There’s nothing most of us like more than a good old weepy movie to teach us that humans after all aren’t that bad, and nothing clinches the deal more than being able to say “…and it’s a true story you know”. Having taken a look at the new film being released by Sony Extraordinary Measures starring Harrison Ford and Brendan Fraser, we feel that this could potentially feature right up their with our favourite true stories.
Sit back as we take a look at the true life stories that have taken our hearts by storm via the big screen…
Extraordinary Measures – not to give too much away about the film, this story follows John Crowley (Brendan Fraser) with the aid of Dr. Robert Stonehill (played by Harrison Ford), trying to save the life of his two children who have been diagnosed with the life threatening disease Pomp. With first-rate performances by both Ford and Fraser it’s guaranteed to become a classic.
Erin Brockovich – Julia Robert’s was the perfect fit for this stories feisty and determined heroine, displaying tenacity in the face of adversity and just generally never backing down when the big boys play to intimidate. Erin is a former beauty queen who never quite made it through college, and a single mother with three kids struggling to pay the bills. After losing a personal injury lawsuit against a doctor Erin asks her lawyer for a job in compensation for losing her case, paving the way for the her to tackle the case that would lead to the biggest settlement ever paid in a direct action lawsuit in U.S. History against the Pacific Gas and Electric Company. Erin helped over 600 residents of Hinkley (a small town in America) gain the compensation they deserved.
Real life heart warmer: The real Erin Brochovich has not let fame go to her head and is still doing wonders for ordinary people all around the US on a daily basis and working on numerous charity projects. She apparently also still answers every single item of fan mail she receives personally.
Men of Honor – a story about overcoming adversity again and again - Cuba Gooding, Jr as Carl Brashear won’t let anything stand in the way of his dream of becoming a master diver; not race, not lack of education, not disability, nothing. Managing to leave his native Kentucky by joining up to the US Navy, Carl is first inspired by the bravery of a diver - Master Chief Petty Officer played by Robert De Niro, and vows to become the first qualified African American Navy diver. In the face of educational shortcomings, racism, and a sprinkling of ‘accidents’ along the way Carl eventually graduates from diving school and begins earning the admiration he deserves. His success takes him overseas to take part in the 1966 recovery of a US Nuclear missile, where an accident leaves him without the lower half of his left leg. Trailblazing once again Carl returns to become the first amputee to be a certified diver, and went onto have a further successful 10 years serving with the U.S Navy ultimately achieving the rank of Master Chief Boatswain's Mate in 1971.
Real life heart warmer: Throughout his life Carl Brashear was motivated by his beliefs that "It's not a sin to get knocked down; it's a sin to stay down" and "I ain't going to let nobody steal my dream".
Schindler’s List - a Steven Spielberg film starring Liam Neeson, Schindler’s List is based on the life of Oskar Schindler starting shortly after the outbreak of WWII. Oskar is a German business man known for his drinking, womanizing and business failures. He arrives in Nazi occupied Poland in 1939 hoping to make his fortune as a War Profiteer and swiftly sets about bribing any official who comes his way, earning himself a great reputation amongst the military and important members of the National Social Party as “Herr Direktor”. Aided in his efforts by Itzhak Stern (play by Sir Ben Kingsley) Oskar is able to take over a successful business producing army mess kits, and the duo start falsifying documents testifying that certain Jewish works are “essential” to the German War effort, saving them from new Plaszów concentration camp or death. Over the following years Oskar and Itzhak together will save the lives of over a thousand Polish Jews through providing falsified documents and employing them in one of Oskar’s factories.
Real life heart warmer: No-one ever really found out what Schindler’s motives were for rescuing those who worked in his factories at great personal risk, and so his actions remaining an unsullied example of humanity and integrity.
The Pursuit of Happyness – sees the theatrical debut of Jaden Smith, son of Will Smith, who also stars in this film. The Pursuit of Happyness is the uplifting story about Chris Gardner (Will Smith) who, having been abandoned by his wife, takes on a challenging internship hoping to eventually become a stock brokerm, so as to better provide for himself and his child. Various bumps lie in Chris’ path, not least losing his house when the IRS take his last $600 for tax, meaning he and his son have no-where to live. Throughout the film we see Gardner juggling the demands of single parenthood with the strenuous workload that his internship requires, ultimately gaining the coveted job at Glyde and so securing his financial future, proving that his struggle was worth it.
Real life heart warmer: Chris Gardner is now a well-to-do business man who has many and diverse philanthropic ventures, including sponsorship of the Glide Memorial United Methodist Church, where he and his son Christopher were given much needed shelter when they were between homes.
Hotel Rwanda - Don Cheadle stars as the hero in this 2004 biopic about Paul Rusesabagina, an hotelier caught in the middle of the 1994 Rwandan genocide who puts his life on the line to save his wife (a native Tutsi) and over a thousand refugees. In a Rwanda where corruption and bribery are rife, and political friction between the Hutu and Tutsi tribes is barely being kept under control by the authorities, Paul is the manager of Hôtel des Mille Collines. As civil war erupts Paul manages, through correctly placed bribes and favours, to save both his family and their neighbours, so that as word of this spreads more and more refugees poor into his hotel looking for shelter. For Paul it is crucial to maintain the façade of high-class hotel in order to divert the soldiers that come looking for Tutsi people, and we follow his struggle to do this while care for both the refugees and provide strength for his family.
Real life heart warmer: Following the success of Hotel Rwana Paul Rusesabagina started up the Hotel Rwanda Rusesabagina Foundation (HRRF) to provide financial assistance to the women and children affected by the genocides in Rwanda and other African nations, and he has also received numerous rewards for his actions in Rwanda.
Seabiscuit – following the story of three men whose fortunes are raised through association with an unlikely champion, Seabiscuit, is a classic underdog story that captured the imagination of America. Unusual in that it mainly concerns the life of a horse, the story relates the racing career of an undersized thoroughbred racehorse whose talents are overlooked until he crosses paths with jockey Red Pollard, whose family have been a victim of the Great Depression. Red himself has to overcome a myriad of obstacles, including being almost blind in eye, a rage problem and a dodgy leg, before finally being able to race Seabiscuit to racing glory at the Santa Anita track.
Real life heart warmer: Overall Red Pollard rode the Biscuit 30 times in a competitive situation, and won a total of 18 races - all of which were stake or handicap runs.