"Once Upon A Time In Hollywood" is writer/director Quentin Tarantino's love letter to 1960s Hollywood, revolving around fictional fading star Rick Dalton (Leonardo DiCaprio) and his faithful stuntman Cliff Booth (Brad Pitt).
But how much of it is pulp fiction?
The central story of the film – which marks Tarantino's biggest box-office debut, earning $40 million opening weekend – is set amid true Hollywood landmarks and involves very real stars, ranging from Bruce Lee (Mike Moh) to Sharon Tate (Margot Robbie). The tale unfolds during the turbulent summer of 1969, when Tate's horrifying murder dominated headlines.
So just what is real in "Hollywood"? Here are answers to the major questions.
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Was Bruce Lee as cocky as he's depicted?
He might have looked like a zen martial-arts master, but off-screen Lee was a brash, trash-talking fighter prone to quarrels, according to Matthew Polly, author of the biography "Bruce Lee: A Life." Tarantino tapped into this bravado, but the author says the screen depiction goes too far.
"Bruce Lee was often a cocky, strutting braggart, but Tarantino took those traits and exaggerated them to the point of caricature," says Polly, who takes exception with Lee boasting about beating boxing champ Cassius Clay (later Muhammad Ali) in a fight.
"Bruce revered Cassius Clay; he never claimed he could beat the champ," says Polly.
Lee's daughter, Shannon, objected to her father's portrayal.
“He comes across as an arrogant (expletive) who was full of hot air,” she told The Wrap. “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.”
Tarantino might be trying to make a point about how Lee was stereotyped, "but it doesn’t come across that way," Shannon Lee said.
The up-and-coming martial arts star Lee did befriend Tate and trained the actress for 1968's "The Wrecking Crew," according to Polly. A clip of the training is shown in the film. Tate then introduced Lee to her husband, director Roman Polanski, who trained with him as well.
What actually happened on Aug. 8, 1969?
Tarantino takes liberties in depicting the actions of the Manson followers (which we will not spoil). However, much of the setup is accurate.
Polanksi and Tate were renting a home on Cielo Drive, a dead-end street in Benedict Canyon near Beverly Hills. (Given that Dalton is fictional, his house obviously wasn't next door.)
Polanski was out of town shooting that summer. On the night of Aug. 8, Tate, 26, who was 8½ months pregnant, had friends staying with her, including celebrity hair stylist and ex-boyfriend Jay Sebring (Emile Hirsch); Abigail Folger (Samantha Robinson), an heir to the Folger coffee family; and Abigail's boyfriend, Voytek Frykowski (Costa Ronin).
The four friends did dine at the Hollywood landmark El Coyote on the night of the murders before going back to Tate's home. After midnight, four members of the Manson family – Tex Watson, Linda Kasabian, Susan Atkins and Patricia Krenwinkel – parked at the dark bottom of the street (Tarantino filmed some street scenes on Cielo Drive) and walked up the hill. They broke into the home and committed the grisly ritualistic killings after midnight (Steve Parent, a fifth victim, isn't depicted in the film).
The French Normandy-style house where the murders took place was destroyed in 1994.
Did the Manson followers really live at Spahn Ranch?
Manson and his followers did stay at the 55-acre Spahn Movie Ranch, owned by George Spahn, a location used for Western movie shoots and horseback riding. The followers lived there for a year and a half, from the spring of 1968 until August 1969, when Manson was arrested. In 1970, a wildfire destroyed most of the site's Western buildings.
The movie's location manager, Rick Schuler, found another site about five miles away which had also been used as a set for Westerns. Filmmakers were able to re-create "pretty much building-for-building what Spahn Ranch used to look like," says Schuler.
Is the Musso & Frank Grill real?
Tarantino featured the 100-year-old Musso & Frank Grill and other famed Hollywood Boulevard locations in the film. Schuler says the classic Hollywood eatery (Tarantino is a frequent diner) shut down for the first time for five days to allow Pitt, DiCaprio and Al Pacino (as agent Marvin Schwarzs) to shoot in the middle of tourist season last July. "Everything you see there is the real Musso & Frank's," says Schuler. "That was a must-have and we showed quintessential Hollywood locations that have survived."
Also pictured are the classic, still-standing marquees of famed bar the Frolic Room, the Pantages Theater (both still open) and the Vine Theater. There's a glimpse of the marquee from former adult film venue The Pussycat Theater, across from Musso & Frank's. (The Pussycat was torn down in 2000, but the marquee was rebuilt for the film.)
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: 'Once Upon A Time in Hollywood': What's truth, what's pulp fiction?