Stories are built from the ground up in la la land. The imagination dreams up a lead character and the obstacles he or she has to face to achieve a life-long dream. But sometimes, real life outdoes the mind and writes a story which is nothing short of riveting and unpredictable. Here are 20 movies based out of real life accounts which translated to films which moved its audience:

1. Lion 

Based on the seemingly impossible true story, the film followed the story of Saroo Brierley who found his way back to his biological mother from Tasmania, Australia to the bylanes of Khandwa, Madhya Pradesh with the help of Google Earth. A six-year-old Saroo gets adopted by an Australian couple after getting lost in Howrah and spending some time on the streets and orphanages.


2. Schindler’s List

One of Spielberg’s best films, even within a filmography of distinguished achievements, is based on the real life story of Oskar Schindler. A businessman during the Nazi regime of Adolf Hitler, he sold off his last possessions to buy the freedom of 600-odd Jew prisoners. The film went on to win the top honours that year.


3. The Way Back

With a star-studded cast including Ed Harris, Colin Farell, Saroise Ronan and Jim Sturgess, the film directed by Peter Weir traces the journey of a bunch of war prisoners who walked close to 4000 miles to win their freedom during World War II. Many suggested the harrowing nature of the movie makes it a difficult watch but the pay-off is immense.


4. October Sky

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, the film based on Sky of Stone by Homer Hickam, told the story of a young boy filled with wonder after seeing the launch of the Soviet satellite Sputnik. This inspires him to find out everything about rockets, hence helping him make his way from the coal mines of West Virginia to becoming a NASA engineer.


5. Eddie The Eagle

Based on the true life of British Ski-jumper Eddie Edwards, the film follows the underdog story template to the tee. However, a moving and sincere central performance by Taron Egerton ensures that even the cliches of this sports drama are heartfelt. The story involves a less-than-talented Eddie making it to the Winter Olympics through sheer perseverance.


6. The World’s Fastest Indian

A small production from New Zealand won the world over with its loud, beating heart. Anthony Hopkins played speed bike racer Burt Munro, who built his Indian scout motorcycle and set the record of being the fastest ever in a bike less than 1000 cc as he raced it at the salt flats in Utah.


7. Into The Wild

Based on the real-life travels of Chris McCandless, this coming-of-age film directed by Sean Penn moved the audiences with its idealistic point of view. The film follows a teenager who denounces worldly pleasures shortly after graduating from college, burns his identification and takes on a fake name to work and hike his way towards Alaska.


8. Wild

Directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and starring Reese Witherspoon, the film is an uncompromising adaptation of Cheryl Strayed’s bestselling book. Adapted by the acclaimed Nick Hornby, the film follows the journey of a woman who decides to undergo the 1100 mile-hike along the Pacific coast trail to ‘find and heal herself’.


9. The Imitation Game

Graham Moore’s Oscar-winning screenplay was based on the life of British mathematician who cracked the Enigma, and helped win the war against the Nazis. With a solid central performance by Benedict Cumberbatch, the film goes on to highlight how the British government made him ‘atone for his crimes of being a homosexual’ rather than celebrate him as a war hero.


10. A Beautiful Mind

Based on the brilliant but tormented life of Princeton mathematician John Nash, the film follows the harrowing journey of a genius who gets spent to the point of insanity and finds his way back. The film directed by Ron Howard with Russell Crowe playing Nash, is thought to be a more sanitised version of the real man whose psychotic episodes were more violent and abusive.


11. Bleed For This

Hailed by many as one of the most inspirational comebacks in sports history, Bleed For This follows the story of Vinny Paz who come back from a spine injury to win the middle-weight boxing championship. Played by an Italian-looking Miles Teller, the film scores big in capturing the essence of the Pazienza household including the spaghetti dinners.


12. 127 Hours

Based on the book of Aaron Ralston’s Between A Rock And A Hard Place, the film directed by Danny Boyle is a vivid and agonising retelling of the story. It follows the story of a hiker whose hand gets trapped in a boulder and the five days he has to spend as a captive before rescuing himself, cheating death.


13. Moneyball

Based on the outrageous book by Michael Lewis, the film follows the rather unconventional system employed by Oakland A’s manager Billy Beane to build a strong team by spending a third of the money. Starring Brad Pitt and Jonah Hill in the lead roles, the film was a funny take on this weird success story.


14. Manjhi – The Mountain Man

The most inspiring true life account to have ever been translated to a Bollywood film, Manjhi followed the life of Dashrat Manjhi who broke a mountain over two decades, so as to ease access for a village to its nearest hospital. This happened after Manjhi’s wife died after she couldn’t make it to the hospital in time. Breaking the mountain meant the distance came down from 55 kms to 15 kms.


15. My Left Foot

Daniel Day-Lewis’s first Academy Award came for his portrayal of Christy Brown affected with cerebral palsy and someone who has control of only his left foot. The film is a rather unsentimental take on the man who rejects conversation, love and support and even goes on to write his own autobiography and paint.


16. Selma

Selma is based on the voting rights march which took place from Selma to Montgomery, led by many people including Martin Luther King Jr. The movie starred David Oyelowo as King, and won several honours including Best Picture and Best Original Song at the Oscars.


17. Shahid

Directed by Hansal Mehta and a towering central performance by Rajkumar Rao only meant that the film adaptation of the incredible story real-life hero/lawyer/activist Shahid Azmi was duly honoured. The film follows a boy who gets disillusioned with the legal system where innocent youngsters get thrown into jail on terrorism charges. The boy then decides to study to become a lawyer himself and defend such cases.


18. Hacksaw Ridge

Starring Andrew Garfield as Desmond Doss, the film tells the story of one of the greatest American heroes who didn’t fire a single bullet during the Battle of Okinawa in WWII and won a medal of honour for saving scores of American soldiers as the Army medic. Being a devout christian, the young man objected to taking life even in a war zone.


19. Ray

Based on the life of R&B legend Ray Charles Robinson, the film starring Jamie Foxx followed close to three decades of the musician’s life. Even as he found greatness, the film followed how he battled substance abuse while dealing with the horror of losing his younger brother early on. Foxx went on to win Best Actor that year for portrayal of the legendary musician.


20. Miracle

Gavin O’Connor’s formulaic and yet sincere movie retells the story of how a man named Herb Brookes turned things around for a young American Ice Hockey team. He instilled in them a belief that they could beat the seemingly invincible Soviet team which had been unbeaten for 7 consecutive years. 


Truth is stranger than fiction.