Let’s start with a quick lesson: Do not use historical movies to learn about history. They’re meant to be primarily for entertainment. We have all done it, and that’s the biggest issue.
Heck, I do this all the time. I go back and watch movies thinking that I can use them for informational purposes just because before the movie started it said those five little words: “Based on a true story”.
Unfortunately that’s not the case so, here are 10 movies that got certain historical facts allllll wrong.
1. Okay let’s begin with a big one. In the 2001 movie Pearl Harbor, a RIDICULOUS amount of Japanese fighters were taken down by two fighter pilots who had managed to reach the hanger.
Actually, out of the two actual pilots who were involved in the take down of six Japanese fighters, one of them had to say the movie was “a piece of trash… over-sensationalized and distorted.”
Then there’s this line that Josh Harnett says in the movie. Even though Pearl Harbor was in fact the reason the United States was dragged into the war, the world had already been at war well before, and America knew that.
The events of Pearl Harbor took place on the 7th of December 1941 whereas WWII started in 1939.
2. In the movie 300, it portrays 300 Spartan soldiers defending their land from the Persian Army in the Battle of Thermoplylae. In reality, what happened was that the Spartans were joined by other Greek city-states to make up a total of 7,000 soldiers.
Sorry ladies, they actually wore shirts too.
There’s another scene where it shows how Spartan children would ‘become’ men by killing a wolf. As cool of an idea as that is, they were, in reality, required to kill slaves.
They also made it seem like the Persians were slave traders even though the Spartans were actually THE slave masters.
3. In Gladiator, the movie was about a fictional character played by Russel Crowe. The evil emperor, however, was real.
Emperor Commodus was in fact murdered, but by a wrestler named Narcissus in his bath. Not by an ex-general in the arena.
Also in the movie it shows that he was only in power for a short period of time, when he was in fact emperor for 12 years.
4. The 1992 conspiracy-heavy movie, JFK, based on the director, Oliver Stone’s, fictional account of the Kennedy assassination. The main idea in the movie is that Lyndon B. Johnson, the vice president, was the drive behind the attack.
However, in reality there is no evidence on this case what-so-ever.
5. The Disney movie Pocahontas was actually about a 10-year-old girl, and NOT a love story involving John Smith and an aboriginal woman he met.
In reality, she did actually save his life. Later, she married a man named John Wolf and passed away at the age of 21 due to an English disease.
6. An American military officer learns the ways of the samurai in The Last Samurai.
He was hired by the Emperor of Japan to teach the country’s army modern warfare. In reality though, an American wasn’t the one hired to do the job.
In the movie they also portray Tom Cruise’s character teaching them how muskets are used. By later in the 1800s, time when the movie was set, however, they had already been quite familiar with the weapon.
7. The movie Argo, set in 1980, has CIA operatives in Iran during the revolution, pretending to be filming a movie to execute the escape of Americans from the country. President Jimmy Carter commented that 90% of the ideas in the movie were actually planned by the Canadians.
And it wasn’t the CIA too, it was New Zealand.
And all that action in the end of there being a last minute interrogation followed by a high speed chase involving the airplane didn’t happen. The plan went quite perfectly, actually.
8. We all love screaming Braveheart’s speech, but I’m sorry to break it to you, it would have been impossible for William Wallace, who was Scottish, to be fighting King Edward in 1296 since both factions were actually friendly with each other.
This one is so far gone that a historian from Scotland, called Ewan J Innes, stated that the movie “hasn’t an iota of fact in it.”
9. In 10,000 BC there were big wooly mammoths helping build the pyramids while living in the middle of the desert. There is zero evidence on these points what-so-ever.
The Pyramids were built 8,000 years after the movie, that was set in the Mesolithic Age.
10. Finally, there’s Jobs. A movie that was based on the life of Steve Jobs, the CEO of Apple, and how he became the leader of Apple and the technology world. Their account however, wasn’t entirely true since Apple’s co-founder Steve Wozniak has stated that Jobs had plenty of help from many other people.
He even declined to consult on the film as the script “abhorred” him.
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Main Image via Itcher