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Top 10 Worst Movies Based On Real Life Events

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Script written by Jordan Ruimy. The line “based on a true story” has never hurt so bad… Welcome to, and today we are counting down our picks for the top 10 worst movies based on real life events. For this list, we’re choosing feature films as well as made-for-TV movies that were inspired by real life, but which did not do justice to their source material. Special thanks to our users RealWilliamGonzalez and jwiking62 for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest

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Script written by Jordan Ruimy.

Top 10 Worst Movies Based On Real Life Events

The line “based on a true story” has never hurt so bad… Welcome to, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 worst movies based on real life events.

For this list, we’re choosing feature films as well as made-for-TV movies that were inspired by real life, but which did not do justice to their source material.

#10: “Liz & Dick” (2012)

Lifetime isn’t exactly known for Oscar-worthy movies, but this one is too soap opera-y even for them. Based on the tumultuous relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, this made-for-TV movie failed spectacularly and on a high-profile level thanks to its status as Lindsay Lohan’s supposed “comeback vehicle.” While some critics admitted the film was enjoyable on a campy level, the acting and screenplay were almost universally panned. After all, any movie with lines like “You haven’t lost me, I’ve lost you” and “I wont live without you!” is just asking for trouble.

#9: “Titanic: The Legend Goes On” (2000)

This was not the first bad Titanic-based film, and it probably won’t be the last: 1980’s “Raise the Titanic” was also an unmitigated disaster, despite its star-studded cast. But this Italian cartoon came three-years after James Cameron’s Oscar-winning epic, and was like a combination of that film, with a little Annie, Cinderella and other Disney flicks thrown in for bad measure. Of course there’s a love story; but there are also questionable details like a rapping dog, Yiddish mice and a magpie named Hector. This one’s so bad, even kids shunned it.

#8: “Patch Adams” (1998)

The real-life story of a man who discovers that humor can help patients heal themselves so he becomes a doctor, with Robin Williams as the star? Sounds good on paper !”]– but this vehicle failed every medical test it took and did not tickle our funny bone. Though it was a box-office success, “Patch Adams” was slammed not only by critics – who said the film was too sweet and overemotional, and Williams too holier-than-thou – but also by the real Patch Adams, who flat-out said he hated it.

#7: “World Trade Center” (2006)

Released a few months after the critically acclaimed “United 93,” Oliver Stone’s September 11th movie lacked the edge and grit that has marked his past films. Though he’s known for focusing on conspiracy theories and unsolved mysteries, Stone leaves these elements strangely absent when he tells the story of two Port Authority cops who survived the collapse of the Twin Towers. Though some reviewers praised it, many called it over-sentimental and full of hokey, tear-jerking tropes and criticized it for not showing the big picture of the terrorist attack.

#6: “The Black Dahlia” (2006)

Brian De Palma has made some good movies, but this isn’t one of them. Two cops become obsessed with the grisly murder of a young Hollywood actress – a case that remains unsolved to this day. Based on a real-life crime as told in a novel by “L.A. Confidential” author James Ellroy, this movie features De Palma’s trademark visual brilliance and well as an all-star cast. But it also has a confusing and overstuffed plot, a boatload of clichés and a generally unsatisfying denouement.

#5: “Against the Ropes” (2004)

It’d been a few years since Meg Ryan had made a successful movie, and since she’d shed her good-girl image thanks to a high-profile affair with Russell Crowe. This didn’t help bring her out of her career funk. She plays real-life boxing manager Jackie Kallen, the ballsy woman who was the first female to make it in the industry. With sports movie clichés aplenty, as well as a comatose script and Ryan’s iffy Detroit accent, this one was KO’d the moment it was released, only making $6-million at the box-office.

#4: “Diana” (2013)

You’d think an actress of Naomi Watts’ caliber would be perfect for a movie about Princess Diana; but even she couldn’t save a script this mediocre. The film focuses on Diana’s last two years, when she tries to find love after her divorce from Prince Charles. But instead of focusing on character development, it’s schmaltzy, bland and a royal mess. The only amusement you get from this movie is unintentional; and in fact it was so panned in the UK, it was released direct-to-DVD in the United States. Ouch.

#3: “Alexander” (2004)

Criticized by fundamentalists, historians, reviewers and almost anyone who saw it, this is another failure by Oliver Stone to tell an historical story. With a blond Colin Farrell in the title role, Angelina Jolie as his seductive mother and Anthony Hopkins providing DVD-commentary-like narration, the film is condemned not only for being factually inaccurate, but also for not shedding any light onto Alexander’s personality. With far less action than you’d expect in a movie about a conqueror, it almost plays like a documentary and has been recut so many times we’ve lost track.

#2: “Pearl Harbor” (2001)

Hollywood action director Michael Bay took the attack on Pearl Harbor and turned it into an action movie? Go figure. But in between all the explosions was a sappy love triangle that did its best to emulate “Titanic” as much as possible. And it was that mix of action and drama that made it a huge box-office success; however, the critics were not so kind. Though its effects were praised and even nominated for an Oscar, its clunky dialogue, inelegant direction and blatant historical inaccuracy were skewered.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable – or in this case dishonorable – mentions:
- “The Craigslist Killer” (2011)
- “W.” (2008)
- “J. Edgar” (2011)
- “The Fifth Estate” (2013)

#1: “Jobs” (2013)

While this may surprise you, casting Ashton Kutcher is not what sunk this movie. “Jobs” is a biographical drama that tells the life story of Steve Jobs, as well as the origin story of his company, Apple Inc. But it suffers from a surprising lack of depth, meaning it doesn’t dig into the intricacies of the man’s personality, but instead offers a superficial and formulaic portrayal of this enigmatic tech giant. It bombed at the box-office and with critics, who gave Kutcher a passing grade but rated the movie as unsatisfying.

Do you agree with our list? What do you think is the worst movie based on a real life event? For more realistic top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to


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