Truth is stranger than fiction, they say. So no wonder that many Hollywood movies look for inspiration in real historical events. Think of Dunkirk, Gladiator, 12 Years A Slave, to name just a few award-winning movies inspired by real events.
But we all suspect that history is full of many more incredible, mysterious and hard-to-believe stories hiding in plain sight. “What historical event has not been, but should be, made into a movie?” someone asked on Ask Reddit and the thread turned into legit notes someone should show to the film directors who’re hungry for ideas.
Below we selected some of the most interesting responses, so pull your seats closer, everyone!
A black slave that stole a confederate transport ship, freed the slaves aboard, and sailed it to the union to be converted into a warship. Oh and then he became a congressman in South Carolina.
Richard Rescola, the man who singlehandedly saved 2700 people in the South Tower during 9/11. A Vietnam vet, he was an adventure-seeker before settling down at Morgan Stanley’s WTC offices. He regularly held evacuation drills after predicting the previous explosives attack on the WTC, so he was prepared for 9/11. He evacuated his entire office against protocol and saved everyone but himself – he went back up shortly before the towers collapsed in search of survivors. Can’t think of anyone better suited to play him than Tom Hanks, I hope this movie is made someday!
Julie D’Aubigny was a 17th-century bisexual French opera singer and fencing master who killed or wounded at least ten men in life-or-death duels, performed nightly shows on the biggest and most highly-respected opera stage in the world, and once took the Holy Orders just so that she could sneak into a convent and bang a nun.
in 1943, a hospital in Rome located next to a Jewish ghetto, let Jews fleeing Nazi raids hide there. The professors in charge admitted Jews under the fake diagnosis of “Syndrome K”, described as a highly contagious and dangerous disease. This successfully kept the Nazis out of the quarantine wards and the Jews safe for the duration of the war.
The 1921 Tulsa Massacre… To this day they still haven’t found where these demonic savages buried the 400+ bodies of their victims..
w the assist of the US gov & National Guard , whites from surrounding towns slaughtered an entire town of wealthy Black families, children. professors, war veterans, doctors, architects etc…. then burned their beautiful homes, hospitals, schools to the ground.
Survivors were rounded up and put in camps for no reason other than white racist hate
US literally dropped BOMBS from above..the ONLY time in history the US gov attacked and bombed a US city.
An atrocity so shocking… It was not even talked about afterwards.. Most Americans had no idea it even occurred til 5 yrs ago.
There was an engineer at NASA named Roger Boisjoly who knew the Challenger was going to explode and he tried to tell people but nobody would listen to him. The movie should be called The Man Who Knew.
Night witches ~ Russian female pilots that flew night bombing raids in world war 2.
This is what I came here to say! They were epically badass.
They would fly in, in wooden planes, and cut their engine to get over their target so they wouldn’t be heard. They were called Witches because all you could hear was the wooshing sound of the wind over their wooden planes. They’d drop their bomb and then restart it. Sometimes their bombs would stick and not drop from their location on the wing so they’d climb onto the wing in midair and release it. They didn’t even have parachutes in their planes. The cockpits were open air so it was freezing cold. And of course they were treated like absolute sh** by everyone, especially the male fighters.
I. Want. This. Story.
I need a Coen brothers movie of the 1904 Olympic marathon.
Just keeps getting more bonkers.
– Over half of the 32 entrants did not finish the marathon.
– The marathon’s first “winner” got his picture taken with the US President’s daughter. Then it turned out that he cheated by hitching a ride in a car.
– The second “winner” had been doped with rat poison, and was carried over the finish line by his friends. If he hadn’t received immediate medical attention, he would have died on site.
– Multiple runners, including the winners of the previous two years’ Boston Marathons, got lung injuries from dust kicked up by the race officials’ cars.
– The fourth-place finisher got sick on the way, having stolen apples that turned out to be rotten from a nearby orchard.
– The ninth-place finisher might have placed better if he hadn’t been chased off course by wild dogs.
– One of the organizers believed that “purposeful dehydration” would help the runners, and had deliberately limited the water sources available to the runners.
Also keep in mind that the 4th place finisher was a 5 foot tall Cuban man who raised the money to get to the race by walking the entire length of his country, and then immediately blew all his funds gambling as soon as he landed in New Orleans, so he hitchhiked the rest of the way to St. Louis before running the marathon in dress shoes and formal pants that he had cut off the knee just before the race started.
Unless it’s been done already, the life story of Ching Shih. She was a Chinese prostitute that because the deadliest pirate of all time.
At the height of her power, she commanded over 800 large ships, 1000 smaller vessels and over 70,000 pirate crew, comprised of both men and women.
I always wondered if babies were born in concentration camps during WWII. Indeed there were and there is a nurse named Stanislawa Leszczyńska who tried to save those babies and she has an amazing story.
The adventures of Simo Häyhä.
Usually in Finland we don’t put war heroes on a pedestal, but Häyhä has gotten so much attention thanks to YouTube that his story could be quite interesting.
He is one of my favorite historical figures. Around 500 kills with only a sub machine gun and a sniper rifle with no scope because he didn’t want glare on the lens to give his position away. Also he laid in the snow eating snow and ice to keep his mouth cold so he didn’t breathe steam. Russians moved artillery just to try and kill this one man. He almost died by getting shot in the face with an exploding shell and woke up in the hospital with a permanently disfigured face and instantly requested to be sent back to the front lines! All this and he was just a farmer who volunteered for the war!
FedEx flight 705
TL:DR – Man tries to hijack plane to get insurance money to send kids to college, crew fight back, jet basically turns into weapon for them.
The backstory of the hijacker ~~was a tragedy~~ ~~very unfortunate~~ never fell into his favor . Auburn Calloway was a Stanford graduate who loved his family, but couldn’t afford to send his kids to college. He used his experience as a navy pilot, and the location of Memphis to grab a job at FedEx. He was frustrated at the fact his life amounted to only flying airplanes, when he could have so much more potential. Calloway then devised a plan to die in a plane crash, so that he could send his insurance money to his ex wife, so that his kids can go to college. He was going to be the flight engineer for the same flight, but the day before he falsified flight hours by a single minute , so he was on the verge of unemployment.
On April 7, 1994, he packed a spear gun and hammers to disguise the hijacking as an accident. His plan was to turn off the flight recorder, and then incapacitate the crew with blunt force trauma, since investigators would rule out that they died from the force of hitting the ground. He would use the spear gun as a last resort. He would put the weapons in a guitar case, to not arouse suspicion. This took place before 9/11, so he just walked through without looking suspicious.
He boards the flight, gets acquainted with the crew to lower their guard, and waits. 19 minutes into the flight, he walks into the cockpit, and hits everyone with hammers.
First Officer Jim Tucker, was rendered unconscious. The other two crew, Captain David Sanders and flight engineer Andre Peterson get off of their seats to stop Calloway, but he threatens them with the speargun he got from the back.
Here’s the crazy part.
Calloway f****d with the wrong crew.
Peterson grabs the gun, and starts to wrangle it away. Sanders joins him in trying to stop Calloway.
Tucker, still dizzy and disoriented, realizes the situation, and goes back to what he learned. Ex-Navy, Vietnam vet, he knows a thing or two about planes.
He treats the jet like it’s a fighter aircraft. Turning it 140 degrees (basically) upside down, it pushed the bounds of what an DC-10 could do.
There’s a fight in the cargo hold between two injured crew members and a man who had nothing to lose, and a half conscious pilot who is treating the jet like a fighter, flipping the plane upside down so that his crew could overtake the hijacker.
They take a u-turn back to Memphis, emergency landing, about a mile above the ground. The problem is, is that the plane is too heavy, too fast, and too high. There’s a real chance adrenaline will impair their movements and overshoot the runway.
They land, SWAT arrest Calloway, and everyone is sent to the hospital. The damage that Calloway has done to the crew unfortunately makes the crew not able to fly commercially again.
The plane is still in service, but it was upgraded… without the flight engineer position.
I learned about this in this plane investigation series on YouTube, and it astounds me how this literally has never been turned into a movie.
The story of the Pan Am flight that got caught in New Zealand at the start of WWII and couldn’t fly back home by going east because it was too dangerous. So instead they took their flying boat and flew west on routes they had to figure out from maps pulled from borrowed encyclopedias, dodging the Japanese, and trying to find enough fule to keep the plane going. The whole thing took months culminating in taking off from a river in the Congo and having to skim along through a canyon to build up speed since they were too heavy in order to even have a chance of crossing the Atlantic. The whole thing is tailor made for TV or a Film. There’s a fantastic book written about the whole story called “The Long Way Home” and was written with the Captain of the flight.
Deborah Sampson. Real life American Mulan – she disguised herself as a man in order to fight in the American Revolution. Not because of her father or anything. She just fervently believed in the cause. And she was friends with Paul Revere
The Haitian Revolution. The only slave revolt that successfully established an independent nation
I’m still shocked there hasn’t been a modern movie about the WASPs of wwii. These were the women who delivered airplanes to the theatre of war straight from the factory. Flying brand new airplanes off the production line, often with known issues that had to be corrected in the field (easier to have the mechanics fix stuff than constantly stop the assembly line). Fighting bad weather in the north Atlantic, dangerous landings, airplane issues, and of course being women. Seems like a gimme for a women’s empowerment movie. Especially today with the shortage of pilots, it could be a very inspiring movie. Or… You know…. Completely f****d up with cgi and over the top b******t.
In 1956 a man named Tommy Fitzpatrick stole a small plane from New Jersey for a bet and then landed it perfectly on the narrow street in front of the bar he had been drinking at in Manhattan. Two years later, he did it again after someone didn’t believe he had done it the first time.
I feel like it could make for a fun comedy movie.
Not sure how there hasn’t been a summer disaster blockbuster flick about The Great Molasses Flood.
The story of Vulcan, a small town in West Virginia who had a collapsed bridge that the state and federal government refused to fix so the township with no other options decided to call America’s biggest rivals at the time, The Soviet Union & East Germany to replace the bridge and they actually did.
So basically, a small town in West Virginia got so pissed off by America’s lack of help that they decided to give a huge middle finger to the rest of the country by getting the Soviets to help them.
The story of the guy who rescued the Titanic surivors. There are plenty of movies about the Titanic sinking, but I want a movie depticitng the Carpathia changing course on a dime and racing the rescue, navigating the same icy waters without stricking an iceberg and picking up all the life boats.
Sophie Blanchard was the world’s first woman to become a professional aeronaut: she had an appointment from Napoleon Bonaparte.
Her husband had been trying to make a living as a balloonist but fell to his death deep in debt. Sophie had a knack for it, giving shows and crossing the Alps in a balloon. She specialized in night flights and set off extremely dangerous fireworks beneath her hydrogen balloon.
At one point she nearly froze to death when her balloon went too high, then she nearly drowned when her balloon landed in a swamp near Naples. After a 15 year career she died in an aviation accident when her balloon caught on fire.
The Cold Case of who murdered Ken Rex McElroy. It is prime material for a dark comedy. This dude was such an unrelenting piece of s**t, buried beneath the prison type scumbags, and terrorized a small rural town his whole life. He’d get away with it everytime because he’d intimidate the f**k out of anyone who sought to press charges against him. Implicated in rape, arson, assault etc. So yeah no tears shed for that psychopath.
Anyway there was a town meeting to discuss what to do with him because everyone was sick of his s**t. The Sheriff told them to just avoid him and set up a neighborhood watch to keep track of him. Right then they found out he was drinking at a bar. Sheriff told them to leave him alone and go home but he had other s**t to do so he left THE COUNTY. So what do these people do? They go to set up that neighborhood watch….neighborhood watch this man die.
Over 60 people travel to the bar Ken is at where they crowded him as he drinks and slings insults. He goes to his truck where his underage wife is sitting in the passenger seat, talks some more s**t and reportedly was going to grab a gun. So over 60 people must subscribe to the theory that a bad guy assumes room temperature only when well ventilated because he then got lit up. Unknown the number of shooters but there were 2 separates calibers identified from the rounds found in his body and both were popular hunting rounds. To this day his murder is unsolved because all 60+ wont say s**t. The FBI showed up to help investigate and still everyone kept tight lipped. One person told them “thay boy needed a killin”.
So yeah, prime material.
Harlem’s hell fighters,what an amazing story of America history and it’s totally ignored because…racism? I guess?
The story of Bass Reeves. Easily the most badass wild west sheriff who was also black. Idris Elba, Jonathan Majors, or Denzel Washington would do a great job. I think the new movie “The Harder They Fall” takes a couple beats from his story, but just a replay of actual historical events of Reeves’ story akin to the way “Tombstone” was done would be fantastic.
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