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The Best Based On True Story Movies on The Criterion Channel

Finding a good Based On True Story movie to watch can be hard, so we've ranked the best ones and included where to watch them. Check out our list of the best Based On True Story movies of all time streaming on The Criterion Channel.

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1. The Last Emperor

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.7/10
Reelgood Logo
75/100
Released: 1987Rated: PG-13
Biography, Drama

What it's about: A dramatic history of Pu Yi, the last of the Emperors of China, from his lofty birth and brief reign in the Forbidden City, the object of worship by half a billion people; through his abdication, his decline and dissolute lifestyle; his exploitation by the invading Japanese, and finally to his obscure existence as just another peasant worker in the People's Republic.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 3 services (iTunes, Prime Video & Vudu).

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2. Spartacus

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
Reelgood Logo
75/100
Released: 1960Rated: PG-13
Action & Adventure, Drama

What it's about: The rebellious Thracian Spartacus, born and raised a slave, is sold to Gladiator trainer Batiatus. After weeks of being trained to kill for the arena, Spartacus turns on his owners and leads the other slaves in rebellion. As the rebels move from town to town, their numbers swell as escaped slaves join their ranks. Under the leadership of Spartacus, they make their way to southern Italy, where they will cross the sea and return to their homes.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).

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3. Hunger

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Reelgood Logo
70/100
Released: 2008
Biography, Drama

What it's about: The story of Bobby Sands, the IRA member who led the 1981 hunger strike during The Troubles in which Irish Republican prisoners tried to win political status.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 1 service (iTunes).

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4. Everlasting Moments

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Reelgood Logo
77/100
Released: 2008
History, Drama

What it's about: In a time of social change and unrest, war and poverty, a young working class woman, Maria, wins a camera in a lottery. The decision to keep it alters her whole life.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.99 on 1 service (Google Play).

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5. Picnic at Hanging Rock

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Reelgood Logo
71/100
Released: 1975Rated: PG
Mystery, Drama

What it's about: In the early 1900s, Miranda attends a girls boarding school in Australia. One Valentine's Day, the school's typically strict headmistress treats the girls to a picnic field trip to an unusual but scenic volcanic formation called Hanging Rock. Despite rules against it, Miranda and several other girls venture off. It's not until the end of the day that the faculty realizes the girls and one of the teachers have disappeared mysteriously.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.70 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).

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6. A Brighter Summer Day

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.4/10
Reelgood Logo
68/100
Released: 1991
Romance, Drama

What it's about: A boy experiences first love, friendships and injustices growing up in 1960s Taiwan.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.70 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).

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7. The Sweet Hereafter

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Reelgood Logo
85/100
Released: 1997Rated: R
Thriller, Drama

What it's about: A small mountain community in Canada is devastated when a school bus accident leaves more than a dozen of its children dead. A big-city lawyer arrives to help the survivors' and victims' families prepare a class-action suit, but his efforts only seem to push the townspeople further apart. At the same time, one teenage survivor of the accident has to reckon with the loss of innocence brought about by a different kind of damage.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $1.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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8. In the Realm of the Senses

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.6/10
Reelgood Logo
77/100
Released: 1976Rated: R
Romance, Drama

What it's about: Based on a true story set in pre-war Japan, a man and one of his servants begin a torrid affair. Their desire becomes a sexual obsession so strong that to intensify their ardor, they forsake all, even life itself.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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9. A Night to Remember

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
Reelgood Logo
67/100
Released: 1958
Action & Adventure, Drama

What it's about: The sinking of the Titanic is presented in a highly realistic fashion in this tense British drama. The disaster is portrayed largely from the perspective of the ocean liner's second officer, Charles Lightoller. Despite numerous warnings about ice, the ship sails on, with Capt. Edward John Smith keeping it going at a steady clip. When the doomed vessel finally hits an iceberg, the crew and passengers discover that they lack enough lifeboats, and tragedy follows.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (PlutoTV), stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Hoopla) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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10. Henry V

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
Reelgood Logo
61/100
Released: 1944
Drama

What it's about: In the midst of the Hundred Years' War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.60 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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11. Breaker Morant

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
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66/100
Released: 1980Rated: PG
Drama

What it's about: During the Boer War, three Australian lieutenants are on trial for shooting Boer prisoners. Though they acted under orders, they are being used as scapegoats by the General Staff, who hopes to distance themselves from the irregular practices of the war. The trial does not progress as smoothly as expected by the General Staff, as the defence puts up a strong fight in the courtroom.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (Tubi), stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel, Kanopy & Shout Factory TV) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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12. The Honeymoon Killers

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
Reelgood Logo
60/100
Released: 1970Rated: R
Crime, Thriller

What it's about: Martha Beck, an obese nurse who is desperately lonely, joins a "correspondence club" and finds a romantic pen pal in Ray Fernandez. Martha falls hard for Ray, and is intent on sticking with him even when she discovers he's a con man who seduces lonely single women, kills them and then takes their money. She poses as Ray's sister and joins Ray on a wild killing spree, fueled by her lingering concern that Ray will leave her for one of his marks.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $2.70 on 3 services (iTunes, Prime Video & Vudu).

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13. The Onion Field

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.8/10
Reelgood Logo
60/100
Released: 1979Rated: R
Crime, Drama

What it's about: An LA police officer is murdered in the onion fields outside of Bakersfield. However, legal loopholes could keep his kidnappers from receiving justice, and his partner is haunted by overwhelming survivor's guilt.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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14. The Trial of Joan of Arc

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Reelgood Logo
73/100
Released: 1963
History, Drama

What it's about: Rouen, Normandy, 1431, during the Hundred Years' War. After being captured by French soldiers from an opposing faction, Joan of Arc, the Maid of Orléans, is unjustly tried by an ecclesiastical court overseen by her English enemies.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel).

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15. Monsieur Verdoux

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
Reelgood Logo
66/100
Released: 1947
Comedy, Crime

What it's about: The film is about an unemployed banker, Henri Verdoux, and his sociopathic methods of attaining income. While being both loyal and competent in his work, Verdoux has been laid-off. To make money for his wife and child, he marries wealthy widows and then murders them. His crime spree eventually works against him when two particular widows break his normal routine.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX & The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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16. I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
8.2/10
Reelgood Logo
65/100
Released: 1932
Crime, Drama

What it's about: A World War I veteran’s dreams of becoming a master architect evaporate in the cold light of economic realities. Things get even worse when he’s falsely convicted of a crime and sent to work on a chain gang.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $1.99 on 4 services (iTunes, Google Play & 2 others).

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17. You Only Live Once

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.3/10
Reelgood Logo
61/100
Released: 1937
Crime

What it's about: Based partially on the story of Bonnie and Clyde, Eddie Taylor is an ex-convict who cannot get a break after being released from prison. When he is framed for murder, Taylor is forced to flee with his wife Joan Graham and baby. While escaping prison after being sentenced to death, Taylor becomes a real murderer, condemning himself and Joan to a life of crime and death on the road.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (Tubi), stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel, FilmBox & Shout Factory TV) & rent or buy from $1.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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18. Story of Women

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.5/10
Reelgood Logo
60/100
Released: 1988
Romance, Drama

What it's about: France, World War II. In order to somehow make ends meet, the mother of two children, Marie Latour, does underground abortions and rents a room to a familiar prostitute. She doesn't pay any attention to her husband, who returned from the war because of his injury and lives her own life. Abortions gradually begin to bring a good income, and boredom can be easily dispelled by starting a young lover ...

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel).

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19. The Private Life of Henry VIII

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.1/10
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58/100
Released: 1933
Comedy, Drama

What it's about: Renowned for his excess, King Henry VIII goes through a series of wives during his rule. With Anne Boleyn, his second wife, executed on charges of treason, King Henry weds maid Jane Seymour, but that marriage also ends in tragedy. Not one to be single for long, the king picks German-born Anne of Cleves as his bride, but their union lasts only months before an annulment is granted, and King Henry continues his string of spouses.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (Tubi), stream on a popular subscription service (HBO MAX, Paramount+, Epix & 4 others), stream on a popular TV everywhere service (Epix) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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20. In Which We Serve

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.2/10
Reelgood Logo
59/100
Released: 1942
Drama

What it's about: The story of the HMS Torrin, from it's construction to its sinking in the Mediterranean during action in World War II. The ship's first and only commanding officer is Captain E.V. Kinross, who trains his men not only to be loyal to him and the country, but—most importantly—to themselves.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Prime Video).

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21. Canoa: A Shameful Memory

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.9/10
Reelgood Logo
56/100
Released: 1976
Crime, Action & Adventure

What it's about: A group of students arrives in a small town during a hiking expedition. Once there, the local priest accuses them of being communist agitators on the run from an army crack-down against student demonstrations in nearby Mexico City and rallies the townsfolk to lynch them. Based on true facts occurred in the town of Canoa in 1968.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $2.70 on 5 services (iTunes, Google Play & 3 others).

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22. Incident by a Bank

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
7.0/10
Reelgood Logo
48/100
Released: 2010
Action & Adventure, Comedy

What it's about: An attempted bank robbery. Follows the thought process of two confused witnesses, the filmographer and the producer.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $1.99 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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23. Madeleine

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.9/10
Reelgood Logo
48/100
Released: 1950
Crime, Drama

What it's about: The middle-class family of a young woman cannot understand why she delays in marrying a respectable young man. They know nothing about her long-standing affair with a Frenchman.

Where to Watch: Available to stream on a subscription service (The Criterion Channel) & rent or buy from $3.80 on 1 service (Prime Video).

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24. Zombi Child

IMDB LogoIMDB Star
6.0/10
Reelgood Logo
54/100
Released: 2019
Fantasy, Drama

What it's about: Haiti, 1962: A man is brought back from the dead only to be sent to the living hell of the sugarcane fields. In Paris, 55 years later, at the prestigious Légion d’honneur boarding school, a Haitian girl confesses an old family secret to a group of new friends - never imagining that this strange tale will convince a heartbroken classmate to do the unthinkable.

Where to Watch: Available to watch free online (Tubi), stream on a subscription service (Shudder, The Criterion Channel & Kanopy) & rent or buy from $1.99 on 2 services (iTunes & Vudu).

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