There’s plenty of fact based films that are ‘liberal’ with the truth, that change a few things here and there just to increase the drama in the story so its more involving for the audience or it might suit the actors/filmmakers better. What’s of concern is when you watch a movie that is based on a true story – do you automatically assume that it’s all fact? I’d reckon a fair whack of people will just accept that what they are watching is what actually happened. But kiddies let me tells ya there’s lots of bullshit floating out there calling itself truth. Let’s look at 3 features that aren’t as faithfully based on true stories as you might think and just a couple of their inaccuracies!
1. THE HURRICANE – The biopic on George ‘The Hurricane’ Carter that tells the story of the prized boxer who was accused and convicted of a triple homicide. Bob Dylan writes a song about him. After 20 years in the clink 3 Canadians find the missing piece of evidence that clears his name.
THE FILM – Opens with a boxing match between Carter and Joey Giardello in which Carters pummels his white opponent clearly. The match is then award to Giardello because the racist judges give it to the white guy.
FACT – Giardello who0ped Carter’s ass good in that match so much so that the real Giardello sued the film production which they settled out of court for a handsome sum.
THE FILM – Portrays Carter as a man persecuted by racism. The wrong place at the wrong time and an easy target.
FACT – George Carter was arrested for Armed Robbery & Assault at the age of 14. Had served two stints in prison for street muggings by the age of 22. He was also declared ‘unfit to serve’ after being court martialed by the military 4 times.
THE FILM – Talks of a missing piece of evidence that gets found 20 years later by 3 Canadians that lead to his release from prison.
FACT – There was no ‘missing piece of evidence’. In actual fact the prosecution on the case had enough evidence to convict the man twice. Due to procedural blunders and a failure to turn over a piece of evidence that wasn’t missing, just not submitted, it was deemed unfair to the Carter trial therefore the Judge had no choice but to throw the case out.
FACT – The Lowdown Under does not suggest that George ‘The Hurricane’ Carter is guilty – just pointing out the inaccuracies in the film.
2. THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS – Will Smith & Jaden Smith play hard on their luck father and son duo. Chris Gardner spends his time struggling to make ends meet for him and his son Chris Jr. When a chance encounter sees him solve a rubiks cube which wows an employee at Dean Witter it gives Chris Snr the opportunity to take the one and only spot there.
THE FILM – Sees the duo doing it tough in cheap motels, in the car, on trains etc while Chris Snr is pushing his way through this training course.
FACT – During the first 4 months of the course Chris Jnr lived with his mother Jackie. It should also be noted that Chris Jnr was conceived while Chris Snr was married to another woman.
FILM – Chris Jnr is 5 years old.
FACT – Chris Jnr was 2 years old when all this was happening.
There’s a whole stack of mythbusting on THE PURSUIT OF HAPPYNESS you can find here
3. A BEAUTIFUL MIND – The Russell Crowe/Jennifer Connelly starrer based on the life of John Forbes Nash portrays the incredibly intelligent man plagued with hallucinations and putting major stress on his marriage to long suffering wife Alicia Nash.
FILM – Nash has hallucinations and hears things constantly.
FACT – Nash never had hallucinations – his episodes were only auditory. He only heard voices.
FILM – The Nashes remained happily married throughout.
FACT – John and Alicia Nash divorced in 1963 and didn’t remarry until 2001. The film also completely omits his homosexuality.
FILM – Nash suggests he’s on new medication towards the end of the film before giving a nobel prize acceptance speech.
FACT – Nash stopped taking meds in 1970 and never went back on them. He was actually not allowed to make an acceptance speech for fear of what he might say. He has also been known as anti-Semitic, which he labels a part of his illness.
Here’s some more bits on A BEAUTIFUL MIND that make the film a little less beautiful.
It’s not to say that these flicks aren’t entertaining – they certainly are – it’s just highlighting the dramatic license taken to deliver a much more entertaining story to an audience.
My thanks to Monkey Migraine & Cracked.Com