20 Movies So Unbelievable They Must Be True 

1
'Zero Dark Thirty'
'Zero Dark Thirty'
Columbia Pictures Marketing
For nearly a decade, it felt like finding Osama bin Laden would be nothing short of impossible. But in May 2011, the historic event finally happened when the al-Qaeda was killed by Seal Team Six members during a raid at his home in Pakistan. But even more amazing is the extensive, decade-long manhunt that lead the CIA to him. 'Zero Dark Thirty' may look and feel like an action movie, but the fact that all of these events took place is truly shocking.
2
'Argo'
'Argo'
Warner Bros.
Ben Affleck's very real movie about a very fake movie is a story so unbelievable, it's hard to believe Hollywood could even dream it up in the first place. 'Argo' tells the true story of a Tinsel Town con/rescue mission to save the lives of six Americans trapped in Tehran during the Iranian hostage crisis. Not even Affleck's comeback was this mind-boggling.
3
'The Devil's Double'
The Devil's Double, Dominic Cooper
Lionsgate via Everett Collection
You know the old saying, "Try walking a mile in someone else's shoes"? Now imagine walking a mile in the shoes, literally, of the son of Saddam Hussein. That's exactly what Iraqi soldier Latif Yahia (portrayed by Dominic Cooper) had to do in 1987 when he was the body double for Uday Hussein. It's hard to believe what's more shocking: Hussein's alleged exploits, or that Yahia had to conceal his own identity and vicariously live through them.
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4
'127 Hours'
'127 Hours'
Fox Searchlight Pictures
The most extreme example of being stuck between a rock and a hard place, Danny Boyle's '127 Hours' retold the harrowing true story of Aron Ralston (played by Oscar nominee James Franco), an outdoorsman who gets his arm lodged in a boulder during a hike. Trapped for five days, with no hope for aide in sight, Aron takes matters in to his own hand and amputates his arm with a dull knife in order to escape and survive.
5
'Alive'
'Alive'
Buena Vista Pictures
Speaking of unimaginable stories of survival, try and stomach this one: 'Alive' recalled the events of the survivors of Uruguayan Air Force Flight 571, which crashed in the Andes on October 13, 1972. Only 16 passengers on the fateful flight survived, thanks in part to the harrowing decision to eat the flesh of those who perished in the accident.
6
'Catch Me If You Can'
Catch Me If You Can, Leonardo DiCaprio
DreamWorks via Everett Collection
Frank Abagnale, Jr. (played by Leonardo DiCaprio) conned his through the world — and to millions of dollars, thanks to skillful check fraud techniques — by posing as a Pan American World Airways pilot, a doctor, and a lawyer. Oh, and did we mention he did this all before he was 19? Even more unbelievable, after getting caught, the FBI used him to catch other check forgers and he became friends with the very FBI who spent years chasing him.
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7
'Shattered Glass'
'Shattered Glass'
Lions Gate Entertainment/TriMark
A con man of a different variety: Journalist Stephen Glass (portrayed with chilling conviction by Hayden Christensen) became one of the most well-regarded young writers at 'The New Republic' in the mid-'90s. That was until he was exposed as a fraud and that 27 of his stories had been fabricated in part or in full. While journalistic fraud is, sadly, nothing new, the story of Glass and how much he got away with is something you couldn't write.
8
'Zodiac'
'Zodiac'
Paramount Pictures
'San Francisco Chronicle' cartoonist Robert Graysmith (Jake Gyllenhaal) probably wished someone had fabricated the story of the Zodiac killer. Instead, he and anyone else who tracked the story of the notorious serial killer who sent letters and newspaper clippings in a cruel cat and mouse game, was haunted by him. It wasn't just the grim murders by the Zodiac — which were unshakably unsettling in David Fincher's film — but the fact that he, whoever he was, got away with it.
9
'The Exorcist'
'The Exorcist'
Warner Bros.
It's only a movie, it's only a movie, it's only a movie. That's the very mantra anyone who made it through the horror classic 'The Exorcist' told themselves to sleep at night. But here's something to keep you up forever: The terrifying tale of Regan (Linda Blair) is loosely based on the 1949 exorcism case of Roland Doe.
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10
'Ed Wood'
'Ed Wood'
Buena Vista Pictures
What could be more outrageous than the outrageously bad 'Plan 9 From Outer Space'? The outrageous life of the man behind that, and other terrible, albeit beloved, cult films: Ed Wood. A movie fanatic who surrounded himself with a merry band of odd characters, Wood (Johnny Depp) also dabbled in transvestitism and had one of the strangest stories and lives in Hollywood history. And that's really saying something.
11
'Operation Dumbo Drop'
'Operation Dumbo Drop'
Buena Vista Pictures
No, it's not just unbelievable that there was actually a movie named 'Operation Dumbo Drop' that starred the likes of Ray Liotta, Danny Glover, and... Doug E. Doug. (Though, in all fairness, that is nearly impossible to wrap your head around.) Rather, it's that the Disney dramedy is based on actual events from the Vietnam War about a mission to safely transport an elephant to a South Vietnamese village to help American forces monitor Viet Cong activity.
12
'All the President's Men'
'All the President's Men'
Warner Bros.
Only one U.S. President in history has ever resigned from office: Richard M. Nixon, who stepped down on August 9, 1974. While it's a fascinating history lesson, it's the story behind the story that really shook the nation. With help from an anonymous source named Deep Throat, two 'Washington Post' journalists Bob Woodward (Robert Redford) and Carl Bernstein (Dustin Hoffman) broke the Watergate scandal to the world, which, in turn caused Nixon to resign.
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13
'Open Water'
'Open Water'
Lions Gate Entertainment/TriMark
Remember how we all watched 'Jaws' and were terrified to go into the water? Well, 'Open Water' all but solidified that fear for life. Based on the gut-wrenching true story of a couple named Tom and Eileen Lonergan, who went scuba diving and were left out in the Great Barrier Reef after the scuba dive company failed to do an accurate head count. The Lonergans were never recovered and, as 'Open Water' suggests, the two met their terrible fate at the fins of hungry, circling sharks.
14
'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly'
'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly'
Miramax
An triumph of the human spirit, 'The Diving Bell and the Butterfly' chronicled the story of Jean-Dominique Bauby (Mathieu Amalric), who suffered a massive stroke at the age of 43, leaving him with "locked-in" syndrome, a condition that cripples the body, but not the mind. Bauby could only communicate by blinking his left eye. Through unbelievable strength, courage and patience, Bauby, with the help of a language and speech therapist, compiled his memoir before his death.
15
'The Haunting in Connecticut'
'The Haunting in Connecticut'
Lions Gate Entertainment/TriMark
Based on the accounts of the Snedeker family, 'The Haunting in Connecticut' tells the tale of an alleged real-life haunted house. After moving into a seemingly normal-looking home (they're always seemingly normal-looking, aren't they?) that was a former mortuary in Connecticut, a family experiences supernatural phenomena, including furniture moving on its own, flickering lights, and the appearance some ghosts who certainly weren't paying their share of the rent.
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16
'Cool Runnings'
'Cool Runnings'
Buena Vista Pictures
What's more unbelievable than a haunting in Connecticut? How about a Jamaican bobsled team? Loosely based on the true story of the first-ever Jamaican bobsled team that competed in the 1988 Calgary Olympics, 'Cool Runnings' took some artistic liberties with what really happened and made a fun-loving, inspiring Disney sports comedy. Still, a Jamaican bobsled team!
17
'Crazy Love'
'Crazy Love'
Magnolia Home Entertainment
You know a story is off-the-walls when you have trouble believing a documentary. The film is based on the real-life story of a married lawyer named Burt Pugach and his mistress Linda Riss. After their affair in the late 1950s ended when Riss became engaged to another man, Purgach hired three men to throw lye in her face, leaving her permanently blind. Only, that's not the crazy part. The crazy part is the duo remarried after Pugach's 14 year prison sentence.
18
'Sid and Nancy'
'Sid and Nancy'
Samuel Goldwyn Films
This biopic, which stars Gary Oldman and Chloe Webb, chronicles the highs (literally) and lows of the Six Pistols bassist and his tumultuous relationship with girlfriend Nancy Spungen. Couples often say they love each other to death, but in the case of Sid and Nancy, that was the absolute truth. Spungen died of a stab wound at NYC's Chelsea Hotel (one theory is that it was at the hand of Vicious during a drug-induced haze) and Vicious died weeks later of an apparent suicide.
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19
'The Mothman Prophecies'
'The Mothman Prophecies'
Screen Gems
When a journalist (Richard Gere) stumbles onto the sleepy town of Point Pleasant in West Virginia, he discovers its residents are having terrifying visions and hearing scary sounds of a winged creature that brings disaster, including a bridge collapse that kills 46 people. The film is based off the book of the same name which explores the folklore attached to the Mothman and its connection to the real-life collapse of the Silver Bridge in Point Pleasant in 1967.
20
'W.'
'W.'
Lions Gate Entertainment/TriMark
No, America, it wasn't all just a dream: George W. Bush really ran our country for eight years. Oliver Stone remembered it un-fondly.

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