Karl Friedrich Hieronymus, Baron von Münchhausen (May 11, 1720 - February 22, 1797) was a German nobleman who served in the Russian army against the Turks, and supposedly told a number of outrageous tall tales about his adventures.
These stories were collected and published, in English, in 1785, by Rudolf Erich Raspe: The Surprising Adventures Of Baron Munchausen. However, much of the humorous material in them is borrowed from other sources. Indeed, the Baron himself was not notable for immodesty within his profession and relative to his accomplishments, and Raspe's publication rather damaged his reputation.
According to the stories, the Baron's astounding abilities included riding cannonballs, travelling to the moon, and pulling himself from the ocean by his own bootstraps.
In 1943 Raspe's book was adapted into a German language film Münchhausen directed by Josef von Báky. Terry Gilliam adapted the stories into the 1988 film The Adventures of Baron Munchausen. Baron Munchhausen's adventures have also been published in Russia, where they are quite commonly known.