Special Report

These Are the Best Movies Made About Real People

Source: Courtesy of The Weinstein Company

25. The King’s Speech (2010)
> Index score: 2.70 — #466 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $161.1 million
> Starring: Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Helena Bonham Carter, Derek Jacobi

Suddenly ascended to the throne, King George VI (played by Colin Firth) must quickly overcome his stammer in this critical and commercial smash. He enlists the help of an Australian speech therapist (Geoffrey Rush), who employs unconventional methods and becomes a close friend. The film raked in over $420 million at the worldwide box office and won four major Academy Awards.

Source: Courtesy of Miramax

24. The Diving Bell and the Butterfly (2007)
> Index score: 2.70 — #466 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $8.0 million
> Starring: Mathieu Amalric, Emmanuelle Seigner, Marie-Josee Croze, Anne Consigny

From accomplished painter and director Julian Schnabel comes the true story of Elle editor Jean-Dominique Bauby (played by Mathieu Amalric). Suffering from a unique form of paralysis known as locked-in syndrome, the former playboy can move only his left eye. The story is mainly presented from Bauby’s point of view, drifting between reality and memory as he learns to communicate.

Source: Courtesy of Warner Bros.

23. Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
> Index score: 2.70 — #466 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $210.6 million
> Starring: Al Pacino, John Cazale, Penelope Allen, Sully Boyar

A Life magazine article called “The Boys in the Bank” inspired this iconic heist movie, which punctuates intense drama with occasional comic relief. Playing two clueless bank robbers to perfection, Al Pacino and John Cazale become living examples of Murphy’s Law. As farcical the events may seem, the film gradually reveals a humane core.

Source: Courtesy of United Artists

22. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
> Index score: 2.70 — #449 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $34.7 million
> Starring: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix, Xolani Mali

A hotel manager (Don Cheadle) and his wife (Sophie Okonedo) become unlikely heroes during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. By providing shelter to over a thousand Tutsi refugees, the couple puts their own lives on the line. Gripping from start to finish, this true story offers an unforgettable depiction of political brutality.

Source: Courtesy of Paramount Pictures

21. The Elephant Man (1980)
> Index score: 2.70 — #449 out of 25,589 movies
> Domestic box office: $88.6 million
> Starring: Anthony Hopkins, John Hurt, Anne Bancroft, John Gielgud

Deemed ugly by society, a disfigured man (John Hurt) reveals the beauty and intelligence lying within. So goes this black-and-white biopic from David Lynch, based on the true story of Joseph Carey Merrick. Executive producer Mel Brooks purposefully left his name off the credits so that audiences wouldn’t go in expecting a comedy.