9 Netflix Original Movies Based On True Stories, From Crime Thrillers To Medical Mysteries


As far as Netflix goes, your possibilities are basically endless. Not only do you have to choose between all of the movies released in theaters over the years, but you also have a bunch of Netflix's original movies to add to the mix. And unlike with films that've come out in theaters, Netflix originals don't have box office numbers or a ton of reviews to help you base your choice on, so it can be challenging to know which of the site's own movies to pick. But these Netflix Original Movies based on true stories are all pretty good bets, as films that portray real life events tend to make the movie-watching experience a little more exciting than usual.

When watching films based on true stories, you know that you'll learn a little bit about real life, and oftentimes real history. It's always a great experience to educate yourself about something that you probably didn't know about before by watching both a movie's interpretation of a real-life event and reading online material about the true story. So if you like doing your own little detective work — and isn't that half the appeal of true crime movies? — then you should definitely check out all of these Netflix Original films.

'The Most Hated Woman In America'

Melissa Leo plays Madalyn Murray O'Hair, who founded the American Atheists and ignited a culture war before mysteriously disappearing.

'Roxanne Roxanne'

Chanté Adams plays rapper Roxanne Shanté in the dramatic biopic that also stars Mahershala Ali and Nia Long.

'Come Sunday'

Come Sunday chronicles the story of Bishop Carlton Pearson (Chiwetel Ejiofor), whose career as a Christian preacher evolves after he loses faith in Hell and the Bible's teachings.

'Alex Strangelove'

This one isn't necessarily based on a specific person, but writer and director Craig Johnson told Entertainment Weekly, "I describe Alex as the sexual confusion of my teens and my 20s crammed into one kid’s senior year of high school." Johnson also added that the movie, which documents a high school senior's queer sexual awakening, is "very personal."

'A Futile And Stupid Gesture'

Will Forte plays real-life comedy writer Doug Kenney, the real-life man who created National Lampoon magazine and wrote the movies National Lampoon's Animal House and Caddyshack, before falling off a cliff and dying in 1980 at age 33.

'First They Killed My Father'

Angelina Jolie directed this movie about the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia. It's based on a memoir written by a Cambodian-American woman, Loung Ung, where the haunting title comes from.

'The Polka King'

Jack Black plays a one of a kind character in this comedy, and as imaginative as he seems, he's a real person named Jan Lewan. It's a fun tale that is made even more fun once you know that the true story behind the man known as the "Polka King."


Did you know that Netflix made a movie about Barack Obama while he was in college? That's Barry, and Devon Terrell does a spot-on job portraying the 44th U.S. president.

'Brain On Fire'

This movie, starring Chloë Grace Moretz, follows the real-life story of young journalist Susannah Cahalan, whose mysterious illness causes her to hallucinate and have seizures. It's another story that's hard to believe is real, and it's the perfect medical drama for people who miss House to watch.

You know what they say: the truth is stranger than fiction, and these movies prove that adage correct.