We all watch movies, and which is the “best” is a matter of opinion really. Here are the top 10 movies based on true stories from 2000-2010. Don’t forget to check out other lists throughout Thought for Your Penny.
10. The Social Network (2010) 96% at Rotten Tomatoes
The story of Facebook is dramatized to great effect. Sure, Mark Zuckerberg probably didn’t invent it to impress a girl, but he’s certainly impressed every female of all ages since. Surprisingly both the movie and website have outlasted a lot of things you love.
Director: David Fincher
Starring: Jesse Eisenberg, Andrew Garfield, Justin Timberlake
9. Alpha Dog (2006) 54% at Rotten Tomatoes
When 15-year-old Zach is kidnapped because of his brother’s feud, he’s dragged around to dozens of witnesses before finally being murdered. This true story introduced us to the crazy Ben Foster he decided to be for a very long time after leaving Disney.
Director: Kevin Lima
Starring: Emile Hirsch, Justin Timberlake, Anton Yelchin
8. Catch Me If You Can (2002) 63% at Rotten Tomatoes
Frank Abagnale Jr. is frankly a genius con man who figured out the system before computers. It takes several years before he’s caught, and in the meantime, we’re treated with scenes of glory from his check fraud, fake pilot, and other schemes. I salute you, Mr. Abagnale.
Director: Steven Spielberg
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Tom Hanks, Christopher Walken
7. American Gangster (2007) 80% at Rotten Tomatoes
Frank Lucas is a major drug kingpin in 1970s Manhattan, but a detective is hard on the case. This true crime story is so riveting it inspired former coke pusher Jay-Z to make an entire album out of sound clips that soon became an instant classic in its own right.
Director: Ridley Scott
Starring: Denzel Washington, Russell Crowe, Chiwetel Ejiofor
6. The Bank Job (2008) 79% at Rotten Tomatoes
Most movies somewhat veer from the true stories they’re based on, but The Bank Job really goes out into left field. What’s left, however, is one of the most brilliant bank heists ever put on film, and a lot of the mechanics were true. So kudos to these crooks.
Director: Roger Donaldson
Starring: Jason Statham, Saffron Burrows, Daniel Mays
5. Almost Famous (2000) 88% at Rotten Tomatoes
Almost Famous is based on Crowe’s true story of getting his start writing for Rolling Stone by following a rock band on tour. The soundtrack is memorable, as are performances across the board. It’s still a feel-good trip down memory lane.
Director: Cameron Crowe
Starring: Kate Hudson, Billy Crudup, Jason Lee
4. A Beautiful Mind (2001) 75% at Rotten Tomatoes
The real-life story of mathematician John Forbes Nash Jr is what made Crowe a worldwide star. A meteoric rise, downward schizophrenic fall, and eventual Nobel Prize wins are all covered in this cinematic treasure.
Director: Ron Howard
Starring: Russell Crowe, Ed Harris, Jennifer Connelly
3. 21 (2008) 36% at Rotten Tomatoes
Learning to break Vegas is one thing, and the MIT team featured in this movie can certainly teach you that. The real fun is figuring out who in this movie Spacey molested. Also the card counting is a lot harder to pull off these days, but it’s still possible to beat the house if you’re careful.
Director: Robert Luketic
Starring: Jim Sturgess, Kate Bosworth, Kevin Spacey
2. Blow (2001) 55% at Rotten Tomatoes
George Jung’s rise and fall bringing cocaine into the U.S. with Pablo Escobar’s Medellin Cartel is brilliantly brought to life in Blow. Depp’s performance draws you in, and both the lure and inevitable crash are shown in full detail.
Director: Ted Demme
Starring: Johnny Depp, Penelope Cruz, Franka Potente
1. Stone of Destiny (2008) 93% at Rotten Tomatoes
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This true story of Scottish nationalist Ian Hamilton successfully stealing the Stone of Scone from Westminster Abbey is a heartwarming film. It’s a pacifist Braveheart made more relatable in a more modern time.
Director: Charles Martin Smith
Starring: Charlie Cox, Kate Mara, Stephen McCole