There is nothing better than a nail-biting suspense thriller, but the fact that movies like Captain Phillips and Munich are based on true events only adds to the thrill.
Thriller films are always popular because they keep audiences on the edge of their seats from beginning to end, but these films are made even more exciting when the events depicted on screen actually occurred in real life. There are a few action-driven historical films out there, but most are straight-up dramas with an eye toward the Academy Awards.
For example, Captain Phillips, based on the true story of a cargo ship captain who was kidnapped by Somali pirates, is an exciting and suspenseful film based on true events, but there are numerous other thrilling and suspenseful films based on terrifying facts.
10. Captain Phillips (2013)
Since Tom Hanks is a Hollywood mainstay, he was an obvious choice to play Captain Richard Phillips, a cargo ship captain kidnapped by Somali pirates under the leadership of Abduwali Muse.
Phillips became a prisoner of the hijackers after the incident. With the help of Bourne director Paul Greengrass and Muse actor Barkhad Abdi, Paul Phillips’ chilling story was given a visceral intensity.
9. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers Of Benghazi (2016)
It was Michael Bay’s politically charged action-thriller 13 Hours, which portrayed what happened to the Annex Security Team in Benghazi, Libya when they had to repel a barrage of militant attacks.
Arriving in the midst of the dreadful Transformers franchise, 13 Hours showed that Michael Bay makes better films with less resources.
8. Deepwater Horizon (2016)
Deepwater Horizon is a brilliantly realized dramatization of the titular BP oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, despite its massive budget and limited box office success. Peter Berg, who directed Mark Wahlberg in Lone Survivor, worked with him again on Patriots Day, another suspenseful true-to-life drama.
John Malkovich plays a slimy BP suit who represents everything the company did wrong during this ordeal, with Mark Wahlberg, Kurt Russell, and Gina Rodriguez all playing oil workers.
7. United 93 (2006)
United 93, another film by Paul Greengrass, is a first-person account of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, as seen from the perspective of a passenger plane that was hijacked.
United Flight 93’s passengers thwarted the terrorists’ plots and brought the plane down near Shanksville, Pennsylvania, with the help of emergency crews.
6. Argo (2012)
Argo, Ben Affleck’s latest film as a director, is set during the Iran Hostage Crisis of 1979-1981. As Tony Mendez, a CIA exfiltration specialist who rescued six hostages in Tehran by posing as a movie producer scouting locations for a sci-fi epic, Affleck plays Tony Mendez. The actors Alan Arkin and John Goodman play the production’s Hollywood insiders.
Even though the film used Hollywood schmaltz to embellish the truth, it’s still a great suspense thriller. Mendez successfully transports the hostages to a plane, but it’s not long before the Revolutionary Guards realize what’s going on and race to intercept them.
5. Memories Of Murder (2003)
Memory of Murder, Bong Joon-crime ho’s thriller, is based on a series of murders that occurred in Hwaseong, Gyeonggi Province, between 1986 and 1991.
As the first serial killings in Korean history, these murders are significant, and Bong told the story with plenty of his trademark gloom and whimsey.
4. Monster (2003)
As Aileen Wuornos, a former prostitute who murdered seven of her clients between 1989 and 1990 and was later executed in Florida in 2002, Charlize Theron gave one of the greatest performances in film history.
Many years before Wonder Woman made Patty Jenkins a household name, she gave Wuornos and Monster a human touch.
3. Zero Dark Thirty (2012)
Following up on Kathryn Bigelow and Mark Boal’s eye-opening account of the Iraq War in The Hurt Locker, their follow-up film Zero Dark Thirty told a more specific political story.
Zero Dark Thirty, a film about the decade-long manhunt that ended with the death of Osama bin Laden, was released just over a year after the assassination. A fictional CIA intelligence analyst named Maya is the focus of Jessica Chastain’s film, in which she stars.
2. Serpico (1973)
Frank Serpico was a cop with the New York City Police Department for 11 years. Disgusted by the corruption in his department, Serpico became a whistleblower and eventually started the groundbreaking investigation of the Knapp Commission.
Peter Maas turned Serpico’s story into a book after hearing it from him. Al Pacino played Serpico in Sidney Lumet’s film adaptation, which remains one of the great performances of all time.
1. Munich (2005)
Munich, a dark film from Steven Spielberg, is set in the aftermath of the massacre of the Israeli Olympic team in 1972. The Israeli government launched Operation Wrath of God to exact vengeance on the Palestinian Liberation Organization after learning that the massacre had been carried out by the PLO.
Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, and Ciarán Hinds are among the film’s impressive ensemble cast. Contrary to his usual approach, Spielberg did not shy away from depicting the horrific violence of the Munich massacre and its subsequent retaliation efforts in his latest film.
The Adventures of Captain Phillips
Author, comedian, and filmmaker Ben Sherlock lives in Los Angeles. As a screenwriter, he works on listicles for Screen Rant and game features and reviews for Game Rant. He’s been prepping his first feature film for a while now because it’s expensive to make a movie. Meanwhile, he’s working on a number of short films in pre-production. When he wasn’t at BabbleTop, he was contributing to Taste of Cinema and Comic Book Resources. Any pub in the UK willing to have him perform standup there will have him.