Top 11 Movies On Netflix Instant That Are Based On A True Story

Here are 11 great movies on Netflix Instant that are based upon a true story.

The Perfect Storm

The Perfect Storm, released in 2000 is a powerfully moving picture based upon true events where an unusually intense storm pattern catches the Andrea Gail in mortal danger from a “perfect storm” or a Category Five hurricane.  This has a great cast of George Clooney, Mark Wahlberg, and John C. Reilly.  This inspiring and yet tragic real-life account takes us all on a commercial fishing vessel that was lost at sea with all hands after being caught in the “perfect storm” and is one of the most moving films I have ever seen.  Grab the tissues as it will tug at your heart strings, to be sure.

Black Hawk Down

The movie, Black Hawk Down, is a great action-oriented movie where 123 elite U.S. Soldiers are dropped into the dangerous nation of Somalia in order to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord but quickly find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis.  This 2001 movie, directed by Ridley Scott, and stars Josh Hartnett and Ewan McGregor, based upon a real-life story of heroism and determination about an army mission an impossible-looking mission.

The Pianist

The Pianist, directed by Roman Polanski, is a true story about Wladyslaw Szpilman’s whose life as a Polish-Jewish pianist during the World War II struggles to survive against the German Nazi soldiers who invade Poland and defeat them in no time and is especially relevant to the director (Polanski) who also succeeded in escaping from the Nazi’s who want to exterminate all Jews and flees after the death of his mother during the war.

A Beautiful Mind

A Beautiful Mind is an American movie based on the real life story of a Nobel Laureate winner, John Nash.  Directed by Ron Howard and inspired from the book, A Beautiful Mind by Sylvia Nasar, it stars Russell Crowe as a young prodigy who defines mathematical relations that change the world.  Later, Nash goes on medication to cure himself from hallucinations and while everything unravels around him (his family, marriage, etc.) and develops paranoid schizophrenia.  The fact that it’s a true story makes it even more interesting.

Into the Wild

The movie, Into the Wild, is a biographical, real-life account about one of the top students and athletes of Emory University and is directed by Sean Penn.  It stars Christopher McCandless who gives all of his money ($24,000) to charity and then hitchhikes to go onto wilderness of the nature to seek the adventurous Alaskan frontier.  Although it is one of the most inspiring of true stories, it ends in tragedy and leaves much of the audience in tears and has been rated one of the most frustrating movies of all time, both inspiring and heart-wrenching.

Schindler’s List

The movie, Schindler’s List is a box-office giant about a true story about a greedy businessman who, after seeing the tragedies of the Holocaust, becomes a humanitarian. This businessman helps save hundreds of Jewish lives, many who are refugees, and even though he is a Nazi, he finds them jobs, putting his own life at risk.  This amazing movie is directed by Steven Spielberg and knowing that it’s a true, historical account, gives us a look at what the Jews endured during the Nazi war machines deadly reach for world domination.


Gandhi, staring Ben Kingsley, shows how one man can change an entire nation, and in this case, India, and even though Gandhi is a man of nonviolence, it is through his patience that he is able to drive the British out of the subcontinent…all by peaceful resistance.   The stubborn nature of Jinnah and his commitment towards Pakistan is portrayed next to Gandhi who wants to see a united India and heal the fractious nature of the continent.  This true-life story is about Gandi (Mohandas K. Gandhi) the lawyer who became the famed leader of the Indian revolts against the British rule through his philosophy of nonviolent protest.

Hotel Rwanda

The movie, Hotel Rwanda, is a true story about Paul Rusesabagina who manages a hotel in Rwanda and who has housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.  This account recalls one of the most gruesome atrocities in the history of mankind but the events went almost unnoticed by the rest of the world.  In nearly 3 months, over one million people were brutally murdered, so one plain, ordinary man summons extraordinary courage to save the lives of over a thousand helpless refugees by granting them shelter in the hotel he manages…and risks his life by doing so

We Were Soldiers

The movie, We Were Soldiers, stars Mel Gibson, Madeleine Stowe, and Sam Elliot and describes the very first major battle fought by American veterans in the Vietnam War but focuses on soldiers on both sides and how they have a deep respect for one another.  It is only after landing in the “Valley of Death” that the soldiers discover they were sent to the base camp for a veteran North Vietnamese Army division of 4,000 men and the deadly action shows just how costly this mistake was.


The movie, Seabiscuit, is a classic true story about the underdog or the longshot.   During the depression, there weren’t many things to cheer about but this true story about an undersized Depression-era racehorse inspires many in that day because Seabiscuits victories lifted not only the spirits of the team behind it but also those of their nation who were suffering from one of the greatest economic depressions in history so Seabiscuit became an unlikely champion and a symbol of hope to many, when there was little hope to be found anywhere else.

Erin Brockovich

The movie, Erin Brockovich, stars Julia Roberts in the lead role (as Erin). Brockovich is an unemployed single mother who will take any job and subsequently, take a job as a legal assistant and almost single-handedly brings down a powerful California power company accused of polluting a city's water supply.  Brockovich is the mother of three small children and lives in a roach infested house and can barely feed her children but when she gets into a car accident and hires the law firm of Ed Masry to seek damages against the doctor who totaled her car, she convinces Masry to give her a job…and she exceeds all of Masry’s expectations, and then some.


You probably have better Netflix movies about real-life stories than I do, so please suggest which ones you would encourage us to see and why. It’s true that life is stranger than fiction and true-life stories are much more meaningful because they really happened with real people in real time and space in history.  These real movies on Netflix Instant are based upon a true story and that’s why I believe you will enjoy them even more.

Article by Jack Wellman