Hollywood Distorting History?

Vladd67

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The most annoying thing about the inaccuracies in Braveheart was the way the SNP used it as blatant propaganda having recruiting stands outside some showings. But then the Gibson school of history is always a little free with the facts when it comes to the most evil force in history the English.
 

paranoid marvin

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Are there any movies (outside of WWII films) were the English are seen as the good guys. Even (probably) our most famous export James Bond is a womanising alcoholic gambler!

For all it's inaccuracies, Braveheart does have some great baddies, and Patrick McGoohan was awesome as Longshanks. The battle scenes were some of the most brutalistic and (probably) realistic depictations of a medieval period.

Shockingly inaccurate in many other respects though, and (quite unfairly) it shows Wallace as the hero when in reality the one who freed the Scots was Robert the Bruce.
 

BAYLOR

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Are there any movies (outside of WWII films) were the English are seen as the good guys. Even (probably) our most famous export James Bond is a womanising alcoholic gambler!

For all it's inaccuracies, Braveheart does have some great baddies, and Patrick McGoohan was awesome as Longshanks. The battle scenes were some of the most brutalistic and (probably) realistic depictations of a medieval period.

Shockingly inaccurate in many other respects though, and (quite unfairly) it shows Wallace as the hero when in reality the one who freed the Scots was Robert the Bruce.


Longshank's son Edward as portrayed in that film was not even close to reality.
 

Foxbat

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Braveheart = Porridge Western

James Bond (according to Ian Fleming) was half Scottish, half Swiss.
 

BAYLOR

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Wait so you're saying Braveheart wasn't a documentary?
Next you'll be telling me Star Wars didn't really take place a long time ago in a galaxy far, far, away.

Star wars make believe ? That's Rubbish .:mad: There are pictographs in un-named parts of the world that proves it was all real.:D

Sorry, im being silly.:)
 
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BigBadBob141

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Hollywood getting history wrong, hmmm do you mean Robin Hood Prince of Thieves didn't have a telescope and gun powder?
Hollywood has been getting history wrong for the last century, so no surprises there!
P.S. The bit where armoured knights are seated on their chargers using a crane is also made up, so is a ships captain having the right to marry people!
 

Vladd67

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P.S. The bit where armoured knights are seated on their chargers using a crane is also made up, so is a ships captain having the right to marry people!
As a shipboard marriage has major ramifications in Tai Pan I was disappointed in James Clavell's research there.
 

BAYLOR

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Hollywood getting history wrong, hmmm do you mean Robin Hood Prince of Thieves didn't have a telescope and gun powder?
Hollywood has been getting history wrong for the last century, so no surprises there!
P.S. The bit where armoured knights are seated on their chargers using a crane is also made up, so is a ships captain having the right to marry people!


Seeing that Robin Hood is set in the 12th century, it be a little too a little too early for gunpowder which , didn't came into use in England until about the mid 13th century and telescopes didn't start to show in in England till about the 14th Century . Kevin Costner as Robin Hood was a very poor choice because he just wasn't believable in that role. The filmmaker should have cast Kevin Branagh in that role.
 

alexvss

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In Men of Honor (2000), a movie about the first black master diver in the American navy, all but one of the aspirants leave the dormitory, refusing to sleep under the same roof as the black man. In the movie, the guy that remains--and becomes friends with the protagonist--is American, but in real life, it was a Brazilian.

It's an American movie, so it's only natural that they would praise Americans, as it has been discussed thorougly in this thread.
 

Parson

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Sigh! I don't think the problem really lies with the movie or TV drama makers. The problem lies in the viewers. If something is a work of fiction, than there is nothing guaranteed to be true, even in "documentaries." A TV documentary entitled A Thousand Heroes: The Rescue of Flight 232 is an example. This event occurred in Sioux City, Iowa, a small city close to me, where a passenger jet crash landed and an amazing amount of passengers were rescued in part because of the incredible skill of the pilot and because of the incredible amount of EMTs (emergency medical technician) who were on the ground ready to spring into action when the plane crashed. The documentary features a lot of carping back and forth between the EMTs from all the little towns around here about who should do what and the officials at the Sioux City airport. While the truth is, there was none of that. A lot of little towns able to get to the airport left immediately upon hearing the call. They dropped everything and "flew" to Sioux City to help. No Questions asked. They were all wanting to do "whatever we can to help." But having the carping was added for dramatic effect. --- And yes, there were something like 1000 EMTs (including ambulance crews) waiting to help. I doubt a major metro area could have done as well. But the documentary left a sour taste in a lot of small town volunteer ambulance services.
 

CupofJoe

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At best a film may get me interested in a historical period but no more. Recently Ironclad [2011] got me interested in the siege of Rochester Castle and the general period that is rarely taught as part of English history. But I never assumed that it was historically accurate.
 

paranoid marvin

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At best a film may get me interested in a historical period but no more. Recently Ironclad [2011] got me interested in the siege of Rochester Castle and the general period that is rarely taught as part of English history. But I never assumed that it was historically accurate.


Rochester is a very interesting castle , and it's siege quite an interesting one. Definitely worth a visit if you're passing.
 

paranoid marvin

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Seeing that Robin Hood is set in the 12th century, it be a little too a little too early for gunpowder which , didn't came into use in England until about the mid 13th century and telescopes didn't start to show in in England till about the 14th Century . Kevin Costner as Robin Hood was a very poor choice because he just wasn't believable in that role. The filmmaker should have cast Kevin Branagh in that role.


Or the chap who played Robin in 'Men in Tights'. Interestingly there was a second Robin Hood film that came out at almost the same time as Prince of Thieves with Patrick Bergin - a much more down to earth movie. But then again it doesn't have Alan Rickman, and he is the absolute star of the show.
 

sknox

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I agree that films get this or that fact wrong. We can also disagree about emphasis or perspective or interpretation. But the basic proposition that movies get history wrong carries the implication that there is a "right" version of history out there somewhere.

History is a discipline. It is, as Herodotus said, an "inquiry". What most people mean when they use the word is really "the past." All of everything that has ever happened anywhere. The past is the raw material of the historian.

So, do movies get the past right? Given that eye witnesses can't even agree on present events, the notion that there is a "correct" version of the past that is accessible to us is pretty tenuous.

Zippers on medieval dresses? OK, that's factually wrong, but neither is it significant. That goofy mask in The Kingdom of Heaven? Obviously mere artistic license, not likely to be exactly "correct." How about King Richard and the Crusaders? (1954). Just plain silly.

Then there are movies that take liberties with the past but get to a truth anyway. I'm thinking of something like Donnie Brasco. The range of art, plus the range of the historian, results is such a wide field I'm not sure any generalization is going to hold up for long.

For myself, I ask of movies the same thing I ask of books: tell me a good story. Go ahead and take liberties, but I reserve the right to storm out when your 1924 thieves make their escape in a Ford Mustang.
 

Parson

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For myself, I ask of movies the same thing I ask of books: tell me a good story. Go ahead and take liberties, but I reserve the right to storm out when your 1924 thieves make their escape in a Ford Mustang.

I completely agree with this, but the bone I pick is that there are so many people who believe it's just like the movie. i.e. For a long time people thought that Moses must have looked like Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments.

I'm not sure that movies have an obligation to get the history at least mostly right. But the old History Teacher in me cringes at some of the glaring historical license that is taken in supposedly historical movies, which the uneducated masses take as gospel.
 

sknox

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>...the bone I pick is that there are so many people who believe it's just like the movie...
A movie, like an idea, is not responsible for the people who believe in it.

Where I object is when the makers of the movie (or book, or any other work of art) start making claims of historicity and then fail. Braveheart falls into that category, among its other failings. Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code was reprehensible but he continued to claim he'd done good research. By contrast, Umberto Eco took any number of liberties, but he generally stays true to both time and place in The Name of the Rose.

That last is a good example of another aspect of this. The details in that book were so specific, down to the conflict within the Franciscans at the time, that the author didn't need to claim any sort of historical accuracy. The book itself stakes the claim with its specificity. Many other books play fast and loose with the past and it's obvious they're doing it and we're invited along for the story ride, not a history tour. With movies one can look at Troy or the even sillier 300 as examples. If a viewer takes either at face value, well they get what they've invested. Hope they didn't pay too much for the popcorn.
 

Vladd67

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>...the bone I pick is that there are so many people who believe it's just like the movie...
A movie, like an idea, is not responsible for the people who believe in it.

Where I object is when the makers of the movie (or book, or any other work of art) start making claims of historicity and then fail. Braveheart falls into that category, among its other failings. Dan Brown's Da Vinci Code was reprehensible but he continued to claim he'd done good research. By contrast, Umberto Eco took any number of liberties, but he generally stays true to both time and place in The Name of the Rose.

That last is a good example of another aspect of this. The details in that book were so specific, down to the conflict within the Franciscans at the time, that the author didn't need to claim any sort of historical accuracy. The book itself stakes the claim with its specificity. Many other books play fast and loose with the past and it's obvious they're doing it and we're invited along for the story ride, not a history tour. With movies one can look at Troy or the even sillier 300 as examples. If a viewer takes either at face value, well they get what they've invested. Hope they didn't pay too much for the popcorn.
Dan Brown's research seemed to consist of reading Holy Blood Holy Grail, and he didn't actually say it was historically true but that all the conspiracies were genuine, and they were indeed already existing conspiracy theories. In fact, his book was so close to Holy Blood Holy Grail the authors tried to sue him for plagiarism but lost.
 

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