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A Stock Phrase in fictional works of all kinds. Popular, partly because you can get away with more outrageous elements if you say "The Tasteless But True Story", and partly because some works happen to be based on true stories.

Strength of Basis

As an illustrative example, we will use the story of Donald Sheer finding an original copy of the Declaration of Independence behind a painting bought at a flea market and auctioning it for US$2.42 million.

Related Tropes

  • Ripped from the Headlines: A (usually loose) adaptation of a story very recently in the public eye for fiction.
  • Inspired By and Suggested By: Alternatives to the phrase "Based on a True Story" (or "Based On The Novel", or "Based On The Legend", or...) that imply the Very Loosely.
  • The Tasteless But True Story: The use of "Based on a True Story" as an excuse to dwell on prurient, morbid, or otherwise nasty aspects of the tale.
  • Direct Line to the Author: Where the creator pretends that a work of fiction is a "true story" or a Dramatisation
  • Literary Agent Hypothesis: When fans theorise that a work is based on actual events, which are published as fiction.
Examples of Based on a True Story include:

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