Films based on true stories

ByNida Faraz

Active in social circles


August 20, 2022

Nida Faraz describes some interesting movies

Film-makers look for original content and what else could be more original than the vagaries of human existence. Movies based on real-life stories are recognised to provide more thinking space than fiction and though the events are portrayed with some alterations but the main theme remains close to the real narrative. Such films provide more sources of inspiration and last long in public memory and are quoted accordingly. Films based upon real-life subjects also evoke more sympathy in the film-goers who come out dazzled by what they see.

50 First Dates (2004)
In the 2004 romcom ‘50 First Dates,’ Adam Sandler plays a marine veterinarian who falls in love with art teacher Lucy (Drew Barrymore). But Lucy has a memory impairment that causes her to forget him with every new day. Although the impairment suffered by Barrymore’s character, “Goldfield’s Syndrome,” is fictitious, but there is a British woman who wakes up every day thinking that it’s 1994.

Catch Me If You Can (2002)
Believe it or not, the prolific con artist played by Leonardo DiCaprio in Steven Spielberg’s ‘Catch Me If You Can’ actually existed in real life. Frank Abagnale Jr. published his autobiography in 1980. In his autobiography he describes how, between the ages of 15 and 21, he forged millions of dollars worth of cheques. And when he was caught, he was actually hired by the FBI to catch other fraudsters.

Footloose (1984)
The 1984 classic starring Kevin Bacon tells the story of a town where dancing was made illegal by a strict pastor. In the film a group of high school students get the law overturned in time for prom. The film is set in a town in Oklahoma and that town actually exists. In 1979 a group of high school students went up against their local minister, who believed dancing was the tool of the devil.

It Could Happen To You (1994)
The 1994 romcom starring Nicolas Cage tells the story of a police officer who buys a lottery ticket and agrees to split the winnings with a waitress instead of giving her a tip. When he ends up winning $6 million he honours his agreement, just as real-life police officer Robert Cunningham did when the same happened to him.

Julie & Julia (2009)
The 2009 biographical comedy-drama ‘Julie & Julia’ tells the parallel life stories of young chef Julia Child and New Yorker Julie Powell, who undertakes to cook all 524 recipes in Child’s book in one year. The movie is based on two books: real-life chef Child’s autobiography, ‘My Life in France,’ and real-life New Yorker Powell’s memoir, ‘Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen.’

The Terminal (2004)
Steven Spielberg’s 2004 comedy drama ‘The Terminal’ centres on an Eastern European man (Tom Hanks) who becomes stranded in New York airport when his passport is rendered invalid. Believe it or not, something close to this happened in real life: Iranian refugee Mehran Karimi Nasseri was stuck in a Parisian airport for almost 20 years because he did not have a working passport. TW


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