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The Real Story

They've thrilled us, horrified us, and devastated us. They've raised questions about our past and given us hope for a brighter future. They are five of Hollywood's biggest hits, all works of fiction, but all inspired by real events more dramatic than anything a screenwriter could dream up. Join us as we go behind the scenes of "Live Free or Die Hard," "Scream," "Platoon," "The Da Vinci Code," and "Star Trek," and uncover the actual characters and true stories that inspired some of Hollywood's most famous blockbusters.


    • Friday
    • 1:00pm
    Jan 30
    Master and Commander
    • Friday
    • 2:00pm
    Jan 30
    Jurassic Park
    • Friday
    • 3:00pm
    Jan 30
    Saving Private Ryan


Season 5

  • Man in ski mask at night


    A terrifying killing spree in Gainesville, Florida was the real-life inspiration for the fictional horror film franchise "Scream."

  • Golden round scroll holder with alphabetic lock

    The Da Vinci Code

    New discoveries and theories may validate some of the provocative claims from the Hollywood blockbuster "The Da Vinci Code."

  • Back view of Vietnam era American soldier holding rifle


    Actor Willem Dafoe, director Oliver Stone, and Vietnam historians all explore the truth behind the film "Platoon."

  • Mastermind cyber criminal hacking into computer

    Live Free or Die Hard

    John McClane may be a work of fiction but the cyber attacks in "Live Free or Die Hard" are scarily close to reality.

  • USS Enterprise from JJ Abrams timeline flying away from a bright star

    Star Trek

    Imagine a "Star Trek" where Mr. Spock is the lieutenant of SS Yorktown, and he has a tail. Leonard Nimoy and others tell the Real Story.

Season 4

  • British soldiers on Napoleonic Wars-era sailing ship

    Master and Commander

    Though it is fiction, few films have been as researched as Peter Weir's maritime masterpiece, "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World."

  • Close up of face of man wearing chain mail


    "Braveheart" won five Oscars and made William Wallace, a Scottish warrior, an unforgettable Hollywood character. But how accurate is the film?

  • Four blurry humanoid figures in a tunnel

    Close Encounters of the Third Kind

    Separate fact from science fiction of Steven Spielberg's sci-fi classic, "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," as we re-examine government documents and put old witness testimonies to the test using modern technology.

  • Illustration of Apollo 13 module flying toward Earth

    Apollo 13

    The 1970 rescue of Apollo 13 captivated the nation and the film adaptation went on to win two Oscars. But how close to the truth was the film?

  • Man in nineteenth century period garb aiming rifle

    True Grit

    Explore a violent time in history and see how "True Grit" characters Rooster Cogburn and young Mattie's lives would have fit in the Wild West.

  • Three World War II American soldiers aiming rifles

    Saving Private Ryan

    Uncover the real story behind blockbuster "Saving Private Ryan" as we conduct tests with weapons experts and gain insights from war historians.

Season 3

  • Replicas of carnivorous dinosaurs

    Jurassic Park

    Revolutionary visual effects in "Jurassic Park" brought dinosaurs back to life. Is revolutionary science far behind?

  • Gladiator in battle as soldier and Roman Senator look on


    Enter the arena of real gladiators, the rock stars of their day and the inspiration for an American movie classic.

  • Great white shark


    Dive into the murky waters of fact and fiction as we reveal the truth about sharks and "Jaws."

  • Close up of RMS Titanic on its side, sinking into the Atlantic Ocean


    Navigate the tricky waters of reality and fiction in the Oscar-winning blockbuster "Titanic."

  • Pirate at wheel steering ship

    Pirates of the Caribbean

    Join us on a treasure hunt for the truth as we dive into the mythology of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" series.

Season 2

  • Rogue Soviet officer with pistol

    The Hunt for Red October

    Delve into the real story of "The Hunt for Red October" with firsthand accounts from the men aboard and those who ordered its destruction.

  • Woman walking in underground passageway

    The Silence of the Lambs

    Learn the real story behind "The Silence of the Lambs." Meet the serial killers and FBI agents who inspired one of Hollywood's most terrifying thrillers, and gave Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster the roles of a lifetime.

  • Shirtless actor chained to a chair

    The Bourne Identity

    We take an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the CIA to see how a super assassin, like conflicted hero Jason Bourne, is created.

  • Hand placing chips on numbered green mat to make a wager


    "Casino": Behind Martin Scorsese's direction and Robert De Niro's performance lies the truth of the battle between the mob and the law for control of Las Vegas.

  • Girl in bed being exorcised by a priest

    The Exorcist

    Perhaps the scariest part of "The Exorcist" is that it's not a work of complete fiction. We recount the 1949 exorcism of a young boy.

Season 1

  • Image of Al Capone projected onto side of building

    The Untouchables

    The IRS opened classified documents surrounding the case that inspired "The Untouchables," including objects such as Capone's gun and the diary of Eliot Ness.

  • Artwork image of James Bond silhouette holding pistol

    James Bond

    Bond, James Bond. Is this man of mystery a personification of a real spy, or a fantasy spun by author Ian Fleming?

  • Actress Melissa George

    The Amityville Horror

    We explore the facts behind the Amityville case that inspired a Hollywood film and reveal new evidence suggesting a hoax could be behind the horror.

  • Silhouette of Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford)

    Indiana Jones

    Who was the real Indiana Jones? Indy's creators George Lucas and Steven Spielberg say their inspiration came from the explorers from 1930s and 1940s movie serials.

  • Actors near guard tower on Escape from Alcatraz movie set

    Escape from Alcatraz

    Uncover the true story behind the most famous prison break in American history - is it truly possible to escape from Alcatraz?

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