12 huge Hollywood movies that were actually based on true stories

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Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures
Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures

The Notebook

While the movie is based on a book by well-known author Nicholas Sparks, Sparks said in a post on his website that the book was inspired by the true love story of his wife’s grandparents. 

Girl, Interrupted

A look at the 18-month long stay of a girl in a psychiatric hospital, this film was inspired by the memoir of the same name by Susanna Kaysen. Kaysen got the idea for the name from the Vermeer painting Girl Interrupted at her Music.

The Sound of Music

The film was based on a musical which was based on Maria Von Trapp’s The Story of the Trapp Family Singers. The one difference though is that Captain Von Trapp was actually a kind, loving man who adored his children.

Almost Famous

The film was based on director/writer Cameron Crowe’s experience as a teenage writer for Rolling Stone. Crowe toured with bands like Poco, The Allman Brothers Band, Led Zeppelin, the Eagles, and Lynyrd Skynyrd.

The Terminal

Inspired by the story of Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee, who stayed at Charles de Gaulle airport for 18 years. He wrote a book about his time there called The Terminal Man. Nasseri was reportedly paid $250 000 to use his story as inspiration for the movie.

Patch Adams

The real Patch Adams wrote a book called Gesundheit: Good Health is a Laughing Matter which was the loose basis for the film starring Robin Williams. The real Dr Adams didn’t much like the movie originally, but he said a few kind words when Robin Williams died in 2014. 

The Pursuit of Happyness

The tearjerker is based on the real story of Chris Gardner who was homeless for nearly a year while trying to make a life for himself and his son. Gardner realised the potential of his story to become a film after a massive response to an interview he had with 20/20 in 2002. He published his book in 2006 and later became an associate producer of the film.

Marley and Me

The adorable film about the overenthusiastic puppy was based on an autobiographical book of the same name about the 13 years John Grogan and his family spent with their yellow Labarador Retriever, Marley.

Riding in Cars With Boys

The Drew Barrymore film is based on the memoir of the same name by Beverly Donofrio. Donofrio is a prolific essayist, children’s author and creative writing teacher. She’s written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire and Allure. 

Remember the Titans

The movie is based in the real-life story of Herman Boone and his attempt to integrate a high school football team in 1971. There are a bunch of differences between the movie and the real story but many of the characters and the premise is all true. 

Catch Me If You Can

The Leonardo DiCaprio flick was based on the true story of Frank Abagnale, a notorious conman who assumed eight different identities before he was caught by police in France and sent to prison. Now, Frank consults for the federal government and runs a financial fraud consulting firm.

The Conjuring

The horror film was based on the real lives of Ed and Lorraine Warren, paranormal investigators and authors, and one of their most famous cases. Development for the film began 20 years before its actual release date and the script was changed from the point of view of the Perron family to that of the Warrens’. 

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