6 Oscar Winning Movies That Were Based on True Events

These 6 Oscar winning movies chronicling pieces of history will amaze you.

12 Years a Slave, argo


  • Several movies based on true stories including 'The Great Ziegfeld' by Robert Z. Leonard went on to claim an Oscar.
  • David Lean’s 'Lawrence of Arabia' makes another great example of the same with astonishing accolades to its name.
  • In this article, we have prepared a list of 6 great Oscar-winning movies that are based on real events.
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Celebration of cinema has always been extended by the Oscars honoring the prowess of cinematic excellence with one of the most recognized accolades. Throughout the rich history of cinema, there have been several movies based on true events, that left a mark among moviegoers or in the pages of history.

A still from Lawrence of Arabia
A still from Lawrence of Arabia

Also, movies that are based on true events are another way of documenting the particular incident, albeit a portion of fictionalization may alter the accuracy, but for cinema’s sake, filmmakers enjoy the basic freedom to have their own touch to the narrative. Throughout history, movies like The Great Ziegfeld by Robert Z. Leonard, or it would be criminal not to mention David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia, and several other movies have claimed the Best Picture Oscars. Here is a list of six movies that won an Oscar in the Best Picture category.

6. Green Book

Peter Farrelly’s Green Book
A still from Peter Farrelly’s Green Book

Peter Farrelly’s Green Book is a celebration of friendship. The movie is set against the backdrop of the racially divided 1960s and chronicles the true story of Dr. Don Shirley played by Oscar winner Mahershala Ali. Shirley, a talented black pianist, defied the socio-cultural discrepancies as he slowly developed a friendship with Viggo Mortensen’s Tony Lip— Shirley’s Italian-American driver. Green Book should be one of the important movies as the socio-cultural essence of the movie still reflects the gravity of the thematic nuances. 


Green Book also stars Linda Cardellini, Sebastian Maniscalco, Dimiter D. Marinov, and co. 

You can buy Green Book on Apple TV.

5. The King’s Speech 

tom hooper the king's speech
Tom Hooper’s The King’s Speech

Tom Hooper-directed The King’s Speech is among the inspiring films that propels the primary character to overcome the roadblocks. King George VI battles a speech impediment in the movie released in 2010. Played brilliantly by Colin Firth, King George VI’s journey with speech therapist, Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush) to rise above the odds inherits the classic traits of true stories movie with a strong narrative. Thematically elevated, The King’s Speech resonates with reality, and of course, leadership. Amid the challenges of World War II, the movie puts King George VI in the spot of a hero who must have a voice while dealing with his very internal conflict to do the same. 


The King’s Speech also stars Helena Bonham Carter, Guy Pearce, Timothy Spall, Derek Jacobi, Jennifer Ehle, and Michael Gambon.

Stream The King’s Speech on Max.

4. Spotlight

A scene from 2015 movie Spotlight
A still from Spotlight

Tom McCarthy’s 2015 crime thriller, Spotlight, has to be one of the most brilliant documentation of true events. The movie is a gripping tale of The Boston Globe’s investigative journalism team featuring an ensemble cast of industry prominent names including Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, and Rachel McAdams.


Spotlight will keep you on the edge of your seat if you have not watched the movie already. The team of journalists walked on the dark road of uncovering systemic child abuse within the Catholic Church. The critically acclaimed movie was definitely brave and bold touching upon the true incident while reflecting the prowess of journalistic ethics and integrity.

Stream Spotlight on Starz.

3. Argo

Bryan Cranston and Ben Affleck in a room
Bryan Cranston and Ben Affleck in Argo

Ben Affleck as a director claimed several accolades, as he made acclaimed movies including his most recent biographical movie, Air. His 2010 political thriller, Argo, claimed the Best Picture Oscar and received astonishing critical accolades. Arguably, Argo, although it’s hard to believe the narrative to be based on true events, is one of the most thrilling political thrillers.


Affleck who also led the movie, follows an ambitious CIA plan depicted from the events of 1979 and 1981 to rescue hostages in a subtle way as the US citizens were trapped in the Iranian soil. Affleck’s Tony Mendez went to the foreign nation under the cover of a Hollywood producer scouting a location for a science fiction film to rescue the hostages.

You can buy Argo on Apple TV.

2. 12 Years a Slave

Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Lupita Nyong'o
Michael Fassbender, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Lupita Nyong’o in 12 Years a Slave

Steve McQueen’s 12 Years a Slave is one of the daunting portrayals of a dark chapter of history. The narrative follows Solomon Northup’s harrowing journey from freedom to slavery and getting back to the same pitfall. The movie may be disturbing for certain viewers as it is raw and will touch the core of emotions.


Chiwetel Ejiofor’s performance as Solomon captured the true essence of the character, reflecting on the suffering of a man deprived of his liberty. The critically acclaimed movie based on Solomon Northup’s book of the same name stars several prominent stars including Michael Fassbender. 

Stream 12 Years a Slave on Paramount+ and Apple TV bundle.

1. Schindler’s List

Liam Neeson as Oskar Schindler
Liam Neeson in Schindler’s List 

Steven Spielberg’s 2001 masterpiece, Schindler’s List, is undoubtedly one of the greatest movies based on historical events. Set in the backdrop of World War II, Schindler’s List is also claimed to be one of the most prominent war movies ever made. Oskar Schindler played by Liam Neeson— a successful industrialist— is on a mission to save Jewish people amid the holocaust in German-occupied Poland during World War II.


Ralph Fiennes’ villainous role in the movie which served as an antithesis to Schindler’s humane effort was riveting. But beyond that, the movie was stylistic, almost entirely shot in black and white with harrowing aesthetic visuals perfectly complementing Spielberg’s narrative. 

Watch Schindler’s List on Prime Video.


Written by Lachit Roy

Articles Published: 1002

Lachit Roy is a seasoned writer specializing in science and entertainment news. Armed with a postgraduate degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Tezpur University, he brings a wealth of knowledge and skill to his craft.

Lachit is particularly passionate about crafting engaging content on entertainment news and trends. A dedicated movie enthusiast, he possesses an in-depth understanding of the cinematic world and takes joy in disseminating the latest updates to the global fandom. When not immersed in writing, Lachit can be found indulging in his love for movies and series, occasionally tending to his garden, but predominantly expanding his expertise in the realms of his interests.