The Cast of the Manson Family Movie Looks Just Like the People They Play in the Movie

Hollywood is sprinkled with movie stars and awash in sunshine, but that hasn’t always been the case. Fifty years ago this August, when old Hollywood was in the process of getting a flower-child-facelift, followers of Charles Manson carried out a gruesome attack on actress Sharon Tate and her four friends. Now, acclaimed director Quentin Tarantino is capturing the highs and the lows of the summer of 1969 with his upcoming movie Once Upon a Time in Hollywood. And although it’s not entirely based in fact, the stars involved couldn’t look more like the people they’re portraying if they tried. From Margot Robbie as Sharon Tate to Leonardo DiCaprio as a character based on Burt Reynolds, here are the most striking look-alikes from the cast.

sharon tate and margot robbie side by side
Alison Buck/Getty Images

Margot Robbie As Sharon Tate

Robbie portrays Sharon Tate, the beautiful actress who was married to director Roman Polanski. Just as her career and family life (she was pregnant) were taking off, Tate and her four friends were brutally murdered in her Beverly Hills home on August 9, 1969. With the right styling and makeup, Robbie will be the spitting image of her.

rafal zawierucha and roman polanski
MICHAL CIZEK/ P. Floyd/Getty Images

Rafal Zawierucha As Roman Polanski

Polish actor Zawierucha will portray Polish director Roman Polanski, who was married to Tate from January 20, 1968, until her death. Though Polanski remains a complicated figure in the public eye, the resemblance seems pretty straightforward.

leonardo dicaprio and burt reynolds side by side
Gabe Ginsberg/Silver Screen Collection/Getty

Leonardo Dicaprio As Rick Dalton (based On Burt Reynolds)

DiCaprio plays Rick Dalton, an actor who starred in the western TV series Bounty Law from 1958 to 1963 and is having difficulty finding his footing in the new era of Hollywood. By 1969, when this movie takes place, he’s struggling, considering moving to Italy to star in Spaghetti Westerns and is living next door to Sharon Tate. Rick is based on late actor Burt Reynolds, and as you can see, the resemblance between DiCaprio and young Reynolds is striking.

brad pit and hal needham
PG/Bauer-Griffin/Bertrand LAFORET/Getty Images

Brad Pitt As Cliff Booth (based On Reynold’s Stunt Man, Hal Needham)

Pitt plays Rick’s (aka Reynolds) longtime stuntman, Cliff Booth, who’s based on stuntman and director Hal Needham. It’s all in the cheekbones and careful hairstyling with these two.

damon herriman and charles manson
Jean Baptiste Lacroix/Bettmann/Getty Images

Damon Herriman As Charles Manson

Throw a beard and some long hair on Australian actor Damon Herriman and he looks just like the mad man cult leader who orchestrated the Tate murders.

dakota fanning and lynette squeaky fromme
Tommaso Boddi/Bettmann/Getty Images

Dakota Fanning As Lynette ‘squeaky’ Fromme

Speaking of his followers, Fanning plays Manson girl Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme. She wasn’t directly involved in the murders, but she did attend the Manson trials and eventually went on to attempt to assassinate President Gerald Ford.

austin butler and charles tex watson
Tibrina Hobson/Bettmannn/Getty Images

Austin Butler As Tex Watson

Butler looks eerily similar to the Manson family member who led his fellow cult members in the murders at Cielo Drive and remains in prison to this day.

emile hirsch and jay sebring
Michael Tran/Bettmann/Getty Images

Emile Hirsch As Jay Sebring

Before Tate married Polanski, she dated celebrity hairstylist Jay Sebring. After their breakup in 1966, they remained friends. So much so that on the night of murders, Sebring and three other friends of Tate’s slept over at her home and sadly became victims themselves.

damian lewis and steve mcqueen
Vera Anderson/Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Damian Lewis As Steve Mcqueen

We all know Steve McQueen, but the way he fits into this story is more tangential. As McQueen told it, he was invited to Tate’s house for a dinner party the night of the murders. In probably the best decision of his life, he ultimately chose not to attend. We never thought Lewis looked like McQueen until now.

luke perry and wayne maunder
Dominik Bindl/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Luke Perry As Wayne Maunder

Before his untimely death, Perry played Wayne Maunder, a real-life actor who co-starred on the Western TV show Lancer.

Once Upon a Time in Hollywood hits theaters July 26.

Want to know more about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood?

Lex Goodman

Cat mom, yogi, brunch enthusiast

Lex is an LA native who's deeply obsessed with picnics, Slim Aarons, rosé, Hollywood history and Joan Didion. She joined PureWow in early 2017.
read full bio