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…

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