We're Calling It: 2023 Is the Year of the Movie Based on a True Story

ben affleck , air
The 6 Best True Story Movies of 2023 Warner Bros.

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Alright, I’m calling it: 2023 is the year of true-story movie adaptations. In the midst of remakes, reboots, and pure fiction running wild, it's the real stories that are standing out. And why not? What's better than watching events that really happened, in all their stranger-than-fiction glory, play out on-screen? It's like history class, but fun!

Thankfully, this year Hollywood is leaning into this particular joy. Have you ever wondered how Flamin' Hot Cheetos were made? There's a movie for that. Or maybe, you’ve looked down at your Air Jordans and wondered how they became so popular in the first place. There's a movie for that too. There are even options for true crime buffs and scientific historians. That's what's so great about real-life stories—there's a little something for everyone. Even you.

Below we've rounded up the best true story films to catch this year, from the blockbuster Air, now streaming, to the upcoming drama, Killers of the Flower Moon.


Air follows the creation of the infamous Air Jordan sneaker. The story takes place in 1984 when the Nike brand was failing and needed a sure-fire solution. Enter Sonny Vaccaro, a sports marketer who scouts the then upcoming rookie Michael Jordan, who he believes will be the next big name in sports. Vaccaro and the Nike team decide to craft a line of shoes around the young star—but before they can get to work, they’ll have to score his mother's approval.

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Cocaine Bear

Somehow, someway, this is based on a true story. Cocaine Bear follows a 500-pound black bear who accidentally consumes a trough of cocaine. Chaos ensues when the bear goes on a drug-fueled rampage, terrorizing anyone that crosses its path.

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Boston Strangler

In the early 1960s, thirteen women were murdered in Boston. When the police department mishandled their cases, local reporter Loretta McLaughlin connected the murders and began investigating the killings. Boston Strangler tells McLaughlin's story, as she, and fellow reporter Jena Cole, tracked down the infamous killer while shining a light on sexism and injustice.

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Flamin' Hot (June 9th)

Have you ever wondered who created Flamin’ Hot Cheetos? Well, his name is Richard Montanez, a snack-whiz who started his career as a janitor at the Frito-Lay factory. When the chips brand failed, Montanez crafted a new, spicy, and irresistible alternative inspired by his heritage.

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Oppenheimer (July 21st)

The creation of the atomic bomb is a scientific marvel that still plagues society. Oppenheimer tracks American physicist J Robert Oppenheimer’s creation of the destructive device—someone director Christopher Nolan is touting as the "most important person who ever lived." His design was later used in the World War II nuclear bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki.

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Killers of the Flower Moon (October 20th)

Killers of the Flower Moon is based on the non-fiction novel, Killers of the Flower Moon: The Osage Murders and the Birth of the FBI. The upcoming film follows the FBI investigation that tracked a string of murders that took place on a Native American reservation in the 1920s after oil was found on their land. Heavy stuff, but this teammate from director Martin Scorsese and Leonardo DiCaprio shouldn't be missed.

killers of the flower moon

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