History class is tough - there are lots of dates and names to remember. But when you're making historical movies, you'd think Hollywood would do some fact checking. Not all films, even if they are historical films about real historical figures and actual historical events, actually honor that history. On this list, films from all decades are revealed as having botched the reality of supposed non-fiction and reminded audiences that it was just a Hollywood flick. From Foxcatcher to Hotel Rwanda, and even 1915's The Birth of a Nation, many films feature blatant errors and historical inaccuracies that will annoy more than just the average history buff.
While George Clooney spiced up the third act of Good Night, and Good Luck, its timeline and the implications of that timeline are way off base. And this list covers more than just the Hollywood endings. The opening scene of American Sniper, for instance, feeds into the claims of Clint Eastwood "pro-military propaganda" by making an Iraqi woman look evil by giving her son an anti-tank grenade, which never, ever happened.So what historical facts has Hollywood gotten completely wrong? Read on to find out and be sure to upvote the most egregious history mistakes in these Hollywood movies.
Clint Eastwood's controversial movie opens with Bradley Cooper's character, Chris Kyle, watching a woman in Iraq walking out of her house and sending her child to his death. She gives her young boy an RKG-3 anti-tank grenade and Kyle questions whether or not to shoot. According to Kyle's own book, she had a small hand grenade and there was no such child. Having the woman send her son out on a suicide mission, even though it was completely false, made her look more evil onscreen.
#26 on The Best War Movies Eversee more on American Sniper: That Iraqi Woman Didn't Really Sacrifice Her Son
Even the screenwriter confessed to this historical fact gone wrong. One of the glaring inaccuracies in the film that won Daniel Day Lewis yet another Academy Award is that Connecticut was portrayed as voting "no" on the 13th Amendment - a vote against ending slavery. In fact, every single solitary representative in Connecticut's House voted "yes" for the amendment.
Also Rankedsee more on Lincoln: Connecticut Actually Voted "Yes" on the 13th Amendment
Ron Howard's film chronicling the Apollo 13 mission featured astronaut Ken Mattingly being involved with the rescue mission, although Mattingly himself confesses to this historical falsity. In the film, he was exposed to measles (true) and bumped from the mission (true), before being called back in by NASA to lead rescue efforts (false). In reality, Mattingly said he had absolutely no assigned role in that rescue; he was a backup crew member who worked with a bunch of teams, not just on one or two projects as in the film.
#38 on The Best Adventure Moviessee more on Apollo 13: Ken Mattingly Didn't Have an Assigned Role in the Rescue Mission
In the 2000 Russell Crowe movie, Marcus Aurelius was murdered by his own son, Commodus, during a battle in the Marcomannic War. The real Marcus Aurelius died in what is now Vienna, in 180 AD. Aurelius gave succession to Commodus in real life, which is a lot different than being murdered by him.
#22 on The Best War Movies Eversee more on Gladiator: Marcus Aurelius Didn't Die During the Battle