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Mirroring Reality: Seven Egyptian Movies Inspired by True Events

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Mirroring Reality: Seven Egyptian Movies Inspired by True Events
written by
Malak Gharib
Still from Voy! Voy! Voy!

Some believe cinema is the mirror of reality. Bringing true stories to the big screen, the power of cinema to spread awareness and indulge people in stories from the heart of the Egyptian streets is undeniable. Finding a muse in reality, here are seven Egyptian movies based on actual events.



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Depicting the story of a woman suffering from the social and physical consequences of HIV AIDs, Asmaa is one of the most controversial real-life stories that has been brought to the big screen. The movie was screened in 2011 and is based on a woman who died from a burst gallbladder after doctors refused to operate on her because she had AIDS. Directed by Amr Salama, Asmaa is based on his encounters with AIDS patients whom he met while working on a documentary he made about the illness for the United Nations in 2005.


Voy! Voy! Voy!

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Representing the viral story of the Egyptian National Football Team for the visually impaired, Voy! Voy! Voy! took Egyptian cinemas by storm. The soul-touching and comedic tale was based on a man who pretended to be blind to make his way into the team and emigrate to Europe. Director Omar Hilal brought his vision to life, bringing laughs and tears to the audience. 


El Maslaha

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Starring Ahmed Ezz and Ahmed El Saqa, El Maslaha is based on events believed to have happened in Sinai. The team behind the cameras modified the story to fit the cinematic landscape. The movie was a great success and highlighted the problem of drug dealing.



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The events of the 2010 film 678 feature stories of three characters, Saba, Fayza, and Nelly, revealing the suffering of these three women from different social backgrounds dealing with sexual harassment. 678 was written and directed by Mohamed Diab and has a star-studded cast including Bushra, Nelly Karim, Majed El Kadwani, Nahed El Sebay, Bassem Samra, Ahmed El Fishawy, and Hani Adel. The film’s events integrate several real-life incidents of sexual harassment victims, including the first sexual harassment case brought to Egyptian courts.


Al Momya’

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Inspired by events that took place in 1871, Al Momya’ tells the story of the Al Harabat tribe in Upper Egypt and their trade of ancient relics. When the tribe’s elder dies, his sons refuse to participate in the theft of antiquities. Instead, they proceed to inform the archaeological mission about the tomb’s location, from which their tribe has been profiting by selling its contents. In the original story, the protagonists are members of the Abdul Rasoul family who discovered the tomb, home to some of the most extraordinary Pharaonic artefacts and mummies in Egypt, such as Ahmose I, Seti I, and Ramesses II.


Al Safah

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Al Safah was produced in 2009 and stars Hani Salama and Nicole Saba. It narrates the story of the infamous criminal known as “Safaah El Mohandsein” (the Mohandessin killer), who committed several crimes and murders in the upscale neighbourhood of Egypt, terrorising Egyptians. Eventually, the authorities apprehended him and brought him to justice, sentencing him to death. His story was widespread in the community, resulting in the production of the hit film.


Al Gezira 

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The iconic Al Gezira starring Ahmed El Sakka, released in cinemas in 2007, was inspired by a true story that is believed to have taken place in Asyut in Upper Egypt. Its protagonist was one of the most famous drug dealers, Ezat Hanafi, who helped the government combat terrorism. He exploited his relationship with the government to smuggle and trade drugs. However, law enforcement agencies eventually arrested him and brought him to trial, where he was sentenced to life imprisonment.