ByTom Perkins, writer at
If it can be written, or thought, it can be filmed.
Tom Perkins

We all have that one favourite movie character, that one character that we wish was real and that we could actually interact with. So thinking upon this, I've dived into the internet (without smashing my screen) to see what movie characters that we all know and love were actually based on real people, through my results the outcome was actually quite interesting. Take a look!


Yes indeed, this guy! Tintin has been around since 1929 from Belgian comic strip writer Herge, millions upon millions of his comics have been sold since then and who is now a beloved children's character. Recently having his own feature length film The Adventures of Tintin (2011), directed by the legend himself Steven Spielberg.

Kinda hard to believe that he was based off a real life character right? Tintin was actually based off of a Danish boy scout Palle Huld, who when he was 15 won a contest to re-enact the famous Phineas Fogg navigation around the world, in the novel Around the World in 80 Days. The part that makes Huld so likely to be the inspiration for Tintin is that Huld completed his journey around the world in just under 45 days in 1928, then surprisingly, Tintin debuted in 1929.

Palle Huld ended up being a Danish film actor and writer and appeared in over 40 films between 1993 and 2000, he died in 2010 at the long and incredible age of 98!


The character Zorro was created in 1919 and has been the star of many films, TV shows and books. It's weird to think that a sword fighting vigilante could ever actually exist, but surprisingly, he did!

The inspiration for the infamous character Zorro had the name of Joaquin Murrieta and he was born in 1829, 90 years before Zorro was created. Murietta found success in gold mining before his family were killed and his wife raped by American miners, not being able to find his family justice through the law, he took the law into his own hands and became the vigilante that would later inspire the character Zorro. Joaquin Murietta formed a gang that would go on to hunt down and get revenge on those who killed his family. Until 1853, the gang continued to commit murder and rob banks until Murrieta was killed and beheaded by Texas Rangers.

The two most iconic and recognisable moments of Zorro culture, is the two movies that were released, The Mask of Zorro (1998) and The Legend of Zorro (2005), both movies starred Antonio Banderas as Zorro.

The coolest thing is that if you have seen the first film you will know that Joaquin Murrieta was actually in the movie, he was the brother of Zorro and later on the movie (spoilers) he was actually beheaded by the antagonist, obviously to pay some kind of weird tribute to the fate of the actual Murietta!

Indiana Jones

One of our most beloved movie characters was too, based off a real life person. Indiana Jones was based off several different people but the most notable person is said to have been Hiram Bingham III. Bingham was a professor of History for Latin America at Yale University where he worked from 1907 till 1915. But he isn't famous for that, he is most well known for re-discovering Machu Picchu in 1911, Machu Picchu was built in 1450 but was later abandoned a century later around the time of the Spanish conquest.

Another connection between Jones and Hiram is that a Charlton Heston 1954 film named Secret of the Incas where the character, Harry Steele played by Heston, explored the the lost city of Machu Picchu. So it's clear to see that the character and concept was based off of what Hiram Bingham accomplished. George Lucas and Steven Spielberg who were the creators of Indiana Jones, later said that they got a lot of inspiration from the character Harry Steele and therefore, Hiram Bingham III himself.

Loving the stetson chaps.
Loving the stetson chaps.

Severus Snape

Yes, even the fanatical have been based off something. But the question is, what kind of experience did the Harry Potter Author J.K Rowling go through in order to create this dastardly character?

J.K's Chemistry classes of course. Yes as Snape taught potions at Hogwarts Witchcraft and Wizardry, it's unsurprising that Rowling would base Snape off of her Chemistry teacher, John Nettleship. Nettleship did not realise his connection to the character till after the movies came out, but his students and John's wife later connected the dots between the two.

They look very very very alike.
They look very very very alike.

James Bond

After seeing the movies, Bond was the last person I saw to be inspired by fact. If you didn't know the James Bond author Ian Fleming, actually worked with British Intelligence during World War Two, but it's believed by most that Ian didn't even work with the man who inspired Bond. It's believed that James was inspired by a Secret Agent (not so secret anymore) Yeo-Thomas, known as one of the most skilled spies of the Second World War.

Yeo-Thomas parachuted into occupied Germany three times and reported directly to the famous war-time Prime Minister Winston Churchill. On one of his missions he was actually captured by the Gestapo, then tortured and later placed in a concentration camp where he eventually escaped back to Allied territory. Even though Fleming and Yeo-Thomas never worked together, not long after he escaped the camp, Fleming held a briefing about Yeo-Thomas and his escape from the concentration camp to talk about the different exploits. From reading this, it kinda shows that Ian Fleming was interested in this man and therefore supporting the idea that Yeo-Thomas was the inspiration for Bond, James Bond.

So what do you guys think about this? There are plenty more fictional characters that we all love that are based off fact, but these are just some of my favourite!

Thanks for reading :3


What was your favourite?


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