The lives of men have always found stimulation in true stories and legends and movies are no different. And when you think of movies, what could be more intriguing than stories based on true crime! This list of must-see Top 10 Movies based on True Crimes tell you of stories that have been so influential that they have even found their ways on to the big screen.
Charlize Theron’s outstanding performance won her seventeen awards for her portrayal of Aileen Wuornos, a Florida prostitute who turned into a serial killer. The beautiful actress had to undergo some truly hideous cosmetic changes, including a weight gain of 30 pounds and false teeth, in order to resemble the terrifying Aileen. Charlize plays the role impeccably, making viewers want to sympathize with the character, and simultaneously be terrified. The story ends tragically with the execution of Aileen, after being tried for the murders she committed.
Catch Me If You Can
This 2002 film is based on a true story about Frank Abagnale Jr., who was a skilled con artist and who managed to con millions of dollars’ worth of checks before his 18th birthday. He did so skillfully by posing as a doctor, a legal prosecutor and a Pan Am co-pilot. Leonardo DiCaprio, who with his impeccable talent in acting, portrayed the role of this master-of-deception and brought before the audiences a perfect image of the actual Frank Abagnale Jr.
This 1997 American crime drama film was directed by Mike Newell. This is a true story about an FBI undercover agent, Joseph Pistone, played by Johnny Depp, who infiltrated one of the major Mafia families in New York and started identifying with the mafia life more than the regular one he was living. Initially, it was an undercover mission, but slowly and gradually, as Pistone started to identify with the mafia, he developed a relationship of friendship with the mob hit man. The movie depicts Pistone’s mental ordeal of making a decision that will end the life of his newfound friend.
This true story of Jesse James Hollywood was made into a feature film in 2006. Starring Justin Timberlake, Sharon Stone and Bruce Willis, this story depicts the life of a young drug dealer who was one of the youngest men to be on the FBI’s most wanted list. He was only 20 years old when he was caught by the police. The movie ends with a text on the screen that informs the audience that the young drug dealer is currently in California awaiting trial and will face a death penalty if proven guilty.
The French Connection
In the 1960s, the Turkey-France-United States drug-trafficking scheme exploded, causing a New York City police detective to be fixated on capturing the French heroin smuggler. This incident was created into a feature film, starring Gene Hackman as the police detective. Directed by the talented William Friedkin, this movie won awards for Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director, Best Film Editing and Best Adapted Screenplay. The movie has been voted to have one of the best car-chase scenes in the history of films. The film ends on a vague note and doesn’t quite tell the audience who is killed in the end.
The talented Martin Scorsese created a feature film based on a true event highlighting the rise and fall of the Lucchese crime family. The story is spun around a young man who works his way up the hierarchy in a mob, but eventually faces a downfall due to his drug addiction and uncalled-for actions.
In Cold Blood
This true story of the brutal murder of the Clutter family is made into a novel and a film adaptation. The 1967 film portrays how two ex-convicts break into the home of a rich Kansas family, hoping to find a lot of wealth, but instead find nothing. Infuriated by the whole ordeal, they murder the entire family in a heartless manner and flee. They are later caught by the police, found guilty and sentenced to death by hanging. The illustration of the killers’ last moments and the execution is presented at the end of the movie.
The Wolf of Wall Street
The Wolf of Wall Street is based on a true event, portraying the life of Jordan Belfort, who started his own brokerage firm by the name of ‘Stratton Oakmont’ and who along with his team of brokers, made a huge fortune by deceiving investors. Jordon’s character is played by Leonardo DiCaprio. The story started in 1987 when Jordan Belfort started his career at a Wall Street brokerage firm. Jordan was, as most fraudulent criminals, arrested by the FBI and his entire wealth and empire was seized. To his fortune, he was only sentenced to imprisonment for 36 months, following which he was released in the early 2000s. He now makes a living by hosting seminars and conducting training sessions on improving sales techniques.
This 2007 American thriller movie is based on one of Northern California’s unsolved crimes. The movie depicts the ‘Zodiac Killings’ and the terror that grips the city of San Francisco as a serial killer stalks its citizens. The Zodiac killer continues to kill victims and send cryptic messages in an attempt to taunt the authorities. While a couple of investigators and reporters become obsessed with finding this serial killer, the killings continue. The movie doesn’t have the solution of the case in the end and only revolves around the work of the investigations.
Dog Day Afternoon
Dog Day Afternoon is a 1975 film based on the event of an inexperienced criminal who robs a bank to pay for his lover’s surgery. The robbery evolves into a hostage situation and the media have a field day with the whole event. The actual event upon which the movie was made, involves two robbers who face a similar fate.
These Top 10 Movies based on True Crime are a must-watch as they spill the story of criminals and mafias in the world of money, drugs, murder and more – all the elements that make for an intriguing storyline.