10 Best Crime Movies Based On True Stories

Thursday, February 24 by Joi Gilliam

Some of the 10 best crime movies based on true stories are Academy Award-winning films. These films also have the added benefit of having marquee actors such as Denzel Washington, Al Pacino and Johnny Depp. Although they might be a little long, these true crime stories will keep you in suspense for hours.

  1. “American Gangster” Denzel Washington stars as Frank Lucas, a New York-based drug kingpin with a flourishing heroin business. This crime movie received two Academy Award nominations, including Best Supporting Actress.

  2. “Public Enemies” Christian Bale and Johnny Depp team up in this real-life crime drama. Public Enemy number one John Dillinger (johnny Depp) terrorizes the Midwest, robbing police stations and banks during the Depression era. 

  3. “Dog Day Afternoon” One hot August afternoon in 1972, three men attempted to rob a Brooklyn bank. Unfortunately, their plan went horribly wrong. Al Pacino plays the fictional version of the ringleader in this crime movie.

  4. “Bonnie and Clyde” Infamous outlaws Bonnie and Clyde have been fictionalized in music, theater and film. Although there are three film versions based on the true stories of these legendary criminals, the 1967 version starring Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway is the best of these crime movies, winning Academy Awards for Best Supporting Actress and Best Cinematography.

  5. “Donnie Brasco” Some crime movies are best told from the other side of the law. Johnny Depp plays FBI legend Joseph Pistone, who infiltrates the mob under the alias Donnie Brasco.

  6. “Goodfellas” Based on the non-fiction crime novel "Wiseguy,"  this crime movie is based on the true story of Henry Hill. Ray Liotta plays the gangster-turned-informant in this Academy Award-winning crime drama.

  7. “Casino” This true crime story isn't just another film based on mob activities. Instead, Robert De Niro plays the fictionalize version of Frank Rosenthal, a professional sports bettor turned casino executive and mob associate.

  8. “Summer of Sam” Based on the true story of the Son of Sam, this crime drama about a serial killer terrorizing New York City has an added level of creepiness. John Leguizamo plays Vinny, a neighborhood vigilante trying to find the Son of Sam killer before he strikes.

  9. Blow” Despite starting out as a petty marijuana dealer, George Jung managed to become a big time cocaine dealer with affiliations with Colombian drug dealer, Pablo Escobar. Johhny Depp plays the fictionalized version in this crime movie.

  10. “Catch Me If You Can” Con artist extraordinaire Frank Abagnale Jr. manged to impersonate an airline pilot, doctor and a lawyer before law enforcement finally caught up with him. Leonardo DiCaprio plays the elusive con artist in this 2002 film based on his true story.

COMMENTS

  1. February 24, 2011 8:29 am

    Pariseyes

    Johnny Depp in 3 of the 10. Great actor!


  2. February 24, 2011 8:29 am

    Anonymous

    Hmmmm….let’s see what’s missing — HENRY: PORTRAIT OF A SERIAL KILLER, THE MANSON FAMILY, THE BOSTON STRANGLER, THE HONEYMOON KILLERS, IN COLD BLOOD, THE FRENCH CONNECTION, HEAVENLY CREATURES, COMPULSION, THE BIRDMAN OF ALCATRAZ, DERANGED, CAT’S MEOW, WOLF CREEK, BOYS DON’T CRY, etc., etc., etc.