Quiz: Are These Country Names Real or from the Movies?: HowStuffWorks
Are These Country Names Real or from the Movies?
5 Min Quiz
Sri Lanka is a real country with a storied history. It is thought to be the country of "Lanka" referred to in the Ramayana, the Hindu epic about the god Rama and his rescue of his wife Sita, who was held there.
Probably you knew this one. But in the days of "Game of Thrones," we thought its almost-too-literal-to-be-true name might trip someone up!
"Bacteria" wasn't even meant to sound like a real country. The comic genius, Charlie Chaplin, made this a nation in "The Great Dictator."
If you're a horror fan, it's tempting to say "both!" Eli Roth set his disturbing tale of a murder-for-fun business in Slovakia, and later deflected criticism by saying that his Slovakia was in a sense fictitious; it was a satire of how Americans thought of Eastern European nations.
"Sokovia" features prominently in the new Marvel Universe movies. It's the homeland of the Scarlet Witch and her (now sadly deceased) twin, Quicksilver.
Singapore is a very small nation. Technically, it's a city-state. It's a crossroads of Southeast Asia, with excellent cuisine that reflects the diversity of its influences.
If you're taking this quiz in early 2018, and missed this one, you must have been living under a rock. "Black Panther," about the ruler and hero of Wakanda, was one of the biggest movies of the new year.
Mongolia is one of the most sparsely populated nations in the world. Some of its famous warrior-leaders, like Genghis Khan, really are the stuff of Hollywood movies.
"The Chronicles of Narnia" might be more famous in their book form. But "The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe" was also made into a very successful film.
The worlds of "real" and "from the movies" when American actress Grace Kelly married Prince Rainier and became princess of Monaco. She died in a car crash in 1982.
Arendelle was the fictitious kingdom of which Elsa ascended to queendom n "Frozen." Anna was her loyal younger sister.
"Syriana" was a film about oil and politics in the Middle East. It was one of a number of political thrillers in which Matt Damon has acted.
"Panem" was the fictitious North American country where the "Hunger Games" took place every year. The Games were punishment for an uprising by the impoverished districts outside the wealthy capital.
Moldova is in Eastern Europe. Don't call it "Moldovia!"
Slovenia is where U.S. First Lady Melania Trump comes from.
Atlantis is almost certainly not real, but it isn't entirely from the movies, either. Stories of an island paradise that sank into the ocean predate cinema, and have turned up in all kinds of art.
The Maldives lie in the Arabian Sea. They're also a gorgeous vacation destination, though little-known to Westerners.
This comes from Charlie Chaplin's,"The Great Dictator." The name, for a fictitious country ruled by fascists, is a play on "ptomaine," an illness.
This one comes from the Marx Brothers',"Duck Soup." It was a small country ruled with an iron fist.
Genovia is a tiny European country in "The Princess Diaries." Look for it between France and Spain.
This is a fictitious republic in "Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery." Groovy!
This was the relatively realistic name for the Slavic republic in "The Terminal." Tom Hanks played one of its citizens, stranded in a U.S. airport terminal when war breaks out in his home country.
This tiny nation is a crossroads of northern South America. Once a Dutch holding, it is home to people of European, Caribbean and native South American ancestry. It's rarely in the news .. which is probably a good thing!
This one is a fictitious African nation, as the name suggests. It was featured in "Casino Royale."
Don't confuse this with Zimbabwe or Namibia. It's easy to do!
This one comes from "The Princess Bride." If it sounds real, you're probably thinking of Florence, the Italian city, and Florentines, its people.
If you had a vague inkling of Spain here, you're probably thinking of "Andalusia," a region in southern Spain. Andorra is a neighboring country, with a Spanish-influenced culture.
Papua New Guinea
This nation is a pair of large islands in southern Pacific waters, near Australia. New Zealand is smaller, yet better known.
OK, this one's from a television series. But "The Handmaid's Tale" has become so successful, we felt certain that people would recognize it as the theocratic nation situated somewhere in a future North America.
Lesotho is a rare case of a country completely surrounded by another, which is South Africa. Seriously, its border with the much larger nation is a circle.
Cabo Verde (or Cape Verde)
This one does sound fictional, doesn't it? Like "Nuevo Rico," the fictional South American country in the "Adventures of Tintin" stories.
Don't confuse this with the masculine name "Omar." Oman is a country on the Arabian Peninsula.
This one featured in "Batman Vs. Superman: Dawn of Justice." You'd find it in Africa, were it real.
Americans might think of Angola as the notorious prison in Louisiana. But it's also an African country with a strong Portuguese influence from its colonial days.
Republic of New Rearendia
This one was in "Cars 2." Appropriately, its capital is called "Wheeli."
We all like to think that we're not overly influenced by the movies. We can keep fact and fiction separate. But the truth is, fiction does impact our grasp on reality. In surveys, about 50 percent of respondents believe that Sherlock Holmes was a real person. (He was created by Arthur Conan Doyle).
How much has your understanding of geography been influenced by the movies? Screenwriters invent countries all the time, for several reasons. Sometimes they want to write about the peccadilloes of a royal family, without criticizing a real monarchy. Other times they want to play fast and loose with geography, putting waterfalls and deserts where none exist in a real nation. Or they want to criticize a real-world autocrat by creating a fictional one, and a fictional nation for him to rule. This is actually a fairly common method of social criticism -- Charlie Chaplin did it, for example, with "The Great Dictator."
Is Panem a real country? What about Gilead? Is there a real chain of islands called the Maldives on planet Earth? You might not find it so easy to sort out factual from fictional geography in our 35-question quiz. Settle in and challenge your wits now!
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