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Meet the Real-Life People Who Inspired these 8 Iconic Movie Characters

From Indiana Jones to James Bond, Amir Khan's role in Three Idiots, Nawazuddin Siddiqui's character in Gangs of Wasseypur and even professor Snape, meet the real-life people who inspired these reel-life characters. 

Fact is always stranger than fiction is an adage that definitely holds true. It goes to follow then, that many of the most-loved, most-iconic and most outlandish charecters we find in cinema are based on real-life people. Many of them are known to the writers and film directors in whose works they feature. Some are based on people they had heard of, or read of, or dug out from the annals of history. If you thought Sherlock Homes was thought up by sir Arthur Doyle, or Professor Snape was a figment of  JK Rowling's imagination, think again. Meet these 10 iconic reel-life characters, and the real-life people who they were inspired by. 

1. James Bond 

James Bond

While it is not ascertianed, it is largely belived that the identity of 007, Britian's top secret agent, was inspired by Forest Yeo-Thomas, a British secret agent who would report directly to Winston Churchill during his secret missions. 

2. Severus Snape

severus snape

Harry Potter's famous villian-hero (don't know how we feel) was based on one of JK Rowling's professors, a short-tempered chemistry teacher named John Nettleship was as bright as he was unforgiving. Sound's familliar? 

3. Phunsukh Wangdu of 3 Idiots 

3 idiots

Aamir Khan’s role as Phunsukh Wangdu in 3 Idiots was ‘inspired’ by the life of educationist Sonam Wangchuk. 

4. Indiana Jones 

indiana jones

Yep, Dr Jones was a real-life dude. While there are many people regarded to have inspired this iconic charecter, one of his main inspirations is considered to be Roy Chapman Andrews, an academic, archaeologist and adventurer whose writings made him a national celebrity, and discoveries made him a scientific hero. Sounds about right!

5. Don Corleone in the Godfather 


The charecter of Don Vito Corleone is said to be a composite of mobsters Frank Costello, Carlo Gambino, and Joe Profaci, mostly based on real-life don and mobster Frank Costello. Much like Don Vito, he had a reputation for being a reasonable man, a modest man who will always listen to reason (while commiting some serious crimes though). 

6. Faizal Khan in Gangs of Wasseypur

gangs of wassaypur

Director Anurag Kashyap's iconic film was based on the real-life coal mafia in Dhanbad. On of the members of the gangs, Faheem Khan is now serving a life sentance in Hazaribagh jail. It is his life that inspired Nawazuddin Siddiqui's charecter Faizal Khan. 

7 . Sherlock Homes 

sherlock homes

Sherlock Holmes, a fictitious character was based on a real man, Dr Joseph Bell, a renown forensic scientist at Edinburgh University whom Sir Arthur Conan-Doyle (the writer of the novels) studied under.

8. Rocky Balboa 

rocky balboa

One of the most iconic charecters in fiction, Sylvester Stallone brought Rocky Balboa to life. The charecter of Rocky is said to be inspired by professional boxer Chuck Wepner ( as per his claims).