In the world of Hollywood, movies generally make it very well known when the source material is based on true events. There is, after all, a certain level of publicity that comes with giving a film the title of “based on true events.”
However, in some cases a film is based on true events, but the public is not even aware of the connection. It can even be a shock to know that a film has some grounding in reality, given how shocking the events of the film are.
Here are films based on reality, that don’t publicise their connection to the real world events.
City Of God – 2002
A troubling, but extremely well crafted and convincing film, City of God tells the story of youths growing up in Brazil. As they grow into adulthood, the characters in the film are gradually drawn deeper into lives of crime. The movie was highly acclaimed, but few were aware of the fact that the events in the movie were based on true events.
Adapted from the book of the same name, City of God was written by Paulo Lins, telling of his own experiences growing up in Brazil between the 60s and 80s. Knowing that the tragic film is based on reality gives it a deeper layer of tragedy, and the story told even more powerful.
Psycho – 1960
Perhaps one of the most acclaimed early thriller films of all time, and one that has spurred the creation of everything from themed shower curtains to online slots games, Psycho tells the story of a mentally disturbed young man, obsessed with his mother. Directed by the famed Alfred Hitchcock, there are many scenes in the film that are referred to as the work of a directing master. Many horror and thriller films today take their inspiration from the works of Hitchcock, despite them now being decades old.
Few people are aware, however, that Norman Bates, the killer in the movie, is based on real life killer Ed Gein. Although the connection is only vague, when the film was written Ed Gein was used as inspiration. The truth is, however, that the character of Norman Bates does not even come close to the real life horrifying crimes committed by Gein.
Jarhead – 2005
Not the average war film, Jarhead is known for taking a remarkably different approach to the genre. Many were expecting a film filled with shooting and violence, but Jarhead had very little of either. The movie was instead a grounded, realistic approach to what really happens in war zones.
The realism of the film comes from the movie being based on the real memoirs of Anthony Swafford, a man who was involved in the infamous Gulf War. The adaption was as accurate as it could be, given that the multi-paged book had to be transformed into film length.
Reality To Film Adaptation
One of the interesting things about adapting reality to film is that certain steps have to be taken, in order for a real life story to fit the requirements of a film script. It can, therefore, be argued that there is no such thing as a film being “a real story,” given that the truth of the events are very much skewed by the Hollywood formula.
The most that can be said is that the films are “inspired by true events.” And even in this case, it can be argued that films are giving a false impression about how close they are to the true events that inspired them. Either way, many of the films mentioned above may not have been so memorable, had they not got at least some inspiration from reality.