50 Worst Movies Based On True Events

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When filmmakers say a movie is based on true events, they are trying to give the motion picture a stamp of legitimacy. For the most part, moviegoers understand that they are going to see a story based on a real event and not a documentary, and they are willing to allow some creative latitude.

Even so, the public knows when a film is crassly exploiting what really happened, particularly when the event involves the dark side of humanity.

To determine the worst movies based on true events, 24/7 Tempo developed an index based on several measures from the Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes. The index is a composite of the movies’ IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes audience score, and Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score. 

Many of the films on the list explore immoral actions as well as tragedies. Some of these films such topics as murder and homicide. Others are haunting tales based on alleged incidents.

Not all of these failed true-event treatments are grim. Biopics are a Hollywood staple, but many do not find favor with audiences and critics alike, despite A-list actors in the main roles and award-winning directors behind the scenes.

Some bad movies, of course, attain a kind of iconic, ironic “so bad, it’s good” status. People watch them just to laugh at them or bask in their deficiencies. These are the 25 absolute worst movies of all time.

To determine the worst movies based on true events, 24/7 Tempo developed an index based on several measures from the Internet Movie Database and Rotten Tomatoes. The index is a composite of the movies’ IMDb rating, Rotten Tomatoes audience score, and Rotten Tomatoes Tomatometer score. All ratings were weighted equally. Only films with at least 20,000 reviews on IMDb and 2,500 audience reviews on Rotten Tomatoes were considered. Data was collected mid-March 2021. Supplemental data on domestic box office and production budgets by movie came from industry data site The Numbers.