10 Most Historically Inaccurate Movies of All Time


Jun 12, 2004
2,131
0
106
Okay, I realize that this is Yahoo! and it might be one person's opinion, but this list does not mention even one Titanic film whatsoever, which surprised the bajeebers out of me. As a matter of fact, all of those on the list are more recent, say, post-1990 or 1995). Now, you can't tell me that, in the long history of movie-making, the 10 most historically inaccurate movies of all time are recent. Actually, I can think of some pretty bad historical accounts from the 1920s through the 1980s--not counting any Titanic movies.

Take a look:

http://movies.yahoo.com/feature/10mosthistoricallyinaccurate.html


Anyway, this post is just my thinking aloud. I thought Titanic's exclusion from the list was interesting.

Does this mean that those who composed this list are under the delusional impression that all Titanic movies are accurate?
 

Eric Longo

Member
Aug 13, 2004
888
0
86
"Does this mean that those who composed this list are under the delusional impression that all Titanic movies are accurate?"

That thought seems to be a big jump!
There are other films that should be on that list before 2001, but as you say it is just Yahoo! I would think that list was compiled for many reasons, probably the least of which was any form of "accuracy".

Best,
Eric
 
Jun 12, 2004
2,131
0
106
quote:

That thought seems to be a big jump!
Yes, I know. That was sort of a tongue-in-cheek quip by me. I guess I just expected at least one Titanic movie to be on the list.


quote:

I would think that list was compiled for many reasons, probably the least of which was any form of "accuracy".
Oh, of course. I'd think that Yahoo! is far from being a serious authority.​
 
Jun 12, 2004
2,131
0
106
You tell them that, Jeremy. Supposedly, since it is now passed 2001, the movie is somehow considered a historical account, although not of an actual event.
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
14
198
It's such a broad topic, that any list is bound to be unfocused.

Historically inaccurate to an unbelievable extent but skillfully made, a la Bonnie and Clyde? Name ten.

Historically confused, a la Titanic (1990s?) Name ten.

So incredibly bad on all levels that it is the cinematic equivalent of pouring salt in to your eyes, a la Revolution (Pacino)? Name ten.

History takes a back seat to plot but, nevertheless, both turn out fairly well, a la The Mambo Kings? Name ten.

History made 'cute' and reduced to a Kids Film For Adults a la Little Big Man? Innaccuracy as entertainment. Name ten.

All of these questions make it easier to give a focused answer.

Occassionally a film comes along so incredibly awful, so irredeemably wretched, that passes the point of being funny and becomes just plain garbage. The "Showgirls" of both the "Historical Epic" and "Classic Adaptation" crowd- a film that dominates two separate "worst in show" lists- a film so inept that it is equal to a Patrick Dennis parody from the 1960s is, of course, Demi Moore's The Scarlet Letter.

Back in the 60s, Patrick Dennis wrote "Little Me" a pseudoautobiography of the ultimate fallen on hard times delusional 1920s/30s movie legend; Belle Poitrine. One of her proudest moments, and one of her most epic failures, was a self written adaptation of the Scarlet Letter. She tinkered with the book a wee bit, to bring it up to 1932 standards....just as decades later, Demi Moore actually DID tinker with the book to bring it up to mid 1990s standards. Pop quiz- was Demi's version the one in which Hester is a cheerleader at Allstate U. who after being wrongfully branded a loose girl is redeemed and leads the "victory snake dance" through the rival team's goal posts while wearing the Scarlet "A" of Allstate; or is Demi's adaptation the one in which a well timed Indian attack not only saves Dimmesdale from the gallows but allows him and Hester to escape by boat to someplace less Puritanical?

My favorite low point of a film that was nothing BUT low points? Demi, who I suspect did not get much past the tenth grade, obviously recalled that OTHER great Puritan era-set classic we had to read in tenth grade; The Crucible; and so Tituba, the slave from The Crucible, becomes "Mituba" the black servant girl who watches Demi soap up her...Belle Poitrine...

*groan*

Literally impossible to make worse.

Oh, and Hester as Cheerleader was the PARODY of a clueless Scarlet Letter adaptation written by an egomaniacal bimbo.
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
381
283
Easley South Carolina
>>Literally impossible to make worse.<<

Don't be so sure. That flick with John Wayne as Ghengis Kahn was little better then a parody, and a bad one at that. I could make a case for some of the DeMille "epics" such as The Ten Commandments which wasn't really all that incredibly bad as a story, but it sure as hell wasn't history by any reckoning.
 
Jun 12, 2004
2,131
0
106
quote:

The Ten Commandments which wasn't really all that incredibly bad as a story, but it sure as hell wasn't history by any reckoning.
My guess is that it wasn't suppose to be. The epic, as it came across, was likely intended to promote biblical prophecies relative to the resurrection of Christ (albeit indirectly), not provide a history lesson. One clue behind this is the fact that the movie has been shown every year at Easter (which means it should be coming up again very soon) ever since the 1960s or 70s.​
 
Dec 2, 2000
58,590
381
283
Easley South Carolina
>>The epic, as it came across, was likely intended to promote biblical prophecies relative to the resurrection of Christ (albeit indirectly), <<

Actually, it doesn't even do that much since no such prophesies are ever mooted in the film.
 
Jun 12, 2004
2,131
0
106
quote:

Actually, it doesn't even do that much since no such prophesies are ever mooted in the film.
Sorry, "prophesies" was probably the wrong word. Let's just say the movie intended, among other things, to serve a religious purpose as opposed to providing a historical account.​
 

Inger Sheil

Member
Dec 3, 2000
5,342
34
208
I figured The Ten Commandments was less about bringing the Bible to the masses and more about AN EPIC! A chance to have BIG SET! And be WORTHY. And Yul Brynners chest. Lots of that. No complaints from me, either.

Fits into the earlier Hollywood tradition of, as one critic put it, deploring vice while making the most of it. Stack on a Biblical epic, chuck in a bit of decadence (be it tempting maidens, orgies, vice, or these and a few others), but at the same time have virtue triumph in the end. Every one's a winner.

In the stakes of 90s/00s movies, I'm very fond of the The Mummy - it manages to mangle Egyptian belief quite nicely (Ka? Ba, anyone? No?), and the name "Imhotep" (a chap who was sort of the da Vinci of his day) is now associated with a homicidal priest. With, again, a pretty decent chest and bald head. The second movie is even more spectacular - Anubis as an evil god? Oh, whatever. Bring on the CGI.

Movie that really makes me ropeable? The cartoon Anastasia. There just aren't the words for what a shocker this is. Makes you wonder if they'll rewrite the Holocaust, or perhaps the Rape of Nanking, attributing it to evil demons unleashed by a sorcerer. Some things just shouldn't be trivialised, and the Russian Revolution is one of them.

I'd suspect that The Other Boleyn Girl would top my personal list of historic tripe, but I just can't watch it. In the same sense that I just can't stick my head in a bucket of water and hold it there until I pass out.

In an age when Anne Boleyn is finally being assessed as an historical figure by scholars the likes of Eric Ives rather than as the lead character in a bodice ripping version of Tudor history, along comes this drivel. All in the name of giving due weight to her supposedly neglected sister.

If history has largely overlooked Mary Boleyn, it's for extremely good reasons - a rather vapid bit of work, she is of interest only because of her relationship with Henry and the fact she was Anne's older (not younger, according to most scholars) sibling. In and of herself, she is of no interest at all, any more than any other number of young women at court. Anne, on the other hand, was a woman of formidable courage, intellect and ability.
 

Eric Longo

Member
Aug 13, 2004
888
0
86
"The cartoon Anastasia. There just aren't the words for what a shocker this is."

I was also appalled at this one, Inger.

Best,
Eric
 

Jim Kalafus

Member
Dec 3, 2000
6,114
14
198
Oh yeah, I forgot about the Anastasia cartoon. Come to think of it, Nicholas and Alexandra was a pretty poor adaptation of a book that, from the perspective of decades of digesting more honest work, was a bodice-ripping feel good inaccuracy itself: you can be as vile as you please, if you write sappy letters to one another and dress your daughters identically being its implied message.

And, no, I don't think that The Conqueror (John Wayne) is WORSE than Demi's Scarlet Letter. I don't think that any historical/period piece film could be worse, and few could even equal it. At least Howard Hughes/Dick Powell/John Wayne....shall we say...."got"....the appeal of the pop culture version of Khan. What makes the Scarlet Letter so completely without merit as adapted literature is that A) Demi missed the entire point of the book and, B) insisted on working from Hawthorne's draft copy with the sequences the original publisher deleted- Hester soaping her breasts; Mituba...uhhmmmm...self pleasuring in a bathtub while holding a candle; Dimmesdale taking a nude swim while, unbeknowst to him, Hester lustily eyes his derriere; Hester's husband returning incognito but as a psych who holds weird moonlit rituals that include eating raw meat and shrieking at the moon... all tender and beautiful as written by Hawthorne but somehow trashy and irrelevant when brought to the screen.
happy.gif
What makes it so worthless as history is that, like Cameron's Titanic, it endows Hester and all of the protagonists with recognisable 1990s "Politically correct" stereotypical personality traits, while reducing the antagonists to cartoons with faux period-piece mannerisms.
 
Jun 12, 2004
2,131
0
106
quote:

insisted on working from Hawthorne's draft copy with the sequences the original publisher deleted- Hester soaping her breasts; Mituba...uhhmmmm...self pleasuring in a bathtub while holding a candle; Dimmesdale taking a nude swim while, unbeknowst to him, Hester lustily eyes his derriere
Well, as you know, Jim, sex sells--in any era.

That said, I know what you mean regarding the 1990s stereotype. One cannot help but watch this and somehow sense "1990s" as opposed to the early 1600s. This is akin to watching The Messenger and thinking the same thing. With the constant swearing by the British, the credibility of 1422 seems to diminish under the weight of late-20th century profanity. I haven't yet seen the 1925 or 1948 versions (with Maria Falconetti and Ingrid Bergman, respectively), so I cannot as of yet comment on those, although I am quite sure that dialogue is toned compared to their 1990s successor. The fact, too, that Bergman's is derived from Anderson's 1946 play leads me to believe that this adaptation is more for show rather than to tell a [true] story.

As for The Ten Commandments, apparently visuals as well as the "We were able to do it" sensibility of filmmaking tended to also thrust [the need for] historical accuracy into the backseat. Cinematic marvel was and still is a form of eye candy for the moviegoer, the average of whom hasn't sought to learn history as much as wanting to be carried away for a few hours on the wings of diversion. Of course, one can argue that that is the purpose of the movie in the first place.​
 
Jun 12, 2004
2,131
0
106
quote:

I figured The Ten Commandments was less about bringing the Bible to the masses and more about AN EPIC! A chance to have BIG SET! And be WORTHY.
At the same time, Inger, the fact that this movie has been an Easter tradition every year for a number of decades says something beyond it's intended cinematic purpose. Perhaps it's grand scale and drama (and not Brynner's chest) have inspired those seeking a visual aspect to the Bible. Whether or not it was intended, an association was formed between cinema and religion ever since the movie's mid-1950s inception. People want to see "the Bible on the screen," the first thing they'd likely think of is . . . The Ten Commandments!

I guess its EPIC-SIZED production created more than its budget had designed.​
 

Jerry Nuovo

Member
Jan 22, 2010
700
0
46
New Jersey,USA
If someone asked me to list my top 2 of the most historically inaccurate movies I would say No.2 would be The Untouchables (1987) and Titanic (1997).In the movie The Untouchables which takes place in Chicago around 1929-1930,Federal agent Eliot Ness and his team of Untouchables which are Chicago cop Jim Malone,IRS accountant Oscar Wallace and police academy cadet George Stone attempt to arrest gangster Al Capone.In real life there were 10 untouchables including Ness and Malone,Wallace and Stone are fictional characters in that movie.The movie depicts Wallace and Malone killed by Capone's associate Frank Nitti who is a real life character and friend of Al Capone.In reality none of the real Untouchables are ever killed by Capone or his associates.While Ness and his real untouchables did battle with Capone's organization,they had little to do with assembling the tax evasion case that would ultimately send Capone to prison.That case was put together by the criminal investigations unit of the Internal Revenue Service,separately from Ness' efforts.The movie depicts Ness pushing Nitti off the courthouse roof after Nitti tells Ness that he killed Malone.In reality Nitti committed suicide in 1943.Movie depicts Ness with a wife and a daughter and Ness' wife is pregnant and the baby turns out to be a boy.In reality Ness did not marry until his law enforcement career had ended.It is my guess that this movie is based more on the late 1950s TV series also named The Untouchables than on real life events concerning Eliot Ness. And now No.1 is Titanic because in that film not because the main characters Jack and Rose are fictional characters,but because Jack is a poor guy in steerage and Rose is a first class woman passenger who falls in love with Jack,when in reality none of the real first class women aboard the Titanic would have had any interest in starting a love affair with a poor guy in steerage.When it comes to movie depictions of real life characters such as Eliot Ness and Al Capone or movie depictions of real life tragedies such as the movie Titanic 1997 that depicts the Titanic disaster,Hollywood always gets it very wrong.
 

Will C. White

Member
Apr 18, 2007
267
0
86
The movie 'Zulu' plays pretty fast and lose with historical reality as well, not that it still isn't one of my favs as a pure action spectacle, but in terms of what went on, and what the personages involved were actually like, well....
 

Bob Godfrey

Member
Nov 22, 2002
6,046
57
208
UK
Zulu does indeed provide some of its real characters with wholly invented backgrounds and personalities, but with some reservations the main events are represented quite accurately by Hollywood standards. For a military epic which leaves the truth behind in reel 1 and never catches up with it, you can't beat The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936). It's fun, though! But not for the horses - in those days they didn't fake their suffering.
 

Will C. White

Member
Apr 18, 2007
267
0
86
Same goes for the silent version of 'Ben Hur', and people wonder why we have animal welfare people on the set if we have critters in our movie. The title of the film escapes me at the moment, but as far as horse operas with no footing in reality, try the one with Robert Shaw as Custer! Hoo boy!
 
Jun 12, 2004
2,131
0
106
quote:

people wonder why we have animal welfare people on the set if we have critters in our movie.
Will,

I guess there have been people in the movie industry who have thought that making a movie was more important than the well beings of animals. But I don't have to tell you that--you're right in the center of it. It's good to know, however, that more concern is being taken in modern movie-making to ensure the safety of these animals, especially since current CGI technology can facilitate realistic simulations without involving the animals.​
 

Similar threads