In the case of Anastasia, both the 1956 classic and the 1997 Disney film work here. They both tell the same story and both contain similar historical inaccuracies.
a. Both films suggest that the duchess Anastasia survived her family’s massacre and was reunited with her grandmother many years later. It is now public knowledge that Anastasia did not survive. In 1994, scientists were able to prove, through DNA evidence, that Anastasia in fact was murdered with the rest of her family. (Sloan)
b. The movies were based on the story of Anna Anderson, who was believed for many years to be the surviving Anastasia. Many of the facts however were exaggerated and fictionalized for the films. For example there was never any group of people determined to make money by showing the Dowager Empress Maria Feodorovna a fake Anastasia. (Blonde)
c. At the end of each film Anastasia is accepted back into the royal family by the Empress Maria Feodorovna. However, the royal family never accepted Ana Anderson, believing her not to be a relative. (A&E)
The point of Anonymous is to show that the great works of William Shakespeare were in fact not written by Shakespeare, but by Edward de Vere, the 17th Earl of Oxford. However, no actual evidence exists which connects to De Vere to any of the plays.
a. De Vere in fact died in 1604 “before 10 or so of Shakespeare’s Jacobean plays were written” (Shapiro).
b. The death of Christopher Marlowe in Anonymous is also inaccurate. In the movie Shakespeare murders him, but in reality, he was killed by Ingram Frazer in 1593 (the movie also has Marlowe alive five years after his death). (Bad History)
c. The film gets the dates wrong for almost every Shakespeare play featured. A Midsummer Night’s Dream and Henry V come too early and “Julius Caesar comes to late” (Bad History)
8. 10,000 B.C
A mammoth hunter must go on a desperate journey in prehistoric times (full of many digital creatures) to save his people from Egyptian tyranny.
a. Probably the funniest thing about 10,000 BC is that it has mammoths helping build the pyramids. This makes no sense considering the film takes place in the Ice Age. (Movie Mistakes)
b. The film also contains several technological errors. For one, “use of sailing ships was around 3500 B.C” and the film “shows humans riding horses, which were not domesticated until around 3500 BC.” (Movie Misakes)
c. Even the creatures the movie presents are out of their timeframe. The hero saves a giant saber-toothed cat in the movie called Smilodon, but this cat never actually lived in the Americas. (IMDB)
Although a wonderful movie with Oscar winning songs, Pocahontas gets so much of history wrong. Audiences just tend to forgive because it’s Disney.
a. At the end of the movie the Natives and the English reconcile and are friends. In reality, many Natives were wiped out by genocide and diseases brought over from Europe and there lands were taken from them under “manifest destiny”. (Tunzelmann)
b. The movie also implies a romantic relationship between Pocahontas and John Smith, which never existed. Even though the two were friends, Smith was 27 and Pocahontas was 10. (Tunzelmann)
c. Also, at the end of the movie Pocahontas decides to stay with her people and not go back to England with John Smith. But history shows she ended up marrying an Englishman named John Rolfe. (McGrath)
10. The Patriot
The Patriot takes place during the Revolutionary War and tells the tale of Benjamin Martin, a man who fights in the war to revenge the death of his son. Most of the movie is in fact fiction. Certain events never happened and the characters are unfairly portrayed.
a. In the movie, the British soldiers are portrayed as the worst kind of people imaginable. In one scene, they round up women and children, toss them into a church and then set the church on fire. Such brutality did not happen in the Revolutionary War. (Webley)
b. The movie is also false in the description of it’s lead character, Benjamin Martin, who is partly based on Francis Marion. In the movie, Martin is a very sweet and caring man, but history shows that Marion was actually known for killing many Indians and raping his female slaves. (Webley)
c. The final battle sequence, while beautifully shot, is not entirely accurate. In the movie Martin defeats General Cornwallis and kills Tavlington in the Carolinas. History shows however that General Cornwallis was “not defeated in the Carolinas” (Fischer) and Tarleton was not killed.
Author Bio: Born and bred in Portland, Oregon, Rollyn Stafford loves the city of roses and hopes to continue acting and directing films there in the future. He has appeared in numerous films such as Victoria’s Exorcism, Romance, and Poison, as well as appearing on NBC’s GRIMM. Besides directing short films, Mr. Stafford teaches chess and computer coding to after school kids.
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