Recent Films Based or Inspired by True Events

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Based on the experience of 13-year-old Bethany Hamilton as outlined in her biography "Soul Surfer: A True Story of Faith, Family, and Fighting to Get Back on the Board". The young girl lost her arm to a Shark attack in 2003 and returned to pro surfing just three weeks later. Also starring in the inspirational film is country singer Carrie Underwood who plays Hamilton’s church youth group leader .
Photo Credit: TriStar Pictures
July 19th, 2012

Recent Films Based or Inspired by True Events

-- Films are not always fictional. While many people assume that only documentaries tell the stories of real people, many recent fiction films have actually been based on true events. While many of these films are typically never 100% accurate, some of these try to stay as accurate as possible. Other films that are based on true stories or events may add to the plot to enliven the story. Below are five recent films based or inspired by true stories.

"The Pregnancy Pact"
Released in 2010, "The Pregnancy Pact" was aired on the Lifetime network. The plot of the film was based on a news story out of Gloucester, Massachusetts, about a group of teenaged girls who had a pact to get pregnant at the same time. While the film was based on true events, it was still considered a fictional movie. This film was inspired by the news story that appeared on national news. However, many of the events in the film were created for the sake of the story.
The film focuses on an online journalist named Sidney Bloom who once lived in Gloucester. In the film, she goes back to her hometown after hearing about an alarming increase in teen pregnancy at her old high school. During her stay, the journalist interviews various girls at the high school and begins to uncover the truth about the pregnancy pact.

"The Pregnancy Pact" starred Thora Birch and Camryn Manheim. The film was a success and was considered one of the highest rated Lifetime films of all time.

"Soul Surfer"
"Soul Surfer" was released in 2011 and told the story of real-life surfer Bethany Hamilton. The film focused on the shark attack that caused Hamilton to lose her arm, as well as her struggle after the attack. "Soul Surfer" was directed by Sean McNamara and based on the autobiography written by Hamilton.
The film was initially supposed to have a small release to a limited number of theaters. However, after studio executives reviewed the film, it was pushed to over 2,000 theaters nationwide. Upon its release, the film became the most successful live action surfer movie in history and grossed over $43 million. While critics gave "Soul Surfer" mixed reviews, many still found the story inspirational.
The film starred AnnaSophia Robb, Dennis Quaid and Helen Hunt.

"The Fighter"
"The Fighter" was a critically acclaimed film released in 2010. The film was based on the life of professional boxer Mickey Ward. In the film, Ward attempts to establish himself as a true contender in the boxing world. He is trained by his brother Dicky, who was once a respected boxer but has ruined his career with drugs.
Many cast members from the film were praised for their performances. The film was nominated for several awards, including several Academy Awards, Golden Globes and Chicago Film Critics Awards. Actor Christian Bale won an Academy Award and Golden Globe for his portrayal of Dicky Ward.
The film starred Mark Wahlberg, Amy Adams and Christian Bale.

"The King's Speech"
Released in 2010, "The King's Speech" was directed by Tom Hooper. The film focuses on King George VI. In the film, King George VI suffers from a speech impediment and decides to seek the help of a speech therapist named Lionel Logue. The two quickly become friends, and Logue helps the King with his first wartime broadcast in 1939.

The film was released to critical success and earned over $400 million. "The King's Speech" was nominated and received several awards. The film won seven British Academy Film Awards, and Colin Firth won a Golden Globe Award for his performance.

"We Bought a Zoo"
"We Bought a Zoo" was a film released in 2011. The film was based on the true story of Benjamin Mee. The film focuses on Mee and his family as they try to renovate the zoo and get over the death of a loved one. In the movie, Mee is grieving over the loss of his wife. He decides to start over with his children by purchasing a large house that features a zoo in the backyard. While the children are divided on how they feel about the zoo, it ultimately brings the family together.
"We Bought a Zoo" starred Matt Damon, Scarlett Johansson and Colin Ford. The film was directed by Cameron Crowe and was based on a memoir written by Benjamin Mee. While the plot of the movie was substantially different from the plot of the book, the film was still successful with audience members. However, critics gave the film mixed reviews.