These Actors Did a Fantastic Job Portraying Real-Life Characters!

Side by side photos of Leonardo DiCaprio and Howard Hughes
@ClassicHWLingly | Acme Newspictures

We all love the escapism that movies provide, right? Whether it’s a sweeping romance, a nail-biting thriller or an otherworldly fantasy, it’s so nice to be able to shut your mind off and enter someone else’s point of view.

But what about all the films that are based on real life?

It can be painstaking work for an actor to inhabit the role of a real-life person, something that often gains them critical acclaim and notoriety. And it’s especially interesting to catch glimpses of the real-life folks that they portrayed.

After all, part of what makes these true stories so cool is reading about the subject’s real life after the movie has ended. It’s always interesting to see how true-to-life the film actually was, if they picked the right actors for the role, and if they made changes to the story that really unfolded at some point in history.

Well, today we’ve rounded up 30 examples of just that—the real people your favorite actors have played on film. Click through to see which movies nailed it with the casting, which fell short, and which portrayed the true stories of these folks’ lives to the utmost extent.