"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" is Not a True Story but it Does Depict Some Famous Real People

REEL FACE: REAL FACE:
Margot Robbie
Born: July 2, 1990
Birthplace:
Dalby, Queensland, Australia
Sharon Tate
Born: January 24, 1943
Birthplace: Dallas, Texas, USA
Death: August 9, 1969, Los Angeles, California, USA (multiple stab wounds in Manson Family murders)
Damian Lewis
Born: February 11, 1971
Birthplace:
St. John's Wood, London, England, UK
Steve McQueen
Born: March 24, 1930
Birthplace: Beech Grove, Indiana, USA
Death: November 7, 1980, Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, Mexico (lung cancer)

Famous Actor
Timothy Olyphant
Born: May 20, 1968
Birthplace:
Honolulu, Hawaii, USA
James Stacy
Born: December 23, 1936
Birthplace: Los Angeles, California, USA
Death: September 9, 2016, Ventura, California, USA (anaphylactic shock)
Co-starred on TV western 'Lancer'
Dakota Fanning
Born: February 23, 1994
Birthplace:
Conyers, Georgia, USA
Lynette "Squeaky" Fromme
Born: October 22, 1948
Birthplace: Santa Monica, California, USA

Charles Manson Follower
Bruce Dern
Born: June 4, 1936
Birthplace:
Chicago, Illinois, USA
George Spahn
Born: February 11, 1889
Birthplace: Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania, USA
Death: September 22, 1974, Van Nuys, Los Angeles, California
Manson's cult stayed on Spahn's ranch
Emile Hirsch
Born: March 13, 1985
Birthplace:
Palms, California, USA
Jay Sebring
Born: October 10, 1933
Birthplace: Birmingham, Alabama, USA
Death: August 9, 1969, Los Angeles, California, USA (multiple stab wounds in Manson Family murders)
Luke Perry
Born: October 11, 1966
Birthplace:
Mansfield, Ohio, USA
Wayne Maunder
Born: December 19, 1937
Birthplace: Four Falls, New Brunswick, Canada

Co-starred on the TV western series 'Lancer'
Damon Herriman
Born: March 31, 1970
Birthplace:
Adelaide, South Australia
Charles Manson
Born: November 12, 1934
Birthplace: Cincinnati, Ohio, USA
Death: November 19, 2017, Bakersfield, California, USA (heart attack)
Cult Leader and Criminal
Margaret Qualley
Born: October 23, 1994
Birthplace:
Kalispell, Montana, USA
Kathryn 'Kitty' Lutesinger
Born: August 14, 1952
Birthplace: California, USA

Manson Family member, renamed 'Pussycat' in movie
Mike Moh
Born: August 19, 1983
Birthplace:
Atlanta, Georgia, USA
Bruce Lee
Born: November 27, 1940
Birthplace: San Francisco, California, USA
Death: July 20, 1973, Kowloon Tong, British Hong Kong
Actor and Martial Artist

Questioning the Story:

What is Once Upon a Time in Hollywood about?

It's a Pulp Fiction-esque movie that's set in late-1960s Hollywood and separated into thematic chapters. It's "probably the closest to Pulp Fiction that I have done," director Quentin Tarantino said at CinemaCon. Tarantino has been working on the script for half a decade and aims to show a side of LA and Hollywood mostly forgotten. Though the movie is largely fictional, Once Upon a Time in Hollywood intertwines real people into the story and uses the Charles Manson murders as a backdrop.

"I've been working on this script for five years, as well as living in Los Angeles County most of my life, including in 1969, when I was 7 years old," he said in a statement. "I'm very excited to tell this story of an LA and a Hollywood that don't exist anymore. And I couldn't be happier about the dynamic teaming of DiCaprio and Pitt as Rick and Cliff."

Tarantino described the film as "a story that takes place in Los Angeles in 1969, at the height of hippy Hollywood. The two lead characters are Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio), former star of a Western TV series, and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt). Both are struggling to make it in a Hollywood they don't recognize anymore. But Rick has a very famous next-door neighbor … Sharon Tate."



Where does the movie's title come from?

It's well known that Quentin Tarantino is a big fan of the spaghetti western genre. The title Once Upon a Time in Hollywood pays homage to Italian director Sergio Leone and his films Once Upon a Time in America and Once Upon a Time in the West.



Are Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio's characters based on real people?

No. In the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood movie, aging actor Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his longtime stunt double Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt) are both fictional characters. However, Dalton lives next door to thriving actress Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie), who is based on the real-life Hollywood star murdered by members of the Manson Family on August 9, 1969. In the film, she thrives in 1969's free-spirited Hollywood, while Tinseltown has left the washed-up Dalton longing for the place he once knew.

Brad Pitt and Leonardo DiCaprio portray the fictional characters Cliff Booth and Rick Dalton in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.



How does Sharon Tate's family feel about the movie?

One aspect of Once Upon a Time in Hollywood that's loosely based on a true story is the inclusion of Sharon Tate, portrayed by Margot Robbie, and her tragic death at the hands of Charles Manson's followers. The late actress was stabbed to death by members of the Manson Family in 1969, the year Quentin Tarantino's movie takes place. In an interview on the Today Show just before the movie's release, Quentin Tarantino and Margot Robbie said that they had received the blessing of Sharon Tate's sister, Debra Tate. Robbie stated that Debra lent them some of Sharon's jewelry for her to wear in the film, in addition to a used bottle of perfume. Tarantino had reached out to Debra after he finished the script. She approved. "I wanted to do anything I could to help [Margot] feel as much like Sharon as she possibly could," Debra told Vanity Fair.

The movie uses the Manson Family murders as a backdrop. Most of the real people portrayed in the movie were in some way connected to Tate or the Manson Family.

Margot Robbie portrays slain actress Sharon Tate in the movie.



Is Bruce Lee portrayed accurately in Once Upon a Time in Hollywood?

No. Bruce Lee's daughter, Shannon Lee, told TheWrap, "He comes across as an arrogant a**hole who was full of hot air. And not someone who had to fight triple as hard as any of those people did to accomplish what was naturally given to so many others." The film makes a mockery of Bruce Lee, who is depicted as more of an SNL caricature than a disciplined artist. "It was really uncomfortable to sit in the theater and listen to people laugh at my father," Shannon said.

Matthew Polly, author of the book Bruce Lee: A Life, says that Lee never trash-talked Cassius Clay (Muhammad Ali) in real life. He never stated that he could turn him into a "cripple." He had too much respect for Cassius Clay. Polly reasons that Tarantino portrayed Lee in the way that he does because Lee's introduction of Eastern martial arts into Hollywood fight choreography presented a threat to the old Western style of fighting used by Brad Pitt's character, stuntman Cliff Booth.



Does the Once Upon a Time in Hollywood movie's release date mark the 50th anniversary of the Tate murders?

No, the movie was originally slated to be released on August 9, 2019, fifty years to the day that Sharon Tate, who was 26 at the time and eight-and-a-half months pregnant, was murdered along with four friends by followers of Charles Manson. The release date was pushed up two weeks to July 26.



"Once Upon a Time in Hollywood" Interviews and Related Videos

Watch director Quentin Tarantino and actor Leonardo DiCaprio discuss the movie.


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