History makes for great movies. This is a given.
And while most historical films take a certain amount of licence with the truth, some retellings are more egregious than others.
Just take a look at “The Help.”
After a major press push and the success of the best-selling novel on which it was based, it looked as though the Emma Stone-led film would be a summer hit.
And it isn’t alone.
We took a look at 10 of the most historically inaccurate movies that take surprising liberties with the stories from which they’re inspired.
Not so surprising? Mel Gibson earns three cameos on the list.
Amadeus (1984): Despite what the film implies, it is widely believed that composer Antonio Salieri did NOT plot Mozart's death.
Braveheart (1995): The film's hero William Wallace was far from a poor commoner as Mel Gibson would have you believe -- he was actually a knight. Also, Wallace's father was not killed by the English (he fought on their side in exchange for political favour). And they were not wearing kilts, which were not developed until three centuries later.
Gladiator (2000): Joaquin Phoenix's Commodus was actually a Roman Emperor who was respected highly by the Senate and ruled for 13 years (not a few months as the film depicts). And rather than falling in love with his sister Lucilla, Commodus had her murdered after her involvement in an assassination attempt. Also, Commodus was not killed in the arena but strangled in the bath by a wrestler named Narcissus.
Pearl Harbor (2001): While the film's two main characters are based on George Welch and Kenneth M. Taylor, U.S. Army Air Corps Second Lieutenants, they were never involved in a love triangle and did not go on the Doolittle Raid. In addition, several plot components (long-distance radio transmissions, historical props, misspellings and misused terminology), would not have existed at the time of the Pearl Harbor attack.
Marie Antoinette (2006): The sex life between Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI (and the subsequent delay to produce an heir) is a central focal-point in the film. In Sofia Coppola's version, Louis XVI is afraid of sex -- in reality, he is believed to have had a medical condition, which was later fixed via operation and led to the couple conceiving.
Apocalypto (2006): In addition to the social structure and daily life of the Mayan people being portrayed inaccurately, the sun god Kukulkan, to whom a human sacrifice is made in the Mel Gibson-directed film, never requested (nor was granted) such.
Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007): In addition to the age difference between Cate Blanchett (36) and Queen Elizabeth at the time the film takes place (52), the Queen was not being courted by such men as Ivan the Terrible (who was actually dead then) and instead of riding in full armour atop a white horse and carrying a sword, the Queen actually rode side saddle with a baton.
10,000 B.C. (2008): Where to begin...woolly mammoths did not help to build pyramids and pyramids were not actually built until approximately 2,500 B.C. Also: saber-tooted tigers should've been extinct by then, not running around on-screen.
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