The Top 10 Historical Movies That Are Total B.S.
If screenwriters and directors were required by penalty of law to showcase history without any artistic license, a trip to the movies would be nothing but a mindless bore. However, if you learned your history from some of these Hollywood blockbusters, you might not want to showcase that knowledge in school or they'll stick you in the "special" class with the double-sided erasers.
Source: Imagine Entertainment
Source: Universal Pictures
No one does a war film better than America. We hold the gold standard patent to producing big budget battles that fill the screen with wild gunfire and explosions while underhandedly contemplating the strange duality of human nature and its never-ending lust for blood, power, and freedom. But what about truth? That comes in a distant seventh behind control, lust, and six-pack abs that look good on a wide screen.
U-571 is a prime example of that notion when you realize that the British Navy, not the Americans, captured the Enigma decoder, one of World War II's most pivotal moments, using a destroyer and not an outdated submarine to trick the Germans into believing they were one of their own. Also, Matthew McConaghey could never be mistaken for British or German, no matter how much Meisterbrew you've consumed.
Source: Warner Bros. Pictures
Miloš Forman's almost comical look at one of the universe's greatest musical minds also took one of the greatest and most comical liberties with his story for the sake of a juicer plot line. And for a film that contains perhaps the most famous fart scene of all time, the embellishment still tops it in comedy.
It is true that Mozart had his share of rivalries with people such as composer Antonio Salieri, but Salieri wasn't nearly as successful in tanking Mozart's career as the film might have led you to believe. In fact, their relationship was more of a friendly rivalry, the way the way that, say, two neighborhood bars have with each other's customers or Philadelphia Eagles fans have with the Oakland Raiders (only with way more spilled human blood in the latter).
Source: Paramount Pictures
Forget the fact that the film's timeline is more screwed up than a calendar that lists 31 days for the month of "Fabulary." Forget the fact that the film completely ignores the fact that the real William Wallace grew up in a privileged family instead of as a muck-crawling peasant. You can even forget the rather glaring fact that all of the Scottish lower class in the film may not have had any money, food, or adequate housing, but still had access to a top notch orthodontist.
It's rather hard to ignore the very glaring fact that no one in Wallace's time wore kilts, simply because riding into war at the speed of the Scottish wind on a galloping horse would turn your balls into mince pie before the British could ever have a chance at them.
Source: Paramount Pictures
It's hard to imagine that an old film like Houdini starring Tony Curtis way back in 1953 could be so close to the actual history of the man and still get so much of it wrong. The final scene featuring Houdini doing his famous "Water Torture trick" and passing out in the arms of his beloved after he is rescued from what appears to be a serious drowning couldn't be more laughable if Curtis' final words were "Houdini out!"
Houdini may have died from one of his tricks, but the root cause is still a little sketchy. The night before his passing, he was punched in the stomach by some students who offered to sketch the man in his dressing room to prove his claim he could withstand any blows to the gut. He collapsed during the attempt after failing to ready himself for the punch and a doctor who examined him shortly thereafter determined he had acute appendicitis and required hospitalization, which Houdini refused because, being the professional showman, he had a show to do. In the end, infection may have had more to do with his death than magic, although the movie and the man's tragic end would have been cooler if a doctor pulled a rabbit out of his abdomen halfway through the operation.
6. The Patriot
Source: Centropolis Entertainment
It should come as no surprise that one of Hollywood's leading movie stars makes this list more than once. While it's sad to see Hollywood taking history so liberally on such a grand and epic scale, it does give me hope that a retelling of the Conan O'Brien/Jay Leno controversy will contain more guns and armored hardware than a Gaza Strip garage sale.
Francis Marion, the man who served as the historical basis for The Patriot, has a rather checkered history that can become very bewildering, depending on the person you're talking to and on what side of the Atlantic Ocean they live. And while Marion was a major contributor to the Revolutionary War and help achieved statehood for South Carolina in the days following the conflict, he wasn't a red, white, and blue Rambo either. The "Swamp Fox" owned slaves, participated in some very bloody warfare against the Cherokee Indians, and married his own cousin. Although, in his defense on that last one, he was from South Carolina.