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Poinciana

Best Movie Depictions of True Stories

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Watching and enjoying Three Came Back last night, I was struck by how much I appreciate movies based on true stories. Three Came Back, the harrowing story of one woman's family caught up in WWII's Pacific Theater and how they survived, was very well acted and presented.

 

One of the best of the "true story" genres IMHO is the Wrong Man, Hitchcock's no embellishments and documentary style grabbed me from the first frame. Herrmann's atonal music was so (I can't think of the adjective I want to use), so evocative (the best I can come up with).

 

There are so many, The Uninvited, I Want to Live, et al, your favorites?

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Just saw a true story movie this past Sunday on CBS, "The Courageous Heart of Irena Sendler".

 

The social worker who saved 2900 Jewish children in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II.

 

IrenaSendlerPoster.jpg

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The first one that came to my mind, The Fighting Sullivans . My favorite genre in books and movies are bios and this is one of my favorite movies. I could list a bunch more, but I'll spare you.

 

I don't believe any family, other than the Carsons during the Civil War, has sacrifice as much as the Sullivans and done it with such a quiet grace and dignity.

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All the ones that I really admire, are made for television. Notably, *Who Will Love My Children* and *Playing for Time*.

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I couldn't help but add these:

 

Yahnkee Doodle Dandy (1942) Story of George M. Cohan

 

My personal favorite

Sergeant York (1941) Story of Sergeant Alvin York

 

The Dam Busters (1955) Story of the famous raids against German dams in World War II

 

The Right Stuff (1983) Based on Tom Wolfe's 1979 book about the test pilots involved in early high-speed aeronautical research and the United States' first attempt at manned spaceflight

 

Patch Adams (1998)

 

Awakenings (1990) Adapted from Oliver Sacks' memoir of the same name

 

I would add a third Robin Williams movie, Bicentennial Man (1999), but we're awaiting it's occurrence.

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I'm afraid Burt Lancasters portrayal of "The Birdman of Alcatraz" is a myth.

http://www.everythingyouknowisalie.co.uk/famous/files/birdmanofalcatraz.html

 

There was a documentary on the History Channel that talked about Alcatraz prison and one of the ex convicts that were there at the time also stated that there was no "Birdman of Alcatraz" - not the way Hollywood portrayed it.

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Completely agree with Yankee Doodle Dandy and Sgt York. I must say my favorite depictions of true stories are of the same story:

 

1776 (1972) and John Adams (2008)

 

Love these! Brilliant storytelling!

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I really appreciate all the films made about WW2 when all of that history was still fresh in people's minds: The Longest Day, So Proudly We Hail, They Were Expendable...all great. I won't mention the fiction stories built around the setting like From Here To Eternity or Best Years of Our Lives.It's too bad none of this history was taught in school, or maybe it was so long ago I just don't remember it.

 

For space films, The Right Stuff is still my favorite, although no film has addresed the astounding "all up" route they took for Apollo. I'd love to see the book Apollo adapted for the screen, it's such an amazing story. The enormity of space and power of rockets can only come across on the big screen.

 

Biopics are trickier, but I really enjoyed the recent Capote. I'd love to see it on a double bill with In Cold Blood which I think it a brilliant adaptation of his book.

I also enjoyed Man On The Moon although I dislike both Any Kaufman & Jim Carey. It succeeded in explaining a lot of Kaufman's strange behaviour sucessfully where The Private Life of Peter Sellers failed miserably.

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To add a few:

 

Carbine Williams and The Stratton Story, Jimmy Stewart's great efforts

 

The Nun's Story, what can I say other than a beautifully done movie that I treasure

 

There were some funny films based on real life, two that come to mind that are choice indeed: I Was a Male War Bride and Our Hearts Were Young and Gay - "Hearts" based on the adventures of Cornelia Otis Skinner and Emily Kimbrough as young women in the Twenties on their first trip to Europe. Wonderfully played by Gail Russell and Diana Lynn, it's a hoot. Would that tcm could make the effort to air it! (Oh why didn't I record it when amc used to show it all the time!)

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I remember the time, before I was really that big of a classic film buff, when it first started to sink in that some movies were based on real events. Some of the very first ones were probably Scorsese's Raging Bull and Goodfellas, which I still think are among his best movies, and My Left Foot starring Daniel Day-Lewis.

 

Of the classic movies I've seen recently, the first ones that come to mind are The Pride of the Yankees, Three Faces of Eve and Boomerang!. I'm sure more will come to mind in a while.

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Susan Hayward was so good in "I Want To Live Live". But the first that came to mind for me was Sissy Spacek in "Coal Miner's Daughter" A real gem of a performance!

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These are not Best Depictions of True Stories but favorites:

Most movies about the Titanic

The Longest Day

Battle of the Bulge

Yankee Doodle Dandy

Brian's Song

Sergeant York

Infamous

Unsinkable Molly Brown

Glory

The Alamo (Wayne's)

A League of Their Own

 

*Not on my list but The Birdman of Alcatraz should have been The Birdman of Leavesworth

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I'd still give IN COLD BLOOD top marks. They sanitized the killing scenes but the film's construction is just about perfect.

 

Of the war films, I doubt we've ever had a decent telling of one - they're such big events and cutting it down to 90 minutes or even an intermission-laden 3 hour epic - it's still never going to be too detailed. BATTLEGROUND, to me, offers an interesting look at that snowy troop. And someone mentioned DAM BUSTERS - it covers the bomb's development and delivery systems in a good, detailed way.

 

SINK THE BISMARCK is pretty much a step-for-step recreation of key events.

 

And 1956's MAN WHO NEVER WAS is a pretty interesting war-tale. I think this might have been one of the first films that discussed the British ULTRA equipment.

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*Of the war films, I doubt we've ever had a decent telling of one...* Ollie T

 

Have you seen *Pursuit of the Graf Spee* ( *Battle of the River Plate* )? To me, the best of the "true" stories. The last third of the movie could have been shortened, and they could have shown Langdorf"s suicide, but they mostly stayed true to the history.

 

My personal favorite, no surprise, is *Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo* .

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Years ago, I think on the old AMC, I saw a biography film titled ?I was Monte?s Double?. It was about a British guy who looked like Field Marshal Montgomery, and who was used by the British as a double to make tours of various areas, such as North Africa and Gibraltar, to make German spies think Montgomery was in those places, while he was actually someplace else. The guy who played the double was the actual guy who originally played the double during wartime, and he looked just like Montgomery.

 

I think the guy on the cover of the video package is John Mills:

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0051759/

 

This was a very interesting and entertaining film. I?d love to see it again.

 

The double on the left, and the real Monte on the right:

 

a75_monty.jpg

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> {quote:title=redriver wrote:}{quote}

> ATTACK OF THE FIFTY FOOT WOMAN. I actually knew that girl.

 

I hear she's trying to make a comeback with Monsters Vs. Aliens. :)

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There were many excellent tv movies depicting true crime stories:

 

The Onion Field - Who could forget Ted Danson and James Woods in that one.

 

Farrah Fawcett in Murder in Texas, The Burning Bed, and Small Sacrifices

 

Helter Skelter - Nightmare time!

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*Helter Skelter - Nightmare time!*

 

As good as the TV movie was, I still prefer the book. Even today, all these years later, it is one of the best crime books ever written.

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Funny you should mention the book because I'm right in the middle of it. I read it years ago and recently bought a trade paperback updated to 2002. The dramatis personae is a staggering list isn't it?

 

I think the movie was great and certainly a cautionary tale of our time. When I'm reading the book I can "hear" the music from the movie.

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*As good as the TV movie was, I still prefer the book.* - lzcutter

 

I read it when I was twelve. Maybe that's what went wrong. :-) But Steve Railsback's eyes are scarier than the book, or Manson's for that matter.

 

Message was edited by: patful, because Steve has more than one Rail

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As long as Birdman is showing right now, I will mention my favorite prison movie and true story, Papillon.

 

And BTW, yes Birdman leaves out a few salient details abt Robert Stroud, as did they abt Barbara Graham in I Want to Live.

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