24 January 2011

Movie Adaptations: The Worst Offenders?

Since last week's contest was so much fun, I decided to try another. Only this time we should all put on our historian hats and utterly lambaste the worst of the worst. So what will it be, dear readers? What are the worst movie adaptations of historical events? Give me the movie and your reason.

Maybe it's Kevin Costner's accent in Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves and the fact he walks Hadrian's Wall on the way to Nottingham. Or perhaps you'll choose Braveheart, where William Wallace gets a child on Princess Isabella, who was actually only ten when he died. If you need a starting point, The Times recently put together a list of the 10 Most Historically Inaccurate Movies. Take a peek!

As a reward for playing along, I'll give away a $15 gift certificate to either B&N or Amazon to the winner I draw randomly on Tuesday morning. Best of luck!

UPDATED: This contest is closed. Amy Kathryn is our winner. Thanks for playing along!


E.D. Walker said...

I love HBO's Rome TV series, it is an excellent show. But some of the historical stuff they messed around with had me totally gnashing my teeth. For instance, when Servilia kills herself. She actually outlived Atia by, if I remember correctly, almost a decade. And the incestuous relationship between Octavian and his sister! And the fact that Pullo is supposed to be Caesarian's father! *shakes head*

The Antony/Cleopatra stuff really drove me nuts, though. More than anything.

Still, I love that show to pieces. I basically plug my ears and go "lalala" when they mess with Roman history.

Danielle Gorman said...

I watched last years adaptation of Robin Hood with Russell Crow and it was aweful!! Has to be the worst. So long and boring.

Lynne Connolly said...

Braveheart. Oh, yes, and Braveheart.
The worst, the very worst, because the posters claimed it was accurate. And because everything in it was wrong.

Movies like A Knight's Tale are great because they don't claim to be accurate.

But Braveheart had a woman who was in fact 7 years old and in France at the time having an affair with Wallace, the Battle of Stirling Bridge didn't have a bridge in it, and even the title was wrong - Braveheart was the name given to Robert the Bruce, not William Wallace (the highly educated lowlander who spoke Greek and Latin, and never wore a kilt in his life!)

Robin Hood I can forgive, because it's a legend, he never existed. So it already has a fairy tale element. Fair game.

Jane said...

I would have to say "Pearl Harbor." I remember reading a few reviews that said that there were many historical inaccuracies and scenes that were portrayed were for dramatic effect. There were minor mistakes like certain ships and planes that weren't at Pearl Harbor during the attack and certain aircraft that wasn't available during that time.

coversnail said...

I'd have to go for U-571 A film about a group of American submariners in a daring mission to capture a Nazi Enigma coding maching in 1943. This being some time after a few machines had already been captured, and the Enigma code already deciphered! Plus it was the Brits who captured them all.

The piece de resistance being the tagline of the movie:

"Nine men are about to change history."

Yep..they did! ;)

dlynnpen said...

Some many great yet historically inaccurate depictions come to mind.
From ones like Sword of the Valiant (that is an old one) or go even older and Cleopatra (Burton and Taylor)and sure we can add Braveheart, Enemy at the Gate,and First Knight to the list.
We forgive the offenders for these offensives of taking liberties because without them all you get is a history lesson and little to no romance.
We love them all and look forward to seeing them again and the ones coming.We have enough reality that the little escape we need and get from these movies and stories is very welcomed even at the cost of historical accurace.

Michelle Helliwell said...

This is a little, dumb thing that has always bothered me about "Down with Love" - which isn't really an historical film as we might think of it. The film is set in 1962, and there's a shot of the UN at the beginning of the movie, that is clearly a modern shot. Why? The Canadian flag is there - we didn't get our own flag until 1965. I still love the film, but that has always bugged me. But the blatant re-writing of history with U571 - that was plain old awful.

Amy Kathryn said...

I have to go with Marie Antionette by Sofia Coppola. It was a gorgeous looking film but I could not believe anything in it.

I basically take any movie or fiction book with a grain of salt as far as accuracy goes...I appreciate it when an author makes an effort but it is not required for me to enjoy!

LilMissMolly said...

I hated a Knight's Tale with Heath Ledger. Usually I love these types of movies, but this one just made me cringe.

Cindy L said...

In Pearl Harbor, they painted the Japanese fighter planes dark green when they were really light green so that it would be easier to tell who was who. How the General was notified of the attack was also inaccurate, as well as how real life characters were portrayed.
I guess with some movies, you have to remember it's Hollywood and they're going to work the angle that will make the most money.

Ren said...

I would place Braveheart as the number one worst historical offender. But I have to agree with I think it was Blythe Gifford's post, that as a work of fiction the movie works on an epic scale.

librarypat said...

I think Mel Gibson is focused on action , blood, and violence. Historical accuracy is not much of a factor. Braveheart and The Patriot may have been considered good cinema, but were bad history.

Maureen said...

My husband still has bad things to say about Pearl Harbor which he says is full of inaccuracies.

D.L. said...

I was reading over the list and saw The Young Victoria, which I love but had totally forgotten about the historically inaccurate ending! Especially interesting that the current queen was not amused.

People keep mentioning the Russell Crowe version of Robin Hood, which came to mind for me as well. I can generally ignore inaccuracies if they advance the plot, but that movie was so mind-numbingly boring.

Carrie Lofty said...

Amy Kathryn is our winner. Amy, email me at CONTACT AT CARRIELOFTY DOT COM and I'll get you your prize. Congrats! Everyone else, thanks for stopping by! Some of these mentions are truly, truly egregious.