Quantifying truthfulness in films "based on a true story"

With awards season upon us, lots of films "based on a true story" are in contention. It gives films a little emotional boost to say it really happened, but how much of the film is true? David McCandless created a metric to quantify it based on scene-by-scene analysts. So Selma hets a 100%, and The Imitation game gets 41.4%.

Here’s how the truth levels break down.

» 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 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.

Based on a True True Story? (Information Is Beautiful)

Notable Replies

  1. Wow, I'll bet The Blair Witch Project scored really low.

  2. Ratel says:

    No Fargo = fail.

  3. I didn't watch The Imitation Game when it was on UK TV a day or so ago, because I'm fairly familiar with the source material and didn't want to spend an evening shouting at a film.

    It just occurred to me that I'm happy to watch and enjoy Amadeus, which is almost entirely fictional, because I just treat it as a play whose characters share names, job titles and a couple of characteristics with historical figures. Maybe it's because Amadeus is a better piece: but how would I know?

  4. Very nice. Could they please do cable channels next?

  5. jerwin says:

    This scene is FALSE?


    I don't want to live anymore.

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