6 Movies About True Hollywood Crimes That Will Shock You
These films dramatize some of the most notorious events in Hollywood history.
True crime is still all the rage, with new movies, TV series, and podcasts in the genre being released all the time. And it's a wide umbrella—true crime stories can be about anything from serial killers to con artists to people who love owning big cats. One particularly rich sub-genre that anyone who is also interested in entertainment and Los Angeles history will be interested in is true Hollywood crimes.
Fortunately for true crime fans, several films have been made on the subject. From a teenage crime ring to a notorious cult, here are six movies about true crime set in or about Hollywood.
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The Bling Ring
The 2013 movie The Bling Ring tells the story of a real group of teenagers who burgled several celebrities' homes in 2008 and 2009. The group snagged money, clothes, and accessories from stars including Paris Hilton, Lindsay Lohan, and Rachel Bilson before being convicted for their crimes and sentenced to probation and jail time, depending on their individual level of their involvement. The movie's cast includes Emma Watson, Taissa Farmiga, Katie Chang, Israel Broussard, Claire Julien, and Leslie Mann, and it was written and directed by Sofia Coppola.
The Black Dahlia
The Black Dahlia is inspired by the 1947 killing of Elizabeth Short, a 22-year-old woman who had moved to Hollywood. Short became known as the Black Dahlia in the media, and her murder was much publicized, but the crime remains unsolved to this day. The 2006 film stars Mia Kirshner as Short, along with Scarlett Johansson, Josh Hartnett, Aaron Eckhart, and Hilary Swank.
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Once Upon a Time in Hollywood
Once Upon a Time in Hollywood comes at the story of Charles Manson and the Manson Family cult from a new perspective, focusing on two narratives: A day in the life of ingenue Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie) prior to her murder by Manson's followers, and the friendship between a stuntman (Brad Pitt) and washed-up actor (Leonardo DiCaprio). Their paths meet in an altogether historically inaccurate conclusion.
Of course, the Manson Family murders are a popular subject in film and TV. Another recent movie take on the violent cult is 2018's Charlie Says, from American Psycho director Mary Harron. This film focuses on three women who were seduced by Manson and involved in the murders of Tate and others. While they've largely been forgotten by history, this version of the story includes a fictionalized account of their lives in prison following their convictions, along with flashbacks to their time in the cult. Hannah Murray, Sosie Bacon, and Marianne Rendón star; Matt Smith plays Manson.
Can You Ever Forgive Me?
Can You Ever Forgive Me? doesn't take place in Los Angeles, but the crimes it portrays do have roots in Hollywood history. Melissa McCarthy stars as Lee Israel, a writer who forged letters from famous figures to make money from collectors. Celebrities whose voices and handwriting she imitated includ actor Louise Brooks, playwright and actor Noël Coward, and writer Dorothy Parker.
Jessica Chastain stars in Molly's Game as Molly Bloom, a woman who ran underground poker games for celebrities and other wealthy individuals in LA. Eventually, Bloom and the games were both tied to other illegal activity, which led to a guilty plea and probation sentence for her. The film that dramatizes her rise and downfall co-stars Idris Elba, Michael Cera, and Kevin Costner.