10 Historic Movies that Weren’t Historic

Movies that deal with actual history are a lot of fun most times since it’s a glimpse into a past that we might not have otherwise, unless one is into reading the story and possibly finding old clips that can be viewed to see what really happened back in the day. But since video clips of many historical events are kind of impossible to come by, we get what we hope are historically-accurate movies that can give us a view into something that might have been real. But the thing about the movies is that the director and even the writers end up taking a lot of artistic license with one story or another for a number of reasons, one of which is to provide more entertainment value that won’t upset too many people, but will be better than the ho-hum history that might have really taken place. History is interesting enough on its own quite often, but there are those moments when those making the movie feel that a little extra needs to be put in place to make certain that the box office numbers are where they need to be to turn a profit.  Here are a few interesting movies that aren’t that historically accurate.

10. Cool Runnings

While this movie was a great bit of fun thanks to the acting and the overall story, the majority of it was fiction since while Jamaica did send a team to the 1988 Winter Olympics they weren’t outcasts as they’re shown in the movie, and they weren’t sprinters, they were in the army. Plus, their arrival to the Olympics didn’t see them ostracized by anyone, as they were welcomed in a big way and couldn’t leave the Olympic village for fear of being mobbed. As far as the fictitious version, people liked it because it was funny and engaging, but the real story was quite inspirational on its own.

9. Dragon: The Bruce Lee Story

There’s been a great deal of controversy surrounding the life of Bruce Lee over the decades following his death, and this movie is one of the many representations that people have taken to heart while trying to state that they believe this or that about a man who’s life has become legend and myth. The fact is that Bruce Lee did come from a big family, he was apparently made for fame, and he was one of the most popular martial artists of his time. But the heights to which his legend climbed during and after his life became so crazy that at this point many people are willing to believe the myth instead of the reality.

8. Black Mass

Most of the issues in this movie are technical details that might have been the result of artistic license being taken, or small things that were noticed by those that either knew the real story or knew the history of how things worked back in those days. The story of Whitey Bulger is one that a lot of people would gladly say what they believed is real and what has been fabricated over the years by those that are willing to defend someone that came from their hometown. It’s funny to think that anyone believes that a historical movie, no matter the time period, is going to be 100 percent spot-on.

7. Pocahontas

There’s so much wrong with this movie that a lot of folks have decided to throw up their hands and admit that it’s best as an animated classic that Disney can roll out, so long as it’s clear that this is a fantasy and nothing else. Saying that this is even close to real life is kind of insulting to those that are intelligent enough to look up the actual history for themselves. But as a Disney movie it’s still a little dark, but not nearly enough considering what’s on the history books and what really occurred during these times.

6. Cinderella Man

There are a few things about this movie that aren’t really up to snuff since they’re mostly about James Braddock and his opponents. One of the most troubling is that Max Baer, the man that Braddock defeated for the title, was seen as a villain that enjoyed hurting people. Baer’s family didn’t care for this one bit since the truth is, and one can see it in old clips, that Baer did care about the men he fought enough to see that they were okay, and he was distraught when one of his opponents fell hard to the mat. The movie needed a villain, but unfortunately Baer wasn’t the right one.

5. Gangs of New York

Martin Scorsese is known for creating a great, very well put together type of movie, but even the greatest tend to make mistakes on purpose for dramatic effect, or take history out of context. But in reality, Mr. Scorsese didn’t really bungle history out of malice when it comes to this movie since he took what was there and built a story upon it, effectively retconning history in a way that included very real aspects of the past. Bill Poole was the basis for Bill Cutting, and the Dead Rabbits did exist apparently, and the New York Draft Riots were a horrendous moment in history that can be easily researched.

4. The Untouchables

Fiction is what put this movie together since the history that went into the downfall of Al Capone wasn’t brought about by a group of lawmen that had the habit of skirting or even breaking the rules. It is easy to go back and study the historical records to see that some of these individuals did exist and there was a great deal of corruption in law enforcement in Capone’s time, but still, this was another mash-up of history that was meant to make the entire story feel more dramatic in a short amount of time.

3. Tombstone

What’s amazing about this movie is that some of the strangest things are documented as true. The scene in which Curly Bill missed Wyatt Earp, despite the fact that the famed lawman was standing within his range, was said to be entirely true. But apart from this there are moments when life is glammed up in a way that makes it kind of obvious that such things didn’t, or wouldn’t, have happened. For instance, the idea of the real Johnny Ringo being intelligent to have a conversation in Latin with Doc Holliday was kind of far-fetched. But the story of Ringo being found with a bullet hole in his forehead is apparently accurate, but no one appears to know how it happened.

2. Braveheart

There’s little about this movie that appears to be entirely accurate since Mel Gibson went out with the goal of turning history into a bloody war that people would watch over and over again. And to be fair, I can quote a large number of great lines from this movie like many others, but at the same time all one has to do is read a history book, no matter that ‘history is written by those who’ve hanged heroes’. That line is inspiring, but the history that exists for anyone to see is a bit insurmountable, and without the benefit of having been there, no one can say that the historical record is false.

1. Gladiator

Oddly enough, one of the things that was inaccurate about this movie was how bad Commodus really was, since it would appear that the movie undercut his true depravity and made him a little more reasonable compared to what his real-life counterpart really was. But as one can imagine, Ridley Scott wanted a clear hero and villain and Maximus and Commodus fit those roles respectively.  It’s easy to enjoy history when it’s put in terms that people like and can understand.

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