Older Than They Think/Film

Everything About Fiction You Never Wanted to Know.
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  • People who think James Cameron is the first filmmaker to set a fictional love story aboard the ill fated RMS Titanic are in for a huge reality check.
  • John Carpenter's The Thing is a classic. It's also an adaptation of a novella called Who Goes There?. It's actually the second adaptation, with the first being the classic fifties sci-fi film The Thing from Another World. Carpenter's version is actually more faithful to the original.
  • The saying "What is best in life?" "To crush your enemies, see them driven before you, and hear the lamentations of their women!" is often attributed to Conan the Barbarian, as he spoke the line in the eponymous 1982 movie. Genghis Khan supposedly originated the quote nearly 800 years earlier, however, the source it is from is unreliable, as it did not come from the only actual Mongolian source we have (the Secret History of the Mongols), and was probably made up by his enemies, seeing as how vastly different it is from his characterization in the Secret History. Nonetheless, it was still a line known in the West long before Conan put on his first loincloth.
  • Good Will Hunting was not the source of the phrase "How do you like them apples?" The phrase is recorded in use as early as 1910. In fact, Will asking the man if he likes apples before springing the line assumes that the man is already familiar with the expression.
  • When The Rocketeer was released, a newspaper review smugly informed the reader that the idea of a rocket pack was nothing new, having been used in the 1965 James Bond film, Thunderball. The fact that The Rocketeer is a specific homage to far older comics and serials (most particularly the "Commando Cody" series, whose rocket suit was nearly identical) was completely lost on the reviewer.
  • Many, many movie critics seemed absolutely convinced that Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon was the originator of the Wuxia genre, and that Iron Monkey was derivative of it. Iron Monkey was made eight years prior. Of course, wuxia films have been around long before that, not to mention that mystic monks are nothing new to much older Asian culture and mythology.
  • Several times and in several unconnected sources, the old timey map legend "Here There Be Monsters" has been attributed as a quote of Captain Barbossa from Pirates of the Caribbean. Barbossa says it specifically to quote the well-known phrase. It wouldn't make much sense unless you got the reference.
  • The film The Mist (2007), based on author Stephen King's 1980 short story of the same name, has been accused of stealing elements from the video games Half Life (1998) and Silent Hill (1999) -- both of which were released almost 20 years after the short story. The original title for Half-Life, "Quiver", was in part a reference to the "Arrowhead Project" of The Mist. The tentacle monster from Half-Life is in fact a direct homage to the short story, and the game itself was partially inspired by it.
  • A lot of people think that having zombies that move as fast as living humans (as opposed to classic, lumbering zombies) is something that started with 28 Days Later. But Return of the Living Dead had fast zombies in 1985, Nightmare City was made in 1980, and even the very first zombie to appear in Night of the Living Dead (1968), while still somewhat lumbering, is very agile and quick on his feet.
  • An awful lot of quotes are attributed to Willy Wonka, most frequently "We are the music-makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams." Almost any catchy line usually attributed to Willy Wonka probably came from somewhere else. He's a quoter, he is. Here's a website that lists the quotes and their sources.
  • The Usual Suspects:
    • Many believe the phrase "round up the usual suspects" comes from the movie. In fact, the title of the film is a reference to Casablanca, which originated the phrase. The line does not even appear in The Usual Suspects.
    • "The greatest trick the devil ever pulled was convincing the world he doesn't exist" does appear in the movie, but it's not original -- it's a paraphrase of a Baudelaire line.
  • People use the phrase "Goodnight, Sweet Prince" in reference to the 1998 comedy The Big Lebowski. Some know the source material and just think that Walter's use of the line was hilarious, while others are completely oblivious to the fact that it is one of the most memorable lines from William Shakespeare's Hamlet. It's even more remarkable when you consider how many better, original lines The Big Lebowski has to offer. That rug really tied the room together.
  • Singin in The Rain was made as a vehicle for the Freed and Brown songs that it contains. They predate the film by many years, with the single exception of "Moses Supposes".
  • Shortly before the movie Underworld was released, White Wolf Publishing, makers of the Old World of Darkness Tabletop RPG setting, sued for copyright infringement, stating the movie's setting and plot had been lifted wholesale from Nancy A. Collins' For Love Of Monsters, that quite a number of world elements in the film's setting bare resemblance to White Wolf's Old World of Darkness. However, White Wolf can't exactly claim to stand on completely original footing either, having co-opted some pretty ubiquitous mythical characters. In fact, Nightlife by Stellar Games beat them to the punch of putting Vampires and Werewolves in a Gothic Punk setting.
  • The Scream series is often credited with being the first Post-Modern slasher, introducing Lampshade Hangings and Genre Savvy characters. The little-known Cult Classic There's Nothing Out There did it first. The director of Scream, Wes Craven, had himself done it before -- to Freddy Krueger! -- in Wes Craven's New Nightmare.
  • I Know What You Did Last Summer is seen by some as an attempt to capitalize on the revival of the slasher genre introduced by Scream, despite the fact that it was not only based on a book, but the screenplay was actually written before that of Scream (and by the same screenwriter). However, the film has very little to do with the book.
  • When Cloverfield came out, a lot of people started comparing the camera style -- and the entire film's nature as an Apocalyptic Log -- to that of The Blair Witch Project. In reality, Cannibal Holocaust was most likely the first film to use this concept, and was followed by such films as Man Bites Dog and The Last Broadcast, the latter of which has a very similar concept to The Blair Witch Project.
  • The phrase "Hasta la vista, baby" was popularized by Jody Watley in her song, "Looking for a New Love" in 1987, four years before the release of Terminator 2: Judgement Day. Presumably, this is why John encourages the Terminator to use the phrase.
    • Actually, while we're on the subject of James Cameron, a lot of his work appears to be based on older pieces. Terminator? Reportedly based on two Harlan Ellison episodes of The Outer Limits called "Soldier" and "Demon with a Glass Hand" (Ellison took him to court over it). Avatar (yes THAT Avatar) as well - Pocahontas? Nope. Fern Gully? Nope. Look a little further back, and the plot best resembles an obscure Sci Fi Novel called The Word For World Is Forest by Ursula K. Le Guin.
      • Many elements found in Avatar (hexapedal bond-beasts, planet-rapers repeled by natives and Gaia's Vengeance, a Death World jungle with a communal mind, a tribe refusing to leave their tree-home in the face of certain destruction) also turned up in Midworld, which Alan Dean Foster published in 1975. The artificial avatar bodies and the protagonist's paraplegia and Going Native both appear in Poul Anderson's "Call Me Joe", a short story from 1957.
      • Cameron himself reportedly said that Avatar is based on John Carter of Mars and King Lear.
      • A hostile planet called Pandora, packed with life forms so ferocious that a simple stroll is suicide, which humans, operating from their orbiting ship, attempt to control with massive overkill... yes, it's "The Jesus Incident" by Frank Herbert and Bill Ransom.
  • 2007's Beowulf is often accused of plagiarizing 300, with the line "I! AM! BEOWULF!" being a bit too similiar to "THIS! IS! SPARTA!" and the line "TONIGHT! WILL BE DIFFERENT!" being rather akin to "TONIGHT! WE DINE! IN HELL!" What these people don't realize is that there's a thing called Animation Lead Time. Filming of Beowulf was done long before filming of 300 began. Although it is true that these lines were in the 300 comic (and Herodotus records Leonidas saying "Tomorrow we break fast among ghosts,"), it seems doubtful that Beowulf was plagiarizing what was then some obscure Frank Miller comic, in which the lines were not delivered with any particular Punctuated Emphasis, which, as its article clearly demonstrates, goes back a lot longer.
    • Also note that the Beowulf's source material is a epic poem written between the 8th and 11th century AD, while 300's is a historical battle (i.e the Battle of Thermopylae) in 480 BC. Both of these are of course, older than what an average comic reader think.
    • The irony: Before either of those 2 movies came out, there was already another movie about Beowulf. Yes, that's Gerard Butler playing Beowulf.
  • Many people seem to attribute the idea of a constructed reality to The Matrix, despite the idea being a very old philosophical concept. In film, The Thirteenth Floor was produced concurrently with The Matrix, Dark City a year before, and David Cronenberg's eXistenZ before that, and Doctor Who's 1975 serial The Deadly Assassin used the name "the Matrix" for its Gallifreyan VR information storage system. In print, the concept goes back much further, and is itself merely a high-tech extension of the Lotus Eater Machine, which is even older. Examples include many Philip K. Dick stories, Plato's Allegory of the Cave, Descartes's "Evil Demon" thought experiment, and Zhuangzi's ""Was I before a man who dreamt about being a butterfly, or am I now a butterfly who dreams about being a man?" story. The novel "Simulacron 3" by Daniel Galouye deserves mention not only because it contains the same ideas, but also because a character (Neo himself? Somebody edit this!) can be seen reading the book in the first instalment.
    • I don't know if this is what you're talking about but Neo has a copy of, and keeps the whatever-the-Hell-he-sells-to-the-White-Rabbit-woman's-boyfriend in a copy of Simulacra and Simulation.
  • It's often thought the term "X Movie" as the name of a parody film was made by the creators of the Scary Movie series. Mel Brooks actually released a film in 1976 called Silent Movie. There was also the double-feature spoof Movie Movie.
  • With all the recent talk of Bromance movies, there was a post on ROFLRAZZI naming Bill and Ted as "the original bromance." Commenters there quickly pointed out they were still about four thousand years too late. And there are plenty of others working up to Bill and Ted, too. David and Jonathan are either (somewhat extreme) bromance or out-and-out Ho Yay, depending on who you ask.
  • Many people think the concept of the Men in Black originated in the movie of the same name. It is actually a preexisting conspiracy theory, with artistic examples going back at least as far as They Knew Too Much about Flying Saucers, a 1956 book by Albert K. Bender purporting to be nonfiction. They also made an appearance in the 1984 film Repo Man, and previous films (such as Close Encounters of the Third Kind) included similarly silent, terse, or otherwise awkward and intimidating people in black suits.
    • In fact Men in Black is based on a comic book of the same name.
  • Many people seem to think Halloween was the Trope Maker for the slasher genre, however Halloween was originally conceived as a sequel to Canadian horror film Black Christmas. The genre as a whole can trace its origins back even further, although Halloween is often accepted at the Trope Codifier, at least.
    • The original The Texas Chainsaw Massacre is often credited as having started the genre, while Two Thousand Maniacs and other H. G. Lewis movies were years earlier, and had the little jokes and everything.
  • The 1994 film of The Shadow was accused by some people of ripping off the Jedi Mind Trick from Star Wars. The Shadow was, of course, one of the many classic pulp influences that George Lucas paid homage to in Star Wars and his other films, and he already had "the power to cloud men's minds" as far back as 1937.
  • Fans of Indiana Jones consider him to be the original Adventurer Archaeologist, even though this trope existed in multiple pulp novels and movie serials from the 1930s, which actually served as direct inspiration for the film makers.
    • Even Indy's usual costume is a direct reference, the series is a big-budget version of the existing genre made by people who loved it. The fourth does the same to the '50s equivalent, although it was... less appreciated by fans.
    • The original, being H. Rider Haggard's Allan Quartermain. Though not as educated, an adventurer none the less.
    • Also, many of the action scenes in these movies were actually inspired by DuckTales comic books.
  • Disney's The Lion King is strongly reminiscent of a much earlier Osamu Tezuka film called Kimba the White Lion. It also shares similarity with Hamlet, the Egyptian myth of Horus, and the Epic of Sundiata.
    • The name is similar, and a few of the plot elements (dad dying early, villanous family member, eating bugs), but apart from that, there is very little beyond a few similar scene moments to suggest that Disney took anything from Kimba, certainly not the characters (standard heroic fare) or plot (vaguely based on Hamlet).
    • The fact that Kimba the White Lion came first was commented on, surprisingly, in an episode of Life entitled "Badge Bunny":

Detective Charlie Crews: "Wait... the tiger's name is Kimba? Shouldn't it be a lion, then, like in the movie, and not a tiger?"
Captain Tidwell: "Simba. You're thinking of Simba, not Kimba."
Detective Charlie Crews: "What?"
Captain Tidwell: "The name of the lion. From The Lion King. It was Simba."
Detective Charlie Crews: (silent beat, shakes his head) "Kimba was first."

  • Batman's archenemy, The Joker, was most definitely not based on the poster for the film version of The Man Who Laughs, starring Conrad Veidt. In the days leading up to the release of The Dark Knight, a recoloured version came into mass internet circulation, and was actually mistaken by many for a publicity shot of Heath Ledger's Joker makeup.
  • Tim Burton's film Batman Returns redesigned the Penguin to the point where many people, shown a picture of Conrad Veidt's Dr. Caligari, will believe it to be the Penguin.
  • In The Nightmare Before Christmas, Halloweentown]] looks suspiciously similiar to Holstenwall in The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari , and Edward Scissorhands Looks Like Cesare.
  • Back to Batman: The Dark Knight was not the first time the Joker has used the Jerry Maguire quote "You complete me" to Batman in a Foe Yay manner: he had previously used the line in The Batman vs. Dracula, and possibly even before that.
  • Online videos of Neill Blomkamp's short film Alive in Joburg occasionally bear comments accusing it of ripping off District 9, which is extra amusing considering the latter is his own remake of the former.
  • In an interview, David Cronenberg tells about showing Shivers at a German film festival during the '80s, and a man stood up and asked how dare he show so obvious an Alien ripoff, as both films are set in an isolated location (Alien on a spaceship, Shivers in an apartment complex called the Starliner Towers), and both films involve Body Horror creatures that burst out of stomachs and attach themselves to faces. Cronenberg politely explained that his film was made several years prior, and that Alien screenwriter Dan O'Bannon admitted to taking some inspiration from Shivers. "Ah," said the German man, "Now we know who the real thief is."
  • Alien, apart from taking inspiration from Shivers, also reportedly took some thematic inspiration from Van Vogt's Black Destroyer and the coeurl. It is directly based on a sequence from Dark Star, written by the same author, in which an alien runs amok on a spaceship.
  • "No place like home" is now most commonly recognized as a phrase from The Wizard of Oz. The phrase didn't originate in the film though, or even in L. Frank Baum's book (though it appears in both); it came from the 19th-century song "Home, Sweet Home", which was recognized more than enough to be a Standard Snippet.
    • Several aspects of the Oz story are thought to be original to the 1939 MGM musical The Wizard of Oz, but are actually older. The characters being saved from the poppy field by a snowfall is actually in the 1902 stage production. Changing to Technicolor when the characters arrive in Oz was also done in the 1933 animated cartoon, although legal problems prevented the short film from being distributed with the Oz segments in Technicolor.
  • When the first trailers for the Get Smart movie appeared on YouTube, many of the comments accused it of being a ripoff of the 2003 film Johnny English. Never mind that Get Smart is a show from The Sixties.
    • And never mind that the two films aren't nearly similar enough for either to be a ripoff of the other. Yes, they are both spy comedies. But all that means is they share the same subgenre. It'd be like picking two random foreign action films and saying one must be a ripoff of the other.
  • The Lord of the Rings has a particularly daft section of its fanbase who, upon seeing Peter Jackson's film version of the Return of the King, believed that Jackson's Oliphaunt march had been ripped off by George Lucas for his walker attack in the film The Empire Strikes Back. This incredibly stupid group somehow convinced themselves that Lucas' film, made in 1980, copied one of its key scenes from Jackson's film, made in 2003.
    • The scenes aren't even that similar. AT-ATs and mumakil both have 4 legs. And are really big. And used by the bad guys. That's about it.
    • To clarify this; Word of God admits that the AT-ATs from Return of the Jedi (1980) were inspired by the three-legged walking machines from War of the Worlds, the Novel (1889) (Note that the first film adaptation (1953) didn't have those, they just floated on "Invisible legs". The Peter Jackson movie (2002) was an adaptation of the book (1954) and THAT was inspired by... um... elephants?
      • Elephants dominating the battlefields and slowly moving towards the lines of enemy are usually the first thing associated with Hannibal Barca (III-II century B.C.). Definitely Older Than Feudalism.
  • The 'pram bouncing down the stairs scene surrounded by gunfire' in The Untouchables was a deliberate reference to a similar scene in Battleship Potemkin from 1925. The Untouchables wasn't even the first film to reference this; there is a brief shot of a baby carriage bouncing down some stairs during a gun battle in Woody Allen's film Bananas.
    • Also referenced in The Godfather and Brazil, among others.
  • Name a movie about a burn victim, thought to be dead, who exacts his vengeance via the children of those responsible. Now name a movie about a slowly-dying man who comes up with overly elaborate deathtraps for his victims, but sometimes leaves a possible way out. Now name a movie about an extremely creative Poetic Serial Killer who takes his inspiration from a religious sequence. If you answered A Nightmare on Elm Street, Saw, and Se7en... you're wrong. The answer to all three is The Abominable Dr. Phibes, a Vincent Price movie from 1971.
  • A man is drugged, and awakens in a room with a tape player. The tape informs him that there is a trap in the room, and if he tries to leave, he'll die. If he can disarm it within three hours, he'll be permitted to live, but if he fails, he'll die, and if he triggers it, he'll die. I think I Saw that before, right? Wrong. This is the plot of the 1964 Twilight Zone episode The Jeopardy Room, predating Saw by a full 40 years. Perhaps it's a revival for the anniversary?
  • The phrase "I'd buy that for a dollar!" comes from RoboCop? In that exact form, maybe; but it's recognisably an adaptation of a sarcastic put-down from 1951 short story The Marching Morons: "Would you buy it for a quarter?".
  • Overhead shots of Chorus Girls linked in geometrical formations are usually identified with the work of Busby Berkeley, though they first seem to have been used in The Cocoanuts, filmed before Berkeley started working in Hollywood.
  • "Your Wolfman ripped off Twilight." ...um, ahem.
    • To clarify, the angry letter claims that the new Wolfman movie (2010) is ripping off of Twilight (2008) even though it's a remake of the original movie (1979) which drew from the common mythology of werewolves (circa 60 AD). The context of the letter strongly indicates that the writer believes Stephanie Meyer invented werewolves.
      • Uh, actually it's even older than that. The 2010 film is a remake of a 1941 film (Both by Universal) that probably also took cues from an even earlier (and lost, sadly) MGM film of the same name from 1924. The '79 film probably draws from the same source though (not to mention the legends)
  • And then there's the film critic who claimed (until being called on it) that Repo! The Genetic Opera! was inspired by a 2009 book called Repossession Mambo. This despite the film version of Repo! The Genetic Opera! being released in 2008. There was also the short-film version made in 2006. And these film versions were based on the stage musical version of Repo!, which was created in 2001. And even that was a union of short operettas that had been performed live in Los Angeles since the late 1990s. You can read the full story (with the pictures to prove it) HERE.
    • There was more of the same when Repo Men (which WAS based on Reposession Mambo -- the author decided to make a film out of it when it was still being written) was released.
  • Judd Apatow gets a lot of controversy for a lot of gender issues, particularly the "hot woman, ugly guy" thing. Not that this isn't a problem, but apparently these people have never seen movies with Bill Murray or Bob Hope. Or seen Apatow standing next to his wife, for that matter.
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen is accused of ripping of The Matrix simply because of an artifact called the Matrix Of Leadership. The Matrix was an artifact in the original G1 continuity, 15 years before the Matrix films were ever developed.
    • For that matter, Sam's ability to commune with the All-Spark (itself a reference to Beast Machines) calls to mind a storyline from the comic book from the 1980s.
    • Optimus Prime's alternate mode, much hated by some fans, and character dynamic (somewhat brusque military commander of a small team of Autobots) are far more reminiscent of Transformers Armada than the G1 Optimus.
      • The shot of him scanning his alt mode and transforming into it is even a direct homage to the second episode of Transformers Armada
      • His alternate mode also closely resembles Generation 2 Laser Optimus, a longnose Peterbilt that transforms into the commander of the Autobots.
  • Many IMDb posters are annoyed that The Legend of Fritton's Gold is subtitled "St. Trinian's 2" (meaning the second of the current incarnation) when it's actually the seventh overall. Although the first came out over fifty years ago, and the fifth (The Wildcats of St. Trinian's) is so legendarily awful that it's no longer available, so ignorance is perhaps excusable.
  • Despite what you may think, Speed Racer is not the first American live-action film adapted from an anime or manga series. Neither is G-Saviour, a So Bad It's Good direct to television movie adapted from the Gundam series back in 2000. That goes to The Guyver, starring Mark Hamill, adapted from the manga/anime series of the sort-of-same-name back in 1991 and still kickin'.
  • A related case: Minority Report is indeed a influential movie, inspiring even real life technology. Little do one know that Spielberg is one huge Ghost in the Shell reader. The concept of 'Ghost' shares some very striking similarities to Minority Report's plot, it's no surprised that Spielberg was inspired by the series. Ghost in the Shell debuted in the U.S back in the 90s, way earlier than the actual live action adaptation which is still in production.
    • Actually Minority Report is based on a short story by Philip K Dick so...yeah.
    • Conveniently, that short story is called The Minority Report.
  • Many (though by no means all) of the elements G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra is taken to task for "changing" are actually taken directly from the source material. Examples include the mechanized body armor, Destro being Scottish, the mouth on Snake-Eyes's mask, and the black machine-gunner being named Heavy Duty instead of Roadblock. The thing is, there's a lot of source material: the armor was from the G.I. Joe: Sigma 6 line; Destro has been Scottish in the comics for decades; Snake-Eyes has had more than a dozen different action figures, several of which had mouths molded into their masks; Heavy Duty's been around since 1991 (and Roadblock himself has been renamed Heavy Duty in the comics due to trademark issues). But most people are only aware of a small portion of the franchise's history (in most cases that's the 80s cartoon) and assume anything they haven't seen before is new to the movie, which (perhaps unwisely) tried to combine elements from as many different eras as possible.
  • Who was the first person to say "It's a Trap!" in the Star Wars movies? First? Wasn't Admiral Ackbar in Return of the Jedi the only one who said it? Actually, it was first said by Princess Leia in The Empire Strikes Back, as the Imperials were leading Luke Skywalker into Darth Vader's trap on Cloud City.
  • At least one reviewer took Return to Oz to task, for taking Tik-Tok straight out of the Star Wars films. Tik-Tok was taken straight out of L. Frank Baum's 1907 novel Ozma of Oz, and is generally considered by literary historians to be the first depiction of a robot in modern literature ever.
    • While Tik-Tok is original to the Oz novels, ETA Hoffmann had a clockwork automaton that was able to pass for human in his short story "The Sandman", which was published in 1816, which is a clear precursor to the concept of Tik-Tok, though in Hoffmann's case the character does not seem to have any intellect and only utters the phrase "Ah-ah". Oh, and the character is capable of singing and dancing quite well. Too well.
  • A film uses a documentary style to cover real-life events without defined characters, dialogue, or even a 'story'. Regardless of this, it conveys a clear ideological message and manages to exhibit some impressive techniques that only film could really display in such a way. It's got to be Koyaanisqatsi and its sequels, right? Well, actually it's Dziga Vertov's 1929 Soviet Montage film The Man With The Movie Camera.
    • It is? I thought you were going to say it was Walter Ruttmann's 1927 film Berlin: Symphony of a Great City. (In which case, you still would have been wrong, as both Vertov and Ruttmann were working in a genre which dates back at least to Charles Sheeler and Paul Strand's 1921 short Manhatta.)
  • The concept of "Vamping Out" (a vampire having two forms: regular human, and vampire human) was credited by Joss Whedon as coming from The Lost Boys. However the vampire in Fright Night had the same ability (notice just how inhuman he looks after he gets stabbed in the hand by a pencil!). This may go all the way back to the Dracula novel, when Mina saw a massive figure feeding on Lucy when she finds her out on the moors, but ended up thinking it was only a trick of the shadows.
  • "You talking to me? You talking to me?" Yes, Travis Bickle did the talking to the mirror bit but Jackie Rhoades did it first with those lines.
  • A deleted line (which naturally popped up on the trailer) for Music and Lyrics contains an in-universe example; when discussing his potential appearance in a show called "Battle of the Eighties Has-Beens", washed-up pop star Alex Fletcher dryly points out that, since his band broke up and subsequently his career ended in 1991, he is technically a Nineties Has-Been, and wonders if this will be a problem.
  • Imagine a film in which an asteroid is on a collision course with Earth, so a team is sent to drill holes and place explosives in this unwanted visitor, thus saving our planet. That description sounds like Armageddon (1998) or Deep Impact (1998), although in the latter there were differences such as a comet instead of an asteroid. These plot elements are actually much older and can be found in the 1968 film The Green Slime, while the concept of preventing a huge celestial body from colliding with Earth goes back at least as far as the 1962 Japanese filme Gorath, although in this film the solution is to move the entire Earth out of the way.
  • Many elements of the Star Wars Universe that are often assumed to have been invented for the prequels were actually established in books, promotional material, and other sources before the development of Episode I. These include Bail Organa, the planet Kashyyyk, the words "Sith" and "padawan," stormtroopers being clones, Palpatine being elected after the previous chancellor was removed from office by the Galactic Senate, Palpatine later abusing emergency powers given to him during a crisis, and Anakin being grievously injured fighting Obi-Wan on a lava planet.
  • Let's roll back in time with Inception's idea of dream-hijacking: prior to 2010, there was 2006's Paprika, 2005's Psychonauts, 2004's Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and 2001's Kagetsu Tohya and Da Capo (minor plot device in the last one, though). It doesn't stop at that: in 2000 there was the original draft of Inception's script, the original Paprika novel in 1993 and 2 movies closely released in 1984: A Nightmare on Elm Street and Dreamscape. Now that's a long retro ride, isn't it?
  • The premise of Trading Places, where two wealthy businessmen bet over whether heredity or environment makes a gentleman, and proving it by taking a bum off the street and making him sophisticated, was previously tackled in the Three Stooges short "Hoi Polloi".
    • which was taken from George Bernard Shaw's play Pygmalion
  • Heeeere's Johnny! It wasn't intended as anything more than a Shout-Out in The Shining, but became a stolen Older Than They Think quote instead.
  • The famous line "If it bleeds, we can kill it" from Predator was earlier phrased (slightly more eloquently) in, of all things, The Hound of the Baskervilles.

"If [the hound] was vulnerable he was mortal, and if we could wound him we could kill him."

  • A YouTube comment on the Fright Night 2011 trailer: "This is just a Disturbia clone with a vampire." So many things wrong with that.
  • The 1989 film Dead Calm seems like it's based on an original concept, right? It's actually based on an unfinished Orson Welles film called The Deep (which in turn is based on a book).
  • Ever wondered why the building-collapsing scene in the 4th-layer dream of Inception (2010) is so similar to the self-restoration of the city scene of Dark City (1998)? Why? Because they are both homages to the ending of Akira manga (1982-1990).
  • A couple friends head to Las Vegas for a fun time, and after a night of drunken partying, wake up in their disheveled hotel room to discover they've apparently gotten married to some Vegas cocktail waitresses. As they attempt to make sense of what happened and get out of their new marriages, they face such obstacles as show tigers and a celebrity boxer. The 2009 film The Hangover? I was talking about the 1999 Simpsons episode "Viva Ned Flanders"!
    • And before then, you had the 1998 film Very Bad Things, which similar to The Hangover featured a bachelor party in Las Vegas gone wrong and the hilarity ensuing from covering up the evidence.
  • New Media Are Evil types would have you think that sex and violence are new to movies. In reality, intense sex and violence have been in movies since the birth of cinema in the late 19th Century. In fact, complaints about there being too much sex/violence/etc. in movies were actually what led to the Hays Code in the mid-1930's.
  • Probably the most common one is people believing that "Revenge is a dish best served cold" comes from Star Trek II the Wrath of Khan, misunderstanding a reference to the phrase as claiming it a Klingon proverb. (Actually, a character is only asking what the equivalent Klingon proverb is.) In fact, it's French. (This did not stop the Kill Bill movies from identifying it as Klingon, which was most likely an intentional "mistake" on Quentin Tarantino's part.)
    • Probably the first recorded usage occurs in the 1782 novel Dangerous Liasons by French author Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.
    • Mario Puzo's 1969 novel "The Godfather" uses "Revenge is a dish best served cold" and identifies it as Italian. This predates the use in "Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan" at the very least.
    • The Klingons seem to be guilty of a lot of this. "Today is a good day to die," comes from Crazy Horse, but is associated with Klingons. Proud Warrior Race much?
    • "From hell's heart I stab at thee..." is originally by Herman Melville (from Moby Dick), but more likely to be quoted now secondhand as a reference to Star Trek II: Wrath of Khan.
      • Khan uses several Moby Dick lines in the film. However, this is intended as him consciously quoting the book. He sees himself as analogous to Ahab, a great man injured by an monster (Kirk) who has dedicated his life to the death of said monster. A copy of which is seen earlier in the film when Chekov and Terrill are searching the shelter on Ceti Alpha 5. Literary allusions are nothing new to the character, in his original appearance he quotes Milton.
      • Note also that Cetus is the constellation of the whale.
    • Referenced, or possibly lampshaded, in the later Star Trek movies.

Spock: There is an old Vulcan proverb: "Only Nixon could go to China."
(and)
Spock: An ancestor of mine once maintained, "Once you have eliminated the impossible, whatever remains -- however improbable -- must be the truth."