7 Iconic American Civil War Movies That Miserably Failed at Accuracy
A little lie for the sake of the story... Is that wrong?
It's a well known fact that the movie industry, especially when it comes to historical events, does not really serve the educational needs of people, but rather does great as a source of entertainment, giving you some glimpses of real life events.
And sometimes the writers decide to mix some fiction into these stories, maybe to make them a little more compelling and to add some intrigue or some other ingredient that the real story is missing.
This is especially noticeable in the Civil War movies, so here are seven of the best films in the genre that ended up with quite noticeable mistakes history-wise.
This Steven Spielberg ’s movie has become one of the greatest films about the given time period. The plot of the movie revolves around the figure of Abraham Lincoln. Despite the critical acclaim, there were still some minor inaccuracies.
For example, the movie version of Lincoln swore a lot and was even shown to be violent with his son. But as far as official personal records go, Lincoln wasn't like that in real life. These additions were supposedly made for dramatic effect. Another detail concerns his working cabinet. In the movie it is full of political rivals, but in reality he only had loyalists there.
6. Cold Mountain
Another highly acclaimed film, Cold Mountain, provides us with the story of a soldier who abandons the war in order to be with the woman he loves.However, the portrayal of the woman in the movie, Ada, was far from what a real person in the circumstances would look like and do.
She was a farm wife, so it just doesn't make sense for her to be dressed up and wearing makeup in the movie. And the fact that the union left Inman alone after the dissertation is also not quite what happens to the deserters...
Glory is largely about the first African-American regiment in the northern states, mainly in the state of Massachusetts. The movie is considered pivotal in the industry because it actually shows that there were black soldiers in the army at the time. However, there are still some aspects of this matter that are mostly made up.
The movie implies that black soldiers had more difficulties than others when trying to find food or equipment because of racism. However, it's a proven fact that the Governor of Massachusetts at the time made sure that everyone had everything they needed to fight in the war.
4. The Good, The Bad And The Ugly
One of the most popular movies ever made by Clint Eastwood is definitely this one. The story of the movie follows three gunslingers as they search for buried Confederate gold. Despite the public's love for the movie, it has received a lot of criticism from history experts.
A major misleading detail was the use of Gatling guns in the movie. And while it's true that they were used during the time of the war, there was still nothing like that in 1862, the exact time period of the movie.
The plot of the movie is largely based on Michael Shaara's novel Killer Angels. It tells the story of the three-day battle of Gettysburg. And while the movie in fact got many historical facts correctly, some mistakes were made. For example, leaving Union Major General George Meade out of the spotlight of the movie was quite a big deal, as in real life he was a huge part of it.
The iconic movie follows a crew of soldiers being captured while the Battle of Cold Harbor was going on. Those captives are put in a horrible Confederate prison. Thanks to this particular movie, audiences got to find out how horrible the real conditions of Confederate prison camps were.
But even this movie failed to give a true account of the events, mainly while depicting the prisoner exchanges. The process shown in the movie is so inaccurate it makes history experts angry. In reality, prisoner exchanges happened all the time, so a soldier captured at the Battle of Antietam in 1862 would not still be held two years later.
1. Gone With The Wind
At the top of the kist is this all-time favorite movie, based on Margaret Mitchell’s books. There were always some sorts of problems with the movie, but the fans loved it anyway. However, the main problem with Gone With the Wind is its one-sided portrayal of the Civil War.
Along with this comes the inaccurate portrayal of happy plantations and content slaves. Unfortunately, the movie does nothing to depict the true horrors of the American Civil War. Well, maybe it will be easier to just consider it the greatest love story rather than praising it as an accurate war movie…