18. Hotel Rwanda (2004)
The 1994 Rwandan genocide remains one of the worst atrocities in human history. Somewhere between 500,000 and 1,000,000 people were killed, and numerous horrific stories came out of the mass slaughter. One of them inspired Hotel Rwanda – the tale of Paul Rusesabagina managing to save almost 1,300 people from a grisly fate. The real horrors of the wider genocide are almost impossible to imagine.
17. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
What happened to Solomon Northup – a free black man in the North who was kidnapped in 1841 and then enslaved – might sound like a relatively isolated incident, but in truth his story is far from unique. The “Reverse Underground Railroad” operated for decades, and how many free black people were taken is unknown; however, in one two-year stretch in Philadelphia, more than 100 children were kidnapped. Acclaimed it deservedly is, but 12 Years a Slave – based on Northup’s memoir – can only scratch the surface of such largely forgotten history.
16. Gorillas in the Mist (1988)
Dian Fossey was a pioneering researcher of mountain gorillas. Yet while the film Gorillas in the Mist, starring Sigourney Weaver, largely focuses on Fossey’s work, it also deals with her gruesome 1985 death at the hands of an unidentified assailant – who may well have been a poacher. To this day, it’s still not known who killed her, but she made a lot of enemies in her quest for conservation.