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15 Movies Based on Unbelievable True Stories

"Argo" (2012)

Ben Affleck directs and stars in this story centered around CIA exfiltration specialist, Tony Mendez. Under the guise of scouting exotic locations for filming, he enters Iran and initiates the rescue of Americans who have been hiding in the Canadian ambassador's house.

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"Psycho" (1960)

Alfred Hitchcock's film about Norman Bates and his creepy mom is based on Ed Gein, a Wisconsin murderer and grave robber who had a weirdly close relationship with his mother.

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"The Great Imposter" (1961)

Before "identity theft" was a household term, there was Ferdinand Waldo Demara. Portrayed by Tony Curtis in the film, he successfully fooled people into thinking he was a Marine, a monk, a prison guard, and a doctor.

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"Rope" (1948)

This Hitchcock thriller is based on the murder of Robert Franks by Leopold and Loeb. Like the real murder, the movie is about two affluent young men who commit murder as an intellectual exercise indicative of their arrogance.

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"The Great Escape" (1963)

In 1943, Nazis moved allied prisoners of war into an ultra-secure facility. The allied POWs quickly devised a plan for the greatest escape ever and forced the Nazis to use resources away from the front lines.

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"The Exorcist" (1973)

Though it is certainly difficult to believe the events in The Exorcist are true, there is documentation of strange occurrences during the exorcism of Roland Doe (an anonymous boy on whom the movie's possessed girl is based). Furniture moving, objects flying, a bed shaking, and the child talking in a creepy, guttural tone are all noted. 

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"Alive" (1993)

This film documents the 1972 crash of a Uruguayan plane carrying pilots, flight attendants, a rugby team, family members, and friends. After crashing high in the Andes mountains, survivors await rescue for weeks while attempting to stay warm and find food.

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"The Ghost and the Darkness" (1996)

Throughout this movie, British engineers and African workers attempt to build the Uganda-Mombasa Railway Bridge in Tsavo, Kenya. They are continually attacked by two lions that eventually kill numerous workers during the 1898 project.

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"Hotel Rwanda" (2004)

Don Cheadle stars as the determined Rwandan hotel manager, Paul Rusesabagina. He and his wife are from two different ethnic groups in Rwanda, making them targets of violent factions. Using his smarts and the hotel he works at, he saves his family and 1,268 other Rwandans who were at risk of being victims of violence and genocide.

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"Unbroken" (2014)

In this incredible true story, American Olympian and World War II serviceman, Louie Zamperini survives 47 days on a raft in the Pacific and two years in a Japanese Prisoner of War camp.

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"The Conjuring" (2013)

If paranormal tales interest you, this is the movie for you! Based on the life of paranormal investigators, Ed and Lorraine Warren, it follows one of their most incredible cases, the haunting of a family in 1971 in a Rhode Island farmhouse.

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"127 Hours" (2010)

Aron Ralston is a canyoneer. While climbing remotely and alone in Utah's Canyonlands National Park, he dislodges a boulder and his arm becomes pinned. Stuck there for days, Ralston debates whether he should cut his arm off or continue to wait for help.

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"Schindler's List" (1993)

Amid atrocities and dangerous Nazis, German businessman, Oskar Schindler, saves Jews in World War II Poland by employing them in his factory. Using bribery, he continually convinces the Nazis in charge that he needs more and more Jews as workers.

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"Erin Brockovich" (2000)

An unemployed single mom, Erin Brockovich finds work at a lawyers office. While going through routine paperwork, she unbelievably finds evidence that Pacific Gas and Electric Company might be negligent when it comes to the pressence of chromium in the ground water around their facility.

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"Nacho Libre" (2006)

Jack Black stars as Ignacio, a cook at a monastery and orphanage who follows his secret dream of being a luchador so that he can buy better food for the orphans. This film is based on the life of a real Mexican priest who had a secret career as a luchador.

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