Jack Forman – Mustangs Ahead
(LAKEWOOD RANCH, FL) – Historical accuracy is inarguably an important aspect to making a period movie. The film needs to represent the era correctly.
This is extremely important for “true story” based films like “Band of Brothers,” which depicts the 101st Airborne Diision during World War 2.
This series featured some of the most in-depth historical research and accuracy ever brought to screen and yet fans still responded with malice towards the smallest of mistakes.
This is a testament to the intense expectations required to make a period piece about such a well-known historical event, but how important is it to avoid blurring these lines of fiction and non-fiction?
The film “Saving Private Ryan” by Stephen Spielberg stuck to the formula of keeping historical accuracy by paying homage to the 1944 D-Day invasion of the Normandy beaches. Some veterans from the event reportedly had panic attacks due to its intense accuracy.
Following these opening battle scenes, the movie then takes a fictional route, but even the biggest critics were able to accept the difference. This example of closely blurring lines was successful, but others miss the tone.
Another WW2 movie, “Enemy at the Gates,” isn’t regarded in the same light due to its ultra-dramatic scenes and unrealistic Hollywood set pieces.
The film is about the Battle of Stalingrad, but it fell short and didn’t connect with fans in the same way Spielberg’s “Saving Private Ryan” did, even though both were fictional movies.
The film didn’t respect the battle that helped determine the entire War. It felt like a made-up urban setting, as It immediately begins in fiction and never covers the battle with a large-scale assault or depiction of the suffering so many soldiers felt.
In order to appease the critics in both the genre of historical accuracy and storytelling, filmmakers need to respect the event at hand.
“Saving Private Ryan’s” brutal depiction of D-Day instilled a sense of trust with the viewer and therefore the movie could take creative liberates.
A movie like “Enemy at the Gates” didn’t respect the historical reality by basing the movie around the main characters, instead of the Battle of Stalingrad. It’s sense of fraud and fictional stories didn’t translate with the viewers.
Saving Private Ryan was first and foremost, D-day. Many historical films don’t respect their settings in the same way but instead use it as a setting for a historically-inaccurate stories.
A period piece can include fictional stories if it respects the material at hand. Most viewers can see through Hollywood and should expect accuracy even in a fictional film. Containing both fact and fiction Is important in keeping the fabric of the period together, especially in a popular, well-studied genre like World War 2.