The Lifetime Channel has been serving up some of the best romance, dramedies, and downright funny movies for the last couple of decades. Everyone has seen one, even if they think they haven't. As soon as the holiday season rolls around, the Lifetime movies come out. However, there is a special genre that Lifetime also focuses on, and those are real life. Start scrolling to see the Lifetime movies that will have you shaking your head in disbelief.
Prosecuting Casey Anthony And What Led Up To That Verdict
Not all stories have happy endings, and for Caylee Marie Anthony who lived in Orlando, Florida her case was one that really puzzled the authorities. She went missing in 2008, and her grandmother Cindy was the one that eventually reported her missing. Cindy also provided information that implicated her daughter, Caylee's mom, Casey in her disappearance. Eventually, a variety of evidence came to light, but nothing was entirely conclusive about what exactly happened to young Casey.
The television movie itself focused on the trial because eventually, Casey walked with only misdemeanor counts for providing false information when the prosecution had wanted the death penalty.
Go On Liz Murray's Journey With From Homeless To Harvard
You won't find a more inspiring story than the one found in Lifetime's "Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story." Murray's story is exactly what it sounds like but also so much more. She was born in 1980 to two parents who could barely care for her, much less themselves as they both had issues with substance abuse. When Murray was 9, she began working and eventually became homeless after both of her parents became very ill.
Eventually, she worked as a canvasser and found time to attend high school where she excelled, and got the notice of 'The New York Times' which led to her admission to Harvard and so much more.
The Abduction Of Anne Sluti And The Man Behind It
Abductions happen every day, and sadly, a lot of the people taken are never found. For Anne Sluti though, this is not the case that makes Lifetime's 'Taken in Broad Daylight' so inspiring. Sluti was only 17 years old when she was taken from Kearney, Nebraska by Tony Zappa. Tony Zappa is played by James Van Der Beek of 'Dawson's Creek' fame which is a very different role for him.
There is no way Sluti is going down without a fight though, and this film focuses on her being held for six days and her subsequent escape.
The So-Called True Story Of Prince William And Kate Middleton
As a member of the British Royal family, there has always been a lot of speculation about the romance and relationship that led up to a very Royal Wedding. Right before Kate Middleton and Prince William tied the knot, Lifetime released a film titled 'William & Kate.' This made for television movie detailed the life the two led together before Kate joined the Royal family herself. There is a lot of fact and fiction here.
The Royal family continues to be one of the most secretive and private families in the world, so this film is very much a dramatization.
What Exactly Happened To Natalee Holloway On The Island Of Aruba?
Natalee Holloway had planned to enjoy a nice vacation on the island of Aruba, when all of sudden she went missing on May 30, 2005. She had been on a high school graduation trip, and Aruba was considered to be a safe destination. After she disappeared there was an intense investigation into her disappearance which involved the FBJ and Dutch military. The movie about Natalee is all told from her mother's book, "Loving Natalee."
Sadly, Natalee was never found but the main suspect was eventually caught for another crime a few years later. Nobody knows exactly what happened to her.
The Rise And Fall And Rise Again Of Britney Spears
Britney Spears has made a lot of headlines since she first popped onto the music scene. Her life hasn't been perfect, and there have been some major ups and a lot of lows. Lifetime decided to make a movie called "Britney Ever After" which chronicled her rise to superstardom, and what happened along the way that eventually led to her many years-long conservatorship. There is no doubt that Spears herself has a lot to say.
This film is a good rundown of what happened, but you can never really know exactly why a person does what they did or do.
The Tragic Life Of Anna Nicole Smith And Her Journey
If you haven't noticed by now, quite a few of these made-for-TV movies focus on some pretty sad incidents. 'Anna Nicole' isn't any different. Anna Nicole Smith had a pretty hard life from the start, as she was a single mom in a small town who needed to make a living. Her time to shine came when she was chosen by Playboy to be one of the centerfolds, which launched her career.
From there, Smith would go on to marry someone with a rather large age gap, and substance abuse became a real issue before she finally passed at the age of 39. The lead-up to her passing is detailed in this movie.
A Deep Dive Into The Menendez Brothers And Their Crimes
It feels like every year there is a court case that shocks the nation, and the one involving the Menendez brothers and the death of their parents was definitely one of those cases. It was back in 1989 when this case made its way to court, which is detailed in the film, 'Menendez: Blood Brothers.' Lyle and Erik were responsible for the deaths of their parents Jose and Kitty, and from the outside nothing made sense.
The court cases detailed in the movie show that nothing was black and white for this family, and there was a long history of abuse that eventually surfaced.
The Con Man Who Made His Way Into The American Elite
If you're not a successful con man, then you probably shouldn't call yourself one. Christian Karl Gerhartsreite is a German man who made his life assuming various aliases and somehow getting himself accepted into America's elite. The Lifetime movie, 'Who is Clark Rockefeller?' details all of his exploits as he got himself accepted into the Pentagon and even the Rockefeller family itself. He has committed a long list of crimes.
In the movie, 'Will & Grace' alum Eric McCormack plays the con man in question and he is pretty convincing.
Harry Potter Author J. K. Rowling And Her Journey As A Writer
The Harry Potter franchise continues to be one of the most beloved film and novel series of all time. In fact, there is even a new Harry Potter-verse movie set to come out this year. Author J.K. Rowling the mind behind the books went from pretty much being an unknown writer to a household name in the matter of a few years. Sean Smith wrote, "J.K. Rowling: The Biography" which details her rise to fame.
This biography is what the Lifetime movie, 'Magic Beyond Words: The JK Rowling Story" is based on.
What Happened In Italy Between Amanda Knox And Meredith Kercher
There is a lot of mystery surrounding the Amanda Knox and Meredith Kercher story. That's why Lifetime decided to detail the trial and the evidence that was used to support the case against Knox and her then-boyfriend, Raffaele Sollecito, along with her boss Patrick Lumumba. All of this is detailed in 'Amanda Knox: Murder on Trial in Italy' with actress Hayden Panettiere playing Knox. The story itself and the night are quite interesting.
The investigation was rather messy and while there was a push in Italy to send Knox to prison, she was ultimately acquitted which shocked the country and the lead-up to the acquittal makes this movie worth watching.
The Bold And The Beautiful: The Life And Times Of Coco Chanel
Chanel is one of the most luxurious fashion houses in the world. Everyone wants to own a Chanel purse or a classy matching tweed ensemble, but the life of the woman who started it all is equally as luxurious as the brand itself. Coco Chanel led a life of glamor and was involved in politics during World War II. The movie 'Coco Chanel' covers her rise to fame in the fashion world.
The movie was one of the best biopics put out there in 2008, and actress Shirley Maclaine got an Emmy nod for her portrayal of the French designer.
Another Harrowing Story, This Time Featuring Mother Donna Yaklich
Lifetime has been making movies for a very long time, and a lot of young actors and actresses got their start on the small screen. Hilary Swank might be an Oscar winner and household name now, but when she starred in 'Cries Unheard: The Donna Yaklich Story' she was just getting started in the business. This story is a very sad one, as Donna Yaklich was a young mom in an unhappy marriage with a husband who did not treat her very well.
That treatment eventually led to Yaklich taking matters into her own hands, and contributing to her husband's passing. This movie is unique though because it is told to Yaklich's son by herself, rather than in a general narrative format.
Meet The Kissel Brothers, Two Brothers Who Were Up To No Good
Brotherly love should be easy, but sometimes brotherly rivalry is more accurate, especially for Andrew and Robert Kissel. In the movie, 'The Two Mr. Kissels' you might think you are in for an hour or two standard intrigue, but this real-life story is pretty crazy. The two brothers were in constant competition with one another until it got to the point where they were bother murdered. The brothers are played by John Stamos of 'Full House' fame and 'Anson Mount' of 'Hell on Wheels.'
The story is a wild one with both brothers being murdered for very different reasons, with one of their wives responsible for one of the murders, and a driver for the other.
The Oddest Pregnancy Pact That It Just Had To Be A Movie
Teens are full of raging hormones, and that can sometimes make it a tad difficult for them to keep their hands off of each other outside of the classroom. In what is one of the strangest real-life stories on this list, we present to you, the movie 'Pregnancy Pact.' Back in 2008, a group of teen girls decided they should all get pregnant and raise their babies together at the same time.
The group of teens was from Gloucester, Massachusetts and when they all succeeded in getting pregnant it made the news around the world.
The Girl In The Box Is Not A Story For Everyone
While a lot of the movies on this list focus on deaths, this one focuses on a rather terrible kidnapping and the woman was forced to endure for seven years. Back in the late 1970s, Colleen Stan was hitchhiking when a supposedly nice couple offered her a ride to her next destination. Fast forward seven years, and she has been held hostage in a container the size of a coffin and only taken out of the box to babysit and participate in unwanted acts with the couple.
The movie, 'Girl in the Box' details her harrowing journey and what exactly led to her escape from the couple that had held her for almost a decade.
The Fabulous Hollywood Life Of Elizabeth Taylor And Richard Burton
Elizabeth Taylor was Old Hollywood royalty, so it makes sense that there would be a made-for-TV movie about her, and her former husband Richard Burton. The two were inseparable and everyone knew just how in love they were with each other. To tell this love story, actress Lindsay Lohan was brought on to play the iconic violet-eyed actress. The movie is nothing if not over the top and jam-packed with romance.
The relationship was not an easy one, and some of the major fights the two had are definitely chronicled throughout the film. Lohan brought the passion to the part for sure.
How One Little Boy Was Taken From The US To Seoul
A lot of the movies on this list have stories that occur in multiple countries, and the movie 'Taken From Me: The Tiffany Rubin Story' is no different. This movie details the abduction of Tiffany Rubin's 7-year old son and how she fights to get him back. This fast-paced thriller involves a race to Seoul, South Korea which was totally unexpected. The abduction is truly a family affair for the Rubins.
The father of little Kobe was the one who abducted him, but the journey to get him back is what makes this movie all the more watchable.
The Legal Fight Of A Lifetime: Gracie's Choice
No family is without its drama, but for 17-year-old Gracie, she was faced with some pretty tough challenges which are detailed in Lifetime's 'Gracie's Choice: A Story of Love.' Young Gracie grew up with a mom with substance abuse issues, which ultimately leads to the mother's arrest and Gracie and her brothers being split up. Family is important, for young Gracie she decided to take on the challenge of legally keeping the family together.
In the movie, viewers get to see all of the legal hoops that she has to jump through just to keep her family together and the ending is pretty incredible.
Rob Lowe Takes On A Pretty Creepy Role A Drew Peterson
It is pretty wild how some people manage to get away with crimes for years and years until someone finally notices. In Lifetime's 'Drew Peterson: Untouchable' actor Rob Lowe plays charming policeman Drew Peterson who had a habit of having wives go missing. The real-life Peterson was married four times, with the third and fourth wives going missing and presumed dead. Actress Kaley Cuoco plays the fourth wife in this drama.
Sadly, while we have an idea of what happened to the first three wives, what happened to the fourth wife is still largely unknown.
The Story Of Carlina White And How She Solved Her Own Abduction
It's not every day that someone realized they were abducted as a baby, but what is what happened to Carlina White which is the basis for the movie, 'Abducted: The Carlina White Story.' White thought she was living a relatively normal life with her mother Annugetta Pettway, but Pettway was in fact her kidnapper. This movie details White's quest to find out the truth, and how she realized Pettway was not her biological mother.
It is pretty amazing how online databases can be used to find out information, and White shows that even after 23 years, a person can know that something isn't right.
The True Story Behind Kevin Durant's Rise To NBA Fame
Everyone knows who NBA superstar Kevin Durant is, but most people don't know the story behind how he got his start. They say behind every great man is a great woman, and for Durant, that woman is his mother Wanda. In 'The Real MVP: The Wanda Durant Story' we get to learn more about Wanda and what she gave up to help Kevin achieve his dreams of becoming an NBA player.
This is a story of true self-sacrifice, and it definitely paid off as Durant is really the most valuable player on the Brooklyn Nets.
What Really Happened To JonBenet Ramsey In 1996?
There are many cases that leave investigators scratching their heads, and the death of 6-year olf JonBenet Ramsey is one of them. Ramsey was a child beauty queen who loved participating in pageants, but in 1996 her body was found in her parents' basement, and a rather strange scene unfolded. There was a ransom note, but initially, the police believed it had been written by one of her parents. There were a lot of unknowns.
The movie, 'Who Killed JonBenet?' focuses on the family, and what might have happened to little Ramsey. The case remains unsolved, and rumors still abound about it.
The Elizabeth Smart Story Which Was Narrated By Smart Herself
When Elizabeth Smart was taken in 2002 by Brian David Mitchell and Wanda Ileen Barzee everyone feared the worst. Many kidnappings do not end with the person being found alive, but for Smart she got lucky. Nine months after being taken a couple of people saw her on the street, and the police came to her rescue. Those nine months were pretty awful, but Smart was lucky to survive it.
Smart narrated the movie, 'I Am Elizabeth Smart' and her ordeal is showcased throughout the movie which provides good insight into what happened to her and how she got away.
Elizabeth Shoaf Is The Girl In The Bunker
It is not easy to watch some of these movies, and see what real-life people have had to endure. For Elizabeth Shoaf, she thought she was just having another day in her life, but that would not be the case. In 'Girl in the Bunker' Shoaf meets a man on the street who appears to be a police officer, which immediately makes her trust him. Unfortunately, it was all a ruse.
The man in the uniform was Vinson Filyaw and he used a pretend arrest to abduct her and hold her in a bunker for 10 days. The methods that Shoaf used to get found are a learning lesson for everyone.
Meet The Women Behind Malcolm X And Martin Luther King Jr.
When you take a look at history books and read about Malcolm X and Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. you tend to read about everything they did not the very capable wives they left behind. In 'Betty and Coretta, Lifetime takes a look at these two powerful women and their contributions to the civil rights movement. Dr. Betty Shabaz and Coretta Scott King were both impressive historical figures that this film recognizes.
King became very active in the Women's Movement and Shabaz continued her academic career all while continuing to further their husbands' dreams.
Catherine Zeta-Jones As The Black Widow Of Miami's Drug World
Griselda Blanco's story is not one shared by many, and actress Catherine Zeta-Jones was the perfect person to take on the role. Lifetime's 'Cocaine Godmother: The Griselda Blanco Story' is one fueled by many things, with a lot of drama and chaos at the center of the story. Blanco was originally from Medellin, Colombia, and moved to Miami, Florida at the tender age of 17. From there, she embarked on building a cartel empire.
During her time in Miami, she got the nickname 'The Black Widow' and the film details her rise to power, and all of the crimes she committed along the way to maintain that power.
The Must Watch Documentary The Lizzie Velasquez Story
While most of the movies on this list are dramatizations about the lives of real people, 'A Brave Heart: The Lizzie Velasquez Story' is not. This documentary is an important one because, in it, Lizzie Velasquez shares information about the rare syndrome she has known as Marfanoid-progeroid-lipodystrophy syndrome. This syndrome makes it impossible for her to gain weight and has affected her appearance to the point that cyberbullying became a part of her everyday life.
If you are looking for an inspirational documentary and how to educate kids on why bullying is never okay then this is a good one for the whole family to watch.
Raising Awareness About The 2014 Water Crisis In Flint, Michigan
Flint, Michigan began making the news in 2014 and that continued until 2019. This was due to what is now known as the 'Flint Water Crisis' in which the drinking water was found to be contaminated with the element lead, and possibly some serious bacteria. While the movie, 'Flint' doesn't focus on a real family, it does represent all of the families that were affected by this crisis and its health effects because of it as well as the whistleblowers.
Queen Latifah is the star of the movie, and she also helped to produce this powerful story through her company.
What Really Happened That Night Between Oscar Pistorius And Reeva Steenkamp
On Valentine's Day in 2013, the South African police were called to the scene of a horrible crime. Paralympic athlete, Oscar Pistorius was found with his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, who had been shot in his bathroom. There was a lot of uncertainty at Pistorious' house, as he was the one who had wielded the weapon. When the events of that night hit the news, the whole world was shocked to see what the 'Blade Runner' had done.
The events of that night and the subsequent trial were included in the movie, 'Oscar Pistorius: Blade Runner Killer.'
The Chris Watts Story And What Really Happened To His Wife
A lot of the stories that are at the center of these movies are pretty chilling, but in 'Chris Watts: Confessions of a Killer' nobody expected that he was capable of the crimes he committed. The film details Watts' life as a rig worker, and his relationship with his wife Shannon and two young children. Shannon and the two kids went missing, but Chris failed to report it for a while until people became suspicious.
As the story unfolds, some major truths are revealed which are tragic and Watts is very much responsible for what happened to his wife and children.
How Meghan Markle And Harry, Prince Of Wales Got Together
Meeting a prince, falling in love, and becoming a duchess sounds like every little girl's fairy tale come true. For Meghan Markle though, her life with Prince Harry and constant tabloid attention have proven difficult. Only a little bit is known about how these two got together, like how they were set up on a blind date by a friend. The movie, 'Harry and Meghan: A Royal Romance' delves into how Harry and Meghan ended up together.
If you enjoy a fairytale romance, and a wedding then this is a nice story to tune into compared to some of the more crime-focused films on the list.
What Exactly Did Shirley Jane Turner Do To Andrew David Bagby?
It can sometimes be hard to fathom why certain people do the things they do, which is the case fr Andrew David Bagby. His friend, Kurt Kuenne in his grief, decided to do a documentary on Andrew called, 'Dear Zachary: A Letter to a Son About His Father.' The documentary details Andrew's life, how he meets Shirley Jane Turner and marries her, and has a son named Zachary Andrew Turner.
Shirley was unfortunately not what Andrew thought she was and would be responsible for crimes against both her husband and her baby son. This is not for the faint of heart.
Beware Of Open Water When Out Diving For Too Long
A lot of films are loosely based on real events, with directors and writers taking a lot of liberties with the story. In 'Open Water' a couple is out diving when they find themselves all alone. Their dive boat has left them in the middle of the ocean, with no way of calling for help. This is not a situation anyone wants to be in and for divers Tom and Eileen Lonergan that is exactly what happened,
The Lonergans have never been found, and their story made many divers wary after the media reported on it. Always make sure you are aware of your surroundings and the people around you when on vacation.
The True Story Behind The Film Adrift Starring Shailene Woodley
The film 'Adrift' starts out like any other great romance. A sailor meets a girl, falls in love, and the two embark on the adventure of a lifetime together. Actress Shailene Woodley plays the lead, with British actor Sam Claflin supporting. Tami Lee Oldham Ashcraft is the woman at the heart of this true story, and she details her heartbreaking journey to survive. This is a great movie, and the ending is even more surprising.
All sailors preparing for long voyages should check this one out, as it is a tale of resilience and transformation.
The Rise Of Corey Feldman And Corey Haim In The 1980s
Every generation there are a group of actors and actresses that become famous, as if, overnight. Right now, we have the cast of HBO's 'Euphoria.' Back in the 1980s though, young Corey Feldman and Corey Haim were the rising stars and seemed to be in everything. In 'A Tale Of Two Coreys' with Corey Feldman producing, the lives of these two teens were detailed. With each rise to fame, there is also a fall.
Both the Coreys struggled with substance abuse issues, and according to Feldman a lot of this had to do with how they were treated by certain members of Hollywood.
Sometimes Students Can Like Their Teachers A Little Bit Too Much
There have been a lot of cases of teachers developing unhealthy obsessions with their students, but in 1980, the exact opposite happened. In the Lifetime movie, 'Abducted: The Mary Stauffer Story', Mary was a teacher who had a student named Ming Sen Shiue who took a real liking to her. That liking grew into an obsession, and he decided to abduct her and her young daughter for a few months.
The story is an unusual one, but Stauffer eventually managed to elude her captor and free herself and her daughter from his clutches.
Stalkers Are Not Something To Be Taken Lightly
Nobody wants a stalker, but that is exactly what happened to a surgeon in New York. Diane Schaefer suffered from a condition known as erotomania in which she thought that the surgeon was infatuated with her. The movie, 'Obsessed' with actress Jenna Elfman as the lead is loosely based on this story, and she plays a very convincing stalker. At the heart of the story, is an affair that never actually happened.
These movies are important because they do make viewers aware of various types of mental illnesses that they may be unaware of.
An Estranged Wife And A Fontainebleu Fortune Worth Fighting For
One thing that Lifetime always does well is finding stories that have a certain level of glitz and glamor to them. 'Beautiful and Twisted' delivers all of the drama behind the story of Ben Novack Jr. and Bernice Novack. Ben was the heir to the Fontainebleu fortune in Miami but had an ex-wife named Nancy who wanted to be sure she got a piece of the action when Ben eventually passed.
Instead of waiting to find out if she was in the will, she took matters into her own hands and a series of assassinations were ordered which the film details.