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"When did Hollywood ever "get it right"?" Topic

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10,044 hits since 1 May 2015
©1994-2018 Bill Armintrout
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Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2015 5:36 p.m. PST

We all like to bitch and moan about "Horrywood" and how it gets it wrong.
When did it ever get it right? There is not a single movie ever made that did not have some factual "error" in it.
Some due to economics , some from having to condense into 90 minutes, some from casting Scandinavians as Jesus…
And by what standard do we judge the result "wrong"? By "some book I read "?

Maybe some came pretty close.
Name some.

I liked The Lost Battalion, the made for TV movie with Rick Schroeder. Maybe it had some booboos, but I didn't spot any.

PLEASE. Do NOT bring up bad movies. I only want ones that pass the eagle eyes of anal picky Wargamers.

Winston Smith Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2015 5:41 p.m. PST

Let me add to my list:

Henry V, the Branagh
The Cruel Sea

McWong7301 May 2015 5:49 p.m. PST

Battle of Britain

Suspect both being British goes a long way towards why they survive most wargamer scrutiny.

Edit: Bridge Too Far, aagain British though. Gallipoli is also spot on by any measure of historical accuracy, faithfulness to the period, and a damn fine film to boot.

28mm Fanatik01 May 2015 5:53 p.m. PST

The Vietnam movies are probably pretty "realistic," like Full Metal Jacket, Hamburger Hill and Platoon.

Rich Bliss01 May 2015 6:06 p.m. PST

Glory. The best exploration in film of why men fight.

leidang01 May 2015 6:08 p.m. PST

I'll go with Master & Commander.

DesertScrb01 May 2015 6:09 p.m. PST

Dr. Strangelove

mikec260 Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2015 6:17 p.m. PST


mikec260 Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2015 6:20 p.m. PST

Das Boot? Released by Columbia, but German made.

Dave Crowell01 May 2015 6:29 p.m. PST

I got very claustrophobic watching Das Boot. Was lucky enough to see it on the big screen with subtitles first. Dubbed on video is not nearly the same.

I also agree with The Lost Battalion.

Personal logo Extra Crispy Sponsoring Member of TMP01 May 2015 6:35 p.m. PST

Lord of the Rings
The Thin Red Line

Personal logo Murphy Sponsoring Member of TMP01 May 2015 6:41 p.m. PST

I'd like to say "Downfall" as to how it showed how chaotic and lost the last days in Berlin actually were….

Personal logo The Beast Rampant Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2015 6:43 p.m. PST

Master & Commander, a thousand times over. The attention to detail is unsurpassed.

I would like to say Glory, but it's been way too long; I really need to go back and watch it.

I do love Branagh's Henry, but I'm still not sure why the Great Man himself was dressed like his grandfather. Your hero-general only gets a 5+ save?

RavenscraftCybernetics Inactive Member01 May 2015 6:44 p.m. PST

bride of frankenstein!

Skeets Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2015 6:50 p.m. PST

The Enemy Below has always been a favorite of mine.

just Dave Inactive Member01 May 2015 6:50 p.m. PST

The duelist

Frankss01 May 2015 7:04 p.m. PST

Cross of Iron.

DontFearDareaper Fezian Inactive Member01 May 2015 7:38 p.m. PST

Glory is a great movie but the charge of the 51st against Fort Wagner bears little resemblance to the actual event.

Zulu is full of little historical inaccuracies that wargamers love to nitpick (Hook's family sued the production company over their portrayal of him), but again, a great flick.

Zulu Dawn comes close.

A Bridge to Far and the Longest Day are pretty good representations of the events detailed in their respective Cornelius Ryan books.

Master and Commander gets the details of Napoleonic era combat down pat.

PT109 is a pretty good representation of the actual event as well it should be since John Kennedy was still alive when it was made.

Tora, Tora, Tora Great flick with a lot of attention to detail especially considering it was made before CGI was around. Ben Afleck's Pearl Harbor doesn't come half as close and they DID have CGI available.


GoGators Inactive Member01 May 2015 7:56 p.m. PST

Right? Never.

Entertaining? Sometimes. Many good examples above.

Personal logo PaulCollins Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2015 8:05 p.m. PST

I thought Breaker Morant did a very good job with what it was trying to portray..

TGerritsen01 May 2015 8:15 p.m. PST

Is it that time of the year again?

Personal logo Dan Cyr Supporting Member of TMP01 May 2015 10:52 p.m. PST

Downfall. Had to stop (was watching it at home) and walk around several times. Even with sub-titles, amazing film to watch.


Personal logo piper909 Supporting Member of TMP Inactive Member01 May 2015 10:53 p.m. PST

I appreciate the small unit accuracy of A Midnight Clear, for WWII films. And the attitudes seem honest as well (well, it's based on a book written by a vet, so the source material was always going to have that in its favor).

Vintage Wargaming01 May 2015 10:56 p.m. PST

MCWong73 – just to nit pick – in Gallipoli the Albinoni Adagio which is the record they play on the wind up gramaphone before the final battle ("the last wave" scene if you want to find it on youthube) wasn't discovered (some say not written) and published until 1958.

But perfectly ok as used for dramatic effect amd very moving. And just as likely done on purpose as a mistake – but not quite any measure of historical accuracy – though it doesn't doesn't have to be accurate to be true.

basileus66 Inactive Member01 May 2015 11:04 p.m. PST

Probably, the first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan.

BW195901 May 2015 11:16 p.m. PST

I'll second Glory. And add "The Great Raid" link

And what no love for "Flyboys" (just kidding, but one of my guilty pleasures)

HammerHead02 May 2015 12:02 a.m. PST

Enemy at the gates very good film

trenchfoot02 May 2015 3:23 a.m. PST

Come and See, horrific detail such the einzatgruppen throwing the child back through the church window. Even though from the soviet point of view, it gives an insight into the often barbaric eastern front. Also Dunkirk with John Mills, although I seem to remember the German helmets may have been ww1 models. Gripping film, you can feel the panic of finding yourself behind the lines and desperately trying to get home.

Artilleryman02 May 2015 3:33 a.m. PST

Master and Commander gets my vote for first place. The only inaccuracy that I have identified is a very minor and specious one. The captain of Marines on a ship was usually referred to as 'major' to avoid confusion with the ship's captain. Or so I am assured.

McWong7302 May 2015 3:39 a.m. PST

@Vintage, you're right! How foolish was I to believe a film can be truly accurate. Gallipoli is clearly only 99.99% accurate. I will now destroy my dvd copy. I feel so bad…I can't believe I advocated for a film that got a two minute piece of music wrong. Can the editors please remove my post!

JARROVIAN Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2015 4:22 a.m. PST

What about,
First of the Few
The Dam Busters
Sink the Bismark
Battle of the River Plate
Memphis Belle
in addition to most of the above, especially Master and Commander, Dunkirk, and The Cruel Sea

KTravlos Inactive Member02 May 2015 4:35 a.m. PST

Lots of good films. My own first choice is also Master and Commander. But Lost Battalion was good and many of those listed.

vonMallard Inactive Member02 May 2015 4:52 a.m. PST

with the exception of the one scean of the aircraft bombing (those are F4U..never on the lend-lease..Cross of Iron is tops on my list.
I enjoyed the 'War Lover'…any movie that has a B-17 flying is on my list, especially a LOW flying one.
633 squadron…Mossies….lovly Mossies

Katzbalger02 May 2015 5:14 a.m. PST

Master and Commander
Zulu and Zulu Dawn
Maybe The Four Feathers (not the more recent one, but the one with some of the natives that actually fought in the war)
While some of the scenes were surely there just for visual effect and didn't look right, The Longest Day (for the most part)
The beginning and mid-part of Saving Private Ryan
While not a movie, many parts of Band of Brothers
And even some parts of Kelly's Heroes (not specific historical actions, but a lot of the equipment)
Sink the Bismark
Memphis Belle
The Boys of Company C


zippyfusenet Inactive Member02 May 2015 5:36 a.m. PST

Are we limited to 'war movies', or can we include costume dramas in general? A couple I recently liked:

"The New World". English and Powhattans, in Virginia and England, in the early 1600s. Gorgeous photography, good casting (maybe some prettier than the original protagonists, but believable), good sets, costumes and props, some reasonably accurate period warfare, not to mention starvation and disease. A little long and slow, the script had more atmosphere than plot. It got my painting juices flowing.

"Apocalypto". Yes, everyone agrees that Mel Gibson is a squirrelly, drunken Bleeped text, a plague on his wife and an embarrassment to his children. But he makes some really good movies. This one was colorful, fast paced, dramatic, with good sets, costumes and props, and some reasonably accurate period warfare, not to mention starvation and disease. Um, the dialog is all in Maya, you have to be willing to read captions…or just look at the pictures. Inspiring. Got my painting juices flowing.

377CSG Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2015 5:46 a.m. PST

A Gathering of Eagles – pretty much how Strategic Air Command (SAC) operated back in the 60's.

Sundance Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2015 6:00 a.m. PST

A Bridge to Far and the Longest Day are pretty good representations of the events detailed in their respective Cornelius Ryan books.

Actually, they aren't. I was presenting at an SMH conference and attended a panel where one of the papers was by the curator of the Cornelius Ryan collection. His presentation? What they got wrong – he had a list of well over 50 scenes/vignettes from one of the movies (IIRC it was for The Longest Day)that were either completely wrong or mash-ups of multiple episodes from the book.

In fact, Ryan and the director clashed regularly over this issue and Ryan ended up storming out and refusing to be a consultant since the director wouldn't follow the book more closely. He was working on a similar paper for the other movie.

In the same panel was a critique of Saving Private Ryan in terms of 'could it have happened this way?'. No, it couldn't have. The other two papers IRC were more generic in terms of Hollywood and war films.

Dynaman878902 May 2015 6:19 a.m. PST

I know there are problems with "The Longest Day" but if it does not qualify as nearly getting it perfect then nothing does. Same for A Bridge too Far. Ryan was being Pedantic in this case.

DontFearDareaper Fezian Inactive Member02 May 2015 6:20 a.m. PST

Memphis Belle certainly gives you a gripping look into what it was like to fly a B-17 in WWII but fails on the historical accuracy front as the Belle's last mission was actually a milk run. Very good film though and I would put it in the same category as Glory from an accuracy standpoint.

I stand corrected Sundance. Been decades since I saw either flick and even longer since I read the books. Still, both are good movies and ABTF went way out of its way to get uniforms and equipment right.


Personal logo Grelber Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2015 7:13 a.m. PST

I liked the charge of the 21st Lancers scenes from Young Winston. When the regiment turned, changing from column to line, the key figures sped up to move into their proper positions in front of the men.

Dynaman878902 May 2015 7:22 a.m. PST

Adding to the list

Pork Chop Hill.
Black Hawk Down.
We Were Soldiers. (as long as you turn it off before the ending battle scene)

Viper guy Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2015 7:28 a.m. PST

What about Band of Brothers? Do mini series count? Also, in honor of the 200 anniversary, Waterloo.

1960boot Inactive Member02 May 2015 7:41 a.m. PST

No votes for Gettysburg or Gods and Generals ?

Do the purists not like these ?

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2015 7:42 a.m. PST

In any film, it is rare to see soldiers have to reload. Indeed, in Waterloo they never load in the first place. Bullets strike up the dust all around the hero, but rarely hit him. Even in SPR Tom Hanks still dies after a final speech, with little evidence that his vital signs are changing, or that he is bleeding to death internally.

Hand to hand fighting is de rigeur and bayonet fighting is a must. We can all spot the wrong uniforms, tanks or aircraft later than 1944 or 1940 respectively, characters who were not even there.

Personal choice. B of Bs other than the awful casting in the first episode. Stalingrad on the new BluRay in German with subtitles at last. Black Hawk Down. Battle of B and Tora, Tora, Tora for aerial sequences, however anachronistic all the weaponry shown.

Waterloo I finally realise is better than I appreciated, but I still curse Sergei B for what he achieved with what he was given

Marc33594 Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2015 8:57 a.m. PST

One often overlooked during discussions like this but The Great Escape

KTravlos Inactive Member02 May 2015 9:13 a.m. PST

I like Gettysburg, but it does have its issues. I still think the battle of little round top is a great representation of the fire-fight.

Personal logo deadhead Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2015 9:26 a.m. PST

You cannot criticise The Great Escape or Zulu. They are part of growing up in 1960s UK but they did take huge liberties with the facts.

Does that really matter though? If Hollywood conveys the spirit of something, that is maybe better than a documentary……… sometimes………unless it is as bad as U (whatever its number was) and how USN captured the Enigma code single handed. "Getting it right" may not always be totally objective………….?

MaggieC70 Supporting Member of TMP02 May 2015 9:39 a.m. PST

I'll add the Canadian-produced docudrama, Hiroshima. If there are any inaccuracies there, I certainly missed them. I thought it was a spellbinding miniseries.

Dave Crowell02 May 2015 3:04 p.m. PST

Why has no one mentioned my favorite documentary yet? The Patriot?

I mean the British wear red coats so it must be accurate. ;)

spontoon02 May 2015 5:06 p.m. PST

The Duellists, par excellence!

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