Graphic sex and violence in movies! Many think this started only when the MPAA ratings system took off in the 1960's (many point to 1971's A Clockwork Orange as the first truly raunchy mainstream movie). In truth, raunchiness and extreme violence existed in movies since their birth in the late-1800's. In fact, The Hays Code (which was largely responsible for this misconception to begin with, as movies made before this code came into being tend to be ignored even by most classic movie buffs) was actually created as a response to all the sex and violence in movies during the 1920's and early-1930's.
It's not a coincidence that the Hays Code came with sound. Films had been considered strictly adult entertainment— or, at least, teens and adults, and when you had to know how to read to follow the plot, it made a certain amount of sense. Sound films meant that people started taking their children to them.
The saying "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!" is often attributed to Conan The Barbarian 1982, as he spoke the line in the eponymous 1982 movie. Genghis Khan supposedly originated the quote nearly 800 years earlier, however, the source it is from is unreliable, as it did not come from the only actual Mongolian source we have (the Secret History of the Mongols), and was probably made up by his enemies, seeing as how vastly different it is from his characterization in the Secret History. Nonetheless, it was still a line known in the West long before Conan put on his first loincloth.
Good Will Hunting was not the source of the phrase "How do you like them apples?" The phrase is recorded in use as early as 1910. In fact, Will asking the man if he likes apples before springing the line assumes that the man is already familiar with the expression.
When The Rocketeer was released, a newspaper review smugly informed the reader that the idea of a rocket pack was nothing new, having been used in the 1965 James Bond film, Thunderball. The fact that The Rocketeer is a specific homage to far older comics and serials (most particularly the "Commando Cody" series, whose rocket suit was nearly identical) was completely lost on the reviewer.
Several times and in several unconnected sources, the old timey map legend "Here There Be Monsters" has been attributed as a quote of Captain Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean. Barbossa says it specifically to quote the well-known phrase. It wouldn't make much sense unless you got the reference.
More specifically, back in the old days, when they were making a map but didn't have a certain area charted, they just put "Here be dragons" there and called it a day.
The film The Mist (2007), based on author Stephen King's 1980 short story of the same name, has been accused of stealing elements from the video games Half-Life (1998) and Silent Hill (1999) — both of which were released almost 20 years after the short story. The original title for Half-Life, "Quiver", was in part a reference to the "Arrowhead Project" of The Mist. The tentacle monster from Half-Life is in fact a direct homage to the short story, and the game itself was partially inspired by it.
A lot of people think that having zombies that move as fast as living humans (as opposed to classic, lumbering zombies) is something that started with 28 Days Later. But Return of the Living Dead had fast zombies in 1985, Nightmare City was made in 1980, and the very first zombie to appear in Night of the Living Dead (1968), while still somewhat lumbering, is very agile and quick on his feet.
Many believe the phrase "round up the usual suspects" comes from the movie. In fact, the title of the film is a reference to Casablanca, which originated the phrase. The line does not even appear in The Usual Suspects.
"The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist" does appear in the movie, but it's not original — it's a paraphrase of a Baudelaire line.
People use the phrase "Good Night Sweet Prince" in reference to the 1998 comedy The Big Lebowski. Some know the source material and just think that Walter's use of the line was hilarious, while others are completely oblivious to the fact that it is one of the most memorable lines from William Shakespeare's Hamlet. It's even more remarkable when you consider how many better, original lines The Big Lebowski has to offer. That rug really tied the room together.
Shortly before the movie Underworld was released, White Wolf Publishing, makers of the Old World Of DarknessTabletop RPG setting, sued for copyright infringement, stating the movie's setting and plot had been lifted wholesale from Nancy A. Collins' For Love Of Monsters, that quite a number of world elements in the film's setting bear resemblance to White Wolf's Old World Of Darkness. However, White Wolf can't exactly claim to stand on completely original footing either, having co-opted some pretty ubiquitous mythical characters. In fact, Nightlife by Stellar Games beat them to the punch of putting Vampires and Werewolves in a Gothic Punk setting.
Also, the iconic "Ghostface mask" that The Ghostface Killer wears was first sold in costume shops in 1991, about five years before the film came out. The movie contributed so much to the mask's iconic status that it is often erroneously referred to as a "Scream mask" by trick-or-treaters who commonly buy it as a costume accessory around Halloween, mistakenly believing that the Scream films invented it.
Cannibal Holocaust at least partially involved a rescue mission recovering the footage of the first documentary film crew, which, by definition, makes it a found footage film.
The phrase "Hasta la vista, baby" was popularized by Jody Watley in her song, "Looking for a New Love" in 1987, four years before the release of Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Presumably, this is why John encourages the Terminator to use the phrase.
Actually, while we're on the subject of James Cameron, a lot of his work appears to be based on older pieces. Terminator? Reportedly based on two Harlan Ellison episodes of The Outer Limits called "Soldier" and "Demon with a Glass Hand" (Ellison took him to court over it). It also bears a strong resemblance to La Jettee, a french film from 1962 in which a time traveler from a post-nuclear future meets a blonde woman in our time, and then dies, just after learning that his entire existence is dependent on a predestination paradox. Avatar (yes THAT Avatar) as well - Pocahontas? Nope. Ferngully? Nope. Look a little further back, and the plot best resembles an obscure Sci Fi Novel called The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin.
Many elements found in Avatar (hexapedal bond-beasts, planet-rapers repeled by natives and Gaia's Vengeance, a Death World jungle with a communal mind, a tribe refusing to leave their tree-home in the face of certain destruction) also turned up in Midworld, which Alan Dean Foster published in 1975. The artificial avatar bodies and the protagonist's paraplegia and Going Native both appear in Poul Anderson's "Call Me Joe", a short story from 1957.
Cameron himself reportedly said that Avatar is based on John Carter of Mars and King Lear.
A hostile planet called Pandora, packed with life forms so ferocious that a simple stroll is suicide, which humans, operating from their orbiting ship, attempt to control with massive overkill... yes, it's "The Jesus Incident" by Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom.
2007's Beowulf is often accused of plagiarizing 300, with the line "I! AM! BEOWULF!" being a bit too similiar to "THIS! IS! SPARTA!" and the line "TONIGHT! WILL BE DIFFERENT!" being rather akin to "TONIGHT! WE DINE! IN HELL!" What these people don't realize is that there's a thing called Animation Lead Time. Filming of Beowulf was done long before filming of 300 began. Although it is true that these lines were in the 300 comic (and Herodotus records Leonidas saying "Tomorrow we break fast among ghosts,"), it seems doubtful that Beowulf was plagiarizing what was then some obscure Frank Miller comic, in which the lines were not delivered with any particular Punctuated! For! Emphasis!, which, as its article clearly demonstrates, goes back a lot longer. The Beowulf's source material is a epic poem written between the 8th and 11th century AD, while 300's is a historical battle (i.e the Battle of Thermopylae) in 480 BC. Both of these are older than what an average comic reader think.
The irony: Before either of those 2 movies came out, there was already another movie about Beowulf. Yes, that's Gerard Butler playing Beowulf.
Many people seem to attribute the idea of a constructed reality to The Matrix, despite the idea being a very old philosophical concept. In film, The Thirteenth Floor was produced concurrently with The Matrix, Dark City a year before, and David Cronenberg's eXistenZ before that. Doctor Who's 1975 serial The Deadly Assassin also used the name "the Matrix" for its Gallifreyan VR information storage system; as did William Gibson's Sprawl Trilogy, for a virtual computer network accessed via brain-link. In print, the concept goes back much further, and is itself merely a high-tech extension of the Lotus-Eater Machine, which is even older. Examples include many Philip K. Dick stories, Plato's Allegory of the Cave, Descartes's "Evil Demon" thought experiment, and Zhuangzi's ""Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?" story. The philosophical treatise "Simulacra and Simulation" by Jean Baudrillard deserves mention not only because it contains the same ideas, but also because Neo himself can be seen keeping the book in his apartment the first installment.
Hell, just check this out. While certainly bringing a great deal to the table, the Matrix built and played off of a lot of older ideas and concepts.
Well the kung-fu in that video is all similar because the same choreographer (at at the very least, someone in his family) worked on all of those movies and the Matrix.
It's often thought the term "X Movie" as the name of a parody film was made by the creators of the Scary Movie series. Mel Brooks actually released a film in 1976 called Silent Movie. There was also the double-feature spoof Movie Movie.
Making a parody of a movie is even older then that, and can be traced back to the early days of film. Many of the 3 Stooges shorts are actually parodies of the popular movies of the time.
Many people think the concept of the Men in Black originated in the movie of the same name. It is actually a preexisting conspiracy theory, with artistic examples going back at least as far as They Knew Too Much about Flying Saucers, a 1956 book by Albert K. Bender purporting to be nonfiction. They also made an appearance in the 1984 film Repo Man, and previous films (such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind) included similarly silent, terse, or otherwise awkward and intimidating people in black suits.
In fact Men In Black is based on a comic book of the same name.
Many people seem to think Halloween 1978 was the Trope Maker for the slasher genre, however Halloween was originally conceived as a sequel to Canadian horror film Black Christmas 1974. The genre as a whole can trace its origins back even further, although Halloween is often accepted at the Trope Codifier, at least.
Psycho wasn't as gory as later films, but all the elements are there, including getting off the main road, although it isn't a pivotal part of the action ("Don't take the shortcut!" would eventually become a subgenre). Essentially, Psycho gave filmmakers permission to make a whole type of movie they hadn't been making before, films that were all about the crime, and not the reaction to it.
The 1994 film of The Shadow was accused by some people of ripping off the Jedi Mind Trick from Star Wars. The Shadow was one of the many classic pulp influences that George Lucas paid homage to in Star Wars and his other films, and he already had "the power to cloud men's minds" as far back as 1937.
Some believed the Shadow to be a ripoff of Batman due to several concepts being similar between the two (Rich playboy secret identity, cape-wearing dark hero stalking a nighttime city). In fact, The Shadow first appeared in 1930 and his characterization in the movie was codified in the 1937 Orson Welles radio program, while Batman first appeared in 1939.
Fans of Indiana Jones consider him to be the original Adventurer Archaeologist, even though this trope existed in multiple pulp novels and movie serials from the 1930s, which actually served as direct inspiration for the film makers. Even Indy's usual costume is a direct reference, the series is a big-budget version of the existing genre made by people who loved it. The fourth does the same to the '50s equivalent, although it was... less appreciated by fans.
The original, being H. Rider Haggard's Allan Quartermain. Though not as educated, an adventurer none the less. Others included Professor Challenger, Harry Steele, and Sir William Rutherford.
And in Real Life,Roy Chapman Andrews inpired most of them with his expedition to the Gobi Desert in seach of the origin of mankind. He didn't find it, but he rode on a caravan of jeeps and camels across the desert, fighting off bandits and other hazards,and evenutally discovered, among others, one of the world's most famous dinosaurs- Velociraptor
Disney's The Lion King is strongly reminiscent of a 1960s Osamu Tezuka manga/anime series called Kimba the White Lion (and it's sequel, Leo the Lion, where Kimba grows up). It also shares similarity with Hamlet, the Egyptian myth of Horus, and the Epic of Sundiata.
The name is similar, and a few of the plot elements (parent dying young, villainous aunt/uncle, him growing up), but apart from that, there is very little beyond a few similar scene moments to suggest that Disney took anything from Kimba, certainly not the characters (standard heroic fare) or plot (vaguely based on Hamlet).
There's also the character designs, and the fact that Disney did attempt to make their own Kimba movie, and even did a short film, but couldn't get the rights to the property (Matthew Broderick even claimed to have been asked to do a voice for a "Kimba" movie, which was one of his favorite shows as a kid). In addition, Tezuka Productions does believe Disney took elements from their work, but claims to have no interest in taking any sort of legal action (it's DISNEY afterall). This page has more info.
The fact that Kimba the White Lion came first was commented on, surprisingly, in an episode of Life entitled "Badge Bunny":
Detective Charlie Crews: "Wait... the tiger's name is Kimba? Shouldn't it be a lion, then, like in the movie, and not a tiger?"
Captain Tidwell: "Simba. You're thinking of Simba, not Kimba."
Detective Charlie Crews: "What?"
Captain Tidwell: "The name of the lion. From The Lion King. It was Simba."
Detective Charlie Crews: (silent beat, shakes his head) "Kimba was first."
Batman's archenemy, The Joker, was most definitely not based on the poster for the film version of The Man Who Laughs, starring Conrad Veidt. In the days leading up to the release of The Dark Knight, a recoloured version came into mass internet circulation, and was actually mistaken by many for a publicity shot of Heath Ledger's Joker makeup.
The Dark Knight was not the first time the Joker has used the Jerry Maguire quote "You complete me" to Batman in a Foe Yay manner: he had previously used the line in The Batman vs. Dracula, and possibly even before that.
At one point in The Dark Knight, the Joker murders somebody using a writing utensil. Sound familiar?
An episode of Ĉon Flux featured the line "Whatever doesn't kill you simply makes you.. Stranger".
Tim Burton's film Batman Returns redesigned the Penguin to the point where many people, shown a picture of Conrad Veidt's Dr. Caligari, will believe it to be the Penguin.
Online videos of Neill Blomkamp's short film Alive in Joburg occasionally bear comments accusing it of ripping off District 9, which is extra amusing considering the latter is his own remake of the former.
In an interview, David Cronenberg tells about showing Shivers at a German film festival during the '80s, and a man stood up and asked how dare he show so obvious an Alien ripoff, as both films are set in an isolated location (Alien on a spaceship, Shivers in an apartment complex called the Starliner Towers), and both films involve Body Horror creatures that burst out of stomachs and attach themselves to faces. Cronenberg politely explained that his film was made several years prior, and that Alien screenwriter Dan O'Bannon admitted to taking some inspiration from Shivers. "Ah," said the German man, "Now we know who the real thief is."
Alien, apart from taking inspiration from Shivers, also reportedly took some thematic inspiration from Van Vogt's Black Destroyer and the coeurl. It is directly based on a sequence from Dark Star, written by the same author, in which an alien runs amok on a spaceship.
"No place like home" is now most commonly recognized as a phrase from The Wizard of Oz. The phrase didn't originate in the film though, or even in L. Frank Baum's book (though it appears in both); it came from the 19th-century song "Home, Sweet Home", which was recognized more than enough to be a Standard Snippet.
Several aspects of the Oz story are thought to be original to the 1939 MGM musical The Wizard of Oz, but are actually older. The characters being saved from the poppy field by a snowfall is actually in the 1902 stage production. Changing to Technicolor when the characters arrive in Oz was also done in the 1933 animated cartoon, although legal problems prevented the short film from being distributed with the Oz segments in Technicolor.
When the first trailers for the Get Smart movie appeared on YouTube, many of the comments accused it of being a ripoff of the 2003 film Johnny English. Never mind that Get Smart is a show from The Sixties.
And never mind that the two films aren't nearly similar enough for either to be a ripoff of the other. Yes, they are both spy comedies. But all that means is they share the same subgenre. It'd be like picking two random foreign action films and saying one must be a ripoff of the other.
The Lord of the Rings has a particularly daft section of its fanbase who, upon seeing Peter Jackson's film version of the Return of the King, believed that Jackson's Oliphaunt march had been ripped off by George Lucas for his walker attack in the film The Empire Strikes Back. This incredibly stupid group somehow convinced themselves that Lucas' film, made in 1980, copied one of its key scenes from Jackson's film, made in 2003.
The scenes aren't even that similar. AT-A Ts and Mûmakil both have four legs. And are really big. And used by the bad guys. That's about it.
Word Of God admits that the AT-ATs from Return of the Jedi (1980) were inspired by the three-legged walking machines from The War Of The Worlds, the Novel (1889) (The first film adaptation (1953) didn't have those, they just floated on "Invisible legs". The Peter Jackson movie (2002) was an adaptation of the book (1954) and THAT was inspired by... um... elephants?
Elephants dominating the battlefields and slowly moving towards the lines of enemy are usually the first thing associated with Hannibal Barca (III-II century B.C.). Definitely Older Than Feudalism.
The 'pram bouncing down the stairs surrounded by gunfire' scene in The Untouchables was a deliberate reference to a similar scene in The Battleship Potemkin from 1925. The Untouchables wasn't even the first film to reference this; there is a brief shot of a baby carriage bouncing down some stairs during a gun battle in Woody Allen's film Bananas.
Also referenced in The Godfather and Brazil, among others.
Name a movie about a burn victim, thought to be dead, who exacts his vengeance via the children of those responsible. Now name a movie about a slowly-dying man who comes up with overly elaborate deathtraps for his victims, but sometimes leaves a possible way out. Now name a movie about an extremely creative Poetic Serial Killer who takes his inspiration from a religious sequence. If you answered A Nightmare On Elm Street 1984, Saw, and Se7en... you're wrong (if you thought they were first). The answer to all three is The Abominable Dr. Phibes, a Vincent Price movie from 1971.
A man is drugged, and awakens in a room with a tape player. The tape informs him that there is a trap in the room, and if he tries to leave, he'll die. If he can disarm it within three hours, he'll be permitted to live, but if he fails, he'll die, and if he triggers it, he'll die. I think I Saw that before, right? Wrong. This is the plot of the 1964 Twilight Zone episode The Jeopardy Room, predating Saw by a full 40 years. Perhaps it's a revival for the anniversary?
A kid's doll that comes to life and kills people. Sounds like Child's Play, right? Wrong. the Twilight Zone episode "Living Doll" developed this concept a full quarter-century earlier.
Similarly, the eighties Disney movie Electric Grandmother was inspired by the Twilight Zone episode "I Sing the Body Electric".
The phrase "I'd buy that for a dollar!" comes from Robocop? In that exact form, maybe; but it's recognisably an adaptation of a sarcastic put-down from 1951 short story The Marching Morons: "Would you buy it for a quarter?".
Overhead shots of Chorus Girls linked in geometrical formations are usually identified with the work of Busby Berkeley, though they first seem to have been used in The Cocoanuts, filmed before Berkeley started working in Hollywood.
"Your Wolfmanripped offTwilight." ...um, ahem. The angry letter claims that the new Wolfman movie (2010) is ripping off of Twilight (2008) even though it's a remake of the original movie (1941) which drew from the common mythology of werewolves (circa 60 AD). The context of the letter strongly indicates that the writer believes Stephanie Meyer invented werewolves.
A film critic claimed (until being called on it) that Repo! The Genetic Opera! was inspired by a 2009 book called Repossession Mambo. This despite the film version of Repo! The Genetic Opera! being released in 2008. There was also the short-film version made in 2006. And these film versions were based on the stage musical version of Repo!, which was created in 2001. That was a union of short operettas that had been performed live in Los Angeles since the late 1990s. You can read the full story (with the pictures to prove it) HERE.
There was more of the same when Repo Men (which WAS based on Reposession Mambo — the author decided to make a film out of it when it was still being written) was released.
The producers of Repo Men did talk about doing a Repo! The Genetic Opera! movie, under the condition that it wasn't a musical. The creater of the Genetic Opera refused, then Repossession Mambo was written... So it probably happened the other way around what people actually think.
Judd Apatow gets a lot of controversy for a lot of gender issues, particularly the "hot woman, ugly guy" thing. Not that this isn't a problem, but apparently these people have never seen movies with Bill Murray or Bob Hope. Or seen Apatow standing next to his wife, for that matter.
Transformers: Revenge of The Fallen is accused of ripping of The Matrix simply because of an artifact called the Matrix Of Leadership. The Matrix was an artifact in the original G1 continuity, 15 years before the Matrix films were ever developed.
For that matter, Sam's ability to commune with the All-Spark (itself a reference to Beast Machines) calls to mind a storyline from the comic book from the 1980s.
Optimus Prime's alternate mode, much hated by some fans, and character dynamic (somewhat brusque military commander of a small team of Autobots) are far more reminiscent of Transformers Armada than the G1 Optimus.
The shot of him scanning his alt mode and transforming into it is even a direct homage to the second episode of Transformers Armada
His alternate mode also closely resembles Generation 2 Laser Optimus, a longnose Peterbilt that transforms into the commander of the Autobots.
Many IMDb posters are annoyed that The Legend of Fritton's Gold is subtitled "St. Trinian's 2" (meaning the second of the current incarnation) when it's actually the seventh overall. Although the first came out over fifty years ago, and the fifth (The Wildcats of St. Trinian's) is so legendarily awful that it's no longer available, so ignorance is perhaps excusable.
Despite what you may think, Speed Racer is not the first American live-action film adapted from an anime or manga series. Neither is G-Saviour, a So Bad, It's Good direct to television movie adapted from the Gundam series back in 2000. That goes to The Guyver, starring Mark Hamill, adapted from the manga/anime series of the sort-of-same-name back in 1991 and still kickin'.
Many (though by no means all) of the elements GI Joe The Rise Of Cobra is taken to task for "changing" are actually taken directly from the source material. Examples include the mechanized body armor, Destro being Scottish, the mouth on Snake-Eyes's mask, and the black machine-gunner being named Heavy Duty instead of Roadblock. The thing is, there's a lot of source material: the armor was from the G.I. Joe: Sigma 6 line; Destro has been Scottish in the comics for decades; Snake-Eyes has had more than a dozen different action figures, several of which had mouths molded into their masks; Heavy Duty's been around since 1991 (and Roadblock himself has been renamed Heavy Duty in the comics due to trademark issues). But most people are only aware of a small portion of the franchise's history (in most cases that's the 80s cartoon) and assume anything they haven't seen before is new to the movie, which (perhaps unwisely) tried to combine elements from as many different eras as possible.
At least one reviewer took Return to Oz to task, for taking Tik-Tok straight out of the Star Wars films. Tik-Tok was taken straight out of L Frank Baum's 1907 novel Ozma of Oz, and is generally considered by literary historians to be the first depiction of a robot in modern literature ever.
While Tik-Tok is original to the Oz novels, ETA Hoffmann had a clockwork automaton that was able to pass for human in his short story "The Sandman", which was published in 1816, which is a clear precursor to the concept of Tik-Tok, though in Hoffmann's case the character does not seem to have any intellect and only utters the phrase "Ah-ah". Oh, and the character is capable of singing and dancing quite well. Too well.
There have been clockwork (wind-up) toys that looked like animals, soldiers, and soforth since the Middle Ages. To imagine one that was so convincing it passed for human, or a sentient one that lived in a magical world where scarecrows and pumpkin-headed creatures could come to life is not such a big leap.
A film uses a documentary style to cover real-life events without defined characters, dialogue, or even a 'story'. Regardless of this, it conveys a clear ideological message and manages to exhibit some impressive techniques that only film could really display in such a way. It's got to be Koyaanisqatsi and its sequels, right? Well, actually it's Dziga Vertov's 1929 Soviet Montage film The Man With The Movie Camera.
It is? I thought you were going to say it was Walter Ruttmann's 1927 film Berlin: Symphony of a Great City. (In which case, you still would have been wrong, as both Vertov and Ruttmann were working in a genre which dates back at least to Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand's 1921 short Manhatta.)
The concept of "Vamping Out" (a vampire having two forms: regular human, and vampire human) was credited by Joss Whedon as coming from The Lost Boys. However the vampire in Fright Night had the same ability (notice just how inhuman he looks after he gets stabbed in the hand by a pencil!). This may go all the way back to the Dracula novel, when Mina saw a massive figure feeding on Lucy when she finds her out on the moors, but ended up thinking it was only a trick of the shadows.
"You talking to me? You talking to me?" Yes, Travis Bickle did the talking to the mirror bit but Jackie Rhoades did it first with those lines.
Imagine a film in which an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth, so a team is sent to drill holes and place explosives in this unwanted visitor, thus saving our planet. That description sounds like Armageddon (1998) or Deep Impact (1998), although in the latter there were differences such as a comet instead of an asteroid. These plot elements are actually much older and can be found in the 1968 film The Green Slime, while the concept of preventing a huge celestial body from colliding with Earth goes back at least as far as the 1962 Japanese filme Gorath, although in this film the solution is to move the entire Earth out of the way.
Many elements of the Star Wars Universe that are often assumed to have been invented for the prequels were actually established in books, promotional material, and other sources before the development of Episode I. These include Bail Organa, the planets Kashyyyk and Coruscant, the words "Sith" and "padawan," stormtroopers being clones, Palpatine being elected after the previous chancellor was removed from office by the Galactic Senate, Palpatine later abusing emergency powers given to him during a crisis, and Anakin being grievously injured fighting Obi-Wan on a lava planet.
The premise of Trading Places, where two wealthy businessmen bet over whether heredity or environment makes a gentleman, and proving it by taking a bum off the street and making him sophisticated, was previously tackled in The Three Stooges short "Hoi Polloi".
which was taken from George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion
The 1989 film Dead Calm seems like it's based on an original concept, right? It's actually based on an unfinished Orson Welles film called The Deep (which in turn is based on a book).
Ever wondered why the building-collapsing scene in the 4th-layer dream of Inception (2010) is so similar to the self-restoration of the city scene of Dark City (1998)? Why? Because they are both homages to the ending of Akira manga (1982-1990).
A couple friends head to Las Vegas for a fun time, and after a night of drunken partying, wake up in their disheveled hotel room to discover they've apparently gotten married to some Vegas cocktail waitresses. As they attempt to make sense of what happened and get out of their new marriages, they face such obstacles as show tigers and a celebrity boxer. The 2009 film The Hangover? I was talking about the 1999 Simpsons episode "Viva Ned Flanders"!
And before then, you had the 1998 film Very Bad Things, which similar to The Hangover featured a bachelor party in Las Vegas gone wrong and the hilarity ensuing from covering up the evidence.
New Media Are Evil types would have you think that sex and violence are new to movies. In reality, intense sex and violence have been in movies since the birth of cinema in the late 19th Century. In fact, complaints about there being too much sex/violence/etc. in movies were actually what led to The Hays Code in the mid-1930's.
Probably the most common one is people believing that "Revenge is a dish best served cold" comes from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, misunderstanding a reference to the phrase as claiming it a Klingon proverb. (Actually, a character is only asking what the equivalent Klingon proverb is.) In fact, it's French. (This did not stop the Kill Bill movies from identifying it as Klingon, which was most likely an intentional "mistake" on Quentin Tarantino's part.)
Probably the first recorded usage occurs in the 1782 novel Dangerous Liasons by French author Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.
Mario Puzo's 1969 novel "The Godfather" uses "Revenge is a dish best served cold" and identifies it as Italian. This predates the use in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" at the very least.
The Klingons seem to be guilty of a lot of this. "Today is a good day to die," comes from Crazy Horse, but is associated with Klingons. Proud Warrior Race much?
Which is another "older than they think" joke. It was done earlier in the movie Pimpernel Smith (1941), where a German general insists that Shakespeare was German. Smith's comeback? "Yes, how very upsetting. Still, you must admit that the English translations are most remarkable."
"From hell's heart I stab at thee..." is originally by Herman Melville (from Moby Dick), but more likely to be quoted now secondhand as a reference to Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan.
Khan uses several Moby-Dick lines in the film. However, this is intended as him consciously quoting the book. He sees himself as analogous to Ahab, a great man injured by an monster (Kirk) who has dedicated his life to the death of said monster. A copy of which is seen earlier in the film when Chekov and Terrill are searching the shelter on Ceti Alpha 5. Literary allusions are nothing new to the character, in his original appearance he quotes Milton.
Referenced, or possibly lampshaded, in the later Star Trek movies.
Spock: There is an old Vulcan proverb: "Only Nixon could go to China." (and) Spock: An ancestor of mine once maintained, "Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains — however improbable — must be the truth." Of course, it's possible that this idea independently originated from someone on Vulcan as well.
That last one is partly a joke about how Spock is half-human, so technically one of his ancestors (by implication, Sir Arthur Conan Doyle) did say (or write) that.
It may also have been a nod to the fandom, among which it had been widely speculated that Spock was part of the Wold Newton Family of Philip José Farmer, which also included Sherlock Holmes.
The film version of Marvel Comics' Daredevil utilized many aspects of the "gritty and realistic" approach to superhero movies about two years before Christopher Nolan got credit for trying the same approach with Batman Begins (though it was much less successful). Aside from the two costumed vigilantes, the movie could easily be mistaken for a gritty crime drama, and it even deconstructed many aspects of superhero stories: Daredevil is shown to be nearly dependent on painkillers because of his injuries from fighting criminals, his Honor Before Reason tendencies have left his legal practice struggling because he refuses to represent wealthy men who he knows to be guilty, and though he triumphs over his archenemy, he ultimately fails to save his love interest, Elektra.
A young boy, heartbroken by the death of his beloved dog, resorts to crackpot science to re-animate his beloved pet. If you think it's the animated film Frankenweenie, or even the original live-action short, that first used this, you're several decades off: Dr. Robert Cornish wrote and starred in Life Returns, based on his Real Life experiments in adrenaline-triggered resuscitation, in 1935.
After the success of The Hunger Games movie in 2012, the Japanese film Battle Royale was given a belated North American DVD/Blu-ray release. Some uninformed fans claimed Battle Royale was a rip-off of Hunger Games, even though the film and the novel it was based on predates Hunger Games by a number of years.
2012's Best Picture Oscar winner The Artist was a beautiful love letter to old Hollywood, but its plot was virtually identical to that of Singin' in the Rain. The idea of inserting unexpected sound elements into an otherwise-silent film was also not completely original as Charlie Chaplin had done something similar in Modern Times and in fact The Jazz Singer did it too.
The Straight Story is often labelled as David Lynch's one non-maddening movie. While it is playing against type (being a G-Rated simplistic Disney movie as opposed to the more surreal and unnerving Mind Screw films he is famous for making), it is not the first time he made a film that was meant to have a comprehensible story, having directed The Elephant Man back in 1980, Dune in 1984, and Blue Velvet in 1986. However it is still incredibly simple even compared to the aforementioned movies.
A lot of reviewers and people who watched A Nightmare On Elm Street 2010 praised the introduction of micro-naps to the series as a clever invention. They were actually introduced in Freddy vs. Jason, in which Lori's father briefly morphs into Freddy in broad daylight when she's sleep-deprived.
There is a scene in the 1986 version of The Fly where Jeff Goldblum describes himself as an insect who dreamed he was a man. This was intended as a Chuang Tzu reference, but many people just thought he was referring to the "unsettling dreams" in Kafka's "Metamorphosis".
In Manof Steel Superman snaps General Zod's neck, while he's firing his heat vision at some innocent bystanders, which many seemed to think was an unheard-of dereliction of Superman's moral code, however in 1988's Superman Vol. 2 #22, Superman kills Zod and, like in the movie, feels horrible about it, influencing events in the comics for years and for that matter, notwithstanding a certain deleted scene, by all appearances, Superman kills Zod in Superman II without even batting an eye, not to mention Nuclear Man in the fourth film.