There’s been lots of outcry in Canada and elsewhere following Ben Affleck’s best picture Oscar for Argo. People are choked that Argo changes some of the events behind the Iranian hostage crisis and the Canadian efforts to get them out. If you’ve seen Argo but didn’t know about its massive Canadian connection, you should check out The Canadian Caper and get yourself educated on the matter.While Affleck did take liberties with the film (they had an easy exit out of the country, no last minute charges down the runway, the Americans wanted to be a film crew) and Canadians played a much bigger role in what happened that what’s portrayed in the movie, there are popular filmsÂ that got it way, way, way wrong. Today on The List, we’re going to break them down.
I get that 300 is actually based off of Frank Miller’s graphic novel on the Battle Of Thermopylae,Â but 300 is so far off what ancient Greece was like. Like way, way off. Persian king Xerxes was not an 8-foot-tall Cirque du Soleil reject. The Spartan council was made up of men over the age of 60, with no one as young as Theron (37). And the warriors of Sparta went into battle wearing bronze armor, not just leather tightie whities. They also weren’t any better human beings than the Persians, as Spartans owned slaves and regularly had sex with young boys. Stand up guys. As 300 is really more fantasy than reality, it goes in at number 5, but it got a LOT of things wrong.
4) The Patriot
Revolutionary War hero Francis Marion (Mel Gibsons character and basis for the awesome show Swamp Fox)Â wasnâ€™t the stand up family man they show in the movie. He owned slaves and didnâ€™t get married until after the war was over. The woman he married? His cousin. Historians also say that he actively murdered harassed native Cherokees. And the thrilling Battle of Guilford Court House where he beats the British? In reality, the Americans lost.
Damn, where to start? How about with those wild kilts Wallace and his boys were rocking? For starters, no Scott during that era wore kilts, nor did they wear them for a long time. Not only that, the kilts they are wearing are actually completely backwards compared to how they were worn much, much later.Â According to historians, it would be like doing a film on 18th century America and the men were wearing three piece Mad Men style suits, backwards. What else? Wallace is shown having an affair with Isabella of France before the battle of Falkirk. She would have been THREE at the time. Robert The Bruce did fight on both sides of the conflict, but he never betrayed Wallace directly. Also, Wallace is portrayed as a farmer and commoner which wasn’t the case at all.
2) Pearl Harbor
For starters, the scenes with Affleck and Josh Hartnet are flying around Hawaii, knocking dozens of Japanese Zero’s out of the sky did happen, but the actual amount of planes they shot down was far, far, far fewer than depicted in the film. They also weren’t zooming around at wave height. There are actually too many technical inaccuracies to mention here, but it should be noted that several Pearl Harbor veterans groups actively disputed what took place in the movie.
Also, no way in hell would fighter pilots be going on bombing runs to Tokyo. They fly fighter planes. Not bombers.
The historical inaccuracy of Gladiator is so bad it requires it’s own Wikipedia entry, as opposed to a blurb on the film’s main page. In fact, at the very top of said page, it has this line:Â Historian Allen Ward of the University of Connecticut noted that historical accuracy would not have made Gladiator less interesting or exciting and stated: “creative artists need to be granted some poetic license, but that should not be a permit for the wholesale disregard of facts in historical fiction.”
It got pretty much everything wrong, stating Rome was founded as a Republic (it wasn’t), screwed up the architecture (the coliseum held way more people than stated), most of the linguistics were thoroughly incorrect (not to mention using actors with American & British accents in ROME), Commodus never died in the arena (however he fought as a Gladiator many times) and was 18 when his father died. He also never hooked up with his sister. Nor was it even hinted at.
So in the long run, if the Italians, Pearl Harbor veterans and the Scottish aren’t marching on Hollywood, then neither should we. Affleck took the most exciting parts of the Canadian Caper, added some more exciting events and focused far more on the minute role the CIA took in the exfil as opposed to the massive, yet nowhere near as exciting role, Canadians played in the matter.
Anyways, I enjoyed watching all of the above movies. Especially Argo (and not so much the lovey dovey stuff in Pearl Harbor) It’s a good movie.