At first glance, the script for War Dogs probably read like an outlandish action comedy.
How could a couple of stoner dudes from Miami secure a $300 million contract to supply arms to the U.S. government? How could the Pentagon supply tens of millions of shoddy weapons to Afghani troops fighting Al Qaeda and the Taliban? How could the U.S. government be tricked into purchasing decomposing, 40-year-old munitions that were culled from a Communist surplus stockpile or manufactured cheaply in China — from a supplier run by the likes of a 22-year-old masseur?
To get the too-crazy-to-be-true story in full detail, you'll have to read Rolling Stone's throughly reported account, or the resulting book, Arms and the Dudes. But if a funny, fictionalised version of the events suits you, then War Dogs will do just fine. Jonah Hill and Miles Teller star as the unexpected arms dealers in the film, which is helmed by Todd Phillips, director of The Hangover. Bradley Cooper also co-stars as a ridiculously shady character who helps them pull it off. (Today, the three principal players in the scheme are embroiled in a lawsuit — not with the government, ironically, but with each other, over who pocketed that $300 million payday.)
War Dogs is a perfect example of truth being stranger than fiction, but it's not the first film of its kind. Here are 15 films you won't believe are based on true stories.