10 Oscar Winning Films With Huge Historical Inaccuracies

"Based on a true story"... but where have all the facts gone?

The Kings Speech
The Weinstein Company

"Based on a true story" - the words that both frustrate and captivate an audience. The likelihood is that the film being described by that phrase is going to be intriguing, exciting and unusual - and based on a significant dramatic or historical event.

Yet those five words also appear to give film directors artistic licence to go far beyond what can realistically be deemed "historically accurate". It seems that as long as there is a vague reference to the actual characters and events being depicted, then sensationalism and dramatisation are allowed to take over the plotline - particularly when an Oscar is up for grabs.

Some historical inaccuracies are trivial and forgivable - for example if someone in the 1920s happens to be wearing clothing not invented until the 1950s, that is excusable - yet others can drastically alter the public€™s conceptions about a particular event.

Imagine if a film about World War II suddenly depicted Adolf Hitler as an empathetic leader who was unaware of and unaccountable for The Holocaust €“ there would be outrage, and rightly so, because historical evidence proves the German Fuhrer knew at least to some degree the extent of the atrocities committed by his regime.

However, less well-known or high-profile periods of history have been inaccurately represented - and yet they have had Oscars lauded upon them.

Here are ten Academy Award-winning films that share 36 Oscars between them but ultimately failed their history exams and contain some horrendous and, in many cases, unforgivable inaccuracies...


NUFC editor for WhatCulture.com/NUFC. History graduate (University of Edinburgh) and NCTJ-trained journalist. I love sports, hopelessly following Newcastle United and Newcastle Falcons. My pastimes include watching and attending sports matches religiously, reading spy books and sampling ales.