50 Great Movies Accused Of Being Rip-Offs

The Big Lebowski (1998)

The Accusation: Most of the Coen brothers' films are based on something, but the postmodern jokers' most cleverly disguised pastiche was to structure the Dude's L.A. adventure along the lines of Raymond Chandler's noir thriller The Big Sleep .

The Spark Of Originality: The rug - it really ties the film together.

A Fistful Of Dollars (1964)

The Accusation: As Akira Kurosawa put it when he spoke to Sergio Leone about the latter's uncredited remake of Yojimbo , "it is a fine film...but it is my film."

The Spark Of Originality: The so-called Man With No Name made Clint Eastwood a star and altered the course of the Western.

The Blair Witch Project (1999)

The Accusation: The touchstone for Hollywood's love of 'found footage' had its antecedent; the genre's godfather Cannibal Holocaust had already told the tale of a film crew that bites off more than it can chew.

The Spark Of Originality: The filming techniques utilised by directors Daniel Myrick and Eduardo Sanchez, namely getting the cast to wield the cameras themselves for greater realism.

Galaxy Quest (1999)

The Accusation: Most critics missed it at the time in their rush to talk about Star Trek , but Dean Parisot's sci-fi comedy steals its premise - actors mistaken for the real thing - from 1980s comedy-Western Three Amigos .

The Spark Of Originality: Never mind the plot. The piss-take of Trek conventions is absolutely spot-on.

The Others (2001)

The Accusation: Never mind the obvious parallels between Alejandro Amenábar's 'ghost story with a twist' and The Sixth Sense , the set-up of an English lady and her two creepy kids echoes Henry James' The Turn Of The Screw and its 1961 film adaptation, The Innocents .

The Spark Of Originality: The final reveal, in which it turns out that ghosts can be just as scared as the rest of us.

Finding Nemo (2003)

The Accusation: French children's author Franck Le Calvez took Pixar to court for the film's resemblance to his storybook, Pierrot Le Poisson Clown , whose hero also lost a parent to predators. Unfortunately for Calvez, although Pierrot was created in 1995, it didn't hit bookshelves until 2000 - after Pixar had begun work on their classic. He lost the case.

The Spark Of Originality: Finding Nemo is as much about the angst of neurotic dad Marlin as it is about the kid.

Alien (1979)

The Accusation: Writer Dan O'Bannon borrowed the premise of 1958's B-movie It! The Terror From Beyond Space - in which the crew of a spaceship is picked off one-by-one by an alien intruder - for Ridley Scott's 1979 classic.

The Spark Of Originality: The life cycle of the alien - egg, facehugger, chestburster, predator - adds narrative surprise and rich symbolism to the 'slasher movie in space' template.

Fatal Attraction (1987)

The Accusation: Technically, Adrian Lyne's thriller was based on writer James Dearden's UK TV short, Deviation . But the Hollywoodisation of the story, especially the 'psycho lady stalker' ending, puts it closer to Clint Eastwood's Play Misty For Me . Eastwood though so; he allegedly told Fatal Attraction's producers: "you owe me a beer."

The Spark Of Originality: Until reshoots ironed out her complexity, Glenn Close's Alex Forrest was written and performed as a plausibly troubled woman who - in the original ending - committed suicide.

The Lion King (1994)

The Accusation: Even star Matthew Broderick was confused when he learnt he wasn't starring in an adaptation of Japanese TV cartoon Kimba The White Lion , whose characters and visuals the Disney classic appropriated, wittingly or unwittingly.

The Spark Of Originality: The songs! 'Hakuna Matata,' in particular, could be a plea not to worry about such things as copyright infringement.

The Terminator (1984)

The Accusation: Sci-fi legend Harlan Ellison wasn't best pleased when he saw James Cameron's classic, and successfully sued the producers for thieving the premises of his Twilight Zone episodes Soldier (about warring time travellers from the future) and Demon With A Glass Hand (about a cyborg coming back in time).

The Spark Of Originality: The tech-noir visuals, which fused FX and 1980s action into the indelible presence of Arnold Schwarzenegger's Terminator.