17 Heart-warming Movies Based On True Life Stories

There are always a few events in an individual’s life that become inspirational for others. It teaches them to rise above hardships and achieve what they have always believed in. Every once in a while we have had such examples and a few movies have tried to capture the essence of the individual’s life and struggle.


1. ‘McFarland, USA’, 2015

Based on a 1987 true story about a cross country team in McFarland, California and their coach Jim White; and how they won the state championship.


2. ‘Selma’, 2014

Based on the 1965 Selma to Montgomery voting right marches, it garnered a lot of praise and was nominated for 4 Golden Globe awards and 2 Academy Awards.

True life stories


3. ‘Big Eyes’, 2014

Based on life of Margaret Keane – a famous American artist, whose husband took credit for her art; how she fought back and took what was rightfully hers. Both actors got nominated for various awards for their phenomenal performances.

True life stories


4. ‘Pride’, 2014

Based on a true story in 1984 when a group of lesbian and gay activists raised money to help the families affected by British Miners’ Strike (Lesbian and Gay Support the Miners Campaign).

True life stories


5. ‘Argo’, 2012

Based on CIA’s operative Tony Mendez’s book ‘The Great Escape: How CIA used a fake Sci-Fi Flick to rescue Americans from Tehran (1979-81)’, it won 3 Academy Awards among many others.

True life stories


6. ‘Soul Surfer’, 2011

Based on the story of Bethany Hamilton, whose love for surfing was so intense that she rose to fame even after getting her arm bitten by a tiger shark.

True life stories


7. ‘Secretariat’, 2010

Story of a thoroughbred racehorse Secretariat (the winner of Triple Crown in 1973) and her owner Penny Chenery, who after having lost many times was able to accomplish this feat.

True life stories


8. ‘The Diving Bell and the Butterfly’, 2007

Based on Jean-Dominique Bauby’s (French actor, author & editor) memoir; who was inflicted with a locked-in syndrome where the whole body is disabled but the mind remains alert. He was only able to blink with his left eye and it was this eye only that he wrote this book. When his partner would reach the correct alphabet, he would blink and slowly the book was completed. The film received awards at Cannes, Golden Globes, BAFTAs and Cesar awards.

True life stories


9. ‘Freedom Writers’, 2007

Based on Erin Gruwell’s experience of uniting a class of students divided by caste and color against authorities, motivating them to pen down their experiences which ultimately led them to gain a better perspective of the world around them.

True life stories


10. ‘The Pursuit of Happinesss, 2006

This very inspirational film is based on Chris Gardner’s (CEO – Gardner Rich & Co., Stock brokerage firm, Chicago) struggle to make a living after being homeless for a year while raising his toddler son.

True life stories


11. ‘Ray’, 2004

Based on the life musician Ray Charles, who went blind at 7 years of age, but dared to pursue his dream and burst onto the world scene to make a name. Jamie Foxx was conferred the best actor award for the movie.

True lifestories


12. ‘Catch Me If You Can’, 2002

Based on the life of Frank Abagnale, who by the age of 19 had successfully executed check frauds worth millions of dollars. He was so good at the game that finally the FBI took his help to catch other check forgers.

True life stories


13. ‘A Beautiful Mind’, 2001

The film is based on life of John Nash, a Nobel Laureate in economics who suffered from paranoid schizophrenia and endured several delusional bouts. The film won 4 Academy Awards.

True life stories


14. ‘October Sky’, 1999

Based on the story of Homer H. Hickam Jr., a coal miner’s son who was so inspired by the launch of space rocket Sputnik l that he became a NASA engineer despite having suffered many hardships.

True story


15. ‘Seven years in Tibet’, 1997

The film is based on the life story of Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harre, who spent 7 years in Tibet before the Chinese invaded and occupied the country in 1949. The film records his stay in Lhasa and how he became the Dalai Lama’s friend and tutor.

True story


16. ‘Schindler’s List’, 1993

The film shows the true story of Oskar Schindler, who saved thousands of Jews from being killed in the holocaust by putting them to work in his factory. The move went on to win 7 Academy Awards and figures among the greatest movies ever.

True story


17. ‘My Left Foot’, 1989

The story of how Christy Brown, an Irish man suffering from cerebral palsy with the ability to only control his left foot, became a writer and artist. Nominated for 3 awards, the film’s main cast won the best actor & actress awards.

True story


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