Last night at the Oscars, “History Movies” were well represented as Lincoln, Argo, Zero Dark Thirty, and Django Unchained were all nominated for multiple awards. History movies are also major components of many history classes in secondary and post-secondary schools… but how much truth is there in these films.
Lincoln for example has been heralded as a film which accurately portrays President Lincoln’s fight for the 13th Amendment… but how accurate was it? We can perhaps forgive the fact that the film shows the Connecticut delegation in the House of Representatives as splitting on the vote for the Amendment when in fact all four of the delegates voted for its passage, we can also forgive the fact that the film makers even changed the names of the representatives from Connecticut, what’s more difficult to swallow is the fact that the film shows Lincoln as the white savior and totally discounts the role blacks played in the fight for their own equality.
The other films have similar such errors…
Movie makers are not historians and they are not reporters so do they have a responsibility to entertain us with the truth? Or should consumers and moviegoers simply be more educated about basic historical fact and not take everything they see as truth?