12 Inspirational Movies Based on True Life Stories

Movies can take us to new places, elicit a wide range of emotions, and motivate us to improve. But films based on genuine stories have a unique quality of their own. These films amuse us and give us a glimpse into the lives of people who have overcome enormous obstacles.

The most inspirational movies that are based on true tales will be discussed in this post. The following films will inspire and uplift you with their tales of triumph over hardship and extraordinary human perseverance.

1. Spotlight (2015)

Spotlight Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams
Image Credit: Open Road Films.

Instead, what would have been a tiresome procedural becomes a suspenseful team thriller about a group of Boston Globe investigative reporters who learn about the Catholic church's decades-long attempt to conceal information about several abuse allegations against priests. Mark Ruffalo, Rachel McAdams, and Michael Keaton make the cast.

2. Julie & Julia (2009)

Julie & Julia Meryl Streep
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Based on Julie Powell's daily blog, where she chronicled her quest to replicate each of Julia Child's 524 dishes from her cookbook Mastering The Art Of French Cooking, this upbeat comedy starring Stanley Tucci, Amy Adams, and Meryl Streep is a feel-good movie. This lively classic will appeal to both foodies and budding home cooks.

3. Moneyball (2011)

Moneyball Chris Pratt
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Moneyball, based on Michael Lewis' 2003 book of the same name, tells the tale of how Oakland A's general manager Billy Beane (played by Brad Pitt), teams up with Ivy Leaguer Peter Brand (played by Jonah Hill), despite having a small budget, to turn around the struggling franchise. The two assembled an underdog team of game-winners by employing a “sabermetric” technique to scout players (essentially shifting focus to cold, complex numbers).

4. Hidden Figures (2016)

Hidden Figures Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monáe
Image Credit: 20th Century Fox.

In the 1960s, Katherine Johnson, Dorothy Vaughan, and Mary Jackson battled pervasive, systematic discrimination to carry on working as human computers for NASA, playing a crucial—and hitherto underappreciated—part in the mission to put astronauts in space.

5. Apollo 13 (1995)

Apollo 13 Kevin Bacon, Tom Hanks, Bill Paxton
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The narrative of three astronauts is told in Ron Howard's film, which is based on the 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission. They struggle desperately to get their ship back into Earth's orbit after an oxygen tank explodes, endangering their lives.

6. A Beautiful Mind (2001)

A Beautiful Mind Russell Crowe
Image Credit: DreamWorks Pictures.

This 2001 biographical drama is based on the biography of Nobel Prize–winner, John Nash, aneconomist and mathematician and was motivated by Sylvia Nasar's Pulitzer Prize–winning book of the same name. Russell Crowe portrays the bright Nash, whose ascent to celebrity and career success is in danger due to his inner issues. For Best Picture, Best Director, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Supporting Actress (Jennifer Connelly), A Beautiful Mind received four Academy Awards.

7. All The President's Men (1976)

All The President's Men Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford
Image Credit: Warner Bros.

Despite dire warnings, two tenacious reporters use a secret source to examine a connection between a White House employee and the attempted break-in of the Democratic Party headquarters at Watergate in 1972. President Nixon finally resigned as a result of their reporting.

8. The Theory of Everything (2014)

The Theory of Everything Eddie Redmayne
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The amazing life of Stephen Hawking is presented from the perspective of his relationship with Jane Wilde (the film is based on her memoir), from their courtship at Cambridge through their final marriage and divorce. For his portrayal of the brilliant physicist who overcame all odds to become one of history's most iconic individuals, Eddie Redmayne won the Best Actor Academy Award.

9. Catch Me if You Can (2002)

Catch Me If You Can Leonardo DiCaprio
Image Credit: DreamWorks Pictures.

The most successful fraudster in the United States is 17-year-old Frank Abagnale Jr. (Leonardo DiCaprio), a talented con artist and forger. Abagnale is being pursued by FBI Agent Carl Hanratty (Tom Hanks). To remain ahead of the law, he is forced to use increasingly desperate gambits.

10. King's Speech (2010)

The King's Speech Colin Firth, Derek Jacobi, Geoffrey Rush
Image Credit: The Weinstein Company.

Colin Firth won an Oscar for his nuanced portrayal of King George VI in this Best Picture-winning movie. After unexpectedly taking the kingdom after his brother abdicates, the King is compelled to work with an unusual speech therapist (played by Geoffrey Rush) to find a cure for his lifelong stutter.

11. The Imitation Game (2014)

The Imitation Game Matthew Beard, Matthew Goode, Keira Knightley, Benedict Cumberbatch, Allen Leech
Image Credit: The Weinstein Company.

The Imitation Game describes how Alan Turing's revolutionary inventions contributed to the Allies victory in the war before cruelly revealing that his home nation would still prosecute him.

12. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

The Pursuit of Happyness Will Smith, Jaden Smith
Image Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Based on the actual account of Chris Gardner, a father who was homeless and raised his son while working to become a stockbroker and succeeding in that goal. The heartbreaking movie The Pursuit of Happyness shows how one guy struggled to cope with losing his home, figuring out a new career, and raising his son cheerfully in the middle of upheaval.

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