This Plug-In Fact Checks 'Based on a True Story' Films in Real Time

What is a Biopic? (Definition and Examples)
'Bohemian Rhapsody'Credit: Fox
Is cinema telling the truth? 

I love a good movie based on a true story. Sure, they can be formulaic, but I think they take us on a journey throughout the best of humanity. But how much of them are real? I often find myself doing a deep dive on Google after watching. 

Sometimes I am surprised... other times I am extremely let down. 

What if I told you there was a plugin that fact-checked some movie titles in real-time for you? 

The "Based on a True Story" app had its concept & design done by David McCandless, its research done by Dr. Stephanie Starling, and code written by Omid Kashan

Every story gets an overall score based on the veracity of what happens on the screen, and every scene is coded based on the researched truth of the event or person. 

The color-coded truth tests. Credit: Information is Beautiful


Here’s how the truth levels break down: 

The color grades.

  • UNKNOWN We couldn’t verify it or the sources were secret (i.e. personal diaries)
  • FALSE Out and out didn’t happen, or outrageous dramatic license was taken.
  • FALSE-ISH Pretty false but with reasonable/understandable dramatic license.
  • TRUE-ISH Some tweaks but true in spirit. Or a mix of true and false.
  • TRUE Pretty much as it happened.

Check out this grab from The Wolf of Wall Street datasheet - it goes in-depth on what they researched. Every movie has these sheets available here

In just the first few minutes you can see the fact checking on display. Credit: Wolf of Wall Street

What films are available? 

  • Wolf of Wall Street
  • Dallas Buyers Club
  • The King's Speech
  • Rush
  • The Social Network 
  • The Big Short
  • Spotlight
  • Captain Phillips
  • Philomena
  • Bridge of Spies
  • Imitation Game
  • 12 Years a Slave
  • American Sniper
  • Selma
  • Hidden Figures
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Lion
  • Bohemian Rhapsody

This is obviously a really fun journey into how storytelling meshes with facts to build a movie. What are some movies you want to see them do? 

See the data for even more detail or sign up to be notified when they add new movies!      

Your Comment

1 Comment

Cool website! Where's the plug-in, how do I download it, and how does it present the data in real-time?

September 8, 2020 at 4:15PM

Nicholas Tinsley