CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and ERIN BROCKOVICH: Stranger than Fiction: Hollywood's best real-life Adaptations | The Fan Carpet

CATCH ME IF YOU CAN and ERIN BROCKOVICH: Stranger than Fiction: Hollywood’s best real-life Adaptations

23 July 2018

Photo by Alex Eylar / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0

It is often said that true life is stranger than fiction and that is certainly true when it comes to films that are based on real life events. However there are only a select few that can really capture our imagination and make us think. It is these films that can take real life events and and convert them into dramatic, award-winning cinema masterpieces.

Any film with acting legend Robert De Niro is always worth a watch. One of his most famous films, Goodfellas (directed by the legendary Martin Scorsese), was based on the real life of the mobster Henry Hill and told the thrilling tale of his ascension from wannabe gangster to mob boss.

There are hundreds of films about real life crime events and one of the more notable ones is Zodiac, brilliantly directed by David Fincher. Set in the 1960s, when San Francisco detectives were on the hunt for the infamous Zodiac killer, the all-star cast includes Robert Downey Jr, Jake Gyllenhaal and Mark Ruffalo.

Films about space exploration are immensely popular and Ron Howard’s Apollo 13 is definitely one of the most watched films about space. The story is based on the doomed 1970 Lunar exploration where three astronauts charting the Apollo 13 were on a desperate mission to bring their ship back into the Earth's orbit after an oxygen tank had exploded. The film captures all the desperation and isolation that the astronauts must have felt being in such a predicament.

There have been many films based on the memoirs of individuals. One recent adaptation was The Wolf of Wall Street, which was based on notorious real life adventures of fraudulent stockbroker, Jordan Belfort. Another cracking real-life adaptation from Martin Scorsese, Wolf of Wall Street perfectly captures Belfort’s hedonistic lifestyle (another career-defining moment from Leonardo DiCaprio) and has to be seen to be believed!

The 2017 Aaron Sorkin crime drama film Molly’s Game, starring Jessica Chastain and Idris Elba, is based on the memoirs of the same name by Molly Bloom. Molly ran underground games that attracted high-rolling Hollywood stars, athletes and more in the mid-2000’s and was known in inner circles as the ‘poker princess’. However, despite this moniker, Molly had nerves of steel - one of the main qualities needed to play the likes of blackjack, roulette and other casino games.

Mr DiCaprio also pops up in another film based on real life events – Steven Spielberg’s Catch Me If You Can. This film, which took almost two decades to hit the big screen, tells the story of forger and con man Frank Abagnale Jr. and his subsequent pursuit by Tom Hank’s Carl Hanratty – the FBI agent assigned to this puzzling case.



Photo by Gage Skidmore / CC BY-SA 2.0
Caption: The real-life Erin Brockovich

One of the most ‘feel good’ films based on real life events is the story of Erin Brockovich – a single mother who campaigned against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company of California in 1993. Despite her landmark victory, twenty years later Erin is using her experience to help champion other people’s causes. The movie, which was directed by Stephen Soderbergh, also brought home a victory for the actress playing Erin - Julia Roberts was awarded the Oscar for Best Actress in 2001.

Films have the power to make us laugh, make us cry and feel a range of emotions. Films based on real life events can educate and inform – teaching us about wrong and right and that we are all responsible for our own destiny. What is the most powerful real-life film that you have ever watched?

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