Ever since my family took a summer vacation to Pennsylvania to tour Gettysburg and various civil war spots on the east coast, I have been fascinated by history. It should be no surprise to anyone that my favorite types of movies are the one’s that a historical event and dramatize it on the big screen.
In my opinion, it is very hard for filmmakers to balance historical accuracy and the amount of entertainment for a given movie. I believe that historical movies, and film in general, are a type of entertainment that has no responsibility to be historically accurate. I believe it is up to the filmmaker and his reputation that determines how accurate or how extravagant the movie becomes.
Let me give an example of what I mean. Recently, two historically based movies have been released. Steven Spielberg’s film Lincoln is obviously about the life and work of Abraham Lincoln and his fight for the 13th amendment. Django Unchained is a Tarantino film about a slave who finds freedom and gets revenge on his slave owners.
From the very first trailer that was released for Lincoln, I knew exactly what type of movie it was going to be. I knew that since Spielberg has a reputation for producing accurate, lifelike movies (such as Saving Private Ryan) this movie was going to be very accurate and well put together. I assumed Spielberg would do everything in his power to ensure that Lincoln was portrayed in a historically accurate and fair manner.
On the other hand, I knew that Tarantino has a knack for making movies that are strange and out of the ordinary, I therefore expected him to focus less on the historical accuracies of the plot and more on the entertainment value of the movie. I would like to iterate that this is not a bad thing, it is just the way that Tarantino has portrayed himself over his very successful movie-making career. These two are examples of when accuracy is expected, and when it is not.