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Top 10 Family Friendly and Inspiring Movies Based on True Stories

May 16, 2019

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Did you know that TV can make your family closer?

That’s right; studies show that families that watch movies together have a stronger bond than those that watch separately.

But movie entertainment is best complimented by inspiration and a little bit of education. That’s why “based on true story” movies are so popular. They tell stories about real past events, often, in the form of inspirational success stories.

But history can be dark at times, and some of the movies based on true stories may not be appropriate for the whole family.

So, which family-friendly movies are based on true events?

Here are our top ten:

1. Pursuit of Happyness

This has to be one of the most emotional true story movies of all time. Chris Gardner, a recently divorced single father, must take care of his kid despite his unemployment status.

Kicked out of their home and with nowhere to go, the two seek refuge in a shelter. But the shelter doesn’t have the best living conditions, and they must line up for food and fight for a place to sleep.

Despite these challenges, Chris doesn’t give in to despair. He’s determined to overcome adversity and give his son a better life.

2. October Sky

October Sky is a 1999 film based on a memoir know as Rocket Boys. Jake Gyllenhaal stars as Homer Hickman, a teenager from West Virginia. In a 1950s setting, the launch of the Sputnik satellite inspires Hickman to start building his own rocket.

His father disapproves of Homer’s newfound hobby because he wanted his son to follow in his footsteps and become a coal miner. But this doesn’t stop the young lad’s interest in rocket science. Rather, it marks his first step towards becoming a distinguished NASA engineer.

3. Patch Adams

In this film, Robin Williams stars as a hunter known as Peter Adams. Sadly, Adams struggles with manic depression. After fighting the condition for a while, he decides to open his own clinic.

To broaden his knowledge of medicine, he seeks admission to Virginia Medical University. However, he quickly discovers that he disagrees with the patient care methods.

Funded by a wealthy friend, he opens a medical clinic for people who lack medical insurance. But he suffers a tragic accident, and his quest becomes even more challenging.

4. Schindler’s List

The year is 1939, and World War II is in full effect. But a German politician is determined to keep his factory running and profit from the war. The factory produces enamelware and some metalwork. Click here to learn more about metal fabrication.

The problem is, he doesn’t have enough workers.

His move? Start hiring Jews who Hitler’s rule is busy exterminating!

He manages to employ about 300 Jews and offers them proper labor arrangements. But with time, he realizes that he’s giving these people a new life and a safe haven. As such, he must do everything in his power to keep them safe and maintain operations in his factory.

His factory eventually saves a large number of Jews from World War II Holocaust.

5. The Sound of Music

The Sound of Music is a 1965 musical classic that dramatizes a memoir known as “The Story of the Trapp Family Singers”.

It somewhat plays loose with the facts, but still remains a soul-stirring classic. For instance, Von Trapp’s stuffiness is a tad exaggerated in the film. Also, the kids don’t actually remember Maria (their tutor) as the warm and wonderful character portrayed in the film.

The film, however, captures the most important aspects of the heartwarming story, and this makes it a must-watch for musical lovers.

6. Dolphin Tale

You may have watched all kinds of sweet stories about animals, but none beats the Dolphin Tale. It’s one of the best true story movies about a badly injured dolphin rescued off the East Coast of Florida in 2005.

In the film, Winter – a bottlenose dolphin – loses her tail after getting caught in a trap. She’s rescued and taken to the Clear Marine Hospital, where she needs a miracle to regain her tail.

Lucky for her, the miracle comes in the form of a prosthetics designer, a dedicated boy, and a marine biologist. Morgan Freeman, Nathan Gamble, and Harry Connick Jr. star in these roles respectively.

7. A Beautiful Mind

Remember the Nash equilibrium concept you came across in Graduate Level Math?

Well, now you can learn a thing or two about its inventor, John Forbes Nash Jr., through this true story film. It paints a picture of Nash’s real life as well as features elements of Sylvia Nasar’s biography – “A Beautiful Mind”.

In the film, John experiences both extremes of success and failure in life. Early in his career, the brilliant Math genius makes an incredible discovery that gets him to the brink of international plaudits. But all of a sudden, the notorious mathematician sets on a scary, painful self-discovery journey.

8. Blind Side

Blind Side is a must-watch for Christians looking for inspiration. It follows Michael Oher’s real life.

Oher is an NFL player who has featured for top teams such as the Carolina Panthers and the Tennessee Titans.

Released in November 2009, Blind Side explores his journey from homelessness to riches. It captures the athlete’s life-defining moments, including an instance where a kind woman adopts him into her family.

9. Invictus

Invictus is one of the best movies based on true stories about sports. It scripts the life of Nelson Mandela after the abolition of the apartheid rule, where he was tasked with reuniting South Africa.

A strong believer in the power of sports, Mandela collaborates with a football team captain named Francois Pienaar to unite South Africans.

10. Lincoln

This film explores the life of America’s most famous president as he takes a stand against slavery. He makes good use of his political skills to push the government and its citizens to value human rights and abolish slavery.

Parental Guidance is Key for Movies Based on True Stories

There’s no doubt that our list of top ten movies based on true stories will provide you with something to enjoy on a family movie night. But while our list includes family-friendly movies, some scenes might stir some deep emotions in a younger audience.

As such, you need to be hands-on when it comes to providing guidance to children. This will help them interpret these movies in the right way and enhance their ability to process different emotions.

For more interesting things to watch, check out our movie collection.