Inspired by...

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"Anything can be 'inspired' by a true story! One day I pooped to the moon. INSPIRED BY A TRUE STORY??"

One of Hollywood's promotional stock phrases that signals a considerable degree of adaptation modification. It can be applied to a true story as well to a work of fiction. In any case, it means that the source material has significantly altered. At least it will still be discernible, though you may have to squint a little.

The phrase can come up in connection with a Dramatization or anything Very Loosely Based on a True Story.

For similar stock phrases that more or less indicate the same degree of adaptation (un)faithfulness, see Suggested by... and Ripped from the Headlines.


Examples:

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     Advertising  

  • Several face creams have been advertised as "inspired by" genetics or "gene science" as they sometimes put it. Guess how much connection they actually have to the subject.
  • Taco Bell has a little too much respect for its customers to claim to serve Mexican food of any degree of authenticity. Instead, they are careful to always refer to their food as "Mexican-inspired."

     Films — Animated  

     Films — Live-Action  

  • Chariot is simply inspired by the fact that a 727 Boeing disappeared without a trace in 2003.
  • The Miracle Woman was inspired by the real evangelical "healer" Aimee Semple McPherson.
  • Troy was "inspired by" The Iliad according to its credits. Pretty accurate assessment. Although in all fairness, contemporary research implies that The Iliad was Very Loosely Based on a True Story itself.
  • The movie Eight Below features an American team of eight sled dogs, six of whom survive for six months in 1993. It was "inspired by" a Japanese team of fifteen dogs, two of whom survived for one year in 1958.
  • Alien Abduction (2014) was inspired by a real-life phenomenon called the Brown Mountain Lights, associated with a number of disappearances, though there is no concrete evidence that aliens were involved.
  • Inverted in Eyes Wide Shut: while the ending credits state that the film was "inspired" by an Alfred Schnitzler's novella, it is in fact a rather faithful adaptation, down to the key pieces of dialogue.
  • The opening credits for a Soviet film The New Adventures of Captain Vrungel state: "Screenplay by Alexander Khmelik, based on the memories of the novel by A. Nesterov".
  • The Quiet Ones was inspired by the "Phillip Experiment," an experiment where a group of parapsychologists attempted to create an artificial poltergeist through expectation of human will. The results the participants reported, much of which were undocumented to begin with, were exaggerated for the movie; Also, the characters and circumstances were fictionalized, and the setting was moved from 1970s Toronto, Ontario to 1970s Oxford, England.
    • The Apparition was an earlier film even more loosely inspired by the Phillip Experiment - about all it has in common with the "true events" is that it involves people in a college trying to summon a spirit as part of an experiment.
  • Lemon Tree Passage is inspired by an urban legend of a ghost light that chases speeding cars along an isolated stretch of road in country New South Wales. While this is depicted in the movie, none of the other events have any connection to the legend.
  • Vows Of Deceit (aka Deadly Matrimony) - according to the Marvista Entertainment website - was "inspired by an unbelievable true story". The central plot, a con artist who marries multiple women to steal their money, is somewhat plausible. The part where the wives team up and hire a private detective? Maybe. But the Slasher Movie killer in a beekeeper mask? The bizarre climatic Wedding Day brawl between undercover bridesmaids and psycho hubby? Unbelievable indeed.

     Fan Works  

     Live-Action TV  

  • Spy miniseries The Assets, about notorious CIA mole Aldrich Ames, announces itself to be "inspired by true events". Ironically, it's more factual than the disclaimer makes it seem.

     Music 
  • In June 1997, Lela and Raymond Howard of Salado, TX, decided to set off for a festival in nearby Temple, despite Lela's Alzheimer's and Raymond recovering from brain surgery, and were found two weeks later, dead, at the bottom of a ravine near Hot Springs, AR—which is more or less in the same direction from Salado as Temple but is over 22.5 times further away. Tony Scalzo, frontman of a group called Fastball, read journalistic articles about this and was inspired to write "The Way", which is a considerably more romanticized version of events—though the line "they'll never get old and gray" might imply that it still ends in death, just a considerably happier one.

     Other 

  • The Dum Cat series is reportedly inspired by the artist's real life experiences with their dim-witted pet.


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