Critics often lament the lack of “original” ideas in Hollywood, complaining that—week after week—each Friday’s slate of new releases is simply a mash-up of sequels and remakes.
And while movies based on real-life events could technically be considered yet another category of “recycled” content, when placed in the hands of the right director and actors, the truth can be far more compelling than fiction. With that, here are the 15 Best True Story Movies.
15. All the President’s Men (1976)
And viewers have Ben Bradlee, executive editor of The Washington Post (played by Jason Robards in the film) during the time of Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein’s investigation into Richard Nixon’s clandestine dealings, to thank for that as much as they do star/producer Robert Redford.
Concerned about the light in which the film might paint his profession and the reporters and editors who inhabit it, Bradlee realized that the mere act of cooperation could help shape the film’s direction. “We’re all in the position that we didn’t have any choice about this movie—it would be made regardless—and I could see that,” Bradlee stated in a 1975 interview with his own paper.
“Lacking that choice, it seemed to make more sense to try to influence it factually than to just stick our heads in the sand.” As a result, the filmmakers made sure every detail—from the mounds of research, articles and documents collected by Woodward and Bernstein to the desks their big-screen counterparts sat at—were perfectly replicated.
The result is a painstakingly accurate recounting of two reporters’ bumpy path to uncovering an ugly truth.