Inspired by this thread, what are some movies that surprised you with some or many details about the period they depicted even though they weren’t docudramas or “serious” historical films? These movies could be comedies, tongue-in-cheek adventures, romances, or even musicals. The common feature is that they make no outward pretense about being accurate but somehow hit the mark more frequently than many movies that do.
I’ve heard that both Apollo 13 and Tora! Tora! Tora! are very accurate depictions of real events. Since both of them depict recent history, they probably have it somewhat easier in being able to consult with the people who were actually present and access to detailed records of events.
Same thing with Blackhawk Down. Although a couple of characters were combined etc, it was still pretty spot on. So much so that they actually used real audio and video of the events.
My ancient history teacher in college loved “Spartacus” - thought it was accurate in depicting certain aspects of Roman life.
The TV miniseries Winds of War and War and Remembrance by Herman Wouk are almost 100% accurate in their description of the World War II events.
The fictional characters are, of course, not real. However, the description of the concentration camps and Berel, Aaron, and Natalie experiences are completely accurate.
Let me clarify what I’m looking for. This thread isn’t necessarily about docudramas or “serious” movies that you would think would at least make an effort to accurately depict a historical period or event. It’s about movies that perhaps due to their lightweight appearance, surprised you with the things they got right.
The clothing of the townsfolk in Back to the Future III is surprisingly accurate for the kind of movie it is. No, really! The silhouettes of the women’s clothing are right on for the late 1880s, and the hats are especially nice. There are tons of Westerns that don’t get that right, but this third in a series movie about time travel totally nailed it.
While the situation in the movie Down Periscope is asinine, and many of the characters are the standard caricatures one expects in such a film, the technical situations were surprisingly well done. (Granted this is a matter of having expected the film to be completely unrealistic or accurate, and finding it, instead, to be only occasionally unrealistic.)
I’ve been told that the violence was considerably toned down: that the Somalis used women and children as human shields, for instance.
There was this movie “13 Days” about the Cuba-Crisis that I’m currently trying to supply an IMDB link for … there it is … that I gather is pretty accurate, also when you read the Alison and Zelikow classic ‘Essence of Decision’ - which I would actually recommend.
My Roman history prof used it to show what the manipular legion looked like.
The original All Quiet on the Western Front is very accurate, and if you know what to look for you can tell the guys dismantling the machine gun during the French attack are probably WW1 Veterans. The Germans were also using grenades that were not stick grenades, which most folks forget that they had during the war.
I have only seen Black Adder I, but the costuming in it was incredible. I have never in my life seen costuming that ever came close in authenticity.
did he have anything to say on eating oysters vs. eating snails?
Medium Cool is a dramatic film that set against the background of the 1968 Democratic National convention. The scenes of what was going on in the streets is highly accurate, since the film was shooting in Chicago during the convention, and director Haskell Wexler shot footage of the real event. But it’s not a documentary about the convention, except that it uses the convention as a background to develop the story.
I have no idea if this is actually true, and a quick Google search returned nothing either way, but I have a friend who has always claimed that Monty Python and the Holy Grail won a prize for its accurate portrayal of the Middle Ages. If true, I suppose it was for the “Bring out your dead!” bit and the anarcho-syndicalist peasants where the lower class is literally depicted wallowing in filth and refuse.
Someday I’ll call her on this and demand evidence, but until that day, it’s a nice thought to brighten my day.
At least one of my high school English teachers also said this. It should be noted that Python’s Terry Jones has written at least one book on the medieval period; IIRC, it was focused on Arthurian legend, specifically Sir Gawain.
Heh, my HS history teacher said the same thing. This would have been mid-90’s. Must be some teaching magazine or something published a list of historically accurate movies with Holy Grail at the top of one of the lists.
Late 70’s for me – I graduated HS in 1981.
Very interesting because it wasn’t overly accurate in general. It used a lot of victorian and earlier preconcieved notions about roman life and slavery…