10 Fictional Characters You Probably Didn't Know Were Based on Real People

Lieutenant Patrick “Maverick” Mitchell from Top Gun, inspired by Randy “Duke” Cunningham

If you’re from California, you might know Duke Cunningham as a former congressman from your state. However, before that he was in the US Navy for 20 years, and he and his Radar Incercept Officer were the only two Navy Aces in the entire Vietnam War. Some of their maneuvers directly inspired the scene in Top Gun where Maverick defeats Jester, and later an enemy fighter, by using his brakes. Well played, Duke! Too bad you support Newt Gingrich.