20 thrillers based on true events

Thrillers cause a feeling of excitement and fear in a person. And the sensations increase many times when the viewer realizes that the action on the screen is not an invention of the screenwriter, but an episode of someone’s life. Below you will find a list of the best thrillers based on real events.

Escape from Pretoria (2020)

1979 The apartheid regime operates in the Republic of South Africa. Two white men, Tim and Steven, hold campaigning events, for which they end up in a maximum-security prison. The partners decide to escape together with other political prisoners. Thanks to the personal consultations of Tim Jenkin, an eyewitness to the events, the atmosphere of the thriller most fully conveys the reality of what is happening on the screen.

What do you think, is it worth filming a sequel, and what should be in it?

Original title: Escape from Pretoria
Actors: Daniel Radcliffe, Ian Hart, Daniel Webber…
Country: Great Britain, Australia
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.7, IMDb – 6.8
Age restrictions: 16+

Lost Girls (2020)

Another worthy novelty of 2020 is a detective thriller based on real events from the life of Mary Gilbert, a single mother of three girls. When eldest daughter Shannon doesn’t return for dinner, the woman suspects a kidnapping and calls the police. But investigators refuse to look for the missing woman because she was a prostitute. Mary forces the cops to start an investigation that leads to the bodies of 4 girls. But is Shannon among them?

Original title: Lost Girls
Actors: Amy Ryan, Thomasin McKenzie, Gabriel Byrne …
Country: USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 5.8, IMDb – 6.1
Age restrictions: 16+

Dangerous Secrets (2019)

The film introduces the viewer to the relatively recent events that took place in the UK in 2003. An ordinary intelligence officer receives an email with plans for an illegal invasion of Iraq. Katherine gives the letter to the press to prevent a baseless war from starting. And he receives a subpoena for disclosing state secrets. Based on true events, the 2019 film is one of the best political thrillers of recent years.

Original title: Official Secrets
Actors: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Matt Smith …
Country: UK, USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 7.3
Age restrictions: 16+

Torture Reports (2019)

The tragic event of September 11, 2001, turned the lives of all people upside down. Never before has the world felt so defenseless. To find the culprits, CIA agents break the law and brutally torture those allegedly involved in the attack. Daniel Jones of the Senate finds out about illegal interrogation methods and is going to expose the government.

Original title: The Report
Actors: Adam Driver, Corey Stoll, Evander Duck Jr.
Country: USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.6, IMDb – 7.2
Age restrictions: 18+

Golden Glove (2019)

The film about a maniac who was operating in Hamburg in the 70s continues the top thrillers based on real events. Fritz Honka is a middle-aged loser who has achieved nothing. A man spends his days in a local tavern, having fun with women, and at night he invites them to his house, from which no one returns. Director Fatih Akin became interested in adapting Heinz Strunk’s book because he grew up near the Golden Glove pub.

Original title: Der goldene Handschuh
Actors: Jonas Dassler, Margaret Twizel, Katya Studt…
Country: Germany, France
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.5, IMDb – 6.7
Age restrictions: 18+

Ideal Patient (2019)

Swedish cinema shows the real story of Thomas Quick, a serial killer who left the judicial system in the cold. Thomas voluntarily surrendered to the police and confessed to 30 murders. After 20 years, the excessively fair journalist Hannes Rostam reopened the case and found out that many facts are contrived and contradicted the truth. The new Scandinavian thriller is worth watching for all fans of intricate films with an unpredictable ending.

Original title: The Perfect Patient
Actors: Jonas Karlsson, David Densik, Alba August …
Country: Sweden
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.4, IMDb – 6.8
Age restrictions: 18+

Red Sea Diving Resort (2019)

The events of an interesting thriller are based on a real special operation by the Israeli intelligence service Mossad. The early 80s. A group of special agents led by Ari Kidron buy up a beach resort on the Red Sea. Having established sea bridges here, they create a secret port for the mass transfer of Jews from unstable Ethiopia.

Original title: The Red Sea Diving Resort
Actors: Chris Evans, Haley Bennett, Michael Kenneth Williams, Ben Kingsley …
Country: Canada
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 6.5
Age restrictions: 16+

Asylum Escape: The Nellie Bly Story (2019)

The plot of a rather scary American thriller is based on real events from the life of Nellie Bly, a journalist born in the 19th century. At that time, women could not cover serious cases in the press, but Nelly went against society and staged schizophrenia to end up in a mental hospital. The girl spent 10 days here, collecting information about the conditions of the patients, and found out that among them there are healthy people who are not released.

Original title: Escaping the Madhouse: The Nellie Bly Story
Actors: Christina Ricci, Judith Light, Josh Bowman…
Country: USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.1, IMDb – 6.3
Age restrictions: 16+

Tunnel: Life Dangerous (2019)

On Christmas Eve, thousands of cars got stuck in a tunnel under the mountain. A powerful explosion of a fuel truck caused a fire that blocked both exits. The panic and turmoil of people lead to the first deaths. Rescuers went to help, but a snowstorm prevents getting to the place. The disaster film is based on multiple real-life incidents in Norway, where there are no emergency exits in tunnels.

Original title: Tunnelen
Actors: Torbjorn Harr, Ylva Fuglegud, Lisa Carlehead …
Country: Norway
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.1, IMDb – 6.3
Age restrictions: 16+

Hotel Mumbai: Confrontation (2018)

In November 2008, a series of terrorist attacks organized by Islamic terrorists thundered in Mumbai. One of the most luxurious hotels in India “Taj Mahal Palace” was at the epicenter of events. The militants seized the building, some of the guests and staff were killed, and the rest were taken, hostage. A small group of guests manages to barricade themselves in the billiard room, but can they hold out until SWAT arrives?

Original title: Hotel Mumbai
Actors: Armie Hammer, Jason Isaacs, Nazanin Boniadi …
Country: USA, Australia
Rating: Myreleasedate – 7.7, IMDb – 7.6
Age restrictions: 18+

In the power of the elements (2018)

The list of the best films based on real events continues with an adventure thriller about survival in a raging ocean. Tami and Richard met in Tahiti and fell in love. Their shared sense of adventure sent them on a voyage across the Pacific Ocean, but the romance ended when a hurricane hit the yacht. Feeding on nothing but peanut butter and no direction, Tami must make her way to land on a wrecked ship.

Original title: Adrift
Actors: Shailene Woodley, Sam Claflin, Jeffrey Thomas…
Country: Hong Kong, Iceland, USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 6.6
Age restrictions: 16+

Beautiful, Bad, Evil (2018)

Young single mother Liz meets law student Ted. Their stormy romance lasts for five years, until one day the police come for Ted. The man is accused of rape, murder, and dismemberment of several women. The psychological thriller is based on the real biography of the famous serial killer Ted Bundy, who killed more than 30 girls.

Original title: Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile
Actors: Zac Efron, Lily Collins, Kaya Scodelario…
Country: USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 6.6
Age restrictions: 18+

American Animals (2018)

The crime thriller tells the story of a university library robbery that took place in 2004 in Kentucky, USA. The main characters of the film are four student friends who study at a local university and do not see the point in gray everyday life. In search of themselves, the friends decide to steal the book “The Birds of America” ​​by John Audubon, worth more than $ 8 million.

Original title: American Animals
Actors: Barry Keoghan, Evan Peters, Jared Abrahamson…
Country: Great Britain, USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.7, IMDb – 7.0
Age restrictions: 16+

Belcanto (2018)

The famous singer Roxana Koss performed at a reception on the occasion of the Japanese magnate’s holiday. Armed men broke into the house and demanded the release of the imprisoned rebels in exchange for the lives of all those present. The foreign thriller was based on the real events of December 17, 1996, when militants of the revolutionary movement seized the Japanese embassy in Lima.

Original title: Bel Canto
Actors: Julianne Moore, Ken Watanabe, Sebastian Koh …
Country: USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.3, IMDb – 5.4
Age restrictions: 16+

Detroit (2017)

Detroit, 1967 The closure of the club in a black area becomes the last straw of patience of the local population, whose rights are infringed upon by the police and white people. Several thousand people get out of control, a pogrom begins on the streets. Director Kathryn Bigelow reconstructed the approximate course of events at the Algiers Motel from the recollections of real eyewitnesses and documents. But most of the events were hidden by the authorities.

Original title: Detroit
Actors: John Boyega, Will Poulter, Algy Smith …
Country: USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.8, IMDb – 7.3
Age restrictions: 18+

6 feet deep (2017)

It was not easy for Eric Lemark to give up a brilliant career and extreme sports. When the ski patrol closes the slopes due to an approaching storm, a young athlete wants to go snowboarding one last time. A storm overtakes Eric, and now the guy has to survive in the mountains for 7 days. The action-packed thriller, based on real events from the life of a famous snowboarder, is watched in one breath.

Original Title: 6 Below: Miracle on the Mountain
Cast: Josh Hartnett, Mira Sorvino, Sarah Dumont…
Country: USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.2, IMDb – 5.7
Age limit: 16+

In the heart of the sea (2015)

1819. A team of twenty men goes whaling on the Essex. The ship is attacked by a giant sperm whale, causing the crew to board lifeboats. Three months on the high seas without provisions leads people to cannibalism. The film was based on a real event that also inspired Herman Melville’s novel, Moby Dick.

Original title: In the Heart of the Sea
Actors: Chris Hemsworth, Benjamin Walker, Cillian Murphy …
Country: USA, Australia, Spain
Rating: Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 6.9
Age restrictions: 12+

Everest (2015)

The dramatic thriller is based on the events of 1996, and some real scenes were borrowed from the 1998 documentary of the same name. A group of amateur climbers led by professional guide Rob Hall is heading to Nepal to climb Mount Everest. The team quickly reaches the goal, but soon a blizzard begins.

Original title: Everest
Actors: Jason Clarke, Josh Brolin, Jake Gyllenhaal …
Country: UK, USA, Iceland
Rating: Myreleasedate – 7.2, IMDb – 7.1
Age restrictions: 12+

No Exit (2014)

When Jack is offered an interesting job in Southeast Asia, he jumps at the opportunity to change the situation. Arriving at a new place with his wife and two children, Jack finds himself at the very epicenter of a military coup. Under the whistle of bullets, they have to get to the American embassy. The film is partly based on the events that took place in Thailand in May 2014.

Original title: No Escape
Actors: Owen Wilson, Lake Bell, Pierce Brosnan…
Country: USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.7, IMDb – 6.8
Age restrictions: 18+

Experiment “Obedience” (2012)

A fast-food restaurant receives a call from a police officer. The man claims that the young cashier stole money from the visitor’s bag. The manager has two options: turn the girl over to the police or search her on his own. Nothing difficult, just need to listen to orders. The plot of the exciting thriller was based on an event that took place on April 9, 2004, at a McDonald’s restaurant in the United States.

Original title: Compliance
Actors: Ann Dowd, Matt Servitto, Dream Walker…
Country: USA
Rating: Myreleasedate – 6.0, IMDb – 6.4
Age limits: 16+

( No ratings yet )
Jared Lambert/ author of the article

I’ve been writing about movies, TV shows and anime for over 3 years, and you may have seen my reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic.

Leave a Reply

My Release Date - schedule of all popular series
Support Ukraine