It is not only the heroes who get their own featured films based on their life achievements and feats. Sometimes, even the most notorious criminals that went down in history get their moment in the spotlight. In fact, Hollywood has an abundance of such movies where the leading man had once haunted people’s dreams in reality. Good or bad, one thing is for sure; these criminals have led a rather eventful life and ended up giving Hollywood some good dramatic stuff to work with.

Some of these criminal portrayals didn’t receive enough attention while others ended up becoming blockbusters. Let’s have a look at some of the most popular movies that are based on real life criminals:


Legend, released in 2015, is a movie based on the Kray twins. The gangsters of East End London ruled over the city in the 60’s, reigning over nightclub owners on the groundwork of pure terror. What was interesting about their life was the fact that their popularity helped them achieve the status of celebrities. Popular or not, they were accused of a number of crimes including arson, robbery and murders. Tom Hardy played the role of both the brothers in the movie. The movie, however, also focused on Reggie’s girlfriend and then wife, Frances Shea, who got caught between the love for her husband and hatred towards his line of work. As she so aptly described the brothers in the movie “Ron Kray was a one-man London mob; bloodthirsty, illogical and funny as well. My Reggie was different. Once in a lifetime do you find a street-fighting man like Reg.” Ultimately, they both got caught and were sentenced for life.


Directed by David Fincher, Zodiac is based on the famous heartless serial killer whose real identity remains anonymous to this day. Hence, the person is only known as the zodiac killer. He haunted the streets of San Francisco in 1968 and 1969 and murdered 7 victims. As if the fact that he was a serial killer wasn’t haunting enough, he was absolutely proficient in covering his steps. He was so confident with his ability to stay unknown that he himself used to send ciphered letters to the Bay Area press, signed under the name Zodiac. The police never even got close to catching him; so far, they only have a sketch of him.

The Wolf of Wall Street:

Criminals are not only the ones who carry knives and pistols. Sometimes, criminals roam around in a suit and with a file in hand. Directed by Martin Scorsese and portrayed by Leonardo Dicaprio, The Wolf of Wall Street tells the story of stockbroker Jordan Belfort, who went deep into frauds, lies and heavy corruption to earn big. Ultimately, all the wrongdoings brought him his downfall.


Released in 1931, the movie is based on the disreputable child murderer, Peter Kürten, also known as the Vampire of Düsseldorf. He murdered children as young as 9 years old and was even convicted for sexual assaults. This movie included real life criminals in some of the scenes and the director himself went to meet the criminal to conduct a detailed research. Kürten was ultimately caught and executed for his crimes.

While these criminals provided a good storyline for the movies, we would certainly not complain if we never had to hear about these criminals for the rest of our lives.