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.


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  • 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.
  • 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".

     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.

  • 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.


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