Movies Based On Crimes

Hollywood seems to never run out of ideas for the latest and greatest movies being produced and there is a reason. Many of the well-known horror movies to date are actually based on true crimes and notorious murders who have left their harsh mark on reality. Here is the surprising truth behind these films that will leave any horror film fan shaking to their core.


Amanda Knox


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The movie it inspired: The Face of an Angel


The 2011 film, starring Hayden Panettiere as Amanda Knox, is based on the murder of exchange student Meredith Kercher in Perugia, Italy. The film has been updated noting the subsequent acquittal of Knox and Sollecito on appeal.



Frank Lucas


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The movie it inspired: American Gangster


Lucas was a narcotics trafficker who operated in Harlem from the 196os to the 1970s. He is notoriously known for having smuggled illegal substances using the coffins of dead American servicemen. Interestingly enough, Lucas appeared on set during filming American Gangster to provide advice such as how he carried his gun.


Robert Durst


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The movie it inspired: All Good Things


Starring Ryan Gosling and Kirsten Dunst, All Good Things was inspired by the life of the accused murderer Robert Durst. Durst is suspected of having murdered three people, including his first wife Kathleen McCormack Durst. Durst’s next trial date is scheduled for 2020.



John du Pont


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The movie it inspired: Foxcatcher


At the time of his murder, Dave Schultz was one of America’s most accomplished Olympic wrestlers. On January 26, 1996, Schultz was murdered in cold blood by John du Pont, who used his fortune to run one of the premier wrestling training champions in the world. No one was ever really sure why du Pont did what he did. Schultz’s wife was asked by the 9-1-1 operator why du Pont had done it, she replied, “Because he’s insane!”


Bradley Murdoch


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The movie it inspired: Wolf Creek


Murdoch had plenty of run-ins with the law throughout his life. In 2003, the same year he was acquitted for abuse and abduction charges, Murdoch was arrested and charged with the murder of English backpacker Peter Falconio.



The West Memphis Three


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The movie it inspired: Devil’s Knot


Adopted from Mara Leveritt’s 2002 book of the same name, Devil’s Knot is about the true story of three murdered children and the three teenagers, known as the West Memphis Three, who were convicted of killing them. Jason Baldwin and Jessie Misskelley received life sentences without parole and Damien Echols received the death penalty.


Bonnie & Clyde


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The movie it inspired: Bonnie and Clyde


Probably the most notorious criminal couple to have ever traveled the United States robbing banks and gas stations. Bonnie and Clyde murdered at least nine police officers and four civilians. The 1967 film Bonnie and Clyde glamorized the pair with a romantic aura.



Steven Jay Russell


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The movie it inspired: I Love You Phillip Morris


Russell is a con artist who escaped from prison multiple times. While incarcerated, Russell fell in love with fellow inmate, Phillip Morris. Russell escaped prison four times to be reunited with Morris after his partner was released.  His crimes were also featured on the television show I Almost Got Away with It in an episode titled “Got A Boyfriend to Support.”


John Christie


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The movie it inspired: 10 Rillington Place


The film dramatizes British serial killer John Christie. He murdered at least eight people, including his wife, Ethel, by strangling them in his apartment at 10 Rillington Place, London. Christie moved out of his flat, but soon afterward three of his victims were discovered in the alcove in the kitchen. Two other victims were found in the garden, and his wife was found beneath the floorboards.



Karla Homolka & Paul Bernardo


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The movie it inspired: Karla


The 2006 physiological thriller is based on the crimes of Canadian serial killers Paul Bernardo and Karla Homolka. Karla and her husband abused and murdered at least three minors, as well as her sister, Tammy, which the two recorded.


Robert Berdella


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The movie it inspired: Berdella


Also known as the Kansas City Butcher and The Collector, Berdella kidnapped, abused, tortured, and murdered at least six men between 1985 and 1987. He would force his victims to endure weeks of captivity before they met their grisly end. Berdella described his murders as being “some of my darkest fantasies becoming my reality.”



Richard Hickock & Perry Smith


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Mondadori Portfolio/
Mondadori Portfolio


The movie it inspired: In Cold Blood


The 1967 crime film was based on Truman Capote’s nonfiction book of the same name. It’s about two murderers, Richard Hickock and Perry Smith, who break into the wealthy Clutter family home to steal money. In order to leave no witnesses, they murdered the whole Clutter family, including their two teenage daughters.