Rain Man's protagonist played by Dustin Hoffman came after Kim
Peek, a 'mega savant' whose memory was so strong he could recall the contents of over 12,000
Psycho's Norman Bates came after serial killer Ed Gein, who
killed several young women and exhumed the corpses of many more in the quest to make a skin suit
resembling his dead mother.
The Big Lebowski. The Dude is based on Jeff Dowd, a one-time
anti-Vietnam activist who had grown increasingly disreputable - and increasingly fond of White
Rocky Balboa - Stallone wrote the screenplay after seeing no-hope
bruiser Chuck Wepner last until the 15th round in a fight with Muhammad Ali.
Indiana Jones is inspired by Hiram Bingham III, the academic and
adventurer who rediscovered Machu Piccu in 1911.
Sherlock Holmes' father Arthur Conan Doyle was once a clerk to a
medical lecturer called Joseph Bell, who taught forensic science by deducing information about
Taxi Driver's Travis Bickle's dreaming of washing the scum off
the street was based on the case of Arthur Bremer, who shot Presidential candidate George
Wallace in 1972.
Sally Bowles as played by Liza Minnelli in Cabaret was created by
Christopher Isherwood in homage to Jean Ross, an acquaintance of the author when he lived in
Berlin during the 1930s.
The Citizen Charles Foster Kane is based on the controversial
publisher William Randolph Hearst as Orson Welles reluctantly admitted.
Tom Hanks' hero in The Terminal is the real story of Iranian
refugee Mehran Karimi Nasseri, who lost his paper at Charles De Gaulle in Paris and lived at the
airport for 8 years.
Dorian Gray aka the poet John Gray was believed to be Oscar
Wilde's lover, sent by the author to immortality.
On The Road's charismatic rebel, Dean Moriarty was based on the
author Jack Kerouac's friend, writer Neal Cassady.
Dirk Diggler, played by Mark Wahlberg in Boogie Nights was
modeled by John Holmes, who similarly made his name on the size of his member.
Alice in Wonderland was named after Alice Liddell, a family
friend of Charles Dodgson (aka Lewis Carroll) for whom the story was written.
Lolita - the novel's author, Vladimir Nabokov, based Lolita on
Florence Horner, an 11-year-old girl kidnapped by a paedophile in 1948.
Zorro was given life by Joaquin Murrieta, a Mexican bandit who
got rich after attacking well-stocked wagon trains during the Californian Gold Rush.