Over the years, we’ve come to know the words “based on a true story” as somewhat fluid; we’re not saying that filmmakers are lying when they say their movie is based on actual events, but we’ve come to understand that very often creative liberties are taken and what ends up on screen is very rarely factual. In most cases, the facts have been changed to add drama, consolidate characters or to mould a story to the cinematic framework we’ve come to know all too well; while this is often to the benefit of the audience, it can often detract from the trust we place in the words, “based on a true story.” With this distrust in mind, we here at Goliath have decided to round up 10 great “based on a true story” films so we can break down the difference between life and art.
10. Blow (2001)
Directed by Ted Demme and adapted from Bruce Porter’s nonfiction text Blow: How A Small Town Boy Made $100 Million With the Medellin Cartel and Lost It All (whew, what a title), Blow sees Johnny Depp starring as Carl Jung, that small town boy who does indeed get mixed up with the infamous Columbian drug cartel when he starts smuggling cocaine. The movie, which steers fairly close to the content in the text and follows Jung from his time as a boy in a small town in Massachusetts through his sorted history with drugs and the cartel, also stars Penelope Cruz , Ray Liotta and Franka Potente. Blow was received with decidedly mixed reviews upon its release, with critics applauding Depp’s performance but also drawing attention to some shortcomings with story and character development, with the latter being particularly interesting due to the biopic nature of the film. Blow, based on true events, is the perfect film to kick off this list due to its increased popularity in the years since its release.