Portrayal of History in Film

Discuss historical events and information concerning any culture, time, or location in our world (or even the frontier beyond).

Unread postby Morg » Sat Nov 08, 2003 1:25 pm

As has already been said, 'historical' films usually have elements of fiction added into them to meke them more dramatic and that has always been the way. While it is a slightly different issue, the book Romance of the Three Kingdoms introduced fiction into history to make it more interesting and that was over 600 years ago. If you go back and look at some of the early movies like anything about Colonel Custer, they completely changed what happened to make it patriotic and heroic as Custer's men running away and being killed by Indians with superior weaponry wouldn't have made as good a tale (as Sparkster pointed out). Most movies will not be 100% accurate as they have to entertain.

Blue Moon Samurai wrote:I agree, the directors do bend alittle bit of history in order to entertain the audience, but do you think that there could be a posibility that they may bend history in order to keep things secret? Lets take Black Hawk Down fro example, what that may have heppened in the movie, may not have heppened in reality, there had to be more than that, there had to be more losses, more heroic effects, maybe its just me thinking. :roll:

Yes and no. The 2 Delta Force snipers who repeatedly requested to be put on the ground to defend the downed chopper were incredibly heroic and the account of that scene is far more dramatic and heroic than the film portrayed. However, the movie was fairly accurate although some characters had to be combined as there was no way the movie could follow over 100 people. There were certain events left out but those were left out of the initial reports to spare the feelings of the families of those who died. The Somalian militias were very...barbaric and what they did to those who opposed them was...unpleasant to say the least. If you want to read about what actually happened I suggest picking up the book written by the pilot of the second Black Hawk, I think it is called 'In the Company of Heroes'.


English_Druid wrote:Saving Private Ryan was probably the first movie to show the horrors of war, that there are no winners, and that there are no goodies or baddies.

In the 80s movies that showed the horrors of war started being made, specifically about Vietnam, like Platoon, Hamburger Hill, Casualties of War, Good Morning Vietnam and Full Metal Jacket. The thing that was unique about Saving Private Ryan was that it was the first film to show the horrors of WW2 as people still thought of it as being a noble and heroic war.
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Re: Eh?

Unread postby Ranbir » Tue Jan 06, 2004 10:20 pm

Seven at One Stroke wrote:Seems to me the guidance post doesn't really conform to the title and the other posts that followed. (maybe History in Films is a better title?)

I have a question. Why exactly would a director/screenwriter, etc., decide to portray certain aspects of history not accurate? Example: Gladiator

A director/screenwriter has a vision, a job, and money to make. If I want to tell a story I want to tell it the way I see it, nor do I want my creativity shackled by something as trivial as historcial accuracies. Shakespeare didn't stick to historical accuracies either. If people want to know about history, they should read a history book. Movies are meant to entertain.


I think Gladiator was a high budget remake of the film "The fall of the Roman Empire" Of course the basic plot is different, but some historical characters are in both. I'm not sure how true the latter film is to true history, but I'll look into it in more detail.
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Unread postby Gaara of the Desert » Sat Jan 31, 2004 12:58 pm

I don't mind history being tweaked etc if they say "based on a true story", not all events will be accurate etc. But when you get characters who saved lives being made out as villains (sp?) and 10 year old girls turning into buxom young women i think there is something seriously wrong.
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Unread postby Ranbir » Sat Jan 31, 2004 1:12 pm

FerraraFunBunny wrote:I don't mind history being tweaked etc if they say "based on a true story", not all events will be accurate etc. But when you get characters who saved lives being made out as villains (sp?) and 10 year old girls turning into buxom young women i think there is something seriously wrong.


Is that regarding any film in particular?
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Unread postby Da_Chicago_Jigalo » Sun Feb 29, 2004 8:19 am

Hmmm...I would have to say that one movie "Russia Land of the Tsars".

That movie was cool.

But if we are talking like real hollywood stuff a good one would be "The Patriot". They had a cool war.
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Re: Eh?

Unread postby Jiang Zhi » Sun Feb 29, 2004 5:57 pm

Hidden Ranbir wrote:
Seven at One Stroke wrote:Seems to me the guidance post doesn't really conform to the title and the other posts that followed. (maybe History in Films is a better title?)

I have a question. Why exactly would a director/screenwriter, etc., decide to portray certain aspects of history not accurate? Example: Gladiator

A director/screenwriter has a vision, a job, and money to make. If I want to tell a story I want to tell it the way I see it, nor do I want my creativity shackled by something as trivial as historcial accuracies. Shakespeare didn't stick to historical accuracies either. If people want to know about history, they should read a history book. Movies are meant to entertain.


I think Gladiator was a high budget remake of the film "The fall of the Roman Empire" Of course the basic plot is different, but some historical characters are in both. I'm not sure how true the latter film is to true history, but I'll look into it in more detail.


It is much more exciting to watch Maximus kill off Commodus in an epic arena battle than Commodus living on to be later strangled by an athlete in a public bath which is off the storyline =P It's just to appeal to the audience

I'd have to say though, the Romans should have just THROW THEIR DAMN JAVALINS!!!

...................................

My comments on Master and Commander.....

Why in the hell would a French Frigate be sailing the Atlantic and Pacific at the time of the War of 1812? The Royal Navy would have long got it before it even passed:
- Gibraltar if the ship was from Toulon
- Both Brest and Bordeux were blockaded
- Cadiz was also blockaded
- The French and Spanish lost their naval power after the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805

In the book, the original storyline was the American frigate USS Norfolk. I say, if you base a movie from a book, either do the movie right or if you're going to appeal to the American audience saying "Americans are always the Good Guys and never the Bad Guys", don't do the movie altogether!

There are too many instances where it strayed far from historical accuracy:
- Insubordination by subordinate officers/crew members - biggest example is that the Doctor and that kid Midshipman disobeyed a direct order from the captain and also boarded the ship in the battle
- The french frigate was built by Americans.....okay, every historian know the FRANCE built the best ships during the 1800s and the British would capture every one they get a hold on...why would the French even buy a ship built in America? Their designs are streamline and one of the fastest ever built at the time!
- If the War of 1812 is fought between England and Americans (yeah, the Napoleonic War is still going on but it was on land in Europe.....isn't Napoleon in exhile then?)......why the hell would they be fighting a French in a setting that is better for an English vs American engagement?
- A crewmember said he attended a wedding in Boston and bought a boat there......problem - they have no telephones back then. It would take months for a wedding invatation to get from America to England then, and would take at least 3 weeks to a month of travelling time to America...besides, if you send an RSVP, it would take another set of months back.....also, being a navy crewman, where the hell would you get the money to travel so much? Wouldn't you have been an officer if you have the cash?

I'll stop my ranting =p well, here it is, the inaccurate Master and Commander: the Far Side of the World.........if you want a more accurate portrayal of the Royal Navy.....watch Horatio Hornblower! At least they match the time period and such and makes much more sense.......
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Unread postby Stedfel » Sun Feb 29, 2004 9:45 pm

Some innacuracies make movies much more interesting. Others, on the other hand, just mess with history so much it is like they are just making a movie off the top of their head.
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Unread postby Jiang Zhi » Tue Mar 02, 2004 3:49 am

Tsailiao wrote:Some innacuracies make movies much more interesting. Others, on the other hand, just mess with history so much it is like they are just making a movie off the top of their head.


Mess with History = U-571 (is that the number?)

The British cracked the Enigma code long before the Americans even went to war!
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Unread postby Mike » Mon Mar 22, 2004 5:16 am

We need to make more realistic historical movies ->Pearl Harbour, U-571, and Saving Private Ryan were too action based and they left out important parts of history. In Pearl Harbour, they exagerrated the attack on Tokyo at the end as it was not that important in history, but still I love watching Mitsubishi Zeros peppering people with bullets.
Last edited by Mike on Tue Mar 30, 2004 5:23 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby SesshomaruTenseiga » Sun Mar 28, 2004 6:13 am

Hua Tuo wrote:We need to make more realistic historical movies ->Pearl Harbour, U-571, and Saving Private Ryan were too action based and they left out important parts of history.


I heard Pearl Harbor was horrible historically, but as a movie, I loved it. It kinda showed me how my grandparents lived, and fell in love with the time period.
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