List of Non-fiction Works Made Into Feature Films
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List of Non-fiction Works Made Into Feature Films

This is a list of nonfiction works that have been made into feature films. The title of the work is followed by the work's author, the title of the film, and the year of the film. If a film has an alternate title based on geographical distribution, the title listed will be that of the widest distribution area.

The list does not include documentary films that are based on real events and people which are not based chiefly on a written work. For other documentary film categories, see documentaries.


Non-fiction work(s) Film adaptation(s)
Across the Wide Missouri (1947), Bernard DeVoto Across the Wide Missouri (1951)
Alive: The Story of the Andes Survivors (1974), Piers Paul Read Alive: The Miracle of the Andes (1993)
All the President's Men (1974), Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein All the President's Men (1976)
An Anthropologist on Mars (1995), Oliver Sacks At First Sight (1999)
The Music Never Stopped (2011)
The Anarchist Cookbook, William Powell The Anarchist Cookbook (2002)
And the Band Played On (1987), Randy Shilts And the Band Played On (1993)
Awakenings (1973), Oliver Sacks Awakenings (1990)
The Basketball Diaries (1978), Jim Carroll The Basketball Diaries (1995)
Black Hawk Down (1999), Mark Bowden Black Hawk Down (2001)
Bravo Two Zero (1993), Andy McNab Bravo Two Zero (1999)
A Brief History of Time (1988), Stephen Hawking A Brief History in Time (1991)
The Broken Seal: "Operation Magic" and the Secret Road to Pearl Harbor (1967), Ladislas Farago Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
Bully: A True Story of High School Revenge (1998), Jim Schutze Bully (2001)
Charlie Wilson's War: The Extraordinary Story of the Largest Covert Operation in History (2003), George Crile III Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
A Civil Action (1996), Jonathan Harr A Civil Action (1998)
Class Action: The Story of Lois Jenson and the Landmark Case That Changed Sexual Harassment Law (2002), Clara Bingham and Laura Leedy Gansler North Country (2005)
The Conquest of Space (1949), Chesley Bonestell & Willy Ley Conquest of Space (1955)
The Dam Busters (1951), Paul Brickhill The Dam Busters (1954)
Dambusters (TBA 2015)
Dead Man Walking (1993), Sister Helen Prejean Dead Man Walking (1995)
Diamond Jim Brady (1933), Parker Morrell Diamond Jim (1935)
A Diary of A Demonstrator (A Diary of A Demonstrator) (1983), Soe Hok Gie Gie (2005)
Dispatches (1977), Michael Herr Apocalypse Now (1979)
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
Enemy Coast Ahead (1946), Guy Gibson The Dam Busters (1954)
Escape from Alcatraz (1963), J. Campbell Bruce Escape from Alcatraz (1979)[]
Estação Carandiru (Carandiru Station) (2001), Drauzio Varella Carandiru, 2003
Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex (But Were Afraid to Ask) (1969), David Reuben Everything You Always Wanted to Know About Sex* (*But Were Afraid to Ask) (1972)
The Execution of Charles Horman: An American Sacrifice (1978), Thomas Hauser Missing (1982)
The Falcon and the Snowman: A True Story of Friendship and Espionage (1979), Robert Lindsey The Falcon and the Snowman (1985)
Fast Food Nation (2001), Eric Schlosser Fast Food Nation (2006)
The Final Days (1976), Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein The Final Days (1989)
The Flight of Dragons (1979), Peter Dickinson The Flight of Dragons (1982) (TV)
Follow the Rabbit-Proof Fence (1996), Doris Pilkington Garimara Rabbit-Proof Fence (2002)
Freeing the Whales (1989), Tom Rose Big Miracle (2012)
The French Connection (1969), Robin Moore The French Connection (1971)
Friday Night Lights: A Town, a Team and a Dream (1990), H. G. Bissinger Friday Night Lights (2004)
The Game of Their Lives: The Untold Story of the World Cup's Biggest Upset (1996), Geoffrey Douglas The Game of Their Lives (2005)
The Gangs of New York: An Informal History of the Underworld (1928), Herbert Asbury Gangs of New York (2002)
Hard Sell: The Evolution of a Viagra Salesman (2005), Jamie Reidy Love & Other Drugs (2010)
The Hindenburg (1972), Michael M. Mooney The Hindenburg (1975)
Homicide: A Year on the Killing Streets (1991), David Simon Homicide: The Movie (2000) (TV)
In Cold Blood (1966), Truman Capote In Cold Blood (1967)
Imperial Life in the Emerald City (2006), Rajiv Chandrasekaran Green Zone (2010)
Into the Wild (1996), Jon Krakauer Into the Wild (2007)
J'ai serré la main du diable (Shake Hands with the Devil: The Failure of Humanity in Rwanda) (2003), Roméo Dallaire Shake Hands with the Devil: The Journey of Roméo Dallaire (2004)
Shake Hands with the Devil (2007)
Jarhead (2003), Anthony Swofford Jarhead (2005)
The Last Days of Patton (1981), Ladislas Farago The Last Days of Patton (1986) (TV)
Lazarus and the Hurricane: The Freeing of Rubin "Hurricane" Carter (1991), Sam Chaiton and Terry Swinton The Hurricane (1999)
The Life and Times of Cleopatra (1958), by Charles Marie Franzero Cleopatra (1963)
Live from Baghdad (1991), Robert Wiener Live from Baghdad (2002)
The Longest Day (1959), Cornelius Ryan The Longest Day (1962)
Lost Moon (1994), Jim Lovell and Jeffrey Kluger Apollo 13 (1995)
Magic Fire: The Story of Wagner's Life and Music (1954), Bertita Harding Magic Fire (1954)
The Man-eaters of Tsavo (1907), John Henry Patterson Bwana Devil (1952)
The Ghost and the Darkness (1996)
The Mars Project (1952), Wernher von Braun Conquest of Space (1955)
The Men Who Stare at Goats (2004), Jon Ronson The Men Who Stare at Goats (2009)
Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1994), John Berendt Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (1997)
The Mountain Road (1958), Theodore H. White The Mountain Road (1961)
The Mothman Prophecies (1975), John Keel The Mothman Prophecies (2002)
Murder, Inc. (1951), Burton Turkus Murder, Inc. (1960)
The Naked Civil Servant (1968), Quentin Crisp The Naked Civil Servant (1975) (TV)
Never Cry Wolf (1963), Farley Mowat Never Cry Wolf (1983)
A Night to Remember (1955), Walter Lord A Night to Remember (1958)
Ondskan (The Evil) (1981), Jan Guillou Evil (2003)
The One That Got Away (1956), Kendall Burt and James Leasor The One That Got Away (1957)
Operation Cicero (Der Fall Cicero) (1950), Ludwig Carl Moyzisch 5 Fingers (1952)
The Orchid Thief (1998), Susan Orlean Adaptation. (2002)
Patton: Ordeal and Triumph (1963), Ladislas Farago Patton (1970)
The Perfect Storm (1997), Sebastian Junger The Perfect Storm (2000)
Pork Chop Hill: The American Fighting Man in Action, Korea, Spring, 1953 (1956), S. L. A. Marshall Pork Chop Hill (1959)
Prince of the City: The True Story of a Cop Who Knew Too Much (1978), Robert Daley Prince of the City (1981)
Queen Bees and Wannabes (2002), Rosalind Wiseman Mean Girls (2004)
* Mean Girls 2 (2011) (TV)
Reversal of Fortune: Inside the von Bülow Case (1985), Alan Dershowitz Reversal of Fortune (1990)
The Rite: The Making of a Modern Exorcist (2009), Matt Baglio The Rite (2011)
Rogue Trader: How I Brought Down Barings Bank and Shook the Financial World (1995), Nick Leeson Rogue Trader (1999)
The Saga of Billy the Kid (1925), Walter Noble Burns Billy the Kid (1930)
Billy the Kid (1941)
The Outlaw (1943)
The Left Handed Gun (1958)
Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid (1973)
Gore Vidal's Billy the Kid (1989) (TV)
The Sea Around Us (1951), Rachel Carson The Sea Around Us (1953)
A Season on the Brink (1986), John Feinstein A Season on the Brink (2002)
The Secret Life of Plants (1973), Peter Tompkins and Christopher Bird The Secret Life of Plants (1979)
See No Evil (2003), Robert Baer Syriana (2005)
The Serpent and the Rainbow (1985), Wade Davis The Serpent and the Rainbow (1988)
The Short-Timers (1979), Gustav Hasford Full Metal Jacket (1987)
The Smartest Guys in the Room (2003), Bethany McLean and Peter Elkind Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room (2005)
The Story of Mankind (1921), Hendrik Willem van Loon The Story of Mankind (1957)
Storyville, New Orleans (1974), Al Rose Pretty Baby (1978)
The Strawberry Statement (1969), James Simon Kunen The Strawberry Statement (1970)
Ten Days that Shook the World (1919), John Reed October: Ten Days That Shook the World (1928)
Reds (1981)
Red Bells (1982)
Ten Rillington Place (1961), Ludovic Kennedy 10 Rillington Place (1971)
The Three Faces of Eve (1957), Corbett H. Thigpen and Hervey M. Cleckley The Three Faces of Eve (1957)
Touching the Void (1988), Joe Simpson Touching the Void (2003)
True Blue: The Oxford Boat Race Mutiny (1987), Daniel Topolski True Blue (1996)
Triumph Over Pain (1940), René Fülöp-Miller The Great Moment (1944)
The Turning Point (1982), Fritjof Capra Mindwalk (1990)
Twelve Days of Terror (2001), Richard G. Fernicola 12 Days of Terror (2004)
We Were Soldiers Once ... And Young (1992), Harold G. Moore and Joseph L. Galloway We Were Soldiers (2002)
The White Rabbit (1952), Bruce Marshall The White Rabbit (1967) (TV) (mini)
Victory Through Air Power (1942), Alexander P. de Seversky Victory Through Air Power (1943)
Zodiac (1986), Robert Graysmith Zodiac (2007)


Biography Film adaptation(s)
84, Charing Cross Road, Helene Hanff 84 Charing Cross Road, 1975, 1987
Abbie Hoffman: American Rebel, Marty Jezer Steal This Movie!, 2000
Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall, Spike Milligan Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall, 1972
The Agony and the Ecstasy, Irving Stone The Agony and the Ecstasy, 1965
Aimée & Jaguar, Erica Fischer Aimée & Jaguar, 1999
Angela's Ashes, Frank McCourt Angela's Ashes, 1999
Before Night Falls, Reinaldo Arenas Before Night Falls, 2000
Blow: How a Small- Town Boy Made $100 Million With the Medellin Cocaine Cartel and Lost It All, Bruce Porter Blow, 2001
Bound for Glory, Woody Guthrie Bound for Glory, 1976
Camille Claudel, Reine-Marie Paris Camille Claudel, 1988
Capote: In Which Various Friends, Enemies, Acquaintances and Detractors Recall His Turbulent Career, George Plimpton Infamous, 2006
Carve Her Name with Pride, R. J. Minney Carve Her Name with Pride, 1958
Cash: The Autobiography, Johnny Cash Walk the Line, 2005
Castaway, Lucy Irvine Castaway, 1986
Catch Me If You Can, Frank Abagnale Catch Me If You Can, 2002
Chaplin: His Life and Art, David Robinson Chaplin, 1992
Cheaper by the Dozen, Frank Bunker Gilbreth, Jr. and Ernestine Gilbreth Carey Cheaper by the Dozen, 1950
Crazy, Benjamin Lebert Crazy, 2000
Elegy for Iris, John Bayley Iris, 2001
Finding Fish, Antwone Quenton Fisher Antwone Fisher, 2002
Frida: A Biography of Frida Kahlo, Hayden Herrera Frida, 2002
The General, Paul Williams The General, 1998
Girl, Interrupted, Susanna Kaysen Girl, Interrupted, 1999
Gorillas in the Mist, Dian Fossey Gorillas in the Mist, 1988
The Great Impostor, Robert Crichton The Great Impostor, 1961
Gypsy: A Memoir, Gypsy Rose Lee Gypsy, 1962, 1993
Hideous Kinky, Esther Freud Hideous Kinky, 1998
The Honest Courtesan, Margaret Rosenthal Dangerous Beauty, 1998
I, Tina, Tina Turner What's Love Got to Do with It, 1993
I Was Cicero, Elyesa Bazna 5 Fingers, 1952
Ich war Hitlerjunge Salomon (I Was Hitler Youth Salomon), Solomon Perel Europa Europa, 1990
Inside Hitler's Bunker, Joachim Fest Der Untergang (Downfall), 2004
Iron & Silk, Mark Salzman Iron & Silk, 1990
Jackson Pollock: An American Saga, Steven Naifeh and Gregory White Smith Pollock, 2000
Joe Gould's Secret, Joseph Mitchell Joe Gould's Secret, 2000
The Learning Tree, Gordon Parks The Learning Tree, 1969
Leaving Las Vegas, John O'Brien Leaving Las Vegas, 1995
Life Is Not a Fairy Tale, Fantasia Barrino The Fantasia Barrino Story, 2006
Man in Black: His Own Story in His Own Words, Johnny Cash Walk the Line, 2005
The Man Who Was Peter Pan (play), Allan Knee Finding Neverland, 2004
Marie Antoinette: The Journey, Antonia Fraser Marie-Antoinette, 2006
Midnight Express, Billy Hayes Midnight Express, 1978
A Mighty Heart, Mariane Pearl A Mighty Heart, 2007
Mommie Dearest, Christina Crawford Mommie Dearest, 1981
The Motorcycle Diaries, Che Guevara The Motorcycle Diaries, 2004
My Autobiography, Charlie Chaplin Chaplin, 1992
My Early Life: A Roving Commission, Winston Churchill Young Winston, 1972
My Father and Myself, J. R. Ackerley Secret Orchards, 1979
My Left Foot, Christy Brown My Left Foot, 1989
My Posse Don't Do Homework, Louanne Johnson Dangerous Minds, 1995
Nine and a Half Weeks: a memoir of a love affair, Elizabeth McNeill 9½ Weeks, 1986
One Who Walked Alone and Day of the Stranger, Novalyne Price Ellis The Whole Wide World, 1996
Our Cancer Year, Harvey Pekar and Joyce Brabner American Splendor, 2003
Our Sunshine, Robert Drewe Ned Kelly, 2003
Out of Africa, Karen Blixen Out of Africa, 1985
Papillon, Henri Charrière Papillon, 1973
The Pianist, W?adys?aw Szpilman The Pianist, 2002
Please Don't Eat the Daisies, Jean Kerr Please Don't Eat the Daisies, 1960
Prisoners are People, Kenyon J. Scudder Unchained, 1955
Private Parts, Howard Stern Private Parts, 1997
Prozac Nation, Elizabeth Wurtzel Prozac Nation, 2001
Raging Bull: My Story, Jake LaMotta Raging Bull, 1980
Riding in Cars with Boys, Beverly D'Onofrio Riding in Cars with Boys, 2001
Rocket Boys, Homer Hickam October Sky, 1999
A Rumor of War, Philip Caputo A Rumor of War, 1980
Running with Scissors, Augusten Burroughs Running with Scissors, 2006
Savage Messiah, H. S. Ede Savage Messiah, 1972
Seabiscuit: An American Legend, Laura Hillenbrand Seabiscuit, 2003
The Seven Pillars of Wisdom, T. E. Lawrence Lawrence of Arabia, 1962
A Dangerous Man: Lawrence After Arabia, 1990
Seven Years in Tibet, Heinrich Harrer Seven Years in Tibet, 1997
?mier? Miasta (Death of a City), W?adys?aw Szpilman The Pianist, 2002
The Story of the Trapp Family Singers, Maria von Trapp The Sound of Music, 1965
Stung, Gary Ross Owning Mahowny, 2003
To America with Love, Abbie Hoffman Steal This Movie!, 2000
The True Story of Christopher Emmanuel Balestrero, Maxwell Anderson The Wrong Man, 1956
Truman, David McCullough Truman, 1995
Tuesdays With Morrie, Mitch Albom Tuesdays With Morrie, 1999
UFO Crash at Roswell, Kevin D. Randle and Donald R. Schmitt Roswell, 1994
Various articles, Leon G. Turrou Confessions of a Nazi Spy, 1939
Various works, Mark Brandon Read Chopper, 2000
Viva Villa!, Edgecumb Pinchon & Odo B. Stade Viva Villa!, 1934
Wallace : The Classic Portrait of Alabama Governor George Wallace, Marshall Frady George Wallace, 1997
The Walton Experience, Travis Walton Fire in the Sky, 1993
The Wild Boy of Aveyron, Jean Itard L'Enfant Sauvage (Wild Child), 1970
Wired: The Short Life and Fast Times of John Belushi, Bob Woodward Wired, 1989
Wise Guy, Nicholas Pileggi Goodfellas, 1990
Young Man with a Horn, Dorothy Baker Young Man with a Horn, 1950

Essays and articles

Essay/article Film adaptation(s)
"Adventures in the Ransom Trade", William Prochnau, Vanity Fair Proof of Life, 2000
"The Allman Brothers Story",[1]Cameron Crowe and Faybeth Diamond, Rolling Stone magazine, December 6, 1973 Almost Famous, 2000
"The Ballad of the Urban Cowboy: America's Search for True Grit", Aaron Latham, Esquire, 1978 Urban Cowboy, 1980
"Biker Boyz", article by Michael Gougis, New Times Los Angeles, [2000?] Biker Boyz, 2003
"The boys in the bank: A fouled-up holdup moves step by step from threats to farce to violence", article by P. F. Kluge and Thomas Moore in Life magazine (September 22, 1972)[2] Dog Day Afternoon, 1975
"The Death and Life of Dith Pran", Sydney Schanberg The Killing Fields, 1984
Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas, Hunter S. Thompson, based on two-part series in Rolling Stone, 1971 Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas
"Life's Swell", Susan Orlean, Women Outside magazine, 1998 Blue Crush, 2002
"The Man Who Knew Too Much", Marie Brenner, Vanity Fair, 1996 The Insider, 1999
"Mark of a murderer", article by Mike McAlary, Esquire, 1997 City by the Sea, 2002
"The Muse of the Coyote Ugly", article by Elizabeth Gilbert, GQ Magazine, March 1997 Coyote Ugly, 2000
"Racer X", Ken Li, Vibe magazine The Fast and the Furious, 2001
"Shattered Glass" by Buzz Bissinger, Vanity Fair, 1998 Shattered Glass, 2003
"Someone to Lean On" by Gary Smith, Sports Illustrated, December 16, 1996 Radio, 2003
"Something's Got To Give", Darcy Frey, The New York Times Magazine Pushing Tin, 1999
"To See and Not See"[1], Oliver Sacks At First Sight, 1999
Tora! Tora! Tora!, Gordon W. Prange, Reader's Digest, October-November 1963 Tora! Tora! Tora!, 1970
"Tribal Rites of the New Saturday Night", New York, Nik Cohn Saturday Night Fever, 1977

See also


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