Sunday, April 19th, 2009
1: The Untouchables
Al Capone was a notorious Mafia boss who thrived during the Prohibition era of 1930s Chicago. In the film "The Untouchables," he was brought down by a small group of gritty law enforcers led by Eliot Ness. The public believed that Ness and his Untouchables were responsible for Capone's downfall, but that's not the real story. The Internal Revenue Service recently opened secret documents surrounding the case, including highly classified objects such as Capone's gun and Ness's diary. See the full story behind the plot to capture Capone.
Sunday, May 3rd, 2009
4: The Amityville Horror
The quiet village of Amityville, NY took the country by gruesome surprise on November 13, 1974, when police discovered six members of the DeFeo family shot dead in their suburban home. Ronald, the eldest son, was found guilty of the murders. But when a new family moves into the DeFeo's Amityville home, reports of demonic possession and poltergeist activity grab international attention. Through eyewitness accounts and archival footage, we explore the facts behind the Amityville case and reveal new evidence, which suggests a hoax could be behind the horror.
Sunday, June 7th, 2009
2: Escape From Alcatraz
Uncover the true story behind the most famous prison break in American history. Alcatraz was the world's most impregnable prison-until three inmates escaped. Despite a vast manhunt, the men were never seen again. Did the prisoners actually make it off the island, or did the icy waters of the San Francisco Bay act as the fortress' last line of inescapable defense?
Sunday, July 5th, 2009
5: James Bond
Bond...James Bond. Is this man of mystery a personification of a real spy or a fantasy spun by author Ian Fleming? Fleming wanted his suave secret agent to be the ultimate spy - but who provided the inspiration? Discover Fleming's wartime service in naval intelligence, and meet two men who could have supplied the basis for Bond's character. Uncover the facts behind the fiction - the people, places and even the gadgets that inspired the iconic spy.
Sunday, August 2nd, 2009
3: Indiana Jones
Just who was the real Indiana Jones? Indy's creators George Lucas and Steven Spielberg say the inspiration for the whip-cracking adventurer came from the explorers featured in 1930s and 40s movie serials. In turn, many writers of these serials say their inspiration came from the real-life adventures of Roy Chapman Andrews. Another source for the Indy legend is the German scholar and Grail-hunter, Otto Rahn. Both embody the spirit of Indiana Jones, and lived real lives of scholarship, exploration and danger.
Sunday, April 25th, 2010
1: The Exorcist
Perhaps the scariest part of "The Exorcist" is that it's not a work of complete fiction. We recount the 1949 exorcism of a young boy through reenactments and witness accounts. We also show how exorcism continues to this day and how neuroscientists' recent discoveries dispute this controversial, centuries-old ritual.
Sunday, May 2nd, 2010
2: The Silence of the Lambs
Meet the deranged serial killers and the determined FBI agents who inspired one of Hollywood's most terrifying thrillers and gave Anthony Hopkins and Jodie Foster the roles of a lifetime. We go behind the scenes at the FBI's Behavioral Science Unit to meet the profilers who became the basis for Harris's characters and to uncover the details of real-life murderers Ed Gein, Ted Bundy, and others.
Sunday, May 9th, 2010
Behind Martin Scorsese's masterful direction and Robert De Niro's larger-than-life performance lies the very real story of the high-stakes battle between the mob and the law for control of Las Vegas. We interview key figures on both sides of this colorful crime story and detail how the FBI was finally able to overcome the Mafia's formidable grip on Sin City.
Sunday, May 16th, 2010
3: The Bourne Identity
Believe it or not, the covert, violent, and deadly world of Jason Bourne is actually grounded in reality. We take an in-depth, behind-the-scenes look at the CIA to see how a super assassin like Matt Damon's conflicted hero is created. We also probe the intelligence agency's controversial past operations, involving sinister mind-control experiments and often bizarre assassination plots.
Sunday, May 23rd, 2010
5: The Hunt for Red October
In 1975, The Sentry, a state-of-the-art Russian warship, was taken over by a rogue Soviet officer. This remarkable mutiny not only inspired the best-selling political thriller and the Sean Connery/Alec Baldwin blockbuster, "The Hunt for Red October," it almost triggered World War III. For the first time, The Real Story takes you deep into the details of the events depicted in the film, revealing firsthand accounts of bravery and tragedy from the men aboard the warship and the officers who ordered its destruction.
Sunday, May 15th, 2011
1: Pirates of the Caribbean
Johnny Depp and the cast of the "Pirates of the Caribbean" present the buccaneer lifestyle as a back-stabbing, high-living, hard-drinking world. It makes for an entertaining series, but is it a true depiction of the times? Evidence shows that amidst the lawless merriment, pirates formed a highly organized society, where democracy ruled and voting and health care preceded England by 100 years. We interview historians, weaponry experts, and one of the film's screenwriters to show how true pirate adventures inspired this blockbuster franchise.
Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
For over a decade, "Titanic" stood as the world's top-grossing movie, an epic tale of love, adventure, disaster and sacrifice. When it was made, James Cameron was lauded for his attention to detail and accuracy, but modern technology and new theories are telling a different story of what really happened to the "unsinkable" ship. We interview historians, engineers, and scientists for their expert testimony. We even set simulated sail aboard a virtual Titanic to retrace the final moments before impact, and get to the bottom of the truth.
Sunday, May 29th, 2011
You're 30 times more likely to be hit by lightening than attacked by a shark. Dog bites and bee stings cause more fatalities, so, why are we so terrified of these demons of the deep? Blame "Jaws." The Steven Spielberg classic terrified millions in 1975, and decades later, the film still has teeth. But could a Great White really be a serial killer? We interview marine biologists and shark experts for answers. We also relive a true tale of a man-eating monster that terrorized New Jersey in 1916, a story far scarier than anything on screen.
Sunday, June 5th, 2011
In the year 2000, masses lined up to cheer on Russell Crowe's Maximus in the Ridley Scott film, "Gladiator." More than 1,900 years earlier, they lined up for the real thing. It was a scene far bloodier and more brutal than any of the battles presented in the Oscar-winning film. We uncover the real story of "Gladiator," a tale of blood, death, obsession and violence. Demonstrations and new experiments reveal how these men really fought and died, and examine the emperor Commodus, a man who obsessed over gladiators while his empire crumbled around him.
Sunday, June 12th, 2011
5: Jurassic Park
Would the raptors in "Jurassic Park" have been as terrifying if they were covered in feathers? Would the T-Rex be as threatening if its speed tapped out at 10 MPH? No, but as a work of science fiction, it's forgivable. How much of the Steven Spielberg blockbuster was inspired by reality? Its characters were based on real people. Its shocking premise was influenced by real discoveries. Look beyond the Hollywood magic and into the scientific facts, with expert opinions from research scientists, fossil hunters and paleontologist Jack Horner, the inspiration for Dr. Grant, the main character in "Jurassic Park."
Sunday, July 29th, 2012
1: Saving Private Ryan
Steven Spielberg's "Saving Private Ryan" is one of the greatest war films ever made, capturing the sheer horror and brutality of combat. The film is famous for its realism, but how much of this epic drama is truly accurate? Was there a real Private Ryan? Uncover the real story behind this Hollywood blockbuster as we conduct tests with weapons experts and gain insights from war historians. Then hear the moving testimony of soldiers who landed at Normandy and meet the families whose tragic stories inspired the film.
Sunday, August 5th, 2012
2: True Grit
The line between good and evil in the Wild West was often blurred, and perhaps no Hollywood Western captured the realities of the dangerous frontier better than the Coen Brothers' "True Grit." Based on the book by Charles Portis, it's a brutal portrayal of frontier justice, but real life in the West was even more shocking. Explore a violent and unforgiving time in America's history and see how Rooster Cogburn and young Mattie's encounters with hangings, shootouts, and kidnappings would have been part and parcel with life in the Wild West.
Sunday, August 12th, 2012
3: Apollo 13
No one would believe the story if it hadn't actually happened. The 1970 rescue of Apollo 13 captivated the nation and the film adaptation went on to win two Oscars(r). But how close to the truth was the film? Was "Houston, we have a problem," or "Failure is not an option," ever actually said? Did hostilities between the astronauts really exist? To reveal the truth, we put the big movie moments to the test. Firsthand accounts from astronauts and Mission Control staff involved in the rescue, as well as an interview with filmmaker Ron Howard, reveal the full story.
Sunday, August 19th, 2012
4: Close Encounters of the Third Kind
The movie was an instant smash when it hit the theaters in 1977 and reawakened man's obsession with the eternal question: "Are we alone in the universe?" Though a work of fantasy, few realize that Steven Spielberg's sci-fi classic was actually inspired by real-life witness testimony, as well as a series of UFO sightings in Michigan in the summer of 1966. Separate science fact from science fiction as we re-examine government documents and put old witness testimonies to the test using modern technology.
Sunday, August 26th, 2012
Mel Gibson's "Braveheart" won five Oscars and made William Wallace, a 13th-century Scottish warrior, an unforgettable Hollywood character. But how historically accurate is the film? Was the real-life William Wallace a heroic freedom fighter or a common criminal turned terrorist? Was he really saved by a princess who became his lover? We examine new archeological evidence, reveal recently deciphered ancient manuscripts and conduct forensic experiments to uncover the true story of this legendary warrior.
Sunday, September 2nd, 2012
6: Master and Commander
Though it is a work of fiction, few films have been as meticulously researched as director Peter Weir's maritime masterpiece, "Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World." The historians and experts who worked behind the scenes will now share the real story of how they brought their stunning recreation of the 19th-century seafaring adventure to the big screen. Join us as we detail the brutal conditions of life at sea, and reveal the real-life swashbuckling captain who inspired the Hollywood character "Lucky" Jack Aubrey.
Sunday, June 30th, 2013
1: Star Trek
The biggest movie and TV franchise of all time, Star Trek spawned more than 700 TV episodes and twelve films. Creator Gene Roddenberry's vision of the future helped inspire today's scientists to develop the first scientific principles of teleportation, the creation of artificial intelligence, androids, and more. Now, scientists, series producers, the first Trekkies, and Spock himself, Leonard Nimoy, provide new insights into a show that inspired audiences everywhere to create a better world.
Sunday, July 7th, 2013
2: Live Free or Die Hard
In the fourth film in the "Die Hard" franchise, New York cop John McClane takes on a sophisticated cyber-criminal mastermind who shuts down the USA remotely via the Internet. It's a story that is chillingly topical. THE REAL STORY shows how a similar cyber-attack could be a real possibility. Featuring interviews with real-life cyber-criminals, FBI investigators and computer specialists, the program uncovers the shadowy world of hacking on a scale that could shutdown entire countries. Meet the government officials and former hackers who are tasked with ensuring it never does.
Sunday, July 14th, 2013
THE REAL STORY examines the soldiers and events behind Oliver Stone's Academy Award-winning movie, which opened the world's eyes to the horrors of the Vietnam conflict. With exclusive interviews with Stone and actor Willem Dafoe, the program features exclusive recordings from the fierce firefight that inspired the movie's climactic battle, and speaks to former Vietnam veterans about the portrayal of actual events. THE REAL STORY also explores how much of the movie was based on Stone's own experiences as a rookie soldier serving in Vietnam and reveals the identities of the soldiers who fought alongside him during the conflict. The program recreates one of the most memorable scenes in movie history to learn whether a person could survive an assault and reach a helicopter evacuation zone, as depicted in "Platoon."
Sunday, July 21st, 2013
4: The Da Vinci Code
The REAL STORY investigates Ron Howard's controversial 2003 box office hit and reveals that it was based on more real organizations and events than previously thought. "The Da Vinci Code" film follows Harvard professor Robert Langdon's attempt to solve a series of puzzles and codes left behind by the great Renaissance artist, Leonardo da Vinci, to find the true nature and final resting place of the Holy Grail. THE REAL STORY meets with leading theologians, da Vinci experts, art restorers and Coptic scholars to examine the film's assertions. Did Jesus have a sexual relationship with Mary Magdalene? Does da Vinci's The Last Supper painting contain intentional coded references to Mary Magdalene? Is the film's cryptex a real da Vinci invention? What is the truth behind da Vinci's mirror writing? THE REAL STORY explores these questions and travels to the ancient Rosslyn Chapel in Scotland to analyze the function of the cryptic messages and hidden chambers that exist there.
Sunday, July 28th, 2013
Slasher movie "Scream," which portrays a brutal serial killer who terrorizes an entire town, has spawned one of the most commercially successful horror franchises in movie history. THE REAL STORY reveals that the facts are far more terrifying than Hollywood fiction. Over a week in the summer of 1990, 36-year-old masked serial killer Danny Harold Rolling stalked, tortured and murdered five young students in Gainesville, Florida. The "Gainesville Ripper" serial killings sparked mass panic, a student exodus and the largest manhunt in Florida's history. THE REAL STORY explores the impact Rolling's shocking killing spree had on the university town, from the media frenzy to the mass paranoia that swept across the small community, and follows the trials and tribulations of the year-long investigation to track down the murderer. Viewers will hear from firsthand witnesses, homicide investigators and scientists how the forensic team finally pieced together the murderer's methodology, and learn the trail of evidence that finally led police to unmask the killer.