IMDb Polls

Poll: Thinnest Veiled Real-Life Fictional Movie?

The industry term, cinéma à clef, translates from French to English as "film with a key". The key being a listing that is used to swap out the names of real-life people with their movie character aliases. These stories depict a heavy dose of real life characters and true events, somewhat hidden behind the facade of fiction. However, sharp movie-goers will quickly discern who the fictional story really portrays in many cases. Thus, the end-of-the-film disclaimer stating "This is a work of fiction. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental." is very ironic. These quasi-biographical movies are never 100% accurate, but their thinly veiled stories mirror real-life historical details enough to blur the line that separates them from true story biopics that often also take liberties with details to enhance the dramatic effect of the story. Source: Wikipedia: Film à Clef Movies

Which of these select* fictional movies, that some claim a thinly veiled line exists between real-life and fiction, is the film à clef that least distinguishes between fact and fiction? * each movie answer option has the Fictional/Real-Life key listed

Discuss the topic here.

Make Your Choice

  1. Vote!

    Citizen Kane (1941)

    Fictional: Charles Foster Kane

    Real-Life: William Randolph Hearst

  2. Vote!

    Saving Private Ryan (1998)

    Fictional: Ryan Brothers: Daniel, Peter, Sean and James

    Real-Life: Niland brothers: Edward, Preston, Robert, and Frederick aka "Fritz"

  3. Vote!

    Casino (1995)

    Fictional: Sam "Ace" Rothstein, Nicholas "Nicky" Santor the Tangiers Casino

    Real-Life: Frank "Lefty" Rosenthal, Anthony "Tony the Ant" Spilotro and the Stardust Casino

  4. Vote!

    Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (1998)

    Fictional: Raoul Duke and Dr. Gonzo

    Real-Life: Hunter S. Thompson and Oscar "Zeta" Fierro

  5. Vote!

    To Die For (1995)

    Fictional: Suzanne Stone-Maretto, Larry Maretto and Jimmy Emmett

    Real-Life: Pamela Wojas-Smart, Greggory Smart and William Flynn

  6. Vote!

    Primary Colors (1998)

    Fictional: Jack Stanton and Susan Stanton

    Real-Life: William "Bill" Clinton and Hillary Clinton

  7. Vote!

    Dreamgirls (2006)

    Fictional: The Dreamettes: Deena Jones, Effie White, Lorrell Robinson

    Real-Life: The Supremes: Diana Ross, Florence Ballard, Mary Wilson

  8. Vote!

    The Wave (2008)

    Fictional: Rainer Wenger

    Real-Life: William 'Ron' Jones

    also The Wave (1981)

  9. Vote!

    Motherless Brooklyn (2019)

    Fictional: Moses Randolph, Paul Randolph and Gabby Horowitz

    Real-Life: Robert Moses, Paul Moses and Jane Jacobs

  10. Vote!

    Almost Famous (2000)

    Fictional: William Miller

    Real-Life: Cameron Crowe

  11. Vote!

    The Great Dictator (1940)

    Fictional: Adenoid Hynkel and Benzino Napaloni

    Real-Life: Adolf Hitler and Benito Mussolini

  12. Vote!

    Rope (1948)

    Fictional: Brandon Shaw and Phillip Morgan

    Real-Life: Nathan Leopold Jr. and Richard Loeb

    also Compulsion (1959)

  13. Vote!

    All About Eve (1950)

    Fictional: Margo Channing and Eve Harrington

    Real-Life: Ruth Hirsch and Elizabeth Bergner

  14. Vote!

    Alpha Dog (2006)

    Fictional: Jesse James Hollywood and Nicholas Markowitz

    Real-Life: Johnny Truelove and Zack Mazursky

  15. Vote!

    8½ (1963)

    Fictional: Guido Anselmi

    Real-Life: Federico Fellini

  16. Vote!

    21 (2008)

    Fictional: Ben Campbell and Mickey Rosa

    Real-Life: Jeff Ma and Bill Kaplan

  17. Vote!

    The Devil Wears Prada (2006)

    Fictional: Miranda Priestly

    Real-Life: Anna Wintour

  18. Vote!

    Velvet Goldmine (1998)

    Fictional: Brian Glade

    Real-Life: David Bowie

  19. Vote!

    Scarface (1932)

    Fictional: Tony Camonte

    Real-Life: Alphonse "Scarface" Capone

  20. Vote!

    The Red Shoes (1948)

    Fictional: Boris Lermontov

    Real-Life: Serge Diaghilev

  21. Vote!

    Inherit the Wind (1960)

    Fictional: Henry Drummond, Matthew Harrison Brady, Judge John T. Raulston, E. K. Hornbeck, Sara Brady, and Bertram T. Cates

    Real-Life: Clarence Darrow, William Jennings Bryan, Judge Merle Coffey Henry L. Mencken, Mary Baird Bryan, and John Scopes

  22. Vote!

    Last Days (2005)

    Fictional: Blake

    Real-Life: Kurt Cobain

  23. Vote!

    On the Road (2012)

    Fictional Beat Movement Icons: Sal Paradise, Old Bull Lee, Carlo Marx, and Neal Cassady

    Real-Life Beat Movement Icons: Jack Kerouac, William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, and Dean Moriarty

  24. Vote!

    Stillwater (2021)

    Fictional: Bill Baker and Allison Baker

    Real-Life: Curt Knox and Amanda Knox

  25. Vote!

    Monsieur Verdoux (1947)

    Fictional: Henri Verdoux

    Real-Life: Henri Désiré Landru.

  26. Vote!

    All That Jazz (1979)

    Fictional: Joseph "Joe" Gideon

    Real-Life: Robert "Bob" Fosse

  27. Vote!

    All the King's Men (1949)

    Fictional: Willie 'The Boss' Stark

    Real-Life: Huey 'The Kingfish' Long, Jr.

  28. Vote!

    Sweet Smell of Success (1957)

    Fictional: J.J. Hunsecker

    Real-Life: Walter Winchell

  29. Vote!

    White Hunter Black Heart (1990)

    Fictional: John Wilson, Pete Verrill, Paul Landers, Katherine "Kay" Gibson, Philip "Phil" Duncan, Boat: The African Trader, and Movie: The African Traitor

    Real-Life: John Huston, Peter Viertel Samuel "Sam" Spiegel. Katharine Hepburn and Humphrey Bogart, Boat: The African Queen and Movie: The African Queen

  30. Vote!

    Z (1969)

    Fictional: The Examining Magistrate, The Deputy (Z), and The General

    Real-Life: Christos Sartzetakis, Grigoris Lambrakis and Konstantinos Mitsou

  31. Vote!

    A Star Is Born (1937)

    Fictional: Vicki Lester and her husband, Norman Maine

    Real-Life: Barbara Stanwyck and her husband, Frank Fay

  32. Vote!

    The Last Tycoon (1976)

    Fictional: Monroe Stahr

    Real-Life: Irving Thalberg

  33. Vote!

    The Rose (1979)

    Fictional: Mary Rose Foster

    Real-Life: Janis "Pearl" Joplin

  34. Vote!

    The Greek Tycoon (1978)

    Fictional: Theodore "Theo" Tomasis, Elizabeth "Liz" Cassidy

    Real-Life: Aristotle "Ari" Onassis, Jacqueline "Jackie" Kennedy-Onassis

  35. Vote!

    The Last Samurai (2003)

    Another Film à Clef Not Listed

    (pictured example) Fictional: Captain Nathan Algren, Real-Life: Captain Jules Brunet

Recently Viewed