (2014)

A misfit group of New Mexico cowboys find themselves on the journey of a lifetime when their crooked-footed racehorse qualifies for the Kentucky Derby. Based on the inspiring true story of Mine That Bird, the cowboys face a series of mishaps on their way to Churchill Downs, becoming the ultimate underdogs in a final showdown with the world’s racing elite.

Heaven Is For Real (2014)

It’s the true story of a small-town father who must find the courage and conviction to share his son’s extraordinary, life-changing experience with the world. In this story a couple’s son, Colton, claims to have visited Heaven during a near death experience. Colton recounts the details of his amazing journey with childlike innocence and speaks matter-of-factly about things that happened before his birth … things he couldn’t possibly know.

Argo (2012)

On November 4, 1979, as the Iranian revolution reaches its boiling point, militants storm the U.S. embassy in Tehran, taking 52 Americans hostage. But, in the midst of the chaos, six Americans manage to slip away and find refuge in the home of the Canadian ambassador. Knowing it is only a matter of time before the six are found out and likely killed, a CIA “exfiltration” specialist named Tony Mendez comes up with a risky plan to get them safely out of the country. A plan so incredible, it could only happen in the movies.

Dolphin Tale (2012)

Inspired by the amazing true story of a brave dolphin and the compassionate strangers who banded together to save her life. Swimming free, a young dolphin is caught in a crab trap, severely damaging her tail. She is rescued and transported to the Clearwater Marine Hospital, where she is named Winter. But her fight for survival has just begun. Without a tail, Winter’s prognosis is dire. It will take the expertise of a dedicated marine biologist, the ingenuity of a brilliant prosthetics doctor, and the unwavering devotion of a young boy to bring about a groundbreaking miracle to save the dolphin.

Extremely Loud & Incredibly Close (2012)

Oskar is convinced that his father who died in the 9/11 attacks on the World Trade Center, has left a final message for him hidden somewhere in the city. Feeling disconnected from his grieving mother and driven by a relentlessly active mind that refuses to believe in things that can’t be observed, Oskar begins searching New York City for the lock that fits a mysterious key he found in his father’s closet. His journey through the five boroughs takes him beyond his own loss to a greater understanding of the observable world around him.

Soul Surfer (2020)

Bethany was born to surf and participating in national surf competition, when everything changed. On Halloween morning, a 14-foot tiger shark came out of nowhere and seemed to shatter all her dreams. Soul Surfer reveals Bethany’s fight to recover from her ordeal and how she grappled with the question of her future. Strengthened by the love of her parents, and supported by her youth group leader Sara, Bethany refuses to give in or give up, and begins a bold return to the water.

Lincoln (2012)

Steven Spielberg directs Daniel Day-Lewis in a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office. In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.

Bogowie (Gods) (2014)

The early career of Polish cardiac surgeon Zbigniew Religa tells the story of a man who leads a team of doctors in Poland to the country’s first human heart transplantation, all during the harsh realities of the 1980’s communist rule.

Darkest Hour (2017)

During the early days of World War II, with the fall of France imminent, Britain faces its darkest hour as the threat of invasion looms. As the seemingly unstoppable Nazi forces advance, the fate of Western Europe hangs on the leadership of the newly-appointed British Prime Minister Winston Churchill. While maneuvering his political rivals, he must confront the ultimate choice: negotiate with Hitler and save the British people at a terrible cost or rally the nation and fight on against incredible odds.

Colette (2018)

After marrying a successful Parisian writer known, Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette is transplanted from her childhood home in rural France to the intellectual and artistic splendor of Paris. Soon after, Willy convinces Colette to ghostwrite for him. She pens a semi-autobiographical novel about a witty and brazen country girl named Claudine, sparking a bestseller and a cultural sensation. After its success, Colette and Willy become the talk of Paris and their adventures inspire additional Claudine novels. Colette’s fight over creative ownership and gender roles drives her to overcome societal constraints, revolutionizing literature, fashion and sexual expression.

The Impossible (2012)

Maria, Henry and their three sons begin their winter vacation in Thailand, looking forward to a few days in tropical paradise. But on the morning of December 26, as the family relaxes around the pool after their Christmas festivities the night before, a terrifying roar rises up from the center of the earth. As Maria freezes in fear, a huge wall of black water races across the hotel grounds toward her.

The Miracle Season (2018)   

Based on the inspiring true story of the West High School girls’ volleyball team. After the death of the school’s star player, Caroline “Line” Found, in an accident, the remaining team players must band together under the guidance of their tough-love coach in hope of winning the state championship.

Harriet (2019)

Based on the thrilling and inspirational life of an iconic American freedom fighter, Harriet tells the extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes. Her courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

On the Basis of Sex (2019)

The film tells an inspiring and spirited true story that follows young lawyer Ruth Bader Ginsburg as she teams with her husband Marty to bring a groundbreaking case before the U.S. Court of Appeals and overturn a century of gender discrimination.

Miss Virginia (2019)

Based on a true story this movie is about an impoverished single mother who is losing her fifteen-year-old son to the rough streets of Washington D.C. Unwilling to see him drop out and deal drugs, she places him in a private school. But when she can’t afford tuition, she launches a movement to change the system that is destroying him and thousands like him. Attacked and threatened by those who don’t want change — from corrupt politicians to the local drug lord, Virginia must discover depths of strength she never knew she had.

Resistance (2020)

Before he was the world-famous mime Marcel Marceau, he was Marcel Mangel, an aspiring Jewish actor who joined the French Resistance to save the lives of thousands of children orphaned at the hands of the Nazis. His life is thrown into upheaval when he is recruited into the French Resistance, putting his acting skills to the ultimate test in teaching orphaned Jewish children how to survive in the horrifying reality of the Holocaust. (And no, it’s not a silent film.)