Sometimes, a film will leave a viewer sitting, mouth agape,
Though crime is never not tragic, the personalities who commit those crimes tend to fascinate us. Far too often do criminals become celebrities of a certain kind. Though their behaviors may repulse, it’s impossible to turn away. These 9 films dramatize the lives of real-life criminals and how they’ve met their end.
1. Dog Day Afternoon
Based on real events in 1927, Al Pacino portrays Sonny Wortzik, a first-time bank robber who hopes to steal enough money to pay for his lover’s sexual reassignment surgery.
The film dramatizes the 1960s and ’70s events surrounding the mysterious Zodiac killer of San Francisco Bay. The Zodiac killer is notorious for sending indiscernible coded messages. Though several people have claimed to be the killer and many have claimed to crack the code, both mysteries remain unsolved.
3. Summer of Sam
Spike Lee’s film tells the story of the “Son of Sam.” During the summer of 1977, in New York City, a serial killer, later revealed to be David Berkowitz, killed six victims and wounded seven others. In Lee’s film a close Italian community begins to suspect those in their group could be the killer.
4. Donnie Brasco
The movie is based on undercover FBI agent, Joe Pistone’s undercover work over the course of six years to bring down 120 mobsters.
5. American Gangster
Denzel Washington portrays Harlem kingpin, Frank Lucas. Lucas was able to traffic heroin into the United States through the coffins of fallen American soldiers from The Vietnam War.
The film is based on Mafioso Henry Hill’s rise from a small-time gangster to a convict whose testimony served to bring down New York City’s most notorious mobsters.
In Charlize Theron’s Academy Award-winning role, she portrays Aileen Wuornos a former prostitute who executed seven men in Florida and received the death penalty. Wuornos claimed that each of the men had raped and assaulted her while she was a prostitute.
8. Catch Me If You Can
Depicting the eccentric life of American con artist Frank Abagnale Jr. who became a world-famous conman by the age 19. Abagnale Jr. posed as pilots, lawyers, doctors and even a U.S. Bureau of Prisons agent. Today he is a security consultant, defending the public against people like him.
9. Public Enemies
Public Enemies chronicles the acts of John Dillinger, a notoriously cunning bank robber. In the 1930s, he and his gang robbed two dozen banks and four police stations. After evading police in several states, Dillinger suffered a gunshot wound, forced to take refuge at his father’s home, his whereabouts were discovered by the FBI and his robbery spree came to an end.