True Stories: From Books to Film

It’s Oscar time again and this year movies based on real events are getting a lot of buzz.  Check out these titles to learn the true stories behind the movies.

 behind every code the enigma

The Imitation Game – Benedict Cumberbatch stars as code-breaker and computing pioneer Alan Turing.  The movie has gained 8 Oscar nomination (including ones for best picture and for best actor) but some have criticized its historical accuracy and portrayal of Turing. Alan Turing: The Enigma by Andrew Hodges inspired the movie and gives a more in depth and nuanced portrayal of Turing.

Also check out Turing: Pioneer of the Information Age by B. Jack Copeland.


Selma – Directed by Ava DuVernay this long-awaited film chronicling a tumultuous period of American history, Selma tells the story of the march, led Martin Luther King Jr., from Selma to Montgomery to secure equal voting rights that culminated with President Lyndon B. Johnson signing the Voting Rights Act.  This film only received two Oscar nominations, including one for best picture, causing great controversy. March: Book One written by John Lewis, also featured in the film, tells the beginning of the story of the march from the perspective of one who was there.

Keep an eye out for March: Book Two also by John Lewis.

the theory my brief

The Theory of Everything – This film tells the story of renowned physicist, Stephen Hawking, chronicling his study of the nature of time, his life-changing diagnosis, and, most of all, his love story with his future wife, Jane. It earned 5 Oscar nominations, including two for leading duo Eddie Redmayne and Felicity Jones. If you want to learn more about Stephen Hawking’s life check out his autobiography My Brief History.

If you want to know more about his latest science, be sure to read The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking and Leonard Mlodinow.

american sn american sniper

American Sniper – This Clint Eastwood directed film tells the story of Chris Kyle, the most lethal sniper in U.S. history, focusing on his trials on and off the battlefield.  It received 6 Oscar nominations, including one for best picture and one for lead actor, Bradley Cooper.  Read Kyle’s autobiography of the same title to gain more insight into his life.

For more stories of American service members check out Redeployment by Phil Klay.

fox foxcatcher

Foxcatcher – Channing Tatum, Steve Carrell and Mark Ruffalo star in this true crime drama about an Olympic wrestler, Mark Schultz, who is drawn into destructive habits by the controlling eccentric millionaire, John du Pont. It is nominated for 5 Oscars, including one apiece for Steve Carrell and Mark Ruffalo. Read more about the riveting true life events in Foxcatcher by Mark Schultz with David Thomas.

If true crime is your choice, be sure to check out the classic In Cold Blood by Truman Capote.



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