20 Excellent Movies Based on True Stories to Stream Now

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How many times have you watched a movie only to learn that it was based on a true story. It tends to leave you wanting to know more.

True story films are a great way to learn about important events in history, even when details are changed for dramatic purposes. They spark general interest in the stories and leave viewers wanting to learn more.

Check out our list of the 20 best movies based on true stories currently available to stream. This is an update on our post from 2019, as a lot of great new content has been made available since then.

Note: It didn’t make our list because it is a series rather than a movie, but also check out Netflix’s When They See Us.

22 July (2018)

Streaming on Netflix

On 22 July 2011, right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik murdered 77 young people at a Labor Party Youth Camp just outside of Oslo. This film looks at the aftermath of the worst terrorist attack in Norwegian history.

The Blind Side (2009)

Streaming on HBO

Quinton Aaron stars as Michael Oher, a homeless and traumatized boy that later became an All-American NFL football player. He was helped by a caring woman who saw his predicament, played by Sanda Bullock.

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind (2019)

The Boy Who Harnessed the Wind - Still 1

Streaming on Netflix

Faced with famine, a thirteen-year-old boy in Malawi comes up with an unconventional way to save his family and his village. Starring William Kamakwamba and his real family members in the leading roles, the film is directed by Chiwetel Ejiofor.

Brain on Fire (2017)

Streaming on Netflix

A young woman, played by Chloe Grace Moretz, is an up and coming journalist at the New York Post. She is also plagued by voices in her head and seizures. The doctors all tell her that she is crazy, until one of them takes the time to discover the true cause of the problem.

Come Sunday (2018)

Streaming on Netflix

An evangelist preacher, played by Chiwetel Ejiofor, is ostracized by his church when he begins to suggest that Hell is not a place, but rather a state of being created by individuals living on Earth.

Concussion (2015)

Streaming on Netflix

Will Smith stars as an American immigrant from Nigeria who discovers the extreme danger posed by the repeated concussions suffered by American football players. He must then take on the NFL to prove the dangers of the game.

Darkest Hour (2018)

Streaming on Max Go

Set during the opening days of World War II as Winston Churchill, played by Gary Oldman, tries to convince the United Kingdom that there is no treating with a man like Hitler, and that they must go to war.

Erin Brockovich (2000)

Streaming on Fubo

Julia Roberts plays a headstrong and unconventional woman who goes to work for an attorney. When she comes across evidence that a factory is poisoning a local community, she pushes for a major class-action suit.

Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile (2019)

Streaming on Netflix

Zac Efron plays serial killer Ted Bundy in this film about his crimes and trial. The story is told from the perspective of his longtime girlfriend, played by Lily Collins, who didn’t believe the truth about him for many years.

First They Killed My Father (2017)


Streaming on Netflix

A harrowing story directed by Angelina Jolie about one young girl’s quest for survival during the reign of the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia.

Girl, Interrupted (1999)

Streaming on Prime Video

Angelina Jolie is in front of the camera starring opposite Winona Ryder in this story of a young woman sent to a psychiatric facility in the 1960s. She soon finds what was meant to be a short rest has become a permanent stay as she must choose between different realities.

Laundromat (2019)

Streaming on Netflix

Following the death of her husband, Ellen Martin, played by Meryl Streep, starts to investigate a fake life insurance policy, She uncovers a scandalous fraud linked to a Panama City law firm, and sets out to expose them and their wealthy clients.

Lion (2016)

Streaming on Roku Channel

When a five-year-old boy gets lost on the streets of Calcutta, a series of unexpected events sees him adopted by a family in Australia. 25 years later, he sets out to find the family that he lost.

The Most Hated Woman in America (2017)

Streaming on Netflix

Melissa Leo stars as Madalyn Murray O’Hair, the staunch atheist who pursued the supreme court lawsuit to have mandatory prayer banned in American public schools in the 1960s.

The Post (2018)

Streaming on Sling

Meryl Streep and Tom Hanks star as two of the powers behind the Washington Post when they published the infamous Pentagon Papers, a set of classified documents about the Vietnam War, in 1971.

Spotlight (2015)


Streaming on Netflix

This movie tells the story of the Boston Globe reporting team that exposed the massive child molestation scandal and coverup within Boston’s Catholic Archdiocese and beyond. Starring Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Rachel McAdams.

The Social Network (2010)

Streaming on Netflix

The not so glamorous and flattering tale of the creation and rise of Facebook. Jesse Eisenberg stars as Mark Zuckerberg. What starts as a cruel game of revenge grows into one of the largest and most successful businesses in the world.

Snowden (2016)

Streaming on Netflix

Joseph Gordon-Levitt stars as whistleblower Edward Snowdon. The movie covers the public political fallout of the NSA surveillance activities that he exposed, but also the huge personal cost to him as an individual.

Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri (2017)

Steaming on Fubo

When seven years pass without a suspect being arrested in the case of the murder of her daughter, one woman starts a billboard campaign against the local chief of police. While all she wants is justice, she creates greater problems for the local police.

The Trial of the Chicago 7 (2020)

Streaming on Netflix

Legal drama telling the story of the government’s decision to prosecute eight men for starting riots in Chicago during the 1968 Democratic Convention. The case of the defense is that it was the police who started the riots.

What To Watch Next?

Continue your educational but entertaining viewing by checking out some of the great documentaries currently available to stream. Take a look at some of the great documentary titles currently available on Prime Video, Hulu, and HBO.

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