When filmmakers say a movie is based on true events, they are trying to give the motion picture a stamp of legitimacy. For the most part, moviegoers understand that they are going to see a story based on a real event and not a documentary, and they are willing to allow some creative latitude. Even so, the public knows when a film is crassly exploiting what really happened, particularly when the event involves the dark side of humanity.
In this list that 24/7 Tempo compiled of the worst movies based on true events, many of the films included explore our amoral actions and as well as tragedies. Some of the topics of these films include murder and homicide stories, as in “The Black Dahlia.” Others are haunting tales based on alleged incidents, as in “The Haunting in Connecticut” and “Fire in the Sky.” None of those films resonated with audiences.
Not all of these failed true-event treatments are grim. Biopics are a Hollywood staple, but many did not find favor with audiences and critics alike. One such film is “Amelia,” despite Golden Globe and Oscar-winning actress Hilary Swank in the title role.
To determine the worst movies based on true stories, 24/7 Tempo ranked films within the biography genre and those tagged on IMDb as being “based on a true story.” For each movie, we considered the Rotten Tomatoes average critic rating, Rotten Tomatoes’ average audience rating, and IMDb average user rating. To be considered, each film had to have at least 10,000 user ratings on both IMDb and Rotten Tomatoes and 10 approved Tomatometer critic reviews. We averaged the user ratings from Rotten Tomatoes and IMDb and weighted by the number of votes for each. The combined user rating was then averaged with the Rotten Tomatoes critic rating. Box office data came from IMDb and is not adjusted for inflation.