The Nose: Do Movies Need To Be Historically Accurate?

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The Nose: Do Movies Really Need To Be Historically Accurate?
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The Nose: Do Movies Really Need To Be Historically Accurate?

Movies are usually beautiful lies. If you want to learn about history, read a history book. The most a movie can do is kind of light you up, in a vague way, about its historical subject. You watch "Gandhi," maybe you get why Gandhi was such a big deal.

So it doesn't make much sense to become outraged when movies distort a historical record. There are two exceptions. One, when the movie asserts, as its fundamental reason for being, the setting straight of the historical record. That was the case with "JFK," although Oliver Stone eventually started calling it a "counter myth" set against the assassination myths he didn't like.
Two, when there's something really significant on the line. Crtiics of the "King's Speech" have complained that the movie covers up the role George VI played in supporting a strategy of appeasing Hitler's regime.

We'll talk about that and more on the Nose, our weekly cultural roundtable.

Leave your comments below, e-mail colin@wnpr.org or Tweet us @wnprcolin.


  

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movie accuracy

As a teacher, I think that many movies which present historic truths need to be as accurate as possible. In the film JFK there was real documentary footage mixed with Stone's "documentary footage." My students could not tell the difference. Spielberg's film AMISTAD inserted made-up things which had no basis in reality and which took away from the story. Many students get much of their history from film which necessitates accuracy. When everything that children see is fiction, what is real? Perhaps this raises a larger question about our entire culture and the historical fictions that our politicians toss around.d