Local news producers know that audiences love crime stories, and when filmmakers use narrative style to elevate the facts of an intriguing case, moviegoers can’t help but go see it.
Among the most intriguing true crime films are The Wolf of Wall Street and American Hustle, which deal with financial espionage; Black Mass, which depicts gangster life; and Goodfellas, which depicts the life of a mobster; and American Gangster, which depicts the life of a gangster, which deals with bizarre and gruesome crimes.
1. The Wolf of Wall Street
Compared to other true-crime films, this one is a bit more tame, but no less depraved. It’s based on Jordan Belfort’s autobiography and follows his meteoric rise to becoming a millionaire stockbroker by defrauding his way to it. Even more of the movie’s antics are based on true events, as revealed in the memoir.
Charlize Theron portrays a prostitute named Aileen Wuornos, who kills several men after accusing them of trying to rape her. When Tyria Moore (Christina Ricci), her lover, appears to be implicated in the crimes, she confesses. In 2002, a man named Wuornos was put to death.
3. American Gangster
When it comes to Frank Lucas, the Denzel Washington movie portrays him as the head of a massive Harlem crime syndicate that is funded by his drug empire. However, in real life, Lucas did make a lot of money on heroin imports from Southeast Asia by cutting out the middlemen and storing it in the coffins of American soldiers returning from the Vietnam War. However, Lucas denies ever doing this. The movie portrays Lucas as a key informant on corrupt cops and fellow drug traffickers when he is apprehended; however, the real Lucas has always denied this.
Despite the fact that Henry Hill (played by Ray Liotta in the Scorcese classic) was part of the Lucchese crime family, the film leaves out a few key moments from Hill’s life. As in the film, he was involved in the Air France heist and the murder of Billy Batts cover-up. Although he and his family did sign up for the Witness Protection Program, they were expelled after a short time for crimes they had committed while there. In 2012, he passed away.
5. The Black Dahlia
The film is based on the 1947 homicide of Elizabeth Short, whose naked body was found half-cut in a lot in Los Angeles, and whose murder is still unsolved. There is a great deal of deviation from the facts after that point, with murderous plots involving both the police officers who are looking into the case and the women who are close to them.
6. The Bling Ring
They get their kicks by breaking into the homes of celebrities and pilfering their valuables such as jewelry, clothing, and cash. However, the real names of the criminals were changed for the Sofia Coppola film, but some of the real rich victims appeared—for example, Paris Hilton agreed to allow scenes to be filmed in her home.
Unsolved to this day, David Fincher’s film about the Zodiac Killer examines the homicide squad’s approach to their work. During the late 1960s and early 1970s in northern California, police detectives and reporters work together to decipher the ciphers sent by a serial killer with hints about his crimes. When one journalist (Robert Graysmith, the book’s author) becomes consumed by the case, he loses both his job and his wife (the film’s based on his book).
Dramatizes John du Pont’s relationship with two wrestlers who trained and lived in his facilities at Foxcatcher, starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum, and Mark Ruffalo. He ends up killing one of the brothers with a shot to the head. It is true that du Pont was tried and convicted for this crime, but there are some discrepancies in his relationship with the Schultz brothers.
9. American Hustle
There are some differences in the names and specifics of the characters, but the overall arc of the David O. Russell con film is remarkably similar to what happened during the Abscam con. For real, the FBI busted politicians who were accepting bribes by using a con artist (Mel Weinberg in real life), and for real, they used a man pretending to be an Arab sheikh to catch them accepting his money.
A group of teenage girls plans to exact revenge on a bully and a friend who sexually assaulted two of their friends. They take Bobby to a swamp and kill him with the help of several of the group members. All seven of Bobby Kent’s assassins were caught and tried in the real world, where they each received a different sentence for the crime they committed.
Marjorie Nugent, a much older millionaire widow, befriends Bernie Tiede, a charming and do-gooder funeral director in Carthage, Texas. They have a falling out and she shoots him, then he flies off and hides her body in the back of the freezer. While the story is fictionalized, the town’s continued support for Bernie even after he confessed is accurately depicted. As a result of the film’s success, the real-life Tiede was released from prison after serving 17 years on child abuse charges. His violent outburst was linked to Nugent’s abusive relationship with him as a child. After his release, Tiede will be required by the court to live in the garage apartment of filmmaker Richard Linklater.
12. Alpha Dog
In Nick Cassavetes’ film, the characters’ names have been changed, but the plot remains the same: Drug dealer Johnny Truelove (whose real name is Jesse James Hollywood, which is equally ridiculous) has a lot of power over his debtors. Truelove and his associates kidnap Zack Mazursky, the half-brother of Jake Mazursky (played by Benjamin Markowitz in real life) (really Nicholas). Despite this, he appears to be content with his situation and makes no attempt to flee. But out of desperation, Truelove’s henchmen kidnap Zack and take him into the woods, where they shoot him and bury him in a shallow grave.
13. Blue Caprice
During the Beltway sniper attacks in 2002, Lee Boyd Malvo and John Allen Muhammad, a distant figure to Malvo, went on a shooting spree that killed 10 people and injured scores more. The film explores their relationship. As they sat in the back of a blue Chevrolet Caprice, they aimed their rifles at unsuspecting bystanders. Muhammad was executed in 2009, and Malvo is currently serving several life sentences consecutively.
Michael Gordon Peterson (played by Michael B. Jordan) portrays British criminal Charles Bronson (né Michael Gordon Peterson), who is known for his brutality while incarcerated. He’s been transferred to dozens of prisons because of his bad behavior, and he’s spent a lot of time in solitary confinement as a result.
15. Catch Me If You Can
As Frank Abagnale, played by Leonardo DiCaprio, we learn about a young con man who made millions by forging checks while posing as an airline pilot, doctor, and lawyer. Eventually, he is apprehended by an FBI agent (Tom Hanks). In both the film and real life, Abagnale ends up working for the FBI as a fraud investigator and adviser.
16. In Cold Blood
Truman Capote’s “non-fiction novel” served as inspiration for the film, which tells the story of two outlaws, Richard Hickock and Perry Edward Smith, who murdered the Clutter family in their Kansas home in 1959. In 1965, both men were executed by lethal injection after being found guilty of murder.
17. Black Mass
This film, based on the 2001 book of the same name, stays true to the facts of the Irish-American mobster James “Whitey” Bulger (played by Johnny Depp) as he becomes an FBI informant in the 1970s.. Similarly to what happens in the movie, the leader of the Winter Hill Gang in Boston used the privileges that came with his position to further the criminal enterprise that he had started before going into hiding for 16 years. He is now 86 years old and has been in prison for two life terms in a row.
18. The Iceman
A notorious hitman, Richard Kuklinski (Michael Shannon), was found guilty in the deaths of five men, though he later claimed to have killed over one hundred. For decades, he kept his work as a contract killer hidden from Winona Ryder’s (Winona Ryder) and their two daughters. Kuklinski was abused as a child by both his parents, and the film shows how his increasing carelessness led to his arrest in 1986. In 2006, he was 70 when he passed away from natural causes while incarcerated.