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Above: Richard Simmons. Below: Eddie Murphy as not-quite-Richard Simmons.

  • All Good Things is a fictionalization of the story of the Durst case in which every name was changed except, for some reason, Pat Moynihan's.
  • American Dreamz:
    • Dennis Quaid as a barely functional Texan president whose dad had been president, who "decided" to run because people told him to, etc. With Marcia Gay Harden as his beatifically gentle, tolerant wife and Willem Dafoe as his scheming bald puppetmaster.
    • Hugh Grant as a boorish British showrunner/judge of the titular singing competition, an ersatz Simon Cowell.
  • In Antitrust, Tim Robbins' "Gary Winston" is Bill Gates, right down to the haircut... Except he can't be, because he remarks that Gates' TV is much smaller than his. If Winston isn't Gates, perhaps the TV also signifies something else of Winston's...
  • In Any Given Sunday, John C. McGinley plays outspoken sports personality Jack Rose, a take on real-life outspoken sports personality Jim Rome.
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  • The government official-bribing company Hariburton in Banlieue 13: Ultimatum is most definitely not Halliburton.
  • Kurt Russell admittedly based his performance as Jack Burton in Big Trouble in Little China more or less entirely on John Wayne, and his performance as Snake Plissken in Escape from New York more or less entirely on Clint Eastwood. Russell's character of Nick Frescia in Tequila Sunrise was actually written for then-NBA coach Pat Riley, and Russell admitted to modeling his character's look on Riley.
  • Blood Guts Bullets And Octane: A supporting character is a California car dealership owner who dresses like a cowboy and stars in his own Kitschy Local Commercials. He's a riff on Cal Worthington, who became a minor celebrity for his "Cal Worthington and his dog Spot" ads that appeared on West Coast television from the 1960s to the 1990s.
  • The Canadian buddy cop film Bon Cop, Bad Cop features several characters obviously based on real-life NHL figures:
    • Harry Buttman is a blatant play on NHL commissioner Gary Bettman.
    • Comedian Rick Mercer plays Tom Berry, a bigoted and loudmouthed hockey commentator, essentially Don Cherry with the serial numbers filed off.
    • Several victims of the Tattoo Killer are parodies of real NHL team owners and officials.
  • The Broadway Melody features a famous producer of Broadway revues named Francis Zanfield. Also, the Mahoney sisters are based on the Duncan Sisters, who were actually offered the parts but chose instead to appear in a different MGM musical, It's a Great Life.
  • Nick Hostetler (Russell Crowe) in Broken City is obviously intended to be a more antagonistic version of New York City mayor Michael Bloomberg.
  • Citizen Kane is infamously a not-quite-thickly-veiled-enough version of media titan William Randolph Hearst. Hearst came down upon the movie and everyone associated with it like a sledgehammer. Orson Welles' career never quite recovered. Later, both Welles and Herman Mankiewicz would independently apologize for the version of Marion Davies depicted in the character "Susan Alexander" — a hopelessly incompetent hack who was a raging alcoholic and whose career was pretty much bought "off the rack" by the powerful Kane. The real-life Davies was a consummate professional, liked and respected by her peers, who specialized in light comedies and musicals. Her success was independent of her relationship with Hearst, though he did try to use his clout to gain Davies leading-lady roles — a career path that Davies herself knew she was not suited for.
  • Played with in Club Dread: While Coconut Pete is an obvious parody of Jimmy Buffett, complete with singing a song called "Pina Coladaburg", Jimmy Buffett does get mentioned in the movie... and is Pete's Berserk Button, since he feels Buffett ripped off his act.
  • In Cold Turkey, Bob & Ray portray a series of parody newscasters:
    • Walter Chronic = Walter Cronkite
    • David Chetley = Chet Huntley/David Brinkley
    • Hugh Upson = Hugh Downs
    • Paul Hardly = Paul Harvey
    • Sandy Van Andy = Sander Vanocur
    • Arthur Lordly = Arthur Godfrey
  • An interesting case is the German dub of Coneheads. Since the actor who played the great leader of the Coneheads looked a bit like Germany's then-chancellor Helmut Kohl, the dubbers decided to add a gag and chose a Voice Actor who had a somewhat similar voice.
  • Edie Sedgwick's love interest in Factory Girl was obviously Bob Dylan, portrayed as an unnamed character by Hayden Christensen. Bob Dylan himself threatened legal action over his initial portrayal during production, resulting in the removal of all references to Dylan in the script.
  • The vampire movie Fright Night (1985) has a character who is an actor/horror show host (played by Roddy McDowell). His character's name on the horror show Fright Night is Peter Vincent — a homage to Peter Cushing and Vincent Price.
  • Most of the humor if not the entire premise of Galaxy Quest is lost if you don't realize that Tim Allen is William Shatner (although really, the entire cast qualifies).
  • Green ghost Slimer from Ghostbusters (1984) is obviously based on John Belushi — in particular, his character from Animal House. Dan Aykroyd has even joked that Slimer was the ghost of John Belushi.
  • The 1998 American version of Godzilla had the New York City mayor as a Roger Ebert lookalike. Used as a Take That! by the end of the film when his aide (an Expy of Siskel) gives his job performance a thumbs down. This was because Siskel and Ebert had criticized Emerich's earlier productions. Ebert was offended not by the portrayal, but that if Emerich hated them so much he didn't have the balls to let Godzilla eat them.
  • The Reverend Fred Sultan in The Great White Hype is Don King with about 15% Al Sharpton layered on top.
  • Iron Sky: The president of the United States is a clear parody of Sarah Palin.
  • James Bond
    • Diamonds Are Forever
      • Willard Whyte, a stand-in for Howard Hughes (who was a friend of series producer Albert R. Broccoli - he even suggested the plot after dreaming he went to visit Hughes and found an impostor instead - and didn't get offended, to the point he helped with the Vegas locations).
      • Jimmy Dean (Whyte) was very uneasy playing an obvious Hughes parody, since he essentially worked for Hughes (if you worked in Vegas back then, you either worked for him or you worked for the Mafia). He was afraid Hughes would take it as an insult and either fire him, ruin his career or strike him down with a bolt of lightning. Fortunately, Hughes wasn't insulted.
      • Shady Tree, a Vegas comedian (as well as a smuggler) in the film references real life Vegas comedian Shecky Greene.
    • Later, Tomorrow Never Dies has a slightly corrupt media mogul as the villain (many guessed Rupert Murdoch, but the writer claimed to be aiming at Robert Maxwell instead).
    • Skyfall's villain, Raoul Silva, appears to be partially based, in both appearance and overall plan, on Julian Assange, the founder of WikiLeaks.
    • And fictional leaders: Live and Let Die stars a Caribbean dictator who dabbles heavily in voodoo, similar to François Duvalier, who had died in office as President of Haiti a few years before the film's release; Licence to Kill features a "Republic of Isthmus" (Panama) ruled through a puppet president by a major drug dealer (Manuel Noriega); and the unnamed female British Prime Minister who appears in 1981's For Your Eyes Only shows every sign of being Margaret Thatcher.
  • The two Musical Assassins in Kung Fu Hustle bear more than a passing resemblance to The Blues Brothers. When told that they are the greatest assassins around, they reply, "Technically, we're just musicians."
  • In The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou, Zissou is a clear parody of Jacques Cousteau, right down to the uniforms...yet at one point he makes an offhand reference to "Cousteau and his cronies." No one comments on the resemblance between the two crews.
  • Captain Fuller from The Lone Ranger is blatantly General George Armstrong Custer in all but rank.
  • In My Favorite Year, Peter O'Toole plays washed-up film idol Alan Swann, who is not in any way related to Errol Flynn. He is appearing on the live variety show of King Kaiser, who is totally not Sid Caesar. And Kaiser is being stalked by the goons of a crooked labor leader who is certainly anyone but Jimmy Hoffa. Given that the viewpoint character is partly based on the movie's producer, Mel Brooks, who was a writer for Sid Caesar and who probably witnessed the real-life events that inspired the film, it may not be this so much as Our Lawyers Advised This Trope.
  • Newton Geizler from Pacific Rim, as played by Charlie Day, appears to be a ringer for director J. J. Abrams, albeit without the elaborate Kaiju tattoo sleeves. Abrams co-produced Cloverfield, which certainly helped to spawn a revival of devastating giant monster movies, such as Monsters, The Troll Hunter, and Pacific Rim.
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Jack Sparrow is based on both Keith Richards and Errol Flynn. Richards even makes a cameo in the third movie as Jack Sparrow's father. He's also part Pepé Le Pew, with his relentless stupid optimism.
  • In RocknRolla, there is a Russian millionaire mobster and businessman that is trying to make a huge football stadium. It's a surprise that Roman Abramovich didn't sue them.
  • Jim Carrey's portrayal of "Count Olaf" in Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events is pretty much entirely based on Orson Welles, even the voice.
  • In Star Trek: First Contact, there are more than a few similarities between the character of Zefram Cochrane and Star Trek creator Gene Roddenberry. Both were men who were elevated to near-mythic status posthumously, seen as legends and visionaries with "a dream" — and both were lecherous, with substance abuse problems, and primarily motivated by money (not to mention extremely tall). The filmmakers claim they didn't base Cochrane on Roddenberry, but the similarities are there. One commentary noted that the scene where a star-struck Reg Barclay meets Cochrane was like a star-struck Trek fan meeting Roddenberry. And both, in different senses, created the world of Star Trek.
  • Zandow the German strong man from The Strong Man surely is not meant in any way to be inspired by Real Life German bodybuilder Eugen Sandow.
  • In Sunset, the character of Alfie Alperin is very strongly based on Charlie Chaplin. Of course, lawyers for the Chaplin estate probably would have something to say if the movie had Charlie Chaplin commit the acts that Alfie does.
  • In Disney's Made-for-TV Movie Tower of Terror, one of the elevator passengers trapped is a 1930s child movie star named Sally Shine, an obvious Shirley Temple analogue.
  • The 2007 Transformers film combined this with Invisible President. All we see are a pair of patriotic socks. Based on the Texas accent we hear requesting ding-dongs, it's clearly a joke at the expense of then-President George W. Bush. Interestingly, the sequels name-drop and feature President Obama explicitly and make his administration's poor decision-making in regards to the robot threat a plot point.
  • Tunnelvision has Gene Scallion, the film critic on Wake Up America, who appears to be a parody of Gene Shalit if he looked older and didn't have an afro.
  • Benicio Del Toro said he gets a lot of inspiration from the style of Dustin Hoffman and based his performance as Fenster in The Usual Suspects outright on Hoffman as Mumbles in Dick Tracy.
  • Velvet Goldmine. David Bowie was very disappointed in them. And sued.
  • It is generally accepted that Dustin Hoffman's character in Wag the Dog is based on film producer Robert Evans. Hoffman, however, claims that he actually based the portrayal on his own father.
  • Gordon Gekko from Wall Street is modeled on Ivan Boesky, the corporate takeover artist who, before being convicted of insider trading, gave a commencement speech at the University of California, Berkeley telling business school students, "You can be greedy and still feel good about yourself."
  • WarGames: Professor Stephen Falken, the programmer of JOSHUA, is similar to Stephen Hawking, complete with having the same first name and bird-related last names, according to Word of God. Hawking is most famous for his disability, as was Falken in an earlier draft until they realized how unfeasible it would be in the massive NORAD set.
  • Warrior: The film often skirts amusingly close to actual MMA figures without quite hitting them on the nose.
    • Koba is obviously Fedor Emelianenko with the serial numbers filed off. They are both bald, stoic, tattoo-free, dominant Russian champs who never fought on American soil. Some reviewers mistook the reference for a take on Rocky IV's Ivan Drago.
    • Brendan's trainer Frank Campana resembles Greg Jackson, both presented as personable top-level trainers with an intellectual approach.
    • Bryan Callen as a ringside color commentator is an obvious Joe Rogan impersonation. Both are brash comedians with a casual commentating style.
    • The sponsor of the Sparta tournament is a bald businessman who is always hanging around the press and got rich before getting into the fight game. He's a combination of the billionaire Fertitta brothers who bought the UFC and the bald UFC president Dana White, an infamous media hound.
  • In the football film A Shot at Glory, Rangers manager Martin Smith can be seen as an equivalent to real-life former Gers boss Walter Smith.
  • In The Right Stuff, the lead engineer for NASA and the Soviet "Chief Designer" were both unnamed. These characters represented, respectively, Wernher von Braun and Sergei Korolev. In Korolev's case, this was Truth in Television: his identity was a state secret until his death in 1966. As for von Braun, he was made a celebrity by Walt Disney and his Disneyland series, becoming his go-to guy for anything space-related.
  • Inverted in The HustlerReal Life pool player Rudolf "New York Fats" Wanderone claims that Minnesota Fats is based on him. After the film was released, he adopted the nickname for himself and became better known by it than the movie character.
  • Colossus' voice in X2: X-Men United was dubbed, apparently to add to his Arnold Schwarzenegger resemblance.
  • In The Palm Beach Story, John D. Hackensacker III is a pretty obvious goof on the Rockefellers.
  • The Batman film series (1989-1997):
    • Mayor Borg from the first movie was clearly a fictional version of then New York City mayor Ed Koch. There's also murdered swimsuit model "Candy Walker."
    • In Batman Returns, Christopher Walken played Max Shreck a lot like Donald Trump. (He also claimed to have based his characterization on Meyer Wolfsheim, a minor character from The Great Gatsby that was itself a No Celebrities Were Harmed version of organized crime figure Arnold Rothstein.)
    • Batman Forever and Batman & Robin had tabloid reporter Gossip Gerty (Elizabeth Sanders, wife of Batman creator Bob Kane) as a send-up of legendary Hollywood gossip columnist Hedda Hopper (although, frankly, she looked more like Dame Edna).
  • In Back to the Future Part II, Word of God said the Biff Tannen of 1985-A was inspired by Donald Trump. The portrait in Biff's office was even modeled on a Trump portrait. Similarly, the Lorraine Baines-McFly of 1985-A was modeled after various female televangelists of the 80s, particularly Tammy Faye Meissner (aka Tammy Faye Bakker).
  • Done a fair amount in And the Band Played On. Richard Gere's character, for example, is pretty obviously Michael Bennett. Some of the others are a little harder to pin down.
  • In WNUF Halloween Special, the eponymous special has two supernatural investigators at the scene, the Bergers, who are an obvious parody of Ed and Lorraine Warren.
  • Field of Dreams: The famously reclusive author Terence Mann was the famously reclusive author J. D. Salinger in the original book, but Salinger threatened to sue if he was featured in any adaptation of the novel.
  • In the film adaptation of Gone Girl, Missi Pyle's "Ellen Abbott" character is a southern-accented, big-blonde-haired, wide-eyed rabble-rouser. She has a cable show that makes a lot of hay out of no-good, murdering husbands, and pretty, abducted women. And she tosses around sensationalistic, catch-phrase-riddled accusations about active crime investigations. But she's totally NOT Nancy Grace. No, sir. Nope.
  • Kingsman: The Secret Service:
    • Princess Tilde, as she is listed in the credits, is clearly a fictionalised version of Crown Princess Victoria of Sweden (in status) and her younger sister Princess Madeleine (in looks and age).
    • The unnamed American president strongly resembles Barack Obama in looks (at least from behind — we never see his face) and voice.
    • The Corrupt Church in Kentucky is modelled after the Westboro Baptist Church.
  • Joe Carnahan's breakout film Blood Guts Bullets And Octane features a rich, cowboy-themed car dealership owner. The character is an obvious parody of Cal Worthington, who is locally famous in the West Coast for appearing in quirky commercials for his car dealerships.
  • Master Phineas the painter from Cinderella (2015) looks like Salvador Dali!
  • Brazilian actor Leandro Hassum had two movies featuring a veiled parody of notable people from the country. O Candidato Honesto (The Honest Candidate) had Hassum playing a Corrupt Politician running for president who's forced to be honest, and the character has various references to past presidents: his middle name was Ribamar, he hailed from a Northeastern state, had a work accident that brought him into the labour movement and subsequently politics, and appears in a magazine cover as a "hunter of the corrupt". Até Que A Sorte Nos Separe 3 had Hassum's daughter marrying the son of billionaire "Rique Barelli", whose nome is only the start of an extended Eike Batista joke: the name of his company has three letters ending in "X", his wife is a former Playboy cover who wore a necklace with his name, and bad business decisions sap his fortune.
  • In The Pink Panther (2006), Bizu, the French football player appears to be based on Zinedine Zidane with the similar nickname "Zizou".
  • Italian director Paolo Sorrentino (famous for Il Divo) is making a new movie called "Youth", starred by Michael Caine, Jane Fonda and Harvey Keitel. One of the secondary characters will be an ex-soccer legend in a decadent state that is easily recognizable as an expy of the Argentinian Diego Armando Maradona as he was in The '90s.
  • This Is Spın̈al Tap:
    • Apparently Reiner's DiBergi character is a goof on Martin Scorsese, who was a rather clueless interviewer in his 1978 Rockumentary about The Band, The Last Waltz.
    • Nigel Tufnel is a loose parody of Eric Clapton, right down to his name. The writers arrived at the name "Nigel Tufnel" by combining a generic British first name ("Nigel" instead of "Eric") with the name of a posh London neighborhood ("Tufnell Park" instead of "Clapton Pond", with the character's name losing one "l"), thus keeping the parallels relatively subtle.
    • Christopher Guest and Michael McKean note in the Criterion DVD commentary that the archetype of the long-lived British band whose star power has faded, but yet continued to ride their fame and grind out tours year after year, calling out Status Quo in particular, formed much of the inspiration for Spinal Tap.
    • David St. Hubbins sings lead vocal and plays rhythm guitar. Derek St. Holmes sang lead vocals and played rhythm guitar for Ted Nugent.
  • The Tremors series features the return of the Assblaster which had been sold to Siegfried and Roy in the third film. Rather embarrassingly, the creators no longer had the rights to use the names and they were referred to as "Sigmund and Ray".
  • Ruby Rod in The Fifth Element is Chris Tucker's impression of Prince.
  • The fourth Bibi & Tina movie features Dirk Trumpf, a sleazy building contractor who convinces von Falkenstein that he needs to build a gigantic wall around his castle (taller than the castle itself!) for protection, including barbed wire. He is later seen stealing von Falkenstein's money and yelling at his workers for working too hard, telling them to only work when somebody is looking.
  • Cloud Atlas: The Lemon Awards are a pretty obvious reference to The Orange Awards, a literary prize sponsored by the mobile phone company Orange.
  • Rocky V includes the character of George Washington Duke, who is this to fight promoter Don King (complete with King's catchphrase "Only in America"). Per King's reputation, Duke is portrayed as a sleaze who will exploit fighters for profit however he can while ignoring such trifling matters as health issues, repeatedly trying to coerce Rocky Balboa into a sanctioned match with the current Heavyweight Champion despite Rocky's brain damage problem. This culminates in luring away Rocky's apprentice Tommy Gunn (frustrated with the slow pace of his tutoring) with the promise of vast fame and fortune if he defeats Rocky, to try to force Rocky into a profitable "master vs. apprentice" match.
  • The bad guys of Venom (2018) and Johnny English Strikes Again are both wealthy techbros with more than a passing similarity to Elon Musk, with the Venom villain having his own private space program and the Johnny English villain running a company called "Volta".


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