How successful has Hollywood been in recreating historical events? What, if any, responsibility do filmmakers have regarding historical accuracy?

Essay by pinkeyedwolfUniversity, Bachelor's April 2006

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Hollywood film studios have been making historical movies for more than 90 years; so in this respect they can count themselves as a success in the field of making historical films and recreating historical events. But the question is really; have they done it well and have they been accurate in their portrayals? Do they care whether historical facts are correct? Does it matter if they are correct? Do they have a responsibility to us, the money paying audience, to impart historical fact or to make a film that people will go to see and enjoy? Are both these scenarios possible? Or are their loyalties more with the shareholders and an overwhelming allegiance to the almighty Dollar? The answer to all and any of these questions could be yes, no or maybe, depending on your point of view. None of the answers would necessarily be wrong. However, in the interest of making definitive decisions, it will be argued that film studios do not have a responsibility, at least to the general viewing public, to make an historical film as accurate as possible, but that they have a need to make one that makes money.

Discussion will be made with regard to the costs involved in making an historical film and a movie database will be used to gain extra information about films that are not available with the original media. To keep the essay concise, a comparison of film making styles and criteria will be compared using only the films Glory (1989) and The Patriot (2000) as the main films and Revolution (1985) as a comparison film. It will be shown that although film studios do have some responsibility to make films as accurate as possible, it is just as important that a film is made that large numbers of...