Plenty of movies are based on actual events, although they don’t always hit the mark. Sometimes translating from real life to the big screen doesn’t work, but other times, it’s brilliant. After visiting a popular film forum, these were voted the most gripping movies based on real life. These films will have you on the edge of your seat, even if you know what happened.

1. Hidden Figures (2016)

Image Credit: Fox 2000 Pictures.

Hidden Figures stars Taraji P. Henson as Katherine Johnson, Octavia Spencer as Dorothy Vaughan, and Janelle Monae as Mary Jackson, three women who began working at NASA as part of the West Computers, a segregated group of African American women who were hired to process aeronautic data during the Space Race era. It is based on the true story of these women who helped restore the nation’s confidence in NASA.

The film received critical acclaim due to its writing, directing, historical accuracy, and cinematography. It is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a critic and audience score of 93%.

2. Erin Brockovich (2000)

Scene from Erin Brockovick
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

Julia Roberts portrays real-life investigative journalist Erin Brockovich in the film of the same name. She fought against the energy corporation Pacific Gas and Electric Company regarding its culpability for the Hinkley groundwater contamination incident. It adds humor, delivering a movie that tells an important story while entertaining the audience. Julia Roberts is incredible in the role, making Erin likable and easy to root for.

The film was a box-office success and gained a positive critical reaction. It is certified fresh with a critic score of 85% and an audience score of 81% on Rotten Tomatoes.

3. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

Scene from Zero Dark Thirty
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Zero Dark Thirty is a thriller film that stars Jessica Chastain stars as Maya, a fictional CIA intelligence analyst who is said to be based on a real-life person. It dramatizes the nearly decade-long international manhunt for Osama bin Laden, leader of the terrorist network Al-Qaeda, after the September 11 attacks. It is gripping and intense.

Zero Dark Thirty received widespread critical acclaim for its acting, direction, screenplay, and editing and was a major box office success, grossing $132 million worldwide. It is certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes with a critic score of 91% and an audience score of 80%.

4. Apollo 13 (1995)

Scene from Apollo 13
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

A glance at who is involved with Apollo 13 and it is clear why this movie is so great. It is directed by Ron Howard and stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton, Ed Harris, and Gary Sinise. This film dramatizes the aborted 1970 Apollo 13 lunar mission. Howard went to great lengths to create a technically accurate movie, employing NASA’s assistance in astronaut and flight-controller training for his cast.

Critics have described it as a masterfully told drama bolstered by an ensemble of solid performances. It currently has a critic score of 96% on Rotten Tomatoes and an 87% audience score.

5. The Social Network (2010)

Scene from The Social Network
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

The Social Network portrays the founding of Facebook, a wildly popular social networking website. It stars Jesse Eisenberg as Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, with Andrew Garfield as Eduardo Saverin, Justin Timberlake as Sean Parker, Armie Hammer as Cameron and Tyler Winklevoss, and Max Minghella as Divya Narendra.

The story is captivating and intriguing, even for those who know how the network came about. The incredible performances of the actors largely enhance it.

The Social Network has maintained a strong reputation since its initial release and is commonly cited by critics as one of the best films of the 2010s and 21st century. It has a certified fresh critic score of 96% and an 87% audience score.

6. October Sky (1999)

Scene from October Sky
Photo Credit: Universal Pictures.

October Sky tells the true story of Homer H. Hickam Jr. (played by Jake Gyllenhaal), a coal miner’s son who was inspired by the launch of Sputnik 1 in 1957 to take up rocketry against his father’s wishes and eventually became a NASA engineer.

Jake Gyllenhaal does a great job with the role, making rooting for Homer as he goes for his dreams easy. Using home movie footage, an epilogue reveals the real-life outcomes of the main characters’ lives.

Critics commend October Sky for its values, family, and inspirational aspects. On Rotten Tomatoes, this movie has a 91% critic score, an 88% audience score, and is certified fresh.

7. Sully (2016)

Scene from Sully
Photo Credit: Warner Bros. Entertainment.

This film tells the real-life story of Captain Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger, played by Tom Hanks. It dives into what happens when he tries to make an emergency landing in New York’s Hudson River after US Airways Flight 1549 strikes a flock of geese. Not only is this movie suspenseful, but it is inspirational as well. All 155 crew members and passengers survive the miraculous landing, giving it a feel-good aspect.

Tom Hanks is praised the most in this film, with many agreeing he delivered an incredible performance as an everyday hero. Currently, Sully has an 85% critic score and an 84% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes.

8. Moneyball (2011)

Scene from Moneyball
Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures.

Moneyball tells the story of the Oakland Athletics baseball team’s 2002 season and their general manager Billy Beane’s attempts to assemble a competitive team.

In the film, Beane (Brad Pitt) and assistant general manager Peter Brand (Jonah Hill) face the franchise’s limited budget for players but build a team of undervalued talent by thoroughly scouting and analyzing the players. This one isn’t just for sports fans, as it also delivers a lot of drama and humor.

Critics praise Moneyball for turning a niche subject into a touching and brilliant film. The Rotten Tomatoes critic score is 94%, while the audience score is just a bit lower at 86%.

9. The King’s Speech (2010)

Scene from The King's Speech
Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company.

The King’s Speech stars Colin Firth as the future King George VI, who visits speech and language therapist Lionel Logue, played by Geoffrey Rush, to help him with his stammer. They become friends, and when George does indeed take the throne, he leans on Logue for his first wartime speech.

While several events in the film simply did not happen or were greatly exaggerated, it still maintains a lot of historical accuracy. This movie has high stakes, but it is also inspirational and touching.

Many critics state that this movie is predictable but so stylishly produced with a stellar performance by Colin Firth that it remains a rousing period drama. It has a Rotten Tomatoes critic score of 94% and an audience score of 92%.

10. Saving Mr. Banks (2013)

Scene from Saving Mr. Banks
Photo Credit: Walt Disney Pictures.

Another Tom Hanks film makes a list with Saving Mr. Banks. This film is a biographical drama that is centered on the development of the 1964 film Mary Poppins. It stars Emma Thompson as author P. L. Travers and Tom Hanks as film producer Walt Disney.

Saving Mr. Banks depicts the author’s tragic childhood in rural Queensland in 1906 and the two weeks of meetings in 1961 in Los Angeles, during which Disney attempts to obtain the film rights to her novels. It is filled with incredible music, wonderful performances, and quite a bit of humor.

Critics say Saving Mr. Banks pays tribute to the Disney legacy with excellent performances and sweet, high-spirited charm. The Rotten Tomatoes critic score sits at 79%, which is still high enough to be certified fresh, and the audience score is 84%.

Source: Reddit.

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Image Credit: Troma Entertainment

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Image Credit: Rosebud Releasing Corporation

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