At the very end of Almost Famous comes the disclaimer:
"This motion picture is a work of fiction. The character 'Penny Lane' is loosely based on an actual person. Most of the other characters in the photoplay, and all events, are fictitious."
But, here's the deal. There's a major character named Lester Bangs. Lester was a real person, a preeminent rock-and-roll critic. And, as the film's writer, director and producer, Cameron Crowe, admits on his commentary track, many of the scenes involving William Miller, Crowe's alter-ego, and Bangs, really happened. He even speaks of filming scenes in the exact same locations in which the two characters spoke. So, clearly, those events are really fact.
Then, there are many scenes involving Rolling Stone staff personnel, especially Ben Fong-Torres (real person) and Jann Werner (real person). And Crowe admits on his commentary track that the discussions between these real people and his William Miller character actually happened.
Peter Frampton plays Reg, the real-life road manager of Humble Pie. And Reg is involved in a transaction in which groupies are traded for a case of beer. An event that, once again, Crowe admits that he actually witnessed in real life.
Then, there's the character of Russell Hammond, the guitarist of Stillwater. Now, this character tends to be a bit of a prick in the movie. He's the one who suggests trading the groupies for the beer. Plus, he plays many mean tricks on young William Miller, and, at one point, while on LSD, he stands on the top of a roof and yells that he's a "Golden God!"
Listening to the commentary track, Crowe states that Hammond is based on Glenn Frey of The Eagles, and on Gregg Allman of the Allman Brothers Band. As for the "Golden God" comment, that was actually said by Robert Plant of Led Zeppelin.
My point, and I'm not really sure that I have one, is: what's the point of the legal disclaimer when those involved admit that the events aren't fictitious, but that they actually occurred. Yes, I know, I'm a lawyer. I should know the answer to this question. But I don't. The legal disclaimer at the end of Almost Famous says that the only non-fictitious character is Penny Lane. But there are numerous real people actually portrayed in the movie, and a major character is based on three others. The disclaimers wrong. The creator of the film even admits to it. So, what's the point of it?
I love Almost Famous. It's one of my favorite movies. But this disclaimer thing is just bugging me. That's it. There's no other point. Thanks for reading.