"Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter" opens in theaters Friday, June 22, and features the 16th president of the United States battling to free the United States from the threat of vampires. What some people may not realize is that this is not a factual interpretation of the life of Abraham Lincoln. However, it also isn't the first movie that rewrote history for the purpose of entertainment.
Quentin Tarantino rewrote World War II in "Inglourious Basterds." Brad Pitt stars as a soldier who runs a covert team dropped into occupied Europe and assigned with taking out the enemy by any means necessary.
When the Basterds learn that a film premiere will not only be attended by Adolph Hitler but also by his heads of state, they create a plan. Eli Roth bursting into the balcony and gunning down Hitler as the theater burns down is one of the most jaw-dropping moments in cinema history.
"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen"
"The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen" was a comic book created by Alan Moore. The titular crime-fighting team comprises a wide array of literary creations. While not alternative history in the real world, these comics altered the characters from the classics into new, fun territory.
Sean Connery starred in the movie adaptation as Alan Quatermain and led a team with luminaries like Jekyll/Hyde, The Invisible Man, Dorian Gray, Mina Harker, Captain Nemo, and -- in a change from the comics -- American hero Tom Sawyer.
Based on the Frank Miller comic book of the same name, Zack Snyder created "300" as a visually dynamic movie that depicted the stand of 300 Spartans against the attacking forces of the Persians. The Persians were led in the movie by a godlike Xerxes and fell to the might of the indomitable Spartan army.
This was a highly fictionalized version of the Battle of Thermopylae, introducing fantastical creatures and a complete lack of body armor for the buff Greek warriors. It brought in the women, though.
Mel Gibson has been a part of many historically inaccurate movies, from "Braveheart" to "The Patriot." However, in "Apocalypto," Gibson had all the actors speak in a dead language to prove how accurate it was.
National Geographic actually went after the movie with a big look at everything wrong with it, from the violence of the Mayans to the Spaniards arriving. In actuality, Europeans didn't come to the New World until 400 years after the Mayans' collapse.
"Gladiator" was set in ancient Roman and had a number of real historical figures among the cast. Despite winning multiple Oscars, including the Academy Award for Best Picture, the story was filled with inaccuracies.
For one thing, Commodus was not killed in a gladiator match. Instead, the emperor was murdered in a bathtub by a wrestler he kept on hand as a sparring partner. For another, he ruled Rome for 13 years, not the significantly shorter time Ridley Scott's movie presents. Commodus also never killed his father, Marcus Aurelius, who instead died of a plague. But every movie needs a good villain.
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