The majority of movies that tackle historical moments are not one hundred percent accurate. Many of them are loosely based on true events, but that doesn’t make them any less entertaining. According to a popular internet forum, here are ten historically inaccurate movies that are still really good.
1. Apocalypto (2006)
In Apocalypto, the Mayan kingdom is at the height of its luxury and power. The foundations of the empire are beginning to crumble. The leaders believe they must build temples and sacrifice more people, or their crops and citizens will die. Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood), a peaceful hunter in a remote tribe, is captured and scheduled for a ritual sacrifice until he makes a daring escape and tries to return to his pregnant wife and son. Though much of the storyline is fictional, the accuracy of the advanced architecture, science, and rich Mayan culture cannot go unnoticed.
2. The Patriot (2000)
The popular film The Patriot is loosely based on the exploits of several real-life historical figures, including a British officer, Lt. Col. Banstre Tarleton, and several American patriots. In the film, a widowed farmer with a brave but brutal military past decides not to join up when the British arrive in 1776. However, when his son enlists and is later captured by the enemy, the former soldier must abandon his new pacifist principles to rescue his oldest child and form a regiment of Carolina patriots, whose guerrilla tactics prove pivotal to the U.S. war effort.
3. Inglourious Basterds (2009)
It is the first year of Germany’s occupation of France in Inglourious Basterds. Allied officer Lt. Aldo Raine (Brad Pitt) assembles a team of Jewish soldiers to commit violent acts of retribution against the Nazis, including taking their scalps. He and his men join forces with Bridget von Hammersmark, a German actress and undercover agent, to bring down the leaders of the Third Reich. Their fates converge with theater owner Shosanna Dreyfus, who seeks to avenge the Nazis’ execution of her family.
While Zoller and the movie Nation’s Pride are fictional, Inglourious Basterds is very true to real life in how it depicts WW2 snipers as heroes. One cinephile jokes that they love that people will believe the events of this film happened, while another claims to hate that some people believe it.
4. Amadeus (1984)
This movie details the life, success, and troubles of Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, as told by Antonio Salieri, the contemporary composer who was deeply jealous of Mozart’s talent and claimed to have murdered him. Amadeus is based on a true story about Mozart and his rival, Antonio Salieri. Filmmakers stated from the start that Amadeus would not be historically true but rather a dramatic fantasy, and in so doing, they crafted a work of art that has captivated us for more than three decades. In reality, Mozart and Salieri were cordial competitors in the musical scene of late-eighteenth-century Vienna.
5. 300 (2006)
The Battle of Thermopylae served as the inspiration for the film 300. Even with the minor truths portrayed in the movie, upon deeper inspection of the history of Thermopylae, it becomes apparent that the movie is nowhere near accurate. Perhaps the biggest problem with the movie is that the film leaves the audience believing that the Spartans were the only Greek force to lead an attack against the Persians. A movie fan calls this film a “simple yet very enjoyable slaughter-fest.”
6. Tombstone (1993)
Tombstone is based on a true story that centers around the Earp brothers, Doc Holliday, and the cowboys of Cochise County. Tombstone largely follows the events before, during, and after the gunfight at the O.K. Corral with some historical accuracy. However, it takes some liberties as well. The timeline of when the Earps arrived is one of the biggest historical inaccuracies, as well as the fact that the cowboys weren’t a cohesive gang as portrayed.
7. Once Upon A Time In Hollywood (2019)
Quentin Tarantino’s Once Upon a Time in Hollywood is a fictional film, but the tale of late-1960s L.A. includes many real-life figures. It features one of the best alternate histories in a movie, changing the unfortunate events of the night of Sharon Tate’s murder into a vengeful cult killing bloodbath.
8. The King (2019)
The King takes place in the early Fourteenth century during the reign of Henry IV’s last years and the rise of Henry V. The movie shows Henry V as an unlikely king, who was more accustomed to being drunk and being with women. Still, he rapidly matures and eventually takes his place as king and leads England to a major victory against France. Viewers are led to believe that Hal never expected to become king and thus didn’t act the part. He is pegged as just a party boy his father couldn’t trust. In reality, Henry V was known for his youthful debauchery just as much as his aggressive military aspirations.
9. The Untouchables (1987)
The Untouchables is loosely based on the book of the same name and the real-life events it was based on, but most of its plot is fictionalized. The raid at the Canada–United States border never happened, and neither did the courthouse or railway station shootouts, Ness did not kill Nitti (he died by suicide in 1943, 12 years after the trial), and Ness’s unit had very little to do with Capone’s final tax evasion conviction.
10. Farinelli (1994)
Farinelli centers on the life and career of the Eighteenth-century Italian opera singer Carlo Broschi, known as Farinelli, considered the greatest castrato singer of all time, as well as his relationship with his brother, the composer Riccardo Broschi. Although loosely based on known events, the film takes dramatic license with many specific details on music and the facts of Farinelli’s life.
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