best film a clefs

The 10 Best Film à Clefs isn’t going to hide the truth like these other movies: these are the absolute greatest film à clefs. Check out our picks in the gallery below!

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Everyone knows the difference between fiction and nonfiction films. Additionally, most fiction films that come from true stories let the viewer know so—either they say “Based on a True Story” as the opening credits roll, or the audience is expected to recognize the factionalized events on-screen. Still, there’s another form of fiction filmmaking that might not be as well-known: film à clefs, or films that tell stories that actually happen but disguise them under a layer of fiction—in other words, the events actually happened but the names, locations and even some other important details like time period have been changed.

You might be surprised to find that plenty of film history’s most notable films are, in fact, film à clefs. Across dramas, comedies, and westerns, this style of storytelling has proved to be incredibly effective. With dates ranging from 1932 to the 21st century, these are the absolute greatest true stories veiled by a fictional facade.

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Which of these true stories hidden behind fiction is your favorite? Let us know in the comments below!


Marvel and DC