The world of cinema isn’t exactly shy of thrilling heroics. From the cape-clad champions who never fail to save the day, to the everyday role models who overcome adversity to live life on their terms. Whatever heroism means to you, it’s safe to say that the silver screen has plenty of tales to tell.
What’s fascinating to remember is that many of the movies we enjoy today are woven from fact, rather than fiction. While it’s always exciting to see lives saved and good deeds celebrated, when they’re based on true events the feelings evoked by these films become even more pronounced. Join us in celebrating some big screen heroes whose heroism is rooted in reality...
Captain Chesley Sullenberger - Sully: Miracle on the Hudson
Even as a child, Chesley “Sully” Sullenberger was enthralled by aviation. Training as a pilot as soon as he was able, he went on to fly everything from military jets to commercial aircraft during his long career. However, it’s his role as depicted by Tom Hanks in Sully: Miracle on the Hudson that saw him leap into the public eye in 2009.
When a flock of geese disabled the engines of his airliner, Sully mustered his courage in gliding the disabled craft down onto the frigid surface of America’s Hudson River. It was a daring move that not only showcased his admirable piloting acumen, but saved all 155 souls aboard. It’s a story of heroism and a testimony to bravery and resolute determination against the odds, resulting in.
Tony Mendez - Argo
Academy Award winning Argo sparked plenty of imagination when it hit cinema screens, yet its central premise is entirely grounded in truth. Audiences were gripped as they watched Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck) extracting United States citizens from the Iranian Revolution of the 1970s, disguising them as Hollywood filmmakers in a daring CIA mission.
Mendez is heralded in the film as the exfiltration specialist and was responsible for helping six American citizens who’d been taken hostage during the Iranian Revolution return safely back home. Using his ingenious mind as the ultimate weapon, the entire operation is remembered as a victory in peaceful, intelligent rescue.
Michael Oher - The Blind Side
A beautiful story of compassion and championing the underdog, The Blind Side was a big hit worldwide. The film sees teenager Michael Oher (Quintin Aaron) taken in by well-to-do Leigh Anne Tuohy (Sandra Bullock) after she finds him homeless and alone on a cold winter’s night.
Although their backgrounds differ greatly, it’s not long before Michael is finding fortune in American Football, where his gentle giant stature comes into its own. What really makes this film special is that it’s a retelling of the real Michael Oher’s life, while Sandra Bullock’s commitment in bringing Mrs Tuohy to life won her an Oscar.
Robert Mazur - The Infiltrator
Interest in the real-life narcotics deals propagated by Pablo Escobar has been rekindled recently, yet in The Infiltrator, the real tale behind the crime lord’s capture is told. Bryan Cranston steps into the shoes of 1980s master of disguise Robert ‘Bob’ Mazur, who himself took on the mantle of ‘Bob Musella’, a corrupt money-launderer seemingly out to get a slice of the action among Colombia’s most violent drug cartels.
The movie charts the course of the investigation from the set-up to the sting, in which Bob has to watch every word and action as he gradually compiles a case that went on to indict over 100 drug lords.
Owen Chase - In the Heart of the Sea
We all know the tale of Moby Dick - the eternal struggle between a wily whale and a seafarer obsessed with bringing him down. The classic piece of literature owes its cues to the real-life struggles of the 1820s whaling ship Essex and was recently depicted in the film In the Heart of the Sea.
The film features not only a whale attack that would inspire many a mariner’s tale of dread from the deep, but also explores the horrifying period after the battle. Traumatised sailors are left huddled together on their damaged ship, forced to question their sanity as much as their motives. Chris Hemsworth gives a memorable portrayal of Owen Chase, giving us a glimpse into a terrifying vocation formerly relegated to seaside taverns of yore.