10 Historically Inaccurate Movies That Are Still Great, According to Reddit

by | Oct 8, 2023 | All About Film Blog, 1970s, 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, 2010s, Biographical, Film Fanatic Lists | 0 comments

Movies have the power to transport us to different times and places, immersing us in the stories of characters and the worlds they inhabit. However, when it comes to historical films, there’s often a delicate balance between maintaining historical accuracy and crafting an engaging narrative. Sometimes, filmmakers choose to prioritize the latter, resulting in movies that may not be entirely accurate but are still great in their own right. Here are ten such films, as recommended by the Reddit community.


10. ‘The Greatest Showman’ (2017)



“The Greatest Showman” is a melodic masterpiece that traces the journey of P.T. Barnum (played by the charismatic Hugh Jackman) as he orchestrates the birth of the Barnum & Bailey circus, albeit with some creative liberties. Critics might quibble about the film’s depiction of Barnum’s character, but it’s hard to deny the sheer magnetism of its dazzling performances and its thematic exploration of triumph, independence, and self-worth.

Barnum’s transformation from a struggling entrepreneur to a showbiz visionary takes center stage, embellished with captivating musical numbers and a magnetic cast that includes Zendaya, Zac Efron, and Michelle Williams. While the film may not adhere strictly to the historical record, its vibrant portrayal of Barnum’s audacious spirit and the spectacle he created have earned it a special place in the hearts of audiences worldwide.


9. ‘Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter’ (2012)



“Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter” audaciously blurs the line between history and fantasy by introducing vampires into the life of President Abraham Lincoln. While critics may have raised an eyebrow or two, the film’s audacious fusion of reality and fantasy, along with its striking visual style, has won it a dedicated following.

Directed by Timur Bekmambetov, this unique take on the 16th President of the United States showcases Lincoln’s secret life as a vampire hunter, blending iconic moments from history with heart-pounding action sequences. Benjamin Walker’s portrayal of Lincoln adds depth to the character, showcasing his determination to rid the world of vampires while grappling with the responsibilities of leadership. While not a history lesson, this film offers a thrilling and unconventional spin on a familiar figure from the past.


8. ‘Tombstone’ (1993)



“Tombstone” is a shining star in the revival of the Western genre that graced the early 1990s. It casts a spotlight on Wyatt Earp (played by Kurt Russell) and his band of comrades as they attempt to kick-start a business, only to find themselves entangled in a violent showdown in the wild town of Tombstone. Despite some historical liberties, “Tombstone” stands tall, appreciated for its accessible and stylish reinvention of the Western genre.

This film boasts an ensemble cast that includes Val Kilmer as the iconic Doc Holliday and Sam Elliott as Virgil Earp. Their performances breathe life into these legendary figures, making the film a thrilling ride through the dusty streets of the Old West. While it may not adhere strictly to historical events, “Tombstone” captures the essence of the era, delivering action, drama, and memorable one-liners that have solidified its status as a beloved Western classic.


7. ‘History of the World Part I’ (1983)



Mel Brooks’ classic comedy, “History of the World Part I,” merrily lampoons historical epics, careening through epochs from the Stone Age to the French Revolution via a series of uproarious sketches. It may not stick too closely to historical facts, but its humor and sharp wit have cemented its status as a cult classic.

With Mel Brooks at the helm, this irreverent romp through history is a showcase of comedic genius. Brooks plays multiple roles across various eras, delivering memorable gags and poking fun at historical figures and events. From the Roman Empire to the Spanish Inquisition, “History of the World Part I” is a riotous journey that showcases Brooks’ irrepressible comedic talent, even if it doesn’t always stay true to the history books.


6. ‘A Knight’s Tale’ (2001)



“A Knight’s Tale” boldly fuses medieval history with contemporary music and sensibilities, concocting an anachronistic but delightful cinematic experience. The film narrates the story of a peasant who assumes the identity of a knight to partake in thrilling jousting competitions, all set to the beat of rock anthems.

Heath Ledger leads the cast in this medieval adventure with a modern twist. Director Brian Helgeland takes creative liberties with history to craft a tale of chivalry, love, and ambition. The film’s soundtrack, featuring classic rock hits, adds a unique flavor to the narrative, and Ledger’s charismatic performance as William Thatcher makes “A Knight’s Tale” a medieval romp that’s both entertaining and memorable.


5. ‘Anastasia’ (1997)



This animated musical takes artistic liberties with the historical account of Anastasia Romanov, the youngest daughter of Russia’s last tsar. In this reimagining, Anastasia embarks on a journey to reunite with her family, accompanied by a resurrected Rasputin, a far cry from his historical demise.

“Anastasia” weaves a tale of mystery and magic against the backdrop of the Russian Revolution. With lush animation, a captivating score, and memorable characters, the film captures the imagination while taking liberties with the true story of Anastasia. While it may not adhere strictly to historical accuracy, its blend of fantasy and romance has made it a beloved animated classic.


4. ‘Monty Python’s Life of Brian’ (1979)



The comedic maestros of Monty Python ventured into biblical history with “Life of Brian,” recounting the comical tale of a man mistaken for the Messiah. Initially controversial, this film has since been celebrated for its razor-sharp satire and intelligent humor.

“Life of Brian” is a satirical masterpiece that finds humor in religious and historical contexts. The Monty Python team, led by Graham Chapman, creates a hilarious and thought-provoking commentary on blind faith, groupthink, and the absurdity of life in Roman-occupied Judea. While it may not hew closely to historical or biblical accuracy, it’s a comedy classic that continues to provoke laughter and contemplation.


3. ‘Amadeus’ (1984)



“Amadeus” presents a highly fictionalized rendition of the lives of composers Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart and Antonio Salieri. While it collected numerous accolades, including an Oscar for Best Picture, it hasn’t escaped criticism for its historical liberties.

Directed by Milos Forman, “Amadeus” is a visually stunning and emotionally charged exploration of the rivalry between two musical geniuses. Tom Hulce’s portrayal of Mozart is both captivating and controversial, depicting the composer with a childlike demeanor. The film may take creative liberties with historical events and characterizations, but it delves into the passion, envy, and genius of its subjects, creating a gripping narrative that transcends historical accuracy.


2. ‘Jurassic Park’ (1993)



Though “Jurassic Park” may not be rooted in human history, it takes some creative liberties with paleontology – most notably, the super-sized velociraptors. Yet, these deviations don’t dampen the thrill of the gripping narrative that has captivated audiences for decades.

Directed by Steven Spielberg, “Jurassic Park” is a groundbreaking film that brings dinosaurs to life with groundbreaking special effects. The story, based on Michael Crichton’s novel, explores the ethical dilemmas of resurrecting extinct creatures. While paleontologists may quibble about the accuracy of certain details, the film’s suspenseful storytelling and awe-inspiring visuals have made it a cinematic landmark.


1. ‘Gladiator’ (2000)



“Gladiator” is renowned for its grandeur and heart-pounding action sequences, overshadowing any concerns about historical accuracy. The film unfolds a riveting tale of revenge against the backdrop of Ancient Rome, even if it strays from the historical record.

Ridley Scott’s “Gladiator” is a masterclass in epic filmmaking, with Russell Crowe in the lead role of Maximus, a Roman general seeking vengeance. While the film plays fast and loose with historical facts, it immerses viewers in the brutality and politics of ancient Rome. Crowe’s powerful performance, combined with stunning visuals and a memorable score, elevates “Gladiator” to an iconic status that transcends its historical inaccuracies.


These films may not hew closely to historical facts, but they undeniably offer riveting narratives and unforgettable characters that have left an indelible mark on global audiences. They serve as a testament to the notion that, at times, the pursuit of an exceptional story should take precedence over strict historical fidelity.

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