Film vs. Reality – The Real People Behind The Movie Stories

The statements "True story" or "Based on a true story" usually give a movie a special status. It‘s easy enough to identify ourselves with the actors who play the roles.  But the real people behind the stories often go unnoticed. This weekend‘s picks will put an end to that: while watching the films from our list, you can at the same time become familiar with those who inspired them.

Soul Surfer 

The story of Bethany Hamiltion, a surfer who lost one arm to a shark attack and not only did this terrible experience not keep her from her passion, but she became a champion after that. Great positive intervention for gloomy and depressed people.

Reel vs. Real 


The life of Aileen Wuornos should have been a textbook example of where a childhood filled with abuse can lead to. Instead her life burst into the media when she became the first female mass murderer. Her childhood and adolescent years were an endless series of episodes ranging from bad to worse including abandonment, death, molestation, and dealing with her own homosexuality.  With all this in her background, she made a living with prostitution, which only aggravated her anger towards men, until she began killing.

Reel vs. Real 

Captain Phillips 

Captain Phillips recounts a story that took place in 2009 on board the cargo ship Maersk Alabama, which was attacked by a group of Somali pirates.  The Alabama’s commanding officer, Captain Richard Phillips, is taken hostage, leaving him at the pirates‘ mercy. Many questions regarding the need for the crewmen on board merchant ships to carry firearms for their protection arose after this movie hit the silver screen.

Reel vs. Real 

American Hustle 

American Hustle is a fictition film based on some real incidents from a scandal that took place in America in the late ‘70s. When two crooks – Irving Rosenfeld and his partner Sydney Prosser – get caught by FBI agent Richie DiMaso, they are offered a commuted jail sentence in exchange for cooperating with the FBI to fight corruption in the New Jersey political and mafia scene.  The movie, which was nominated for an Oscar in 10 categories but didn’t win any awards in the end, was well received by critics.

Reel vs. Real 

Flash of Genius 

Imagine you came up with an idea, patented it, and a large corporation stole it from you. More believable than one would want to believe. And that is what happened to Professor Robert Kearn, who invented the intermittent windshield wiper back in the ‘60s. Excited with the idea of the potential gain, his dreams crumbled when a large corporation rejected his proposal while at the same time started installing his wipers on their cars. Literally fighting the corporation practically all by himself for decades, Professor finally received some compensation near the end of his life.

Reel vs. Real

Photo: CSFD

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