Inspired By

"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.


  • 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 audience 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.
  • The Sixth Sense was acclaimed for it's originality. It was also "inspired by" an episode of the kid's series Are You Afraid of the Dark? called "The Tale of the Dream Girl," shocking twist and all.
  • 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.

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.