7 New Films Based on True Stories

January 31st, 20187 New Films Based on True Stories

At AMC, we love all genres and styles of film — from fantasy concepts that transport us to alternate realities, to true stories that allow us to see the world from a new point of view. Our “now playing” list is full of incredible films based on real-life events, enough to fill your entire week and weekend. Here are seven titles to watch this February at AMC and their inspiring, nonfictional backstories.

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Directed by Steven Spielberg, THE POST is a thrilling, timely drama surrounding an unprecedented battle between the press and the government.

The film focuses on The Washington Post's Katharine Graham (Meryl Streep), the first female publisher of a major American newspaper, and editor Ben Bradlee (Tom Hanks) as they risk their careers — and their very freedom — to expose a massive cover-up of government secrets that spanned three decades and four U.S. Presidents.

The True Story

On June 13, 1971, The New York Times started publishing portions of a 47-volume Pentagon analysis known as the “Pentagon Papers,” which revealed the United States’ engagement with Vietnam. At the time, they were the only publication given a copy of the Papers from a former Defense Department analyst.

Attorney General John Mitchell barred the paper from further publishing details — telling them they were violating the Espionage Act and jeopardizing U.S. defense interests. But the NYT persisted, and after obtaining their own copy, The Post began publishing the Papers on June 18.

Like the NYT, The Post was warned by the Department of Justice to stop publication after their first article. Katherine Graham had to decide — in the midst of the newspaper’s first public stock offering — whether to continue to report their findings and face harsh legal ramifications or stay silent.

THE POST is nominated for Best Picture at the 90th Academy Awards®, and star Meryl Streep is up for Best Actress, her 21st Oscar® nomination.

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Christopher Nolan recreates “the miracle of Dunkirk” in his 2017 World War II drama, now back on the big screen at AMC.

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire and France are surrounded by the German Army, trapped on the beaches of Dunkirk. They face an impossible situation as the enemy closes in on land, sea and air. RAF Spitfires engage the enemy in the skies above the Channel, trying to protect the defenseless men below.

Meanwhile, hundreds of small boats manned by both military and civilians are mounting a desperate rescue effort, risking their lives in a race against time to save even a fraction of their army.

The True Story

Though the film opens on the beaches, the story behind “the miracle of Dunkirk” begins prior, with a surprise German blitzkrieg bombarding Hollard and Belgium with air raids, parachute drops and ground attacks, forcing both countries to surrender.

British troops in France continue to fight, even as they’re pushed toward the water, their backs to the sea. They’re losing men from all angles, and the beach is too shallow for the big ships of the Royal Navy to reach the stranded soldiers.

Hope seems all but lost, until fleets of civilian boats are called to Dunkirk to take the troops to safety. Only 30,000–45,000 men were expected to make it home, but between May 26 and June 3, 1940, more than 300,000 troops were rescued from the beach.

DUNKIRK is nominated for eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Cinematography and Best Director, Nolan’s first Oscar nomination in the category.

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Another World War II drama surrounding the same time period (May–June 1940) and events, DARKEST HOUR is an intimate portrait of newly appointed prime minister Winston Churchill (Gary Oldman) at a crucial moment in his life and in the war: His decision to continue fighting rather than negotiate with Hitler changed the course of history.

Instead of the beaches of Dunkirk, director Joe Wright invites audiences behind the scenes into the War Rooms, where Churchill battled to gain the confidence, support and words to rally a nation — the latter a major focus of the film.

The True Story

Oldman delivers three of the prime minister’s most important, influential speeches with astounding accuracy: his first speech as prime minister to the House of Commons [“Blood, Toil, Tears, and Sweat” (May 13)], his first radio speech as prime minister [“Be Ye Men of Valour” (May 19)], and his speech after the successful evacuation at Dunkirk [“We shall fight on the beaches” (June 4)].

Oldman’s transformation into Churchill is also remarkable, earning him the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Drama, and SAG Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role. He’s a strong contender for this year’s Best Actor Oscar, his second nomination.

DARKEST HOUR trails DUNKIRK with six Academy Award nominations. The two will go head-to-head in the Best Picture, Best Cinematography and Best Production Design categories.

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Based on one of the most sensational scandals in sports history, I, TONYA, is a darkly comedic tale about the unbelievable but true events that ended Tonya Harding’s career and almost sent her to prison.

The mockumentary-style film is told from the fallen skater’s point of view and features “interviews” with Harding (Margot Robbie), husband Jeff Gillooly (Sebastian Stan) and mother LaVona Golden (Allison Janney).

The True Story

On January 6, 1994, Olympic hopeful Nancy Kerrigan was attacked at a Detroit ice rink by Shane Stant, who had been hired by Harding’s husband. As a result of her injury, Kerrigan was unable to compete at the trials two days later — and runner-up Harding took her place.

Though Harding continues to deny her involvement in the infamous incident, violence has been prevalent in her life since childhood. The film includes many scenes depicting Harding’s mother both physically and emotionally abusing her; her now-ex-husband Jeff Gillooly is shown doing much of the same. I, TONYA balances the tough storyline with the strategic use of levity and breaking the fourth wall.

I, TONYA received three Academy Award nominations: Best Film Editing, Robbie for Best Actress and Janney for Best Supporting Actress.

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Starring Chris Hemsworth and Oscar-nominee Michael Shannon, 12 STRONG is a powerful new war drama based on the best-selling book “Horse Soldiers.”

The film unfolds the largely untold true story of the first Special Forces soldiers (ODA 595) to enter Afghanistan in the weeks following the 9/11 attacks. Under the leadership of a new captain, the team must work with an Afghan warlord to take down the Taliban.

The True Story

Though they were outnumbered 40:1, the heroic soldiers captured the Taliban stronghold of Mazar-i-Sharif — Afghanistan’s fourth largest city — which was strategically essential to defeat their opponent throughout the country. This intense battle is considered by some the first victory in the War on Terror.

According to the book, the American soldiers were welcomed by locals as liberators as they rode into the city; however, their celebration was short-lived. During a surrender of 600 Taliban troops, the horse soldiers were ambushed by the would-be POWs. Dangerously overpowered, they fought for their lives in the city’s immense fortress, Qala-i-Janghi, or the House of War. The military gains of the entire campaign were at risk: If the soldiers perished or were captured, the entire effort to outmaneuver the Taliban was likely doomed.

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Based on the memoir of the same name, MOLLY'S GAME is the true story of Molly Bloom (Jessica Chastain), an Olympic-class skier who ran the world's most exclusive high-stakes poker game in the mid-2000s. Her famous players included Hollywood royalty, sports stars, business titans and finally, unbeknownst to her, the Russian mob.

After a decade on top, Molly lost everything when she became an FBI target. Her only ally was her criminal defense lawyer, Charlie Jaffey (Idris Elba), who learned there was much more to Molly than the tabloids led us to believe.

The True Story

Director Aaron Sorkin consulted Bloom throughout the writing process, and the screenplay borrows heavily from her book: The scene in which Bloom is introduced to her hired driver’s mobster “friends” comes straight from “Molly’s Game.” The most notable difference between the true story and the film version is the addition of Jaffey, a fictional character.

Bloom’s title of “poker princess” was well-deserved. According to her memoir, hundreds of millions of dollars were won and lost at her table. She staged her games in palatial suites with beautiful views and exquisite amenities. She flew privately, dined at exclusive restaurants, hobnobbed with the heads of Hollywood studios, was courted by handsome leading men, and was privy to the world’s most delicious gossip, until it all came crashing down around her. In 2013, Bloom was indicted along with 33 others as being part of an illegal $100 million gambling ring.

For his directorial debut, Sorkin is nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar.

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Arriving in theatres February 9, THE 15:17 TO PARIS tells the true story of three men whose brave act turned them into heroes during a high-speed railway ride in 2015. The film follows the course of the friends' lives, from the struggles of childhood through finding their footing in life, to the series of unlikely events leading up to the thwarted terrorist attack.

Jenna Fischer, Judy Greer and Ray Corasani star alongside the real-life courageous young Americans: Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos and Spencer Stone. (Paul-Mikel Williams, Max Ivutin, Bryce Gheisar, Cole Eichenberger and William Jennings will play their younger selves.)

THE 15:17 TO PARIS is directed by Clint Eastwood and based on the novel of the same name.

The True Story

On August 21, 2015, Ayoub El-Khazzani — an ISIS terrorist — boarded train #9364 in Brussels with an AK-47, pistol, box cutter and enough ammunition to obliterate the 500 passengers on board.

Before he could carry out his violent attack, Anthony Sadler, Alek Skarlatos (a member of the Oregon National Guard), and Spencer Stone (a martial arts enthusiast and U.S. airman) charged and overpowered the gunman. Their lifelong friendship gave them the courage and strength to stand in the path of one of the world's deadliest terrorist organizations, together.

Tickets to THE 15:17 TO PARIS are on sale now. Reserve yours for you and your friends.

Fill your week and weekend with these captivating films and more. Browse showtimes at an AMC theatre near you, and get your tickets today.

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