Is it just me, or are there more “true story” films now?

I’ve been trying to work out if there are more “based on a true story” movies now than when I was younger, or if I am just noticing them more. I enjoy stories about people overcoming insurmountable odds and even better if they are real.

Book to film is also quite popular at the moment, but again that may just be me noticing them more. Does this mean I have grown up? When I watch more “real life” adaptations than animations?

I mean, its currently mid February, and the BAFTAs have been, and the Oscars are approaching. And in the two months of this year, I have seen Hackshaw Ridge, Jackie, Loving, and Hidden Figures. All four of which I will recommend wholeheartedly. In terms of Loving and Hidden Figures, they were eye-opening (for me) portrayals of living in segregated America and I think they are incredibly important films for widening history to be more inclusive than just the pale, male and stale versions we are given in schools.

Now, I am a scientist at heart, and so I decided to investigate whether there has been an increased in “films based on actual events” since 2000, which is pretty much when my memory starts. Now, I’ll admit, I haven’t been all that scientific about it. I used Wikipedia (which will ring any academics alarm bells) as there is a page for “films based on actual events” and who am I to turn that down?

So, if I just literally count what is listed: in 2000 there were 16 films based on actual events. In 2016 that number is 26 (but that includes the Conjuring 2 and was that really based on actual events???) so there is definitely a huge jump over the 16 year gap. I suppose it could be argued that more movies are made per annum now, and this figure could just be in line with inflation.

So I checked the animations as well. Wikipedia included all the anime films as well, so if I take all of them the figure for 2000 is 71. If I take just British and American films, the figure is 29. Jump now to 2016 and we’ve got 104 and 24 for British/American.

So, that’s 16:29 (2000) and 26:24 (2016). Maybe there has been a shift away from animations… but probably just because Disney are fresh out of ideas.

Of course, there may be more films based on historical events and people because sufficient time has passed to make them relevant to a whole generation who has never faced war or segregation before. I think it is particularly poignant having films about oppression and overcoming all and any obstacles put in your way in this present Western political climate.

Maybe it’s just because I am an adult and I enjoy these Real Life’s more now, I can appreciate them in ways kiddie me couldn’t. But it definitely feels like there are more films based on true stories, or based on books, than there have been in recent years.

Any opinions on this?


  1. Well, I don’t believe Disney is out of ideas as their animation slate is still going pretty well with films planned into the 2020s. And so many other animation companies are bringing out more animated films nowadays, so animation is not going away.

    And I think we maybe just notice that there are more films based on true stories now than earlier. I know I love movies based on true stories and maybe it’s because now we believe that reality has more interesting stories than fiction? I dunno.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Animation will never go away, it isn’t allowed too! I love animations – I just walked out of the cinema the other day and I realised that the only films I had noticed were all true story ones!

    I think you’re right in that true stories can be more interesting – and right now I think they are successful because they are painfully relevant – especially in the stories of fighting against the system to do what is right. So maybe that’s just why we are noticing them more, they are relevant?

    Or maybe (cynical Bea is coming out to play) there are a lot at the moment because those sorts of films do better at the various awards that are currently underway. Antithesis for that is the success of La La Land… who knows! Maybe it’s like how you only notice how many babies there are around when a friend tells you they’re pregnant. The number hasn’t changed, we are just more aware of it!


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