8 Fictional Movie Villains Inspired By Real People

If you thought Biff Tannen looked scarily familiar, here's why...

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It's often said that art reflects life. Watch almost any interview with an actor, director or screenwriter and they'll mention how their movies frequently draw upon their own experiences, from the people they've met, to the places they've been.

There's no bigger pool of ideas to draw from than the years a person has lived, and as a result, most movies - even fantasy epics and sci-fi adventures - are stuffed with connections to real people, locations and events.

Some of these connections are obvious - James Cameron's Avatar is very clearly a message about protecting the environment - but sometimes, you might be surprised how blurry the line between fiction and reality actually is, especially when it comes to antagonistic characters.

Villains usually have to be loud, eccentric and memorable, and by drawing on people they know of (or have met) in real life, the filmmakers are able to give their characters a tangibility or relatability that's not easy to come by.

You've almost certainly seen these movies, but you might not be aware of the real-life people who helped inspire the creation of their villains...

8. Charles Muntz (Up) - Charles Mintz

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A renowned explorer who travels the world in his zeppelin, the villainous side of Muntz is introduced midway through Pixar's Up, where he wrongly believes that Carl and Russell are out to take the credit for discovering Kevin - the bird creature Muntz has been hunting for decades.

It's widely believed that Muntz is based on Charles Mintz, famed American film producer. In 1928, Mintz snatched the rights to Oswald The Lucky Rabbit - a cartoon character co-created by Walt Disney - and turned him into a Universal Pictures mascot.

Besides the obviously similar name, there's definitely a connection between the two. In the movie, Carl is the one who technically discovers the bird (he's the first person to find one alive), making Muntz the one who is out to steal what's not rightfully his - like how Mintz stole the rights to Oswald.

And while Mintz was successful in real life, Muntz, in the film, was not - so perhaps the character's arc is Pixar's expression of the fair version of the Oswald story.


WhoCulture Channel Manager/Doctor Who Editor at WhatCulture. Can confirm that bow ties are cool.