Is ‘The Terminal’ Based on a True Story?

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There’s plenty of anxiety surrounding air travel: long security lines, scrambling to rip your shoes off, and low phone batteries, just to name a few. But imagine living two decades of your life in one airport, camping out in one terminal without the ability to leave. That’s the premise of Steven Spielberg‘s 2004 drama The Terminal, which stars Tom Hanks as a man who becomes trapped in one terminal after he has no way to prove his identity and make it back home. Talk about a real nightmare! It couldn’t be true, could it? Could it???

The film takes place in the depths of JFK airport in New York City, in which Viktor Navorski (Hanks) finds himself in an incredibly sticky situation. An Eastern European tourist with no friends or family to help him, he’s held by the Department of Homeland Security as his homeland rages in a war. Trapped at JFK indefinitely, Viktor falls in love with a flight attendant (Catherine Zeta-Jones) as he passes the time.

Wondering if Spielberg’s The Terminal is based on a true story? Here’s everything we know:

Is The Terminal based on a true story?

Believe it or not, The Terminal is in fact based on a true story. It may sound hard to believe, but the film is indeed about Mehran Karimi Nasseri, an Iranian refugee who lived in the departure lounge of Paris’s Charles de Gaulle Airport. He camped out for two decades, spanning from 1988 to 2006, due to the fact that he lost his paperwork while traveling. Nasseri left the terminal because he had to be hospitalized.

Is The Terminal based on a book?

The Terminal is also kind of based on a book — penned by Nasseri himself, too. Spielberg’s film was actually released before Nasseri’s book, called The Terminal Man, hit shelves, so it’s not technically based on a book. But the book and the film tell the same story, so it’s the same idea.

Is The Terminal streaming on Netflix? Where to watch The Terminal:

Yes, The Terminal is streaming on Netflix! The Spielberg/Hanks film is also streaming on Prime Video, Philo, Epix, Plex, Pluto TV, and for free on Sony Crackle. Get watching!

Where to watch The Terminal

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