By Amber Humphrey

Filmmakers are film lovers, and all of our favorite movies — even the most inventive ones — are reflections of their directors’ influences. Some of those influences are totally recognizable (the slow motion shot in Swingers and its precursor in Reservoir Dogs, for example). Other times, those influences are less concrete — you may be able to sense the inspiration in a scene’s lighting or the way it’s staged, but there isn’t anything obvious connecting the movie to an earlier work. Uncovering a film’s artistic lineage gives you a little insight into a director’s creative process, so here is a list of iconic movies that were influenced (or seem to have been influenced) by other movies.

The Original: The Bodyguard (1976)

Influenced: Pulp Fiction (1994)

One of the most memorable moments from Quentin Tarantino’s Pulp Fiction is Samuel L. Jackson’s recitation of a biblical verse from the book of Ezekial. The monologue begins with “The path of the righteous man is beset on all sides” and ends with gunfire — par for the course when it comes to Tarantino’s oeuvre. The Bible quote, though, is basically ripped word-for-word from the intro to a Sonny Chiba movie called The Bodyguard.

The Original: Metropolis (1927)

Influenced: The original Star Wars trilogy (1977, 1980, 1983)

Luke Skywalker’s droid buddy C-3PO was obviously modeled after Maria’s rabble-rousing robot double from Metropolis — the two look almost identical with their golden, slender bodies. Both Metropolis and the Star Wars trilogy also feature a character with a cybernetic hand that is covered by a black glove — Rotwang in Metropolis and Luke in Return of the Jedi.

The Original: Ghost in the Shell (1995)

Influenced: The Matrix (1999)

The Wachowskis created The Matrix with the anime sci-fi classic Ghost in the Shell in mind. When pitching their movie to producer Joel Silver they actually showed him Ghost in the Shell and said, “We want to do that in live-action.” The green digital rain text that appears at the beginning of The Matrix is among the many elements that the Wachowskis borrowed from the anime.

The Original: Kimba the White Lion (1965-1966)

Influenced: The Lion King (1994)

This one is a bit controversial because the people at Disney have never explicitly said that The Lion King was influenced by the Japanese anime series Kimba the White Lion. In fact, they’ve actually tried to deny the similarities, chalking any resemblance up to coincidence. But c’mon — they’re coming of age stories about lion cubs named Kimba and Simba. There are also scenes from The Lion King that appear to have been unabashedly copied (a lion spirit appears in the sky in both). On top of that, Kimba the White Lion was a highly regarded cartoon that had been around since the ’60s. It’s hard to believe that the Disney folks — who must have studied animation — hadn’t at least heard of it (which is what they claim).

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