It’s always a good idea to brush up on your general knowledge. You can have a specialist topic like history or literature or music, but you need to have at least some rudimentary knowledge across the board. You can’t just stay in your comfortable niche forever. This isn’t just in case you’re watching a game show with your friends and you want to look smart by shouting out all the answers, or in case the other couples want to play Trivial Pursuit on game night, or even in case you go on a game show as a contestant yourself – it all contributes to your overall intelligence. If you know a lot about movies, you’re a cinephile. If you know a lot about geography, then you’re someone who knows about geography. But if you know a little bit about history, geography, science, TV, movies, literature, art, music, and sports, guess what that makes you: one smart cookie. So, it’ll never be a bad idea to test your general knowledge. So, without further ado, give it a go. Can you ace this basic trivia quiz and answer all the questions from all the different categories of general knowledge? Take it to find out!
1Who directed Star Wars?
Star Wars – later retitled Star Wars Episode IV: A New Hope to fit in with the extended canon – was a cultural phenomenon back in the May of 1977. As a matter of fact, that phenomenon continues to this very day. But it all started with this one, that was a critical hit, Oscar nominee, and by far, the highest grossing movie of all time (at the time). But the studio initially had no faith in the plucky young director behind it. Who was he?
2What year did World War I begin?
Back when World War I was taking place, they didn’t call it World War I, or the First World War. It was simply the Great War, because they didn’t anticipate a worldwide conflict of that scale taking place ever again. Of course, those people were eating their words a couple of decades later when World War II hit. That numbering dynamic now leaves us open to World Wars III, IV, V, VI, VII, however many there are. But what year did World War I begin?
3What number did the Chicago Bulls retire in honor of Michael Jordan?
Michael Jordan is remembered by the world of sports as the greatest basketball player to ever step foot on a court. He was known for his jersey number, which conjures up an image in the minds of sports fans of Jordan soaring through the air and slamming a ball through the hoop. The number isn’t used anymore by his old team, the Chicago Bulls, to honor his legacy. Jordan is also a legend of the silver screen, as he starred in Space Jam alongside all the characters from Looney Tunes and Wayne Knight. Will Smith is currently producing a biopic about Jordan. What number did the Chicago Bulls retire from use in honor of his legacy?
4Which planet in our solar system has the most moons?
Everyone at NASA is probably waiting for the moment when one of them can look at a big spherical object in outer space and say, “That’s no moon, that’s a space station.” But would it be worth it, really, if that space station was capable of blowing up our whole planet. Either way, they’ve found plenty of moons over the years, and that’s just in the Milky Way alone. We just have the one moon here on Earth (with the very creative name, the Moon), but other planets in our Solar System have a ton of moons. Which planet has the most?
5What HBO drama revolves around a funeral home?
This HBO drama series was created by Alan Ball, the man who gave us the fiercely powerful Oscar winning movie American Beauty. That movie, of course, is ruined now, since it was discovered that its star, Kevin Spacey, is a sexual predator. But anyway, Alan Ball’s script for it was great, and the same goes for this great HBO drama about the Fishers, a dysfunctional family who run their own funeral home. It’s a morbid, surreal, wonderfully dark series. Which one is it?
6What is the capital city of Iran?
The capital city of Iran has a population of around 8.8 million people in the city and 15 million people in its larger metropolitan area. It was the place where Tony Mendez went undercover as a location scout for a science fiction movie in the 1980s in order to rescue the hostages being kept in the embassy. This extraordinary true story was the basis for the Ben Affleck movie Argo, which went on to win the Academy Award for Best Picture a few years ago. The city is in the North of Iran and it’s the home of the central Golestan Palace complex. What city is it?
7What year was John Lennon killed?
John Lennon’s contribution to the world of music knows no bounds. The Beatles have influenced every single rock band of the last half a century and they were only around for about four years. The breakup of the band allowed Lennon to get into more experimental territory with his solo music and he became essentially the king of the hippies. But unfortunately, all good things must come to an end, and it seems that anyone who expresses an opinion and is popular invites in a raft of assassins. What year was John Lennon murdered in New York City?
8Which of these is the world’s longest river?
This river is the largest river by discharge volume of water in the world, and there’s a humungous tech company that avoids paying taxes named after it. The basin of the river is 2,722,000 square miles in size, and it runs through three different countries. In addition to being the largest, this river is also the eighth oldest river on Earth at the age of 200 million years old. Its mouth is in the Atlantic Ocean. What river is it?
9Which NFL player was accused of murdering his ex-wife and her friend?
In one of the biggest news stories that gripped the nation throughout the 1990s, an African American NFL player was accused of murdering his ex-wife and her friend. There were a lot of strong angles: black people saw it as racism by the police, white people saw it as a rich celebrity literally getting away with murder, and women saw it as a man getting away with violence against women yet again. The first season of Ryan Murphy’s FX anthology drama series American Crime Story told this story in gripping fashion. What football player was it?
10What is the highest grossing movie of all time?
This James Cameron science fiction adventure movie is still the highest grossing movie of all time, even after almost a decade has passed by and Star Wars, Jurassic World, James Bond, and The Avengers have all joined the silver screen. It grossed $2.788 billion worldwide. If you adjust all the finances for inflation, you’ll find that it isn’t really the highest grossing movie of all time – Gone with the Wind is. But with the economy as it is today, this is the highest grossing movie ever made. What is it?
11Who was the first woman to win a Nobel Prize?
The first woman to win a Nobel Prize was also the first person and only woman to win twice, as well as the only person to win a Nobel Prize in two different sciences. She’s known for her revolutionary research in the field of radioactivity. She is now the namesake of a charity that is dedicated to providing care and support for people living with any terminal illness, so even from beyond the grave, she’s making the world a better place. Who is she?
12Who wrote Ulysses?
Ulysses was written by a legendary and acclaimed Irish writer who was one of the pioneers, along with the likes of Virginia Woolf, of the stream of consciousness style of writing (read: babbling, meandering, rambling crap). It was initially published as a serial in parts in the American journal The Little Review between 1918 and 1920, because on its own, as a bulk piece, it is gargantuan. It was written by the guy who wrote Dubliners and A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man. What author is it?
13Which of these is NOT a leader of the Soviet Union?
The great Winston Churchill said, “Socialism is a philosophy of failure, the creed of ignorance, and the gospel of envy, its inherent virtue is the equal sharing of misery.” The Soviet Union, known by its full name as the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (or USSR), was at the center of the Cold War against the United States. It had many leaders before it was brought down a couple of decades ago. Which of these is NOT one of them?
14What did Istanbul used to be called?
Before we had the city that we know today as Istanbul, it was founded in 330 AD as the capital city of the Byzantine Empire. The Four Lads wrote a song about the name change: “Istanbul was ______ / Now it’s Istanbul, not ______ / Been a long time gone, oh ______ / Now it’s Turkish delight on a moonlit night.” It’s one of that catchiest songs ever. Istanbul was the setting for Taken 2 – but what was it called when it was the capital of the Byzantine Empire?
15Who did Muhammad Ali fight in the Rumble in the Jungle?
The Rumble in the Jungle was a landmark boxing event that took place in Kinshasa, Zaire (which is now known as the Democratic Republic of the Congo) on October 30, 1974 at 4 o’clock in the morning and was held at the 20th of May Stadium (now called the Stade Tata Raphaël). It pitted Muhammad Ali against the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world, and Ali ended up winning by knockout in the eighth round. Who was his previously undefeated opponent?
16What is the bestselling album of all time?
With estimated sales of 66 million copies, this pop album became the bestselling musical album of all time within a year. It remains the bestselling album ever made even to this day, and makes up like three quarters of its artists entire album sales. The album was famous for breaking racial barriers in pop music, and it led to the artist meeting then President Ronald Reagan at the White House. The artist has tragically died now, but the music lives on. What album is it?
17Which of these is NOT a Shakespeare play?
History disputes a lot of what we know about William Shakespeare, the playwright who has been deified and romanticized beyond belief. A lot of conspiracy theorists believe that there was never a man who ever existed named William Shakespeare and that he’s a fictional character created by a collective of other contemporary playwrights who created all of his works under the William Shakespeare name. Anyway, his name is on them now, so which of these is NOT a Shakespeare play?
18Complete the Winston Churchill quote: “History will be kind to me for I intend to...”
Winston Churchill was the British Prime Minister throughout most of the Second World War, and he is remembered as being the greatest one. He is certainly the most quotable of all the Prime Ministers of Great Britain throughout history. It seems like he spent all the five years he was in office sitting around and writing soundbites to tell the press. Famous quotes are, after all, the best way to identify an iconic politician. Complete the Winston Churchill quote: “History will be kind to me for I intend to...”
19What is the hardest known naturally occurring substance?
The hardest known naturally occurring material is a mineral produced from the element of carbon. You’ll find this material is almost every engagement ring that wasn’t purchased by a cheapskate. They are forever, according to the title of a Sean Connery James Bond movie, and Rihanna sang about how they’re beautiful in the sky and they shine brightly. In fact, even the Beatles sang about a girl named Lucy being in the sky with this material. What material is it?
20Which of these is NOT a Rolling Stones song?
The Rolling Stones, the classic rock ‘n’ roll band made up of Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts, and Ronnie Wood, are one of the greatest musical artists of all time. They’re also one of the highest selling artists in the world, with sky high record sales in excess of 250 million units. They’ve been inducted into both the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the UK Music Hall of Fame. They’ve had many great hit songs over the years. Which of these is NOT one of them?
21What process do plants use to turn light into energy?
Plants and some forms of bacteria undergo a process by which they use the energy from the Sun’s rays to produce glucose from carbon dioxide and water. This glucose is then converted into pyruvate, which releases adenosine triphosphate by cellular respiration. Oxygen is also formed. The name of this process is one of the very few things that regular people are able to remember from science lessons. So, which of these scientific processes is the one that plants use to turn light into energy?
22Which country’s flag is this?
The flag of this Asian country looks like a red sun, which is therefore what earned the country its nickname in the western world, the Land of the Rising Sun. The country’s Emperor is named Akihito and its Prime Minister is Shinzō Abe, while its Deputy Prime Minister is called Tarō A. The country’s National Foundation Day, the day that it was officially founded, is February 11, 660 BCE. This flag is one of the world’s most iconic. What is it?
23Which gentleman spy has been played by Sean Connery, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig?
The British gentleman spy character is a 00 agent in the MI6 and also a Commander in the British Royal Navy. He’s been played by a total of six actors – Sean Connery, George Lazenby, Roger Moore, Timothy Dalton, Pierce Brosnan, and Daniel Craig – across 26 feature films, each more successful than the last (give or take), and there’s more on the way. For years, it’s been one of the highest grossing movie franchises of all time. What is the character’s name?
24Which of these is NOT an Ernest Hemingway novel?
Ernest Hemingway is hailed as one of the greatest American writers who ever lived. Sadly, he’s also one of the ones that ended his own life. But he left behind some of the finest literature ever written. He based his stories on his own experiences – on when he drove an ambulance in the First World War or worked as a journalist during the Spanish Civil War. He’s a winner of both the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction and the Nobel Prize in Literature. Which of these is NOT one of his novels?
25Which singer also goes by the name Sasha Fierce?
There’s a really great singer who is married to Jay Z and just had twins (her second and third children overall). She has an alter ego that she embodies when she’s on stage called Sasha Fierce, who is more aggressive than her usual self. Sasha Fierce has a more feminist bent, with songs like If I Were a Boy and Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) showing the stark contrast between Sasha Fierce and her original incarnation. Which singer is it?
26Which US President was assassinated in 1963?
In 1963 at a rally in Dallas, Texas, the President of the United States had his brains blown out all over his motorcade. He was sitting right next to his wife and was surrounded by supporters. The assassination has become a conspiracy theorist’s dream as they suspect that the CIA had this President murdered to avoid his affair with Marilyn Monroe from getting out into the public – oh, the theorists say they killed her, too. So, which President was it?
27Which US state has the postal code abbreviation AR?
Every state in the US has its own abbreviation down to two letters, mainly used for the postal codes of each state. These were all appointed by the United States Postal Service to help them to process mail with optical character recognition and other automated equipment. They’ve been chosen so that they don’t overlap with the 13 Canadian sub national postal abbreviations – this meant that the one for Nebraska had to change in 1969. Which state’s abbreviation is AR?
28Which Hollywood A-lister got his start on ER?
There’s an actor who played the role of Dr. Doug Ross in the medical soap opera ER on NBC and he has since gone on to become one of the biggest movie stars in Hollywood. He’s starred in such a diverse range of movies as Up in the Air, From Dusk Till Dawn, Three Kings, The Ides of March, Ocean’s Eleven, and Confessions of a Dangerous Mind. He even once played Batman (except the movie was God awful). But which actor is it?
29Who is the most decorated Olympian of all time?
The Olympic Games are where athletes have their abilities tested. You’re not a truly great athlete unless you qualify for the Olympics and compete. And as long as you’re going to compete, you need to win some medals. The most decorated Olympian of all time has got ten medals on the second most decorated. He’s got 28 – 23 gold, 3 silver, and 2 bronze – and she’s only got 18. So, who is the most decorated Olympic athlete of all time?
30Which fast food company is famous for its “Golden Arches” logo?
This fast food chain is the world’s largest restaurant chain with more than 34,000 restaurants across the globe and employs more than 1.8 million people. In the UK alone, they have 1,200 restaurants that serve approximately three million people every day, employing 97,000 people and investing an annual £40 million into the training and development of staff. They also support agriculture by sourcing 55% of their ingredients from local farms. Their famous logo is called “the Golden Arches.” What chain is it?
31Who painted soup cans and Marilyn Monroe?
This pop artist, who worked out of an art studio that he called “The Factory,” is known for some famous paintings, as well as some highly regarded experimental films and the term “15 minutes of fame,” which he is credited with coining. He was one of the first celebrities to be openly gay, and he died in 1987 at the age of 58. So, which pop artist is famous for his silkscreen paintings of Campbell’s soup cans and Marilyn Monroe?
32What is the name of the volcano that destroyed Pompeii?
If any of you took Latin class in high school or college, then you’ll know all about the destruction of Pompeii. It’s also front and center in the curriculum of ancient history classes. The entire city was wiped out and left as nothing but a pile of ash. All the people, the buildings, the revolutionary inventions and writings, the entire civilization, reduced to a big, dusty char on the face of the Earth. What is the name of the volcano that destroyed it?
33Who “single-handedly crushed Hitler’s myth of Aryan supremacy” at the 1936 Berlin Olympics?
This athlete is remembered as “perhaps the greatest and most famous athlete in track and field history,” and he’s also a huge figure in African American history. At this point in history, Adolf Hitler was in the middle of his so called “ethnic cleansing” of the world, where he hoped to get rid of everyone who wasn’t of Aryan descent. He was made to look like a fool when a black man came to his country and beat out his white athletes. Which athlete was it?
34What band features Vince Neil and Nikki Sixx?
This band is one of the greatest rock outfits of all time, with Vince Neil on vocals, Nikki Sixx on bass, Mick Mars on lead guitar, and Tommy Lee on the drums. They helped to usher in the glam metal phase of rock history throughout the 1970s and 1980s. They had many huge hits, like “Home Sweet Home,” “Kickstart My Heart,” “Dr. Feelgood,” and “Come On and Dance.” Their story is being turned into a movie called Dirt by Netflix. What band is it?
35What is believed to be at the center of the Milky Way?
The Milky Way galaxy is the one that our solar system – Earth, Venus, the Sun, Mars, Jupiter and all of its moons, Pluto etc. – is in. A while back, the Hubble Space Telescope captured a photograph of the relativistic jet of Messier 87 that’s about 4,400 lightyears in length and is the matter that’s being ejected by the thing that is popularly believed to be bang in the center of the Milky Way galaxy. But what is it the thing?