10 Crazy Movie Characters You Didn’t Know Were Real People

10 Crazy Movie Characters You Didn’t Know Were Real People


There are some movie characters that are so
over-the-top that it would seem impossible
for them to be based on a real person.
Since one of the most common devices for writers
is to write what you know, it makes sense
that there are so many film characters inspired
by stories of real people and true events.
Here are 10 Crazy Movie Characters You Didn’t
Know Were Based on Real People.
Ben from 21
21 is a 2008 film about a group of MIT students
who use their genius math skills to win an
excessive amount of cash from casinos in Las
Vegas.
Jim Sturgess plays the leader of the gang
of brilliant mathematicians, Ben Campbell,
who begins counting cards as a way to pay
his tuition.
Jeff Ma was the real life inspiration for
Ben.
Jeff along with his number-crunching peers
were the subject of the book Bringing Down
the House in which 21 is based.
While there was controversy surrounding the
casting of the film which consisted of a mostly
white cast portraying people who were Asian
in real life, the film was a success
Nacho Libre
The 2006 comedy, Nacho Libre stars Jack Black
as a monk turned Mexican wrestler.
The film is wacky and directed by Jared Hess
who also made the oddball comedy, Napoleon
Dynamite.
If the story sounds just silly enough to be
a film starring Jack Black, audiences may
be surprised to find that it is based on a
real life Catholic priest named Sergio Gutiérrez
Benítez who went by the wrestling name, Fray
Tormenta.
He spent 23 years as the masked wrestler as
a way to make money for the orphanage he directed.
The priest gained overwhelming support and
popularity in real life.
He ended his wrestling career in 2000 but
dons the mask every once in a while just to
entertain the children in his church.
Rocky
Rocky Balboa is everybody’s favorite underdog
from Philly.
The film about a regular Joe who pushes himself
to fight the biggest names in boxing is one
of the most successful franchises in film
history.
Writer, Director and star, Sylvester Stallone
based Rocky on real life boxer Chuck Wepner
after watching Wepner go fifteen rounds with
Muhammad Ali in 1975.
Later when Wepner tried to sue for a portion
of the money made from the Rocky movies, Stallone
stated that Wepner was not the inspiration
for Rocky.
So while there were many differences between
the character and Wepner, like Wepner being
from New Jersey rather than Philadelphia,
the many similarities suggest Chuck Wepner
did serve as the basis for the Italian Stallion.
Frank Costello, The Departed
The character of Frank Costello in Martin
Scorsese’s ensemble crime drama, The Departed
seems somewhat unrealistic.
How did a guy manage to groom a young man
to become a mole for the Boston Police department?
How did he not get arrested after years of
dirty dealing?
Even more unbelievable is that he was an informant
for the FBI the entire time?
That could never happen, but it did.
At least most of it did to a man named Whitey
Bulger.
Bulger was an Irish mob boss in Boston and
managed to get away with a whole lot of criminal
activities for many years.
He really did have a mole in the police department
and was an FBI informant to keep himself out
of prison.
Bulger has such an interesting history that
he was also the subject of the 2015 film,
Black Mass.
Dirty Harry
The character of Dirty Harry Callahan is an
intimidating police inspector for the San
Francisco Police Department.
Clint Eastwood’s iconic portrayal of the
character exemplifies cool as he goes on the
hunt for psychopathic serial killer who goes
by the name of Scorpio.
Scorpio is based on the similarly named Zodiac
Killer who terrorized the streets of San Francisco
in the 1960s and early 70s.
Dirty Harry is based on the real life detective
Dave Toschi who was a bit of a loose cannon
for the San Francisco police department.
His unorthodox behavior helped create not
only Harry Callahan but even inspired Steve
McQueen’s character in Bullitt.
However, it was Tocshi’s role in the Zodiac
killer case that inspired one of the coolest
characters in cinematic history.
Regan from The Exorcist
Films about demonic possession have become
commonplace but back in 1973, The Exorcist
introduced audiences to the absolutely horrifying
tale of a little girl named Regan who was
possessed by a demon after playing with a
Ouija board.
The book and film are based on the exorcism
of Roland Doe.
Doe was a young boy living in Maryland in
the 1930s.
He spent his time playing with his spiritualist
aunt who introduced him to a Ouija board.
The result was a claimed possession which
caused a priest to perform an exorcism on
the boy and record the events.
In the 1990s, a book was released stating
that Roland was not actually possessed by
anything supernatural but was most likely
just a disturbed boy who had suffered from
abuse.
The truth will never fully be known but the
story of possession sure made for one terrifying
classic film.
 
Rocky Dennis, Mask
The 1985 tearjerker, Mask in which Eric Stoltz
plays a teenage boy named Rocky Dennis who
suffers from Lionitis is based on a real life
boy by the same name and disorder.
While the character may not be considered
crazy, the emotional appeal of the film proves
that reality is stranger and more compelling
than fiction.
Rocky’s deforming disorder also known as
CDD, made his life extremely difficult and
it was nearly impossible to read or do basic
activities but he pushed through tasks and
proved his teachers wrong.
The film’s heartbreaking conclusion shows
Rocky’s mom, Rusty, enter teenage Rocky’s
room to find that he has passed on.
In real life, Rusty donated her son’s body
to the UCLA medical center.
Norman Bates, Psycho
Norman Bates from Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960
classic Psycho, is one of the most famous
killers in cinematic history.
The voyeuristic mama’s boy may best be remembered
by the final sinister stare which closes the
film.
The movie was based on a book by the same
name, but the character was based on killer
and all around psycho, Ed Gein.
Gein has inspired many movie maniacs including
Leather face from Texas Chainsaw Massacre
and Buffalo Bill from The Silence of the Lambs.
While there was only proof that Gein killed
two people, he spent a lot of time grave robbing
and dismembering the corpses to make furniture.
He also stalked local women in town.
Just like Bates, Gein was dedicated to pleasing
his mother and even created a shrine for her
in her room after she died.
After all, a boy’s best friend is his mother.
The Dude, The Big Lebowski
Since its release in 1998, The Big Lebowski
has grown a cult following thanks to its endless
quotable dialogue and Jeff Bridges flawless
performance as Jeff Lebowski.
Lebowski, or as he likes to be called, the
Dude, is just an easygoing stoner who wants
to clear up the confusion of sharing the name
with a wanted man.
While the premise of the film is completely
made up by The Coen Brothers, the character
of The Dude is based on a real person, Jeff
Dowd.
Dowd is a film producer and the Coen brothers
met him while promoting their 1984 film Blood
Simple.
His appearance, style of dress, and general
mannerisms fascinated the filmmakers enough
that they just had to base a film character
on him.
Even the nickname was real, something Dowd
picked up in the 6th grade that stuck with
him through his entire life.
Lucy from 50 First Dates,
Adam Sandler comedies rarely strive for realism
but the film 50 First Dates managed a semblance
of reality.
The seemingly contrived plot revolves around
Adam Sandler falling in love with a woman,
played by Drew Barrymore, who suffers from
short term memory loss.
As the film progresses, the characters fall
in love, marry, and have a child.
All while she wakes up each morning forgetting
the day before.
The story is more than just a wacky comedy
premise, it is actually based on a real woman
named Michelle Philpots who suffered from
two separate head injuries resulting in irreparable
brain damage causing short term memory loss.
Just like Barrymore’s character, Philpots
has woken up each morning for the past twenty
years with no memory of the day before.
Her husband helps her each day but luckily
she does recognize him as he was around before
the accident.
What do you think of our list?
Did we forget your favorite crazy character
based on a real person?
Let us know in the comments.
Don’t forget to subscribe to the Screen
Rant channel to see more videos like this
one

100 thoughts on “10 Crazy Movie Characters You Didn’t Know Were Real People

  • May 16, 2017 at 12:26 am
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    Ed Gine?

    Reply
  • May 16, 2017 at 12:33 am
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    you forgot shrek

    Reply
  • May 16, 2017 at 1:30 am
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    nacho libre sucked

    Reply
  • May 16, 2017 at 3:08 am
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    Sergio Gutiérrez was mispronounced too…but I am very glad they talked about Fray Tormenta, a big icon in mexican wrestling culture!!!

    Reply
  • May 16, 2017 at 6:31 am
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    wow that is so interesting

    Reply
  • May 19, 2017 at 1:36 am
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    The Departed, one of the best films ever made

    Reply
  • May 19, 2017 at 2:18 am
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    If you've seen these movies, u already know.

    Reply
  • May 28, 2017 at 11:00 pm
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    ed guyn xD

    Reply
  • May 31, 2017 at 7:10 pm
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    ed gine also inspired season 2 of American horror story

    Reply
  • June 5, 2017 at 7:56 pm
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    Zodiac only had one victim in San Francisco. Most of his killings took place in Vallejo/Benicia area as well as others parts of Northern California

    Reply
  • June 6, 2017 at 1:51 am
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    Pretty sure the girl from The Exorcist is named/called Regan (pronounced like Ronald Regan).

    Reply
  • June 17, 2017 at 3:49 pm
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    Who's in charge of pronunciation at Screen Rant?

    Reply
  • June 20, 2017 at 5:08 pm
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    `°•°`
    °|°
    |

    Reply
  • June 22, 2017 at 6:48 am
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    I can't help but cringe every time this guy mispronounces Ed Gein's last name. It really damages his credibility in my book.

    Reply
  • June 22, 2017 at 1:44 pm
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    )). G

    Reply
  • June 22, 2017 at 3:31 pm
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    5:53 Wow! The DUDE is REAL!? 0.o'

    Reply
  • June 25, 2017 at 10:01 am
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    So much white washing!!!!

    Reply
  • June 27, 2017 at 1:07 pm
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    You forgot about "The Wolf of Wall Street" tha in real life is Jordan Belfort.

    Reply
  • July 5, 2017 at 4:25 am
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    Do you not know how to pronounce Regan it's pronounced rAy-gen

    Reply
  • July 6, 2017 at 1:48 pm
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    if the teenage mutant ninja turtles are not on here, im gona be so pissed

    Reply
  • July 7, 2017 at 1:06 am
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    I knew all these…dosen't everybody?

    Reply
  • July 7, 2017 at 2:23 am
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    Chuck Wepner was known as "the Bayonne Bleeder".

    Reply
  • July 17, 2017 at 12:46 am
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    Narrator should do their homework…. Several things were mispronounced..

    Reply
  • July 17, 2017 at 3:30 am
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    (•_•)

    Reply
  • July 17, 2017 at 1:49 pm
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    Milely Cyrus.. is Doing Country.. music..now

    Reply
  • July 17, 2017 at 4:26 pm
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    Severus Snape from "Harry Potter" was based on a real-life teacher who taught JK Rowling. He was apparently strict and not very likeable, thus inspiring Rowling to invent the character of Snape.

    Reply
  • July 21, 2017 at 3:02 pm
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    Ohhhh my gaaaahhhhwd! A Philadelphian playin' a Jersey boy!!!!! The horror…

    Reply
  • July 22, 2017 at 11:07 am
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    10 movie characters I already knew damn well were based real on real people.

    Reply
  • August 6, 2017 at 4:45 pm
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    Mask is one of the best movies ever

    It made me cry♥️R.I.P Rocky

    Reply
  • September 6, 2017 at 5:23 pm
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    Stallone did not direct Rocky!

    Reply
  • September 10, 2017 at 3:57 am
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    The Killers in Cold Fish

    Reply
  • September 12, 2017 at 3:48 am
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    For me, it was Hitler. I've only heard of him on Family Guy, until I learned he was real.

    Reply
  • October 4, 2017 at 10:45 am
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    Why do white ppl feel the need to never ever acknowledge anything people of color do?? Those card players were Asian!! And they basically erased who they were!! Ridiculous!!!

    Reply
  • October 5, 2017 at 7:17 pm
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    dirty Harry is the name of the revolver on sunset overdrive

    Reply
  • October 21, 2017 at 3:10 am
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    Also in the Big Lebowski Walter Sobchek is based on John Millius

    Reply
  • October 21, 2017 at 8:05 pm
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    I frickn love nacho libre

    Reply
  • October 24, 2017 at 9:48 pm
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    C'mon BOI its Ed Gein Not GINE

    Reply
  • October 29, 2017 at 12:53 am
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    I wanna smoke crack.

    Reply
  • October 29, 2017 at 12:54 am
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    I wanna huff paint.

    Reply
  • November 6, 2017 at 9:18 pm
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    Omg I knew about the exorcist story! I did my research on that one it was in the news back then

    Reply
  • November 6, 2017 at 9:20 pm
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    Aaaaahhhhh! I bought a Halloween themed magazine on Halloween day that talks about the serial killer Ed!😯😱 he decorated his house in body parts

    Reply
  • November 10, 2017 at 6:37 pm
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    Mask should not be on this list, because it is stated in the beginning and the end that the movie was based on a real person and real events in the persons life. Thus everyone who saw the movie knew it was based on a real person and anyone who did NOT see the movie did not even know the movie existed – let alone the characters in it.

    Reply
  • November 13, 2017 at 1:57 am
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    kkkkkk

    Reply
  • November 18, 2017 at 6:53 pm
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    You forgot Henry portriat of a serial killer . Henery Lee Lucas and ottis toole

    Reply
  • November 20, 2017 at 5:19 am
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    Rocky was based off Rocky Marciano.

    Reply
  • November 21, 2017 at 1:46 am
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    What about Trump?

    Reply
  • November 23, 2017 at 6:00 am
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    Rocky Dennis was real.He lived in Azuza California. my sister saw him many times at the Carnival held in Azuza with her three sons. he died at the age of 16.

    Reply
  • November 25, 2017 at 9:31 pm
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    I would of kicked rocky Dennis ass for looking like a fuckn car crashed faggot

    Reply
  • November 26, 2017 at 7:42 am
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    ⊂_ヽ
      \\
       \( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)
        ⌒ヽ
    Read more

    Reply
  • December 16, 2017 at 2:56 pm
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    Rocky Dennis shouldn't be on list…crazy??

    Reply
  • December 18, 2017 at 1:35 am
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    i almost screamed when Psycho came on also its pronounced geen not guyn

    Reply
  • December 22, 2017 at 11:53 pm
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    Leather face is real and the guy from "the town that dreeded sundown"

    Reply
  • December 29, 2017 at 10:02 pm
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    route ability protection president just defendant intelligent reflection.

    Reply
  • January 2, 2018 at 6:11 pm
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    Rounders classic mike McDermott cmon …

    Reply
  • January 7, 2018 at 3:15 am
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    Yeah you bombed on the Rocky character. That one was never based on that Ali fight.

    Reply
  • January 16, 2018 at 12:46 am
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    "Departed" is the remake of the Hong Kong movie "infernal affair" so how is it based on a real life Irish American mob boss?!?

    Reply
  • January 18, 2018 at 10:39 am
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    Don't you mean Beeg Leboaski

    Reply
  • January 30, 2018 at 4:13 pm
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    I didn't watch your video. I just saw the "crazy" title and had 2 comment. WTF IS WRONG WITH YOU???

    Reply
  • February 6, 2018 at 3:55 am
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    Nacho libre is a legendary movie

    Reply
  • February 10, 2018 at 5:30 am
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    I think everyone knew Rocky Dennis from Mask was real. It literally said "Based on a true story" on one of the posters.

    Reply
  • February 13, 2018 at 1:47 pm
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    Umm rocky Dennis literally Says based on true story

    Reply
  • February 16, 2018 at 6:21 pm
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    My grandma went to school with Rocky

    Reply
  • February 16, 2018 at 11:28 pm
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    I’m pretty sure you are mistaken on the Exorcists real life person it is based off of..

    Reply
  • February 16, 2018 at 11:52 pm
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    Weed

    Reply
  • February 25, 2018 at 4:22 pm
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    Ed Gein (geeeeen) not the biggest issue but weird.

    Reply
  • February 26, 2018 at 10:32 am
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    That Frank Costello looks a LOT like Frank Morris the man who escaped alcatraz and he was not a mob boss

    Reply
  • March 5, 2018 at 2:36 am
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    rip roy l. dennis

    Reply
  • March 8, 2018 at 12:08 am
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    Jack black as a Mexican???😂😂

    Reply
  • March 8, 2018 at 4:23 am
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    Pure crap..totally useless info

    Reply
  • March 9, 2018 at 3:58 am
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    I got a boner from watching this.

    Reply
  • March 23, 2018 at 12:27 am
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    you said Eds name all wrong

    Reply
  • March 26, 2018 at 3:06 pm
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    I'm sorry– is this a list about characters who WERE real people or BASED on real people?

    Reply
  • April 9, 2018 at 9:55 am
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    "the truth was absolutely fully known" should have been the quote at 4:22

    Reply
  • May 24, 2018 at 3:26 pm
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    The Exorcist is based on Anneliese Michel, not on a boy

    Reply
  • June 4, 2018 at 10:05 pm
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    good video bro, but I do have to correct you on Ed gein. I believe it's pronounced geen

    Reply
  • June 12, 2018 at 11:51 am
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    The big lebowski is overrated. The movie is pure trash

    Reply
  • June 26, 2018 at 2:36 am
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    Bates motel made me sick i can watch scary movies but this is sad and messed up 🤢🤮🤧😭

    Reply
  • July 7, 2018 at 4:47 am
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    Nacho Libre was a Career Ender for Jack Black

    Reply
  • August 19, 2018 at 6:32 pm
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    Number one was just plain mayor good luck, something that I will never have

    Reply
  • September 18, 2018 at 2:52 am
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    Most of this is white washed I’m sad

    Reply
  • September 20, 2018 at 2:20 pm
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    Regan's name is pronounced just like former President Reagan.

    Reply
  • September 25, 2018 at 2:19 pm
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    i thought the Departed was based on a hong kong movie.

    Reply
  • September 27, 2018 at 7:54 pm
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    They forgot Robocop, based on Jesus.

    Reply
  • October 1, 2018 at 8:46 am
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    Love u rocky

    Reply
  • October 8, 2018 at 3:09 pm
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    I love Nacho libre it talks about Jesus crise and about love.❤😘

    Reply
  • November 23, 2018 at 4:49 am
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    The ugliest man in human history.

    Reply
  • December 5, 2018 at 11:22 pm
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    50 shades of grey was based off me

    Reply
  • January 7, 2019 at 12:20 am
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    Where Is Joseph Merrick from the elephant man?

    Reply
  • March 16, 2019 at 1:21 pm
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    Um maybe he ended up cuz he wanna be Jablinski games

    Reply
  • March 20, 2019 at 6:54 pm
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    The Elephant Man

    Reply
  • April 21, 2019 at 11:22 am
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    immediately skipped over the exorcist part

    Reply
  • April 22, 2019 at 9:16 am
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    what a spoiler cunt

    Reply
  • May 5, 2019 at 9:00 am
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    its GEEN ed GEEN

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 12:51 am
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    People think inspired by means true story. Lol. Sad.

    Reply
  • June 19, 2019 at 12:53 am
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    Damn you pronounce names wrong.

    Reply
  • June 29, 2019 at 5:16 pm
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    Buffalo Bill was ALSO based on Gary Hiednick, a Philadelphia boy who kept women in a pit in his basement & starved them.

    Reply
  • August 3, 2019 at 4:09 am
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    Wepner is widely known as The Real Rocky. Stallone eventually had to pay him an undisclosed amount. Chuck even has his own movie about it. No surprise to anyone.

    Reply
  • August 8, 2019 at 7:18 pm
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    i haven't watched mask yet, welp. should've known there were spoilers

    Reply

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