Any movie buff should understand the different ways in which “true stories” are integrated into Hollywood movies. Sometimes, movies that claim to be “Based On A True Story” are fairly accurate to their source. Other times, they diverge so much from their inspiration that it’s not even close.
Not Actually Based On Anything
Sometimes, the phrase “Based On A True Story” means absolutely nothing. The most obvious example of this was in “Fargo.” The classic Coen Brothers film began with the infamous “Based On A True Story” phrase. However, it wasn’t. The idea was completely fictional and the brothers threw it on the front of their movie as a bit of a joke.
Unfortunately, this led to treasure hunters searching Minnesota for the money that is missing at the end of the movie. Many of them ended up dying due to exposure. Though these people might be honorary winners of the “Darwin Awards,” it just shows how powerful this phrase is in movies.
Somewhat Based On A Few True Stories
Many movies are based on multiple stories and have been condensed into one. For example, the horror movie “Wolf Creek” is said to be based on a true story. However, it appears that several of its plot points came from a few different murder cases. Movies like this often say they were “Inspired By True Events” to indicate that they aren’t precisely true.
Another example of this tactic is in the horror movie “The Strangers,” in which a family’s house is broken into by strangers as they slowly taunt and kill them. The director has admitted that the “inspiring true events” were the Manson Murders and unrelated murders in a cabin, neither of which were anything like the movie.
A Few Details Are Changed
So far, we’ve looked only at movies that had a very vague strain of truth to them. However, there are some movies that are closer to reality. Much of “The Revenant” is based on reality: in fact, what the man went through in real life is actually tougher than what happened on screen. There was also no “villain” who betrayed him, killed his son, and left him behind. These were all dramatic additions.