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Weird History

Historical Inaccuracies In ‘American Sniper’

Navy SEAL Chris Kyle earned the nickname "The Legend" for his service in Iraq. With 160 confirmed hits during the conflict, Kyle became the most dangerous American sniper in history. In 2012, he turned his story into a memoir, titled American Sniper. Two years later, director Clint Eastwood transformed it into a blockbuster film starring Bradley Cooper. Tragically, Kyle was slain in 2013 at a shooting range while trying to help a Marine suffering from PTSD. The film memorialized Kyle, portraying him as a hero the year following his demise.

But how accurate is American Sniper? The film made several significant changes, such as exaggerating some of Kyle's opponents and completely fabricating others. In reality, Kyle did make a stunning 2,100-yard shot, but it wasn't to end his rival sniper, Mustafa. And, despite the drama of the infamous opening scene, Kyle never shot a child.

Even more significantly, controversies surrounding Kyle's veracity extend to his memoir, in which he exaggerated his medal count. A jury also found Kyle guilty of defamation for fabricating a story in which he punched Jesse Ventura. American Sniper has earned a spot on some lists of the worst movies of all time for its harsh depiction of all Iraqis. Fans, however, praise the film for its nuanced depiction of Kyle's struggle as a sniper, claiming it ranks as one of the best movies ever made. Kyle himself claimed he never felt any regret over pulling the trigger.

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