10 Shocking Movies Based on Real Crimes

Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, along with their gang, plagued rural gas stations and small shops with a string of robberies.

    Movies are a great source of entertainment. When you’re watching something which is based on a true story, it can become even more interesting.

    Whether you love watching real life documentaries, or you want to try a different genre or movie, those based on real crimes definitely have a huge appeal for many people.

    Even if you don’t want to watch any, you’ll be amazed what you can learn.

    You might even see movies on this list that you had no idea were based on real life crimes!

    City of God (2002)

    City of God (2002)

    This movie is based on some of the life events of photographer Wilson Rodriguez.

    The movie is set in Rio de Janeiro and follows the growth of organized crime in one of the local suburbs.

    Spanning a time frame from the 1960’s to the 1980’s.

    It follows a gang of criminals who rob, kill, and deal drugs.

    Memories of Murder (2003)

    Memories of Murder (2003)

    Set in South Korea during the late 1980’s, this real crime movie tells the story of Detective Park and Detective Seo as they attempt to solve serious crimes involving rape and murder.

    The two characters are appealing to many audiences through the comedy aspects of this movie, making it a unique and intriguing thriller to watch.

    Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

    Dog Day Afternoon (1975)

    After a bank in Brooklyn was robbed in 1972, a LIFE magazine article was written which later provided the inspiration for this particular movie.

    The movie was released in 1975, not long after the robbery itself took place.

    After a bank robbery goes wrong and Sonny, Sal and Stevie only find a little over $1,000 in the safe, a terrifying afternoon of kidnap and demands ensues.

    Starring the legendary Al Pacino, this is a must-see for any true crime fans.

    The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

    The Wolf of Wall Street (2013)

    Starring Leonardo DiCaprio, this movie was a real hit in the cinemas when it was released back in 2013.

    It is based on the story of Jordan Belfort, who spent 22 months in prison after pleading guilty to fraud and other crimes related to the stock market.

    In 2007, he decided to publish his memoir, The Wolf of Wall Street, which was later made into the popular movie it is today.

    After getting involved in the stock market, Jordan Belfort soon learns of the typical culture of greed which so often prevails in this industry.

    Aggressive with his sales tactics and with the idea that his main goal is to make himself money, Belfort soon made huge amounts of money from criminal and fraudulent activity.

    Public Enemies (2009)

    Public Enemies (2009)

    In 2004, Bryan Burrough wrote a book titled “Public Enemies: America’s Greatest Crime Wave and the Birth of the FBI, 1933-34“.

    John Dillinger was one of the criminals featured in the book, which focused on the Great Depression era in America.

    Public Enemies is loosely based on the events covered in Burrough’s book.

    A tragic tale of love, crime and friendship, the movie is a favorite with many lovers of real crime movies.

    The romance between John Dillinger and Billie Frechette, the friendships both in and out of prison, and the relentless FBI chase makes this movie an interesting watch for everyone.

    Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

    Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

    Another true crime movie based on events which took place during the years of the Great Depression in America, Bonnie Parker and Clyde Barrow, along with their gang, plagued rural gas stations and small shops with a string of robberies.

    Not only did they steal, but they were also responsible for murdering a total of nine policemen and multiple civilians.

    Bonnie joins Clyde since she is bored of working as a waitress.

    The 1967 movie tells the story of this young couple and a gang who commit regular robberies which become increasingly more violent and serious.

    The Iceman (2012)

    The Iceman (2012)

    The tale of Richard Kuklinski is a highly intriguing one for anybody who enjoys reading about true crimes.

    His nickname “The Iceman” was given to him as a result of his method of concealing crimes – freezing the bodies of victims to make it difficult to know the time of death.

    Apart from murdering anybody who might say anything against him regarding his crimes, Kuklinski was heavily involved in drugs, arms and pornography.

    With huge secrets hidden away from his family, the movie is based on a true story with law enforcement officers trying to bring Kuklinski to justice.

    Savage Grace (2007)

    Savage Grace (2007)

    A slightly different true crime movie, this story follows Barbara Daly Baekeland, a controversial character married to the heir of a wealthy estate.

    Their son Antony, born in 1946, was diagnosed with schizophrenia.

    He became the source of many problems for Barbara, played by Julianne Moore in the movie.

    A compelling tale of a son and mother who face one problem after the next, the movie consists of multiple crimes and tragedies which will have you on the edge of your seat.

    In Cold Blood (1967)

    In Cold Blood (1967)

    With a title that makes it clear you’re about to watch a thriller, this movie is based on the 1966 novel of the same name by Truman Capote.

    The movie tells the story of four murders which took place in Kansas during 1959.

    Richard Hickock and Perry Smith attempt a robbery but can’t find anything of value.

    Not wanting to leave any witnesses at the scene of the robbery, they commit four murders and go on the run from the police.

    Snowtown (2011)

    Snowtown (2011)

    Australia’s longest and one of the most notorious trials in their history, the Snowtown murders case provides the inspiration for this movie.

    John Bunting and Robert Wagner, the main criminals of the story, committed 12 murders in total.

    A tale involving homophobia, drugs and violent behavior, this 2011 Australian real crime movie is a must-watch for anybody who enjoys biographical thrillers.


    Now you have enough real crime movies to keep you entertained for a few weeks – which one will you choose to watch first?

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About The Author

Lizzie Robinson
Lizzie Robinson

Lizzie Robinson has been a freelance writer since 2011. She studied English Literature at university and enjoys sailing & playing the piano in her free time. Lizzie enjoys writing about current issues & business.

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