How many times have you cheered Rocky as he punches his way through all those movies or been horrified by Jack Nicholson in The Shining? What if we told you that you should have been cheering for Chuck Wepner, a real-life boxer who inspired the Rocky movies instead? Or that The Shining has a very disturbing real-life influence? If you enjoy trivia about cult classic movies then this list is for you.  

The Shining

01 the stanley hotel The Stanley Hotel: real-life inspiration for the Overlook Hotel from The Shining

In 1973, author Stephen King and his wife checked in at the Stanley Hotel in Colorado. They were the only guests in what is known as America’s most haunted hotel, which opened in 1909 and where paranormal activities were recorded as far back as 1911. King requested to stay in Room 217, supposedly the most haunted room in the hotel. He is even said to have experienced ghostly children and a party in the MacGregor ballroom. In fact, film reviewer Reagan Gavin once said, “Tell me that The Shining wasn’t exactly the same story – with Jack Nicholson’s character coming apart at the seams at the end!” And get this, the hotel is still open today if you want to test your courage!  


02 real life rocky Sylvester Stallone poses with Chuck Wepner, the real life Rocky

According to film legend, struggling actor Sylvester Stallone is said to have typed out the script of the original Rocky movie in less than four days after watching a fight between Chuck Wepner and Muhammed Ali. Wepner lost the fight but gave Sylvester the genesis for the character that would take the world by storm. When Wepner found out he was the inspiration for the Rocky movies, he sued the producers and got an out-of-court settlement.  

The Perfect Storm

03 real andrea gail the perfect storm An artist's rendition of the original Andrea Gail fishing vessel

The Perfect Storm is a nautical disaster drama starring George Clooney and Mark Wahlberg. The reference point for the movie came from the swordfish fishing boat, Andrea Gail, which sank in October 1991 off the coast of Nova Scotia in eastern Canada. Be warned though, knowing that the movie is based on real events might be too much to handle when you reach the film’s dark and depressing end.  

Indiana Jones

04 crystal skull mitchell hedges The crystal skull at the British Museum, similar in dimensions to the Mitchell-Hedges skull.

Although it has never been explicitly confirmed, Indiana Jones seems to be heavily inspired by FA Mitchell-Hedges. One only needs to read Mitchell-Hedges’ biography Danger May Ally, released in 1954, to ascertain the many connections between the real-life archaeologist and Indi. It's hard to ignore the references from Mitchell-Hedges’ life that pop up in the Harrison Ford films, especially given the fact that he is credited with unearthing the world's most famous crystal skull during one of his excavations. And what was the most recent Indiana Jones movie called? That's right, Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull!  


05 tank crew WWII A US Army tank crew during WWII

This 2014 war movie starring Brad Pitt received mostly positive reviews from fans and critics when it released. However, what many people don’t know is that the story is based on real-life Army veterans’ experiences, such as nonagenarian ex-soldier Ray Stewart who fought at the Battle of the Bulge as a tank runner and many others who spent time inside a tank during the Second World War. This is why the movie’s scenes are so visceral and devoid of the overt drama that are typical of war films.


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