Tragic Heroes In Movies Based On True Stories

Tuesday, April 12 by Travis Petersen

Many Hollywood films are inspired by events that really happened, but the following tragic heroes in movies based on true stories are real people whose lives, for some reason, are larger than most. These tragic heroes in movies based on true stories lived their lives in such a way that people generations beyond their existence are still interested in their stories. Here are some tragic heroes in movies based on true stories that we are still interested in today.

  1. Serpico in "Serpico." Al Pacino portrayed the title character in this cop film, about an honest man in a business of crooks. Serpico was the kind of guy who wanted to become a police officer to help people, and all he saw around him were cops who used their position of power to break the rules. Like other tragic heroes in movies based on true stories, he stood up to the establishment and fought against this corruption, even as his brothers in blue ostracized him, and became a martyr as a result.
  2. Doc Holliday in "Tombstone." Doc Holliday's story, unlike many other tragic heroes in movies based on true stories, has been told enough to become myth. A wild west dentist struck with tuberculosis, Doc no longer cared whether he lived or died, which made him one of the most fearless gamblers and gunfighters on the frontier. His friendship with Wyatt Earp, as portrayed in "Tombstone" and many other films, is what made him a wild west hero, confronting villains with the fearless air of a man who had nothing to lose. Val Kilmer captures this perfectly in the film.
  3. Joan of Arc in "The Passion of Joan of Arc." The saint who saw visions of the Lord, but was doubted by all those around her, was most beautifully depicted in this early silent classic. Joan of Arc is truly a tragic heroine, and takes her place among tragic heroes in movies based on true stories by suffering without fail in this, and other films.
  4. Brandon Teena in "Boys Don't Cry." Hilary Swank played the titular woman, who preferred to identify as a man, in the award-winning film. Born Teena Brandon, he meets a terrifying end at the hands of bigots, simply for his sexual and gender identity, making Brandon Teena an example of tragic heroes in movies based on true stories for the modern age.
  5. The passengers of flight United 93 in "United 93." America's last great heroes were the passengers aboard United 93, one of the planes captured by Al Qaeda terrorists on 9/11. The passengers foiled their captors' plot and took the plane to the ground rather than allow them to carry out their terrorist agenda, making them true examples of tragic heroes in movies based on true stories, depicted in Paul Greengrass' film.