Based on a True Story?

A great infographic makes the truth visible. This one does so in a very literal sense. Based on a True True Story? is a visualization of the veracity of Hollywood films that claim to be based on actual facts. Using a scene-by-scene breakdown, every movie is judged against the historical facts it portrays.


Information designer David McCandless of the always interesting Information Is Beautiful uses different shades of color to show us which scenes are true and false, which are true-ish or false-ish. The result is as revealing as it is pretty. That some Hollywood films play fast and loose with the historical facts should come as no surprise. (Although the amount of rewritten history differs wildly: compare for instance just how much of the tales of Captain Phillips and of American Sniper Chris Kyle was modified in their respective biopics). But these infographics also reveal where those liberties with the facts are taken in the movies’ timelines. The Social Network apparently had to make up a lot of the early lore surrounding Facebook, while Scorsese bent the facts to spice up the third act of his Wolf of Wall Street.