15 True Crime Stories Turned Into TV Shows or Movies

true crime movies
Mandatory Credit: Photo by NICK UT/AP/REX/Shutterstock (6527483a) Simpson Shapiro O.J. Simpson and defense attorney Robert Shapiro sit in a Los Angeles Superior courtroom, as Judge Lance Ito refused a request to open an afternoon session to the media SIMPSON TRIAL, LOS ANGELES, USA
Photo by NICK UT/AP/REX/Shutterstock

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* Serial killers, mobsters, cult leaders and more
* Some titles free with Amazon Prime trial
* Featuring stars like Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, Johnny Depp and Charlize Theron

And old adage says you shouldn’t be afraid of movie monsters because it’s real life people who stab you in the back.  With that in mind, we rounded up the top 15 movies and television series based on real life crimes. Click through to watch online.

people vs oj simpsonImage courtesy FX

1. The People v. O.J. Simpson (2016)

With an all-star cast including Cuba Gooding Jr., John Travolta and Sarah Paulson, this television series dramatizes O.J. Simpson’s trial for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown and her friend Ron Goldman. It won nine Emmy Awards and two Golden Globes.

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JFK MovieImage courtesy Warner Bros.

2. JFK (1991)

Oliver Stone’s thriller examines the events and myths surrounding the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy. Although the Warren Commission ultimately found Lee Harvey Oswald responsible for the murder, conspiracy theories and rumors persist to this day. Starring Kevin Costner, Kevin Bacon, and Tommy Lee Jones.

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wonderland movieImage courtesy Lionsgate

3. Wonderland (2003)

Val Kilmer leads an ensemble cast in the role of adult film icon John Holmes, a key player in the real life Wonderland Murders of 1981. Also starring Kate Bosworth, Dylan McDermott, Carrie Fisher, Lisa Kudrow, Josh Lucas, Christina Applegate, Tim Blake Nelson and Janeane Garofalo.

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copycat movieImage courtesy Warner Bros.

4. Copycat (1995)

Starring Sigourney Weaver, Holly Hunter and Dermot Mulroney, this movie isn’t based on any single murderer per se. Instead, it tells the story of a serial killer who mimics the “greatest hits” of the 20th Century’s most notorious maniacs, including The Hillside Strangler, Son of Sam, Jeffrey Dahmer and Ted Bundy.

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zodiac movieImage courtesy Warner Bros.

5. Zodiac (2007)

Starring Jake Gyllenhaal, Mark Ruffalo and Robert Downey, Jr., this movie dramatizes the still-unsolved Zodiac murders of Northern California. The killer was never caught, despite sending cryptic letters to newsrooms and detectives investigating the case.

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donnie brascoImage courtesy TriStar Pictures

6. Donnie Brasco (1997)

Al Pacino and Johnny Depp star in this crime drama, which depicts the story of FBI agent Joseph D. Pistone. During the 1970s, Pistone infiltrated the Bonanno crime family in New York City using the alias Donnie Brasco.

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wizard of liesImage courtesy HBO

7. The Wizard of Lies (2017)

At the height of the 2008 financial crisis, it was revealed that Wall Street baron Bernie Madoff’s exclusive investment fund was a massive Ponzi scheme. Robert De Niro and Michelle Pfeiffer star in HBO’s dramatization of one of the largest frauds in history.

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foxcatcher movieImage courtesy Sony Pictures

8. Foxcatcher (2014)

This biographical drama tells the story of  John E. du Pont, heir to the E.I. du Pont family fortune, who recruited an Olympic wrestling team to train on his family estate before devolving into madness and murdering one of his wrestlers. Starring Steve Carell, Channing Tatum and Mark Ruffalo.

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Helter SkelterImage courtesy Warner Bros.

9. Helter Skelter (1976)

Before the Simpson trial took the title of “Trial of the Century,” there was the Manson Family. Charismatic guru Charles Manson led a group of drug addled hippies to commit two nights of mass murder in Los Angeles during the summer of 1969. The motive? To ignite an apocalyptic race war. Starring George DiCenzo and Steve Railsback.

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monster movieImage courtesy Newmarket Films

10. Monster (2003)

Charlize Theron won an Academy Award for her depiction of Aileen Wuornos, a Florida prostitute who murdered six men and was eventually executed in 2002. The film co-stars Christina Ricci.

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party monsterImage courtesy World of Wonder

11. Party Monster (2003)

Adapted from James St. James’ memoir Disco Bloodbath, Party Monster tells the story of party promoter and “king of the Club Kids” Michael Alig, whose creative genius got him to the pinnacle of New York nightlife in the 1990s, before drug addiction led to the murder of his friend and dealer Angel Melendez. Starring Macaulay Culkin, Seth Green and Chloë Sevigny.

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goodfellasImage courtesy Warner Bros.

12. Goodfellas (1990)

Starring Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, and Ray Liotta, Martin Scorsese’s Goodfellas was adapted from the non-fiction book book Wiseguy by Nicholas Pileggi. It’s the story of New York City mafia associate Henry Hill’s rise and fall.

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bonnie and clyde filmImage courtesy Warner Bros.

13. Bonnie and Clyde (1967)

Warren Beatty and Faye Dunaway portray the Depression-era lovers who go on a crime spree that ends in a shootout with police. Also starring Gene Hackman and Estelle Parsons, who won an Academy Award for her role, it was one of the first films of the New Hollywood era of sex and violence on the silver screen.

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The Texas Chain Saw MassacreImage courtesy Bryanston Pictures

14. The Texas Chain Saw Massacre (1974)

Many know The Texas Chain Saw Massacre as one of the most brutally violent movies of the 1970s, but few know that Leatherface was based on the real life murderer Ed Gein, who exhumed his victims’ corpses in order to collect trophies. They included human skin found laying over chairs in his home and skulls adorning his bedposts.

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in cold bloodImage courtesy Columbia Pictures

15. In Cold Blood (1967)

The film adaptation of Truman Capote’s book of the same name portrays the 1959 murders of the of the Clutter family in Holcomb, Kansas from the burglary that led to the murders through the trial, conviction and execution of the men who committed the terrible crime.

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5 years
Waoh, never knew some of my classic were based on real happenings

5 years
Waoh, never knew some of my classic were based on real happenings