The 10 Most Historically Inaccurate Movies‏.

Posted: March 21, 2008 in Entertainment

   Micha sent me an email linking a Yahoo story discussing the subject. Their list is pretty good and, as Micha pointed out, has a really funny pick for the last one on the list. Their picks are as follows: 

1.) 10,000 B.C.
2.) Gladiator
3.) 300
4.) The Last Samurai
5.) Apocalypto
6.) Memoirs of a Geisha
7.) Braveheart
8.) Elizabeth: The Golden Age
9.) The Patriot
10.) 2001: A Space odyssey
   Not a bad list. I do have to wonder how things like Saving Private Ryan, U-571, Pocahontas, Bonnie and Clyde or just about any western or gangster film didn’t make their list over some of their choices. Or, for that matter, how Hanger 18 (based on real events according to the opening scenes) or Wraiths of Roanoke didn’t make their goofy entry.
   But, of course, that’s one of the joys of having a blog!
   Here’s what we’re going to do:
   Give me three of four films that you feel should be on that list. It doesn’t have to be an American distortion of history and at least one has to be a goof entry.
1) King Arthur (2004)
   Billed at the time of its release as a demystified take on the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table and a more historically accurate version of the legends, this movie gave us more of the same minus the good bits. Oh, and here’s a hint for Hollywood writers and ad people; Lancelot was added to the tale by a French author who felt that the story could only be perfected by the addition of the love triangle. And, of course, he made the only man who could woo a woman from Arthur and who was the greatest knight of all time a Frenchman.
   When you bill it as historically accurate or as faithful to the original legends and one of the first people you see in the ads is playing good old Lancelot… You’ve blown it.
2) JFK (1991)
   Oliver, Oliver, Oliver… We all love a little conspiracy nuttiness from time to time, but there’s a difference between doing it and overdoing it. Before the end of that thing, I was waiting for the introduction of aliens from outer space, remote controlled bullets and secret orders that have ruled man since we were the slaves of our prehistoric, lizard-man masters. Restraint can be your friend, Oliver.
3) The Last Man on Earth (1964)
   The last man on Earth? Then what the hell am I? Chopped liver?
4) Night of the Living Dead (1968 )
   No, George, it’s only the mornings that are for the living dead and it involves heavy drinking the night before. And, duh, I think I would have noticed the zombie hordes outside of my bedroom window if they were still there. There’s no conquering army of the undead out there. We’ve dealt with it George; we made ‘em productive members of society and found them jobs at K-Mart, Burger King, MSNBC and Congress. Hell South Carolina’s zombie lasted a lot longer than anybody thought he would and the one from West Virginia is still going strong.
   Undead invasion indeed.
  1. Sean says:

    Taking 3 and 4 together–yes, you would be chopped liver.

    5–The Right Stuff–little known facts–all astronauts are shorter than tha, and are all LEFT handed. RIGHT stuff, indeed.

    6.) Texas Chainsaw Massacre–was originally an outreach ice sculpture class for the blind, throw a couple teenagers in, OF COURSE there’ll be blood! And ice!!

    7)X-Files-Fight The Future–No redhead having anything to do with the name Scully was ever that hot until my wife. Although she has much the same reaction to bees.

  2. Micha says:

    1) The three Musketeers.

    Not exactly historical but taking place in an historical period, and also written in a different historical period. One of the things that make the book great is that it is not a schematic Hollywood story in which the evil minister seeks to replace the foolish king. Rechelieu would never have considered to replace the king, he had all the power he needs being where he was. And part of the fun of the book is that the Musketeers do not oppose Rechelieu to defend king and country, but to defend personal romance, chivalry and team spirit.

    2) Troy.
    Yes, how embarassing, i’ve seen it. Baywatch for girls — half naked muscular men on a beach wearing orange armor. Who knew the face that launched a thousand ships was Brad Pitt’s. But why did they have to make Agamemno into into George W. Bush? And what happened to the gods?

    3) Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

    A buddy movie with Ribin hood and a Saracen, who happened to invent the telescope? Come on. Driving Mr. Robin?

    4) Star Wars Prequels
    Yes, I know it’s a pet peeve of mine, but it does say “a long time ago,” which makes it history.

    About King Arthur. I’ve read that Americans and british tend to place Arthur in ‘real’ historical time (celtic), while the French view it more as fantasy literature. In any case, i’ve yet to see an Arthur movie I liked. The Romero one was probably the best I’ve seen.

  3. Sean says:

    Ya know, problem I always had with the Arthur legend–Lancelot. A knight, jousting, uses a lance. If he’s good, he does it often. JOUSTING, you sick perverts. (Although, if we were gonna be Freudian—no, no, I won’t go there.) So he LANCES A LOT.

    Same could also be said of a busy podiatrist, I suppose.

    (And, for those who know kids’ shows, I thought of it before the Bob The Builder special.)

  4. Micha says:

    You should meet his brother Swordsalittle.

  5. Sean says:

    And the cranky sister Macesonceinawhile.

  6. Bill Mulligan says:

    LAND OF THE PHARAOHS- Silly piece of historical epic fluff, redeemed only by Joan Collins at her hammiest and a climax wherein she is entombed though some great engineering that involves huge blocks of stone moved by sand…you have to see it. As a historical account of actual Egyptians it is slightly less accurate than THE MUMMY’S HAND.

    DRUIDS (aka-Vercingetorix)- Holy crap, where does one even begin? A potentially great story botched beyond all measure.

    AMADEUS- from all reports this movie paints a very unrealistic portrait of Salieri and his relationship to Mozart. Apparently they liked each other. On the other hand, this makes Salieri way cooler than he probably really was so no harm done.

    Spartacus– great movie, lousy history. Great movie, though.

    BIRTH OF A NATION- To watch this is to have one’s jaw drop for 2 hours. basically a love letter to the KKK.

  7. Bill Mulligan says:

    Oh and Krakatoa, East of Java. Actually, it’s west of Java. And the movie sucked.

  8. Sean says:

    All respects, Bill, but seeing that it’s Krakatoa, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say it blew?

  9. Bill Myers says:

    Sean: “All respects, Bill, but seeing that it’s Krakatoa, wouldn’t it be more accurate to say it blew?”

    Oh, you people have got it all wrong. Krakatoa was the Living Island that spawned decades worth of X-Men comics, movies, and related merchandise. 😉

  10. jjchandler says:



    I do a thread devoted to bad puns and jokes and I get nothing. Here I go and try to have a serious conversation about cinematic authenticity in regards to the factual representation of historical events and I get bad puns and jokes. You people just don’t want to cooperate at all some times.


  11. Bill Myers says:

    Your point being, Jerry?

  12. jjchandler says:

    Long, sharp and fine of edge.

  13. Bill Myers says:

    And on top of your head. 😛

  14. Bill Myers says:

    Okay, here’s one on topic: “All the President’s Men” was obviously historically accurate in the broadest sense. I wonder how well they did on the little details? My parents recently gave me a copy of the book; I should read it and then watch the movie again to compare them.

    I’d be curious to dissect the movie Ghandi in much the same way.

  15. Bill Myers says:

    Oh, and Monty Python and the Holy Grail — very historically accurate. It’s amazing how many historians before them got so very much wrong.

  16. Sean says:

    You people just don’t want to cooperate at all some times

    Sure we do. We just wanna cooperate with EACH OTHER, not with YOU.

  17. Sean says:

    While not EXACTLY historical, I’d love to analyze Branagh’s or Gibson’s Shakespearean films to see how anacronistic they are.

    Just going through my DVD collection(slow day at work) and realized the X-Files movie should be on here. For the opening sequence they got so much wrong. The snow was PRECISELY the wrong color white, EVERYONE knows that the first landing took place in Egypt, not Texas, and during the fight the dialogue SHOULD’ve been “Ugg oog aaa AAATGH” not “Ooog aaa AAAATGH Ugg.” I mean, if you’re not going to do ANY research….

  18. Bill Myers says:

    Uhmm… hello? Are you there, Jerry? I mean, I finally get into the habit of posting here regularly, and, what, you abandon your blog? Must I report you to blog protective services?

  19. Bill Myers says:

    Although, now that I think about it, if Jerry has abandoned this blog… I can get away with all sorts of reprehensible behavior here. This could be… interesting.

  20. Bill Myers says:


  21. Micha says:

    Should this discussions extend to TV series? The Tudors just got to Israel. But i don’t know enough to spot mistakes.

    They should really make a show about Ancient Athens. A democracy that’s also an empire engaged in a long war and heavy handed foreign policy. Intruige, sex, comedy, it’s all there.

  22. Sean says:

    Micha–I’d watch it.


  23. Bill Myers says:


  24. Bill Myers says:

    Jerry Chandler and J. Edgar Hoover have two things in common. Jerry is in law enforcement, as was J. Edgar. Can you guess the second similarity?

  25. Bill Myers says:

    This keeps up until Jerry returns to his blog.

  26. Micha says:

    Is it possible that the zombies got to Jerry. He always believed he could face them, that they wouldn’t get him. But maybe he was wrong? Maybe he is now shufflling along craving brains, and that’s why he’s nelected his blog. Maybe this blog is now like an empty shopping mall with roaming zombies?

  27. Bill Mulligan says:

    Sadly, Jerry is in the hospital after hurting his arm while punching out the screen of his Tv set during last week’s ECW.

    Here’s why:

    Get well, Jerry.

  28. jjchandler says:

    You may all bite me now.

    Can I quote me on that?

    Yes, I may.

    “You may all bite me now.”

  29. Ed says:

    God, people are dumb.
    A film about the future can not be historically inaccurate!
    Why would 2001 be on this list? Because something in a futuristic film does not come true it is not inaccurate. DUMB DUMB DUMB.
    Who was the moron that put the Star Wars prequels on the list? Or Night of the Living Dead because we don’t have zombies running around? If this was the logic every fictional film ever made should be on the list.

    The idiots on this post just don’t get it.

  30. jjchandler says:

    Ed, it’s time to dust of that gym membership and go pump some irony. Your “we’re making fun of something” detector is seriously out of shape.

    Most lists like that are silly as hell, even when the creators a dead serious about their choices, and I started the thread by throwing ‘The Last Man on Earth’ and ‘Night of the Living Dead’ in there as gigantic, flashing neon indicators to anyone who read the thing that I was poking fun at the concept.

    Micha, Sean, both Bills and I have all has our share of discussions about the general lameness of the Star Wars prequels. Adding them into the list was just one more poke in the eye at them. Hell, the only people that I’ve ever seen throw more sly sticks and stones at the prequels are Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright. They creamed the things in ‘Spaced’ at every opportunity and even slipped one into ‘Shawn of the Dead’ before the outbreak. Sticks and stones made all the funnier since the voice of Darth Maul had parts in both.

    We’re having fun with it. We’re making fun of it. We’re just having a laugh between friends at the expense of dumbass lists like the ones that everybody puts out and usually expects everyone to take seriously. Don’t take it so seriously and don’t expect that anyone else here is either.

  31. Sean says:

    Wait, wait, wait, you mean there’s someone out there that HASN’T encountered zombies? Tell him to come to my neighborhood and GET ME THE HECK OUT OF THIS HOUSE SURROUNDED BY GREY HORDES OF THE WALKING DEAD! I CAN’T GET OUT ON MY OWN–wait, what’s that, Stace? They’re not zombies, they’re just really dull?

    Color me sheepish….

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