Lifetime/Odyssey True Movies

by Gymnopedies | created - 15 Apr 2018 | updated - 1 week ago | Public

Everyone loves movies that are based on a true story, because it means you can say things like: "What a great movie... and it's based on a true story!" For some reason, we human beings like it when we know that things have happened in real life at some point - if said "true story" ended in a happy way, it helps us to inject a little hope into our lives; if it ended in a bad way, well... we've all got a morbid fascination with the sick and perverse, too, right?" Ranked from best to worst.

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1. Indictment: The McMartin Trial (1995 TV Movie)

R | 131 min | Drama, Thriller

Based on a real-life court case, the film finds members of the McMartin family on trial for alleged sexual molestation and abuse of children at their well-regarded preschool. ... See full summary »

Director: Mick Jackson | Stars: James Woods, Mercedes Ruehl, Lolita Davidovich, Sada Thompson

Votes: 2,660

2. The Mystery of Natalie Wood (2004 TV Movie)

172 min | Biography, Drama, Mystery

Uses accounts from family, friends, and acquaintances to tell the story of Natalie Wood and how she started young, acting in the spotlight, making the transition from a childhood actress to... See full summary »

Director: Peter Bogdanovich | Stars: Justine Waddell, Michael Weatherly, Matthew Settle, Colin Friels

Votes: 851

3. In the Best of Families: Marriage, Pride & Madness (1994 TV Movie)

200 min | Drama

After a very messy divorce, a man starts suspecting his ex-wife and her new boyfriend of various crimes.

Director: Jeff Bleckner | Stars: Kelly McGillis, Harry Hamlin, Keith Carradine, Holland Taylor

Votes: 288

4. Murder in the First (1995)

R | 122 min | Drama, Thriller

An eager and idealistic young attorney defends an Alcatraz prisoner accused of murdering a fellow inmate. The extenuating circumstances: his client had just spent over three years in solitary confinement.

Director: Marc Rocco | Stars: Christian Slater, Kevin Bacon, Gary Oldman, Embeth Davidtz

Votes: 24,974 | Gross: $17.38M

5. Saved by the Light (1995 TV Movie)

96 min | Drama

Eric Roberts stars as a violent bully whose life is changed forever after he is struck by lightning and undergoes a bizarre near-death experience, which transforms his personality. Based on a true story.

Director: Lewis Teague | Stars: Eric Roberts, Lynette Walden, K Callan, Don Harvey

Votes: 258

6. Megan Leavey (2017)

PG-13 | 116 min | Biography, Drama, War

66 Metascore

Based on the true life story of a young Marine corporal whose unique discipline and bond with her military combat dog saved many lives during their deployment in Iraq.

Director: Gabriela Cowperthwaite | Stars: Kate Mara, Ramon Rodriguez, Tom Felton, Bradley Whitford

Votes: 19,354 | Gross: $13.41M

7. The Capture of the Green River Killer (2008)

Not Rated | 89 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

A pair of girls seeking adventure beyond the their Western Washington trailer park encounter the area's most ruthless serial killer. Based on Sheriff David Reichert's book, "Chasing the ... See full summary »

Stars: Tom Cavanagh, Currie Graham, Amy Davidson, Ingrid Rogers

Votes: 895

8. Small Sacrifices (1989)

159 min | Crime, Drama, History

A peculiar and disturbing case catches the attention of the police when a young mother and her children, all severely injured, show up in a hospital's emergency room.

Stars: Farrah Fawcett, Ryan O'Neal, Gordon Clapp, John Shea

Votes: 965

9. Murder of Innocence (1993 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 90 min | Drama, Thriller

Newlywed Laurie Wade finds her marriage, and eventually the rest of her life, shattered by her deep-rooted psychotic behavior. She goes from brief "short-circuits" to overtly murderous ... See full summary »

Director: Tom McLoughlin | Stars: Valerie Bertinelli, Stephen Caffrey, Graham Beckel, Jerry Hardin

Votes: 356

10. Living with the Dead (2002 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 142 min | Drama, Sci-Fi, Crime

A man begins to have disturbing visions of dead people, among whom are his mother and victims of a local serial killer. The detective investigating the murders looks to him for help in solving the case.

Director: Stephen Gyllenhaal | Stars: Ted Danson, Mary Steenburgen, Diane Ladd, Michael Moriarty

Votes: 1,153

11. The Karen Carpenter Story (1989 TV Movie)

120 min | Biography, Drama, Music

Story of the meteoric rise and sudden fall of Karen Carpenter, who became a famous singer before battling anorexia and bulimia.

Directors: Joseph Sargent, Richard Carpenter | Stars: Cynthia Gibb, Mitchell Anderson, Peter Michael Goetz, Michael McGuire

Votes: 1,125

12. In the Line of Duty: The F.B.I. Murders (1988 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 92 min | Action, Crime, Drama

Florida 1985: A series of brutal robberies and murders keeps the F.B.I busy. Although all crimes seem to be comitted by the same group, they can't hunt them down. The experienced officer ... See full summary »

Director: Dick Lowry | Stars: Ronny Cox, Bruce Greenwood, Michael Gross, Doug Sheehan

Votes: 718

13. Stalking Laura (1993 TV Movie)

92 min | Crime, Drama, History

A beautiful young computer technician starting off her career in Silicon Valley during the Eighties, is stalked and harassed by a nerdy, dangerous and mentally-unstable colleague with a twisted obsession.

Director: Michael Switzer | Stars: Richard Thomas, Brooke Shields, Viveka Davis, William Allen Young

Votes: 739

14. The Death and Life of Nancy Eaton (2003 TV Movie)

R | Thriller

A wealthy young Canadian department store heiress tries her best to help out a deeply troubled and jealous childhood friend, with disastrous results that shock the whole country.

Director: Jerry Ciccoritti | Stars: Alice Krige, Jessica Paré, Brendan Fletcher, Leslie Hope

Votes: 244

15. Let Him Have It (1991)

R | 115 min | Crime, Drama, History

In 1950s England, slow-witted Derek Bentley falls in with a group of petty criminals led by Chris Craig, a teenager with a fondness for American gangster movies. Chris and Derek's ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Medak | Stars: Tom Courtenay, Christopher Eccleston, Eileen Atkins, Rebecca Eccleston

Votes: 3,086

16. Love, Lies and Murder (1991)

PG-13 | 150 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

When a young housewife is murdered, the cops find her troubled daughter guilty after she confesses to the crime - but was she really the killer?

Stars: Clancy Brown, Sheryl Lee, Moira Kelly, Tom Bower

Votes: 503

17. The Krays (1990)

R | 115 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

70 Metascore

This fact-based movie follows the life of the twin crime-lords in London's '60s underworld.

Director: Peter Medak | Stars: Gary Kemp, Martin Kemp, Billie Whitelaw, Tom Bell

Votes: 7,076 | Gross: $2.06M

18. The Upside (2017)

PG-13 | 126 min | Comedy, Drama

46 Metascore

A comedic look at the relationship between a wealthy man with quadriplegia and an unemployed man with a criminal record who's hired to help him.

Director: Neil Burger | Stars: Kevin Hart, Bryan Cranston, Nicole Kidman, Aja Naomi King

Votes: 30,398 | Gross: $108.25M

19. Her Deadly Rival (1995 TV Movie)

96 min | Drama

A man's marriage is threatened by an unknown admirer.

Director: James Hayman | Stars: Harry Hamlin, Annie Potts, Lisa Zane, Tommy Hinkley

Votes: 186

20. Death Scream (1975 TV Movie)

Unrated | 96 min | Crime, Drama

On March 13, 1964, Catherine "Kitty" Genovese was attacked and viciously stabbed to death several times by a psychopath while nearby residents watched but did nothing to help.

Director: Richard T. Heffron | Stars: Raul Julia, John P. Ryan, Phillip Clark, Lucie Arnaz

Votes: 140

21. Something for Joey (1977 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 96 min | Drama, Sport

This is based on the true story about the relationship between Penn State football player John Cappelletti, Jr. and his younger brother Joey, who has leukemia. John and Joey's bond is a ... See full summary »

Director: Lou Antonio | Stars: Geraldine Page, Gerald S. O'Loughlin, Marc Singer, Jeff Lynas

Votes: 460

22. The Siege at Ruby Ridge (1996 TV Movie)

192 min | Drama, History

A mini-series dramatization of the controversial 1992 attack by federal agents on the Idaho home of Randy Weaver, a white seperatist. The ten-day siege, begun over a minor gun charge, ... See full summary »

Director: Roger Young | Stars: Laura Dern, Randy Quaid, Kirsten Dunst, Darren E. Burrows

Votes: 519

23. Unforgivable (1996 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 95 min | Drama

A man who batters women, after nearly killing his girlfriend in a violent rage, finds himself facing his own demons when he is forced to join an innovative group therapy program for abusive men.

Director: Graeme Campbell | Stars: John Ritter, Harley Jane Kozak, Kevin Dunn, Susan Gibney

Votes: 260

24. In Broad Daylight (1991 TV Movie)

90 min | Drama, Thriller

The fanatically uncompromising Len Rowan and his family insult and terrorize the citizens of a small town for years. One day the comment of a saleswoman about Len's son not being able to ... See full summary »

Director: James Steven Sadwith | Stars: Brian Dennehy, Cloris Leachman, Marcia Gay Harden, Chris Cooper

Votes: 531

25. Perfect Murder, Perfect Town: JonBenét and the City of Boulder (2000 TV Movie)

178 min | Crime, Drama

About the infamous murder of six year old child beauty pageant contestant Jonbenet Ramsey and the hysterical media coverage that made the investigation even more difficult.

Director: Lawrence Schiller | Stars: Kris Kristofferson, Marg Helgenberger, Ronny Cox, Ken Howard

Votes: 512

26. A Is for Acid (2002 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 99 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

John George Haigh, the notorious "acid bath murderer" in 1940s England, becomes the subject of this dramatization.

Director: Harry Bradbeer | Stars: Martin Clunes, Keeley Hawes, Richard Hope, Celia Imrie

Votes: 503

27. A Death in Canaan (1978 TV Movie)

125 min | Drama

When a teenager is accused of his mother's murder, the community of Canaan rallies to his defense.

Director: Tony Richardson | Stars: Stefanie Powers, Paul Clemens, Tom Atkins, Jacqueline Brookes

Votes: 125

28. A Cry for Help: The Tracey Thurman Story (1989 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 96 min | Biography, Drama

Tracy Thurman was married to a man who abused her. But he continues to harass her after she gets a restraining order, and the police do little to help. When he brutally beats her and ... See full summary »

Director: Robert Markowitz | Stars: Nancy McKeon, Dale Midkiff, Graham Jarvis, Yvette Heyden

Votes: 965

29. La Bamba (1987)

PG-13 | 108 min | Biography, Drama, Music

65 Metascore

Biographical story of the rise from nowhere of early rock and roll singer Ritchie Valens who died at age 17 in a plane crash with Buddy Holly and the Big Bopper.

Director: Luis Valdez | Stars: Lou Diamond Phillips, Esai Morales, Rosanna DeSoto, Elizabeth Peña

Votes: 25,544 | Gross: $54.22M

30. Brian's Song (1971 TV Movie)

G | 73 min | Biography, Drama, Sport

62 Metascore

Based on the real-life relationship between teammates Brian Piccolo and Gale Sayers and the bond established when Piccolo discovers that he is dying.

Director: Buzz Kulik | Stars: James Caan, Billy Dee Williams, Jack Warden, Bernie Casey

Votes: 6,624

31. The Hunt for the Unicorn Killer (1999 TV Movie)

240 min | Thriller, Drama

An account of early 1970s social activist Ira Einhorn, who murdered his girlfriend and then fled the country.

Director: William A. Graham | Stars: Kevin Anderson, Tom Skerritt, Naomi Watts, Kellie Overbey

Votes: 618

32. The Deliberate Stranger (1986 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 185 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

Based on a true story, this film depicts the life of Theodore Robert Bundy, the serial killer. In 1974, after having murdered several young women, he leaves Seattle for Utah, where he is a ... See full summary »

Director: Marvin J. Chomsky | Stars: Mark Harmon, Frederic Forrest, George Grizzard, Ben Masters

Votes: 2,115

33. Child of Rage (1992 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 94 min | Biography, Drama, Horror

A priest and his wife adopt a brother and a sister, but the girl has terrible outbursts of rage. They get her in treatment and try to find out the reason for this.

Director: Larry Peerce | Stars: Mel Harris, Dwight Schultz, Ashley Peldon, Rosanna DeSoto

Votes: 639

34. Deadly Intentions (1985 TV Movie)

200 min | Crime, Thriller, Drama

A young, naive woman falls for and marries a doctor but then she realizes that he is not what he seemed.

Director: Noel Black | Stars: Michael Biehn, Madolyn Smith Osborne, Morgana King, Jack Kruschen

Votes: 331

35. Out of the Darkness (1985 TV Movie)

R | 94 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

"Out of the Darkness" is a gripping thriller telling the true story of the hunt and capture of David Berkowitz, a.k.a. "Son of Sam" - the infamous serial killer who stalked New York City in... See full summary »

Director: Jud Taylor | Stars: Martin Sheen, Hector Elizondo, Matt Clark, Jennifer Salt

Votes: 309

36. Fatal Vows: The Alexandra O'Hara Story (1994 TV Movie)

89 min | Drama

A woman unwittingly marries a psychopathic serial killer.

Director: John Power | Stars: John Stamos, Cynthia Gibb, David Faustino, Sean McCann

Votes: 263

37. Citizen X (1995 TV Movie)

R | 105 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

During the 1980s, Soviet authorities hunt for a serial killer who picks his victims in railway stations and commuter trains and lures them into the woods.

Director: Chris Gerolmo | Stars: Stephen Rea, Donald Sutherland, Max von Sydow, Jeffrey DeMunn

Votes: 15,856

38. The Perfect Mother (1997 TV Movie)

92 min | Drama

Since self-made immigrant Nico Podaras's death, widow Elenie runs his lucrative garage, with an illegal side business, generously using the profits to keep control of their three sons' ... See full summary »

Director: Peter Levin | Stars: Tyne Daly, Ione Skye, Louis Ferreira, Tuesday Knight

Votes: 236

39. A Place to Be Loved (1993 TV Movie)

95 min | Biography, Drama, Family

Gregory Kingsley, a boy passed off onto social services by his natural mother and abused by his natural father, finds the foster family he is put into to be the type of family he needs and ... See full summary »

Director: Sandy Smolan | Stars: Richard Crenna, Rhea Perlman, Linda Kelsey, Cotter Smith

Votes: 115

40. Murder in Coweta County (1983 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 100 min | Crime, Drama

In 1948, in rural Georgia, Coweta County is watched over by its legendary, indomitable Sheriff Lamar Potts (Johnny Cash). No felony had ever gone unsolved while Sheriff Potts was in charge.... See full summary »

Director: Gary Nelson | Stars: Johnny Cash, Andy Griffith, Earl Hindman, Ed Van Nuys

Votes: 391

41. Innocent Victims (1996 TV Movie)

240 min | Crime, Drama

Defense attorneys attempt to reverse Timothy Hennis' supposed wrongful prosecution on three charges of murder and his sentence to death.

Director: Gilbert Cates | Stars: Ricky Schroder, John Corbett, Tom Irwin, Howard Hesseman

Votes: 187

42. A Killer in the Family (1983 TV Movie)

90 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A father serving time for murder convinces his three teenage sons that his life is being threatened by fellow inmates and that they should break him out of jail. However, when his sons ... See full summary »

Director: Richard T. Heffron | Stars: Robert Mitchum, James Spader, Lance Kerwin, Eric Stoltz

Votes: 480

43. A Family Torn Apart (1993 TV Movie)

98 min | Crime, Drama, Horror

A teenage boy finds his mother and father murdered in their home but as the story goes on he reveals he knows more than he is letting on.

Director: Craig R. Baxley | Stars: Neil Patrick Harris, Johnny Galecki, Linda Kelsey, John M. Jackson

Votes: 390

44. 44 Minutes: The North Hollywood Shoot-Out (2003 TV Movie)

R | 103 min | Action, Crime, Drama

After a failed bank robbery, two heavily armed men hold the Los Angeles Police Department at bay for 44 minutes.

Director: Yves Simoneau | Stars: Michael Madsen, Ron Livingston, Ray Baker, Douglas Spain

Votes: 4,897

45. See No Evil: The Moors Murders (2006)

180 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

A vivid drama that documents the notorious "Moors murderers", Ian Brady and Myra Hindley.

Stars: Joanne Froggatt, Maxine Peake, Sean Harris, Matthew McNulty

Votes: 999

46. Love and Hate (1989 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 120 min | Drama

Narcissistic Saskatchewan Tory politician Colin Thatcher is engaged in a bitter divorce from wife Joanne. When the court rules in Joanne's favour, Thatcher hires a hit man to kill his wife, and almost gets away with it.

Director: Francis Mankiewicz | Stars: Kate Nelligan, Kenneth Welsh, Robert Benson, Leon Pownall

Votes: 107

47. This Is Personal: The Hunt for the Yorkshire Ripper (2000)

120 min | Crime, Drama

This is a dramatisation of the real-life investigation into the notorious Yorkshire Ripper murders of the late 1970s, showing the effect that it had on the health and career of Assistant ... See full summary »

Stars: Gerard Horan, Stephen Moore, Claire Webzell, Paul Angelis

Votes: 264

48. Harold Shipman: Doctor Death (2002 TV Movie)

98 min | Drama

6.8