Portrayal of History in Film

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

Portrayal of History in Film

Unread postby Tianshan Zi » Thu Sep 25, 2003 7:47 pm

"Historical" films (ie. Gladiator, The Emperor and the Assassin, Saving Private Ryan, etc.) should be discussed here.
Last edited by Tianshan Zi on Mon Sep 17, 2007 8:04 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Unread postby Shi Jing Xu » Fri Oct 10, 2003 12:51 am

I have a question. Why exactly would a director/screenwriter, etc., decide to portray certain aspects of history not accurate? Example: Gladiator
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Unread postby Rurouni Kenshin » Fri Oct 10, 2003 1:10 am

I would say that movies were depicted inaccurately in history, then it would have to be for Entertainment. People love to stretch the truth and make things fake enough in history to make it 'cool.'

With movies like Gladiator, I know there were some awesome gladiators whom probably everyone could name, but do you want a movie about a cliched person? I'm not sure what other people think, but I wouldn't want to see the same famous gladiator shown over and over again, I want action and adventure from some gladiator that probably didn't exist, or wasn't 'exactly' true.

Some people like inaccurate and false people in movies, I guess it would make history look more interesting.
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Unread postby Devilrai » Fri Oct 10, 2003 5:46 am

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:
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Unread postby English_Druid » Fri Oct 10, 2003 1:43 pm

It also depends who is making the film, for example American war films in the past always portrayed war as glorified, and themselves as the merciful saviours. But 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.
What I mean is that people will sometimes try to refain from making their country look bad, and try to portray themselves as the ones fighting for peace and justice.
Another example is Pearl Harbour, it didnt give any justification to why the Japanese actually went to war, and thus made the audience think that the Japanese were simply war mongers, and the US were the victims who rose from the ashes and smited their enemies. I would have been very suprised if Pearl Harbour hadnt shown the bombing of those factories at the end, as it is that bombing raid that shown how America rose up in the face of adversity and recovered from this terrible attack.
I also feel that the film exagerated the damage that the attack did, inorder to emphasise the idea that it was the US that was proviked, and forced to go to war and eventually nuke Japan.

Argh after reading that it sounds like im bashing america, im not, its just that the majority of major films released are American and so its hard to relate to other films as you guys probably wont have seen them...
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Fri Oct 10, 2003 2:51 pm

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


Because sometimes history isn't as exciting as fiction. The whole purpose of a movie like Gladiator is to entertain--to be fun and exciting. If the purpose of a film is to be educational and accurate, then the film is designed according to entirely different guidelines (and would be a documentary or something). But filmmakers are not (and should not be) constrained by what has actually already happened here on Earth.
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Unread postby Tianshan Zi » Fri Oct 10, 2003 8:18 pm

English_Druid wrote:It also depends who is making the film, for example American war films in the past always portrayed war as glorified, and themselves as the merciful saviours.

True from WW2 onward, for the most part; however, look at American films during thew 1930's they are nearly all pacifist in nature (examples: The Eagle and the Hawk, Wings, etc.) I cannot remember if All Quiet on the Western Front was American or British (or other), but it hardly glorifies war either. From the 1950's, Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory stands out as one of the greatest anti-war films of all time (and one of my favorites). Again, though, do we consider Kubrick American or British? (Like T.S. Eliot...)
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Unread postby Kong Wen » Sat Oct 11, 2003 4:45 pm

Tianshan Zi wrote:I cannot remember if All Quiet on the Western Front was American or British (or other), but it hardly glorifies war either. From the 1950's, Stanley Kubrick's Paths of Glory stands out as one of the greatest anti-war films of all time (and one of my favorites). Again, though, do we consider Kubrick American or British? (Like T.S. Eliot...)


Erich Maria Remarque, the author of All Quiet on the Western Front, was German. I don't know anything about the movie, but I doubt it was also made by Germans.

People usually consider T.S. Eliot to be both American and British, because both American and British scholars want to study and teach him. Same deal with Joseph Conrad and Britain, and Vlad Nabokov and America.
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Unread postby Sparkster » Fri Nov 07, 2003 10:50 am

Films tend to depict the culture there aimed at, which does make for historical inconsistencies.

For example I saw a cowboy and indian film taht actually portrayed cornol Custer (Forgive my spelling) as an hero and that he died deffending the Indians. I don't think you can get much further away from the mark.
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Eh?

Unread postby Seven at One Stroke » Sat Nov 08, 2003 6:46 am

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.
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