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15 Classic Movies That Are Based On Real Stories

15 Classic Movies That Are Based On Real Stories

For years, movies based on real stories have been dominating cinemas and award shows. Some are true masterpieces, and some… were rather of a disappointment. Here are just a few of the many great movies out there that are true classics that always catch our hearts. Whether it’s to warm our hearts or make us go through an emotional ride.

1. The Pianist (2002)

“I don’t know how to thank you” “Thank God, not me. He wants us to survive. Well, that’s what we have to believe.”

One powerful story that was brilliantly done is The Pianist. A film about a Polish Jew named Wladyslaw Szpilman, set in the 1930s during the Second World War. He was living in the ghettos and had everything taken away from him. He was doing everything in his power to stay alive and to stay as low as possible. However, Szpilman was one of the greatest piano players during that time.

Watching Szpilman having to go through all this grim and terror, we, as the audience, feel sympathy and a sense of emotional connection to the character. This is a film you won’t forget, nor would want to. It will make you feel like you’re there and then cherish the freedom you have. Roman Polanski (the director) and Adrien Brody (plays Wladyslaw Szpilman) truly made this movie a cinematic masterpiece.

2. United 93 (2006)

“Come one, guys, what are we waiting for? Let’s roll. Come on, let’s go already.”

United 93 is based on the powerful true story about the attacks that occurred on the 11th of September 2001 where four passenger airlines were hijacked by terrorists. The focus of the story is centred on United Airlines Flight 93, which violently crashed after the passengers and crew fought off the terrorists who highjacked the plane to gain back control over the aircraft. While United Airlines Flight 93 was being highjacked, two of the passenger airlines had crashed into the World Trade Center, and the third passenger airline was minutes away from striking the Pentagon.

This is one of those emotional and powerful films that will forever affect an audience. And it was purely genuine, no propaganda was made. The cast acted out the scenes perfectly, from being scared that their plane was being hijacked to reacting spontaneously to fight back the terrorists. It’s one of those movies you can’t help but get emotional over what the passengers had to go through and how they fought for their survival.

3. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

“I apologise for my appearance. But I have had a difficult time these past several years.”

12 Years a Slave tells the incredible true story of Solomon Northup – a free and educated black man living in upstate New York who was abducted and sold into slavery in the 1840s. Solomon Northup or also known as “Platt” (a nickname given to him) had to fight for his survival and freedom for 12 years as a slave.

This is one of those powerful films that heightens the entire audience on an emotional level. However it wasn’t just Solomon’s story that left us with a scar, but it was Patsey’s story as well. Patsey was a slave living a type of hell on earth. She was forced to tolerate the affection given to her by Edwyn Epps, a slave owner, and the jealousy of his wife that lead to gruesome outcomes for Patsey. However, unlike Solomon, Patsey had this innocence about her that even just looking at her could bring you to tears.

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Steve McQueen, the director, truly portrayed slavery in the 1840s. We, as the audience, are confronted with the true reality of slavery like it hasn’t been shown before.

4. Apollo 13

“Gentlemen, it’s been a privilege flying with you.”

“Houston, we have a problem” – a movie that delivered one of the greatest quotes of all time. Apollo 13 is based on the true story of the third intended manned mission to land on the moon. A story about how NASA developed a strategy to bring Apollo 13 safely back to earth after the spacecraft endured internal damage that threatened the lives of three of their astronauts.

The movie portrays what the astronauts had to undergo to fight for their survival and how humanity was brought together to bring back their astronauts, to save their lives. Everyone put all their differences aside to bring back these three astronauts, and it shows that people everywhere can bring greatness to this world. And even if you couldn’t do anything, people prayed for their survival. It gave everyone a sense of hope.

5. The Pursuit of Happyness (2006)

“You got a dream… You gotta protect it. People can’t do somethin’ themselves, they wanna tell you you can’t do it. If you want somethin’, go get it. Period.”

The Pursuit of Happyness is based on the touching true story of Christopher Gardner, a struggling salesman who loses everything after one of his inventions fails in the markets. He is then forced to live out on the streets with his son. It’s one of those inspirational movies that are not at all tasteless. It has humour at parts and twists too. So it’s one of those sad and heartwarming films. Be ready to feel every emotion a human can feel – you will appreciate life more because the film truly shares the struggles of everyday life.

6. Argo (2012)

“You really believe your little story’s gonna make a difference when there’s a gun to our heads?” “I think my story’s the only thing between you and a gun to your head.”

In 1979, the American embassy in Iran was invaded by the people involved in the Iranian Revolution – during the American hostage crisis. There were several Americans taken hostage. However, there were six that managed to escape. The CIA was ordered to get them back to the United States of America safely, therefore, their plan was to send in a CIA agent to play undercover as a Hollywood producer to rescue these six Americans.

A movie with plenty of unexpected twists, it will leave the audience at the edge of their seat. It will make you care for their safe returns as if it was happening today. Though there are a lot of bad reviews towards this film, the Iranian Revolution is an interesting topic to research on, and this just brings in more twists and turns that occurred during that time. It’s an important piece that fits in with the history of Iran. The movie shares somewhat of an untold story to the audience.

7. Lone Survivor (2013)

“There ain’t nothing I can’t do. No sky too high, no sea too rough, no muff too tough.”

Marcus Lutrell, a NAVY Seal, and his team are on a mission to capture Taliban leader, Ahmad Shah, dead or alive. After being spotted by some locals, Lutrell and his team decided not to kill them. However, luck was not on their side when the spotted locals alerted a group of Taliban fighters. A gruesome battle occurs where the NAVY seals find themselves outmatched.

Lone Survivor is based on a heroic true story, and it stars the real Marcus Lutrell. No matter what people say about American war stories, this is one that will surprise you. You will have that emotional connection with the characters and feel the overwhelming sadness when they are hurt. I should warn you that this film is extremely violent and gruesome. But the violence showed in this movie is in its pure form. Therefore, the viewer should be prepared for this emotional ride.

8. Everest (2015)

“Human beings simply aren’t built to function at the cruising altitudes of a seven-forty-seven”, “Our bodies will be literally dying.”

Everest tells the story of a climbing expedition on Mt. Everest that goes horribly wrong due to an unexpected snowstorm. A movie filled with facts and the real stories of what happened to the climbers. It was brilliantly done and cinematically beautiful. Filled with intensity, it will leave viewers feeling emotional and moved. When I watched it, my jaw dropped the whole way through, and I was just hoping for each climber to survive and when someone died I could feel my heart break a little. It really got me to connect with the characters and feel what they’re feeling. A truly gripping film you won’t regret watching.

9. The Stanford Prison Experiment (2015)

“Would you rather be a prison guard or a prisoner?”

The Stanford Prison Experiment is based on the real-life experiment that was conducted in 1971 by Dr. Philip Zimbardo, where he brought together 24 male students who volunteered themselves to participate in this experiment to take on assigned roles as guards and prisoners in a simulated prison.

This is an incredibly powerful and moving movie. A movie filled with twists and drama. There is so much truth in this movie. It shows what a human is capable of and how we don’t question authority – even if it’s fake authority. The viewers will feel anxious and like their sitting on pins and needles.

It’s truly a grim thought that a human, a young adult, a student, could do such things. One of the guards even explained to one of the prisoners that he acted in such a cruel way because he was conducting his own experiment – to see if anyone would question authority. It seemed like some of the guards were influenced by this, and they got drunk with power.

10. In the Heart of the Sea (2015)

“We were headed for the edge of sanity… like we were aberrations, phantoms. Trust gave way to doubt. Hope to superstition.”

I’m sure everyone would think that this movie is based on the novel “Moby Dick”, but actually, it is based on a true story that inspired Herman Melville’s novel. The movie is based on the true event on the New England whaling ship when it encountered a great whale.

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Firstly, the cinematography is beyond beautiful and would leave the viewers mesmerised by its beauty. Secondly, the acting was beyond brilliant. The whole cast showed their true colours while filming this, and everyone fit their role perfectly. One of those films where you wouldn’t believe your eyes thinking that this actually happened. It’s a very emotional film and beautiful as it is. A movie you should watch on the big screen, however if you’ve missed your chance it’s worth investing in a blu ray to fully experience the movie.

11. Zodiac (2007)

“I… I need to know who he is. I… I need to stand there, I need to look him in the eye and I need to know that it’s him.”

Zodiac is based on Robert Graysmith’s book that focuses on the detectives and newspaper employees that were obsessed with a killer. Robert Graysmith, a San Francisco cartoonist, becomes an amateur detective to track down the Zodiac killer, who is still unidentified, as the killer sends letters and cryptic messages to the police. The movie was truly brilliant in a way that the characters looked exactly like the original people, and the facts stated in the movie were almost all on point.

The movie was as well very smart and not at all what you’d expect, due to the arguments being made by the police and newspaper employees on the possible identity of the Zodiac. With no surprise, every David Fincher film is filled with twists – therefore, with a movie like this drama happens when the audience learns something new. This is one of the most excellent films out there, and it will make you want to research more on the story.

12. The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

“The real question is this: was all this legal? Absolutely f***ing not. But we were making more money than we knew what to do with.

The Wolf of Wall Street is based on the true-story of Jordan Belfort, a real-life stockbroker who made millions by selling cheap stocks to regular people. Living the high life, Jordan Belfort then falls drastically involving drugs, sex, and numerous other crimes. The movie is highly entertaining, but it’s a story about an addiction. An addiction to power.

The directing and editing is profoundly brilliant. It has many quick cuts to let the audience feel what the character is feeling. It’s made to seem like it is some kind of gangster/mafia movie but it’s more of a white-collar crime movie. The movie will, at times, make you feel uncomfortable by how far these kinds of people are willing to go to achieve such power.

And there are people like this out there today. To know that they know that what they are doing is illegal and still doing it is such a disturbing thought. Suckering thousands out there. I’m sure everyone out there has been caught in some kind of scam someway or another, and it’s honestly so worrying that this is still a recurring issue.

13. Into the Wild (2007)

“Some people feel like they don’t deserve love. They walk away quietly into empty spaces, trying to close the gaps of the past.”

A real-life story of someone who has a passion to move on from his or her difficulties made in the past and to travel to fully enjoy life. Based on Christopher McCandless, a recent graduate who gives away all his possessions and savings to hitchhike to Alaska. During that time, he faces a number of characters that change his life.

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A real inspirational film which will bring the audience to tears because of how real and genuine it is. Everyone has an element of Christopher McCandless in him or her, or you’ve encountered some of the characters that Christopher meets; nonetheless you’ll feel drawn to him throughout the whole movie – feeling a bond or connection towards Christopher.

14. The Conjuring (2013)

 “Want to play a game of hide and clap?”

The Conjuring is based on the real case files from the Warrens (Ed and Lorraine Warren). They investigated a farmhouse in Rhode Island that was recently bought by the Perron family. The Perron family experienced paranormal happenings as soon as they moved in. This movie deserves the R-rating it was given though it’s based on the scares alone as there was no sex, gore, or even swearing in this movie.

A movie that focuses on the story alone like this is one of the brilliant ones. It leaves you with goosebumps, and the building of suspense is something you don’t want to leave out. The fact that a family actually went through this is unbelievably terrifying.

There are a lot of controversies when it comes to horror films that are based on true stories. However, in the case of the Conjuring, the real-life Perron family was heavily included in the behind the scenes of the film; they made sure that everything portrayed in the movie reflects what exactly happened back in 1971 when they moved in.

15. Bronson (2008)

“You don’t want to be trapped inside with me sunshine. Inside, I’m somebody nobody wants to f*** with, do you understand? I am Charlie Bronson, I am Britain’s most violent prisoner.”

Bronson is based on the story of a hotheaded man named Michael Peterson who wants to make a name for himself, and so with that, he attempts to rob a post office. He was then sentenced to seven years behind bars; however, he was behind bars for 34 years, 30 of which he was in solitary confinement. During this time, his alter ego, “Charles Bronson”, took a leading role in his life story.

This is another movie that will make the audience want to research deeper. This is one of those movies where you might walk in not knowing a full story of what it may be about and, therefore, assuming a lot, but when you leave, you will realise how wrong you truly are. A brilliant film made with excellent directing and a masterpiece of a performance from Tom Hardy.

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NOORMARINA ANWAR

Student, Monash University

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Last Updated on July 23, 2019

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

13 Tips to Face Your Fears, Grow with Them and Enjoy the Ride

Fear. I spend my life talking about fear — fighting fears, fixing fears and understanding fears. And yet I doubt I get 10 calls a year from people saying “Mandie, can you help me fix my fear?”

Why is this so critically important to you?

The realization for me is that fear is not the fundamental driving force in your life, it’s what regardless of whether I’m talking to a doctor, a teacher, a CEO’s, a senior citizens or teenager – every single one of those conversations has a direct correlation with your world.

Fear can range from the overwhelming desire to look away or stop in your tracks to literally fleeing your country and the life you knew. In this article, I will share with you 13 tips to face your fears and enjoy the ride.

1. Know That Fear Is Real, but Can Be Overcome

Right now around the world, people are facing fear — real fear. Fear that I pray my children and I will never experience. Does that lessen my fears or your fears in your relativity safe 21st century life?

When I look at the world we all live in, I find that fear, like so many other emotions, can mean so many different things to so many different people:

  • The child who has to be physically dragged to their first day of school.
  • The man facing the judge.
  • The woman with her hand poised over the buttons over her phone because she has to walk down a dark corridor late at night alone.
  • The man as the surgeon says “count backwards from 10 Mr. Smith.”
  • The woman that’s told “We are sorry, we can’t help you.”
  • The man that faces the empty circle of a gun and prays for his very existence.

These and a million more (Portrayed in every kind of movie, book or song you could imagine) are what make us human. We face fear and somehow move forward or are stopped in our tracks.

Like the rabbit in the headlights of the car that veers off through the field away from the tyres of the car, or stays still praying for salvation. Like someone will save them. Sound familiar?

Fear is huge. Fear is everywhere and yet fear can be overcome, controlled and can even be a power for good.

2. Accept Your Fear

Firstly, if you aren’t facing the barrel of the gun, atrocities that make the news or impeding death, that’s a good start. However, it doesn’t mean your fear is any less real.

We are quick to say “I can’t moan, my life is not as bad as X.” While in theory, that’s honorable your appreciation of Mr. or Mrs. X’s horrific life won’t change anything directly. So accept your fear is relative to you.

And here’s what can be done.

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3. Get Some Perspective

I found myself asking anyone that would answer “what is your worst fear”. The answer that intrigued me the most came from my daughter (15 years old and she usually has a copy of Fight the Fear – my book – in her school bag so she can help someone else be as positive and confident as her. No matter what life throws up.)

And her fear, surprised me — heights. I pointed out that we live in a sprawling bungalow (one storey) and the highest she goes is two storeys’ at school! She laughed but added, fear isn’t like that Mum. I know it’s not a real fear, but it’s like when you stand on a chair and feel unsafe.

That girl will go far. Because she truly gets fear.

We know something is scary and yet we still do it. Why? Because we have a perspective to the fear. When you lose perspective, it can feel too big, and too scary.

So look around you to get some perspective on your fear:

  • Are you really at risk?
  • Will this kill you?
  • Which leads us on to..
  • If the worst was to happen, what would it be?

4. Hold a Hand

As a coach, it is my job to hold someone’s metaphorical hand and help them face a fear.

Like the child petrified of the thunder storm, or the teen that can’t get back in a car again after failing their test, your job as a parent is to reassure, encourage, enable and motivate someone to face something that ideally they never would choose to again.

We know many of our fears aren’t real. However, it is only when someone guides us with love, respect, lack of judgement and safety are we able to get through fear. And trust me, you can get through your fears. I’ve seen it so many times.

Ask yourself:

  • If the worst were to happen, what would that be?
  • Could that really happen?
  • If the worst did happen, how would you recover?
  • If the worst were to happen, what would you need to do next?

By seeing fear as not the end destination but part of being human, you can see through its wily evil ways and move forward.

5. Know Whose Hand You Hold, Either Physically or Emotionally

This helps with fears for the rest of your life.

Think of someone you can always rely on (and ideally you won’t just answer yourself because that adds a lot of pressure to your existence!) And you will find that you’ve already found a way to get through fear.

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The beauty of this is that it means that fear becomes part of life not something to be feared and shied away from.

It means you know you can turn to your friend, partner, colleague, parent, sibling and say “Right, I need to deal with this, and I’m going to need you to help me.”

For one moment, think about it from the other person’s view point. When we get to help other people, we feel valued, loved, respected and lots of other positive emotions and we get a good dose of positive chemicals setting off in our bodies too.

Your fear, and your determination to fight it, helped someone else too. Now that’s cool right?

6. Understand That There Are Some Things Fear Will Never Touch

I like to find role models in life — people who have faced heroism, history changing moments, war, atrocities, miracles, life saving inventions.

Not everyone was looking for greatness, however, they all found it. And one of my favourite books to date is written about Alistair Urquhart, the forgotten highlander. If this doesn’t get turned into a film in the future, then no man’s story is likely to.

Alistair went through the most horrific experiences in World War II. If you think of one of the awful things that happened back then in our world, Alistair went through at least 3 of them! Asked afterwards, how did you cope? He talked about how whatever they did to his body, no matter how they starved, tortured, threatened or mocked him, they couldn’t have his mind. In his mind, he was free.

Of all the people’s voices I’ve heard in my head over the years, this is one of those statements that reminds me anything is possible if you have faith and hope.

Look for the things in life that fear can’t touch. They will create confidence and faith for the future, whatever you face. And they will give you a sense of why being you is awesome.

Of all the billions of people on this planet, no one will have an answer identical to yours!

7. Process Your Fears to Carry on with Life

Being brave is not about sticking your chest out and smiling regardless of what you endure. It is about finding a way to emotionally process your fears to be able to keep going.

I have a tool kit of things I can rely on – tools, strategies, techniques. They include people to hug or talk to, music, hobbies, walks on the beach and even my favourite food. It sounds mad but at the times where I have questioned “how will I get through this?” I’ve found immense joy in doing the most unlikely of thing that makes me smile.

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It may be a short lived moment of happiness. However, it reminded me that nothing stays the same and I can find a way.

One client told me that it was crazy when it felt like their world was falling around their ears to run a bath to the brim (you don’t waste water) get the best bath oils, light too many candles, lock the door and drink a glass of bubbly (champagne is only for special occasions.)

Did that moment fix the disaster that my client’s life felt? No. However, it gave them a moment of calm, and the brain is far quicker to find solutions, resolve and motivation to keep going when you do that.

It may feel like madness to do something you love, however, it can be a powerful way to help you find solutions to the fears you face in life.

8. Assume the Worst

If you read the statement from the client above. Notice how they assumed it was wrong to fill the bath up to the top? How bubbly is only for special occasions?

Think how naughty they felt to be doing something that was not allowed? Think about what age it may have made them feel?Think about how they feel about champagne? What special moments it’s been a part of in their lives?

And you can see how the assumptions they made about their “right” to have these things was not healthy.

When I drag the assumptions out of people’s words for them to see, they are often struck by how negative the words make them feel.

Don’t assume your words aren’t impacting on you. You can go through fear and actually enjoy the ride when you take the time to understand how you are letting words get to you.

9. Take a Fear That Feels Insurmountable Right Now

If you were to repeat it to me out loud, what would you say?

Would you have blame on yourself in there? Would you assume others can do it and it’s just you? Would you feel small, unsuccessful, useless, unworthy?

Usually, when you do this exercise, you are able to spot the untruths that run wild in your head, convincing you that you are doomed. And rarely when we are faced with our assumptions is there is a lot of evidence to them.

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10. You Are Not Defined by Your Fear

One fear does not define your life – be mindful of that. It is likely to lead you to thinking of all the times you’ve succeeded and bring a moment of calm, confidence and faith back to you.

11. Go with Fear

When you learn to go with fear, you could find yourself actually having fun, no seriously – having fun.

I have a few amazing clients I’m working with right now who would describe themselves as life long worriers, or pessimists. In the past, that has served them well, enabling them to keep safe, steer clear of risks and even develop strategies in the event of disasters. However, now they find it’s becoming hard to break the cycle and they really want to because it’s holding them back.

Notice how they’ve found their hidden fears and want to face them?

One client said “I knew this was going to be tough, and I knew I couldn’t fight it alone and I knew you would be the one to help me.” Before, I sat an incredibly successful, confident, capable business owner with a family and a social life to die for.

However, I’ve learned that the most successful looking lives can hide things that impact on life, success, love, happiness and business.

We didn’t start with the fear that they felt was holding them back, we broke the fear down, and found lots of little obstacles that had been deemed as “life” and “unchangeable” and “that’s just the way it is” by developing awareness to the little steps on the road to their obstacles to happiness and success they were able to tackle them in a different way.

12. Discover Great Skills in Your Scary Moments

And in that client’s words, “I came here to work with you to grow my company, and my own personal skills. I didn’t expect to get the children to be cleaning up after themselves and my partner being more attentive! It all feels a little magic.”

The moral is that out of the scariest of moments, we can find great skills we didn’t know we had. Find better, healthier, happier ways to live and find ways to enjoy life more. (And have a bit of magic!)

What a great place to be in ready for the next fear that thinks it’s going to get in the way of you, right?

13. Own Your Fear

Think back over these tips and come up with at least one example for each one. Write them down. Put them on your phone. Turn them into a piece of art. Turn them into a poem. Frame them. Go for a fast walk across the fields, beach, down town and repeat these things in your head to the sound of your feet on the ground.

We rarely take the time to appreciate how far we have come, how much we can achieve or what we are capable of – by really owning the tips in this article, you will have given your brain a big fat dose of “Damn right! I can do this!” and the motivation and accountability to say “Let’s find a way” through any fear.

You can’t help but feel good when you see that, can you? And fear doesn’t stand a chance, does it?

More Resources About Fighting Fear

Featured photo credit: Ben White via unsplash.com

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