Special Report

These Are the Best Movies Made About Real People

Source: Courtesy of The Samuel Goldwyn Company

40. Henry V (1989)
> Index score: 2.67 — #707 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $23.3 million
> Starring: Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Simon Shepherd, James Larkin

One among a number of Shakespeare adaptations from Kenneth Branagh, “Henry V” plays it close to the source material. Tensions between England and France give way to all out warfare as the young king (Branagh) surmounts a sea of struggles. Citing top-notch performances and gritty battle sequences, critics were universal in their acclaim.

Source: Courtesy of Orion Classics

39. My Father’s Glory (1990)
> Index score: 2.67 — #687 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $3.7 million
> Starring: Philippe Caubere, Nathalie Roussel, Didier Pain, Therese Liotard

Cultures collide in this charming French drama, which takes place at the turn of the 19th century. Based on a semi-autobiographical novel by Marcel Pagnol, it chronicles the friendship between two young boys from very different backgrounds.

Source: Courtesy of TriStar Pictures

38. Glory (1989)
> Index score: 2.67 — #650 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $61.6 million
> Starring: Matthew Broderick, Denzel Washington, Cary Elwes, Morgan Freeman

This Civil War drama tells the story of the first all-African-American volunteer regiment for the Union Army. It’s partly based on the letters of Colonel Robert Gould Shaw (played by Matthew Broderick), who commanded the regiment in real life. The film won three Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Denzel Washington.

Source: Courtesy of Twentieth Century Fox

37. Hidden Figures (2016)
> Index score: 2.67 — #650 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $179.6 million
> Starring: Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer, Janelle Monae, Kevin Costner

The U.S. space program would not be where it is today if not for the efforts of three African-American female mathematicians. This blockbuster film shines a light on their vital contributions and focuses on Katherine Johnson (played by Taraji P. Henson), in particular. It earned over $235 million at the worldwide box office.

Source: Courtesy of Spyglass Entertainment

36. The Insider (1999)
> Index score: 2.67 — #657 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $52.4 million
> Starring: Russell Crowe, Al Pacino, Christopher Plummer, Diane Venora

Director Michael Mann followed his heist classic “Heat” with a different kind of thriller, starring Russell Crowe as real-life whistleblower Jeffrey Wigand. Adapted from a Vanity Fair article, it pits Wigand against the tobacco industry in his effort to expose the truth about cigarettes. Al Pacino plays “60 Minutes” producer Lowell Bergman, who must outwit adversarial forces of his own when bringing the story to light.