Netflix is great for binge-watching and escaping into a world of fiction, but it’s also the home of some fantastic documentary films that tell the true stories behind some of our favorite movies. Many documentaries are made to inform us, while others are created to entertain us with an exciting tale. In this article, we’re going to look at the ten best Netflix movies based on true stories.
1. A Cop Movie (2021)
This Netflix movie is based on the true story of a police officer who was wrongfully convicted of murder. The cop, played by Brad Pitt, was wrongly accused of killing a fellow police officer and his wife. He was sent to prison for 50 years and only served 20 before being proven innocent. This film shows how he fought against an unjust system and shows us that no matter what happens in life, we can always fight back.
2. The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)
The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind is a 2019 biographical drama film directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, Maxwell Simba, and Amina Jama. It is based on the book of the same name by William Kamkwamba. The film was released in the United Kingdom on March 29, 2019, before being released in the United States on May 3rd, 2019. The story follows a young boy who invents a windmill to save his village from famine and poverty.
3. RRR (2023)
RRR is a biographical film based on the life of Nelson Mandela. It’s directed by Justin Chadwick, produced by Michael Costigan and Peter Morgan, and stars Chadwick Boseman as Nelson Mandela. In 1960, South Africa’s apartheid government passed an act that banned black people from entering white schools or living in white areas of town. A group of young men decided to protest this law by refusing to pay taxes until it was repealed and they became known as the “Regulation 18A” or “the Rivonia Trialists.”
The movie follows two of these men, Walter Sisulu (Tony Kgoroge) and Ahmed Kathrada (Brandon Auret)—as they work together with Nelson Mandela (Chadwick Boseman) to organize peaceful protests against their government through non-violent means.
4. Official Secrets (2019)
Official Secrets is about Katharine Gun, a translator for the British National Security Agency who leaked information about an illegal surveillance operation during the build-up to the Iraq War. Russell Crowe plays David Leigh, a journalist from The Guardian who collaborated with Gun to publish her story. The movie provides insight into how whistleblowers use the media to bring their stories forward and how their actions can affect them personally and professionally.
5. Philomena (2013)
Philomena is based on the true story of Philomena Lee and the search for her son after she was forced to give him up for adoption. In 1952, twenty-three-year-old Philomena (Judi Dench) became pregnant out of wedlock with Anthony “Tony” Sullivan (Steve Coogan). She gave birth to her son and was told by a nun at Sean Ross Abbey that a childless couple in America would adopt him. After years of searching, she finally found out where her son had gone to Michigan, where he grew up under his new name and family.
6. The Duchess
The Duchess is a 2008 British historical drama film directed by Saul Dibb and written by Amanda Coe. It is based on the life of 18th-century aristocrat Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. The movie starts in 1774 with Georgiana, played by Keira Knightley, at the age of 23, is married to William Cavendish and becomes pregnant with their first child. However, she becomes jealous when he takes a mistress who also gives him children while his wife remains childless for another ten years.
After this time, Georgiana falls out with her husband. She seeks comfort in someone else’s arms, only to have that relationship end badly too when her lover dies unexpectedly, leaving her pregnant again after an affair lasting nine months before he died (one year before any other woman could have conceived).
7. Victoria & Abdul
This British biographical film was released in 2017 and directed by Stephen Frears. It is based on the true story of Queen Victoria’s friendship with her servant, Abdul Karim. The movie stars Judi Dench as Queen Victoria and Ali Fazal as Abdul. The rest of the cast includes Eddie Izzard, Michael Gambon, Tim Pigott-Smith, and Adeel Akhtar. It was nominated for several awards, including Best Actress in a Leading Role (Judi Dench) at the Academy Awards 2018.
8. IP Man 2
IP Man 2 is a 2015 Hong Kong martial arts film directed by Wilson Yip, starring Donnie Yen as IP Man. It is a sequel to the 2008 film IP Man and the third installment of the IP Man series. The film follows IP as he moves to Hong Kong in 1948 to open his own martial arts school there. He faces off against a rival kung fu master who wishes to bring down his business and reputation with the help of one of his students.
9. Bonnie and Clyde
This film is a classic gangster movie, starring Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty as Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow. It’s based on the real-life tale of Bonnie and Clyde, who were notorious bank robbers in the 1930s. This movie has an R rating because it contains violence, drug use/abuse, and profanity/crude language.
10 Lost Girls
Lost Girls is a British crime drama film directed by David Yates and written by Frank Cottrell Boyce and Joe Penhall. The film stars Sienna Miller, Toby Jones, and Amber Heard. The story follows three friends whose lives were changed forever when they ran into notorious serial killer Peter Tobin (Toby Jones) in Blackpool in 2003. The movie is based on actual events that occurred between 2004-2008.
Here’s a quick list of the best Netflix movies based on true stories:
- A Cop Movie (2021)
- The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)
- RRR (2023)
- Official Secrets (2019)
- Philomena (2013)
- The Duchess
- Victoria & Abdul
- IP Man 2
- Bonnie and Clyde
- Lost Girls
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