The Colin McEnroe Show
3:17 pm
Fri February 4, 2011

The Nose: Do Movies Need To Be Historically Accurate?

Movies are usually beautiful lies. If you want to learn about history, read a history book. The most a movie can do is kind of light you up, in a vague way, about its historical subject. You watch "Gandhi," maybe you get why Gandhi was such a big deal.

So it doesn't make much sense to become outraged when movies distort a historical record. There are two exceptions. One, when the movie asserts, as its fundamental reason for being, the setting straight of the historical record. That was the case with "JFK," although Oliver Stone eventually started calling it a "counter myth" set against the assassination myths he didn't like.
Two, when there's something really significant on the line. Crtiics of the "King's Speech" have complained that the movie covers up the role George VI played in supporting a strategy of appeasing Hitler's regime.

We'll talk about that and more on the Nose, our weekly cultural roundtable.

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