The Braveheart Effect

During the course of my epic voyage through British history on film I think that I may have noticed something. I’ve come up with the following hypothesis based on what I’ve seen:

History films released before Braveheart are generally more accurate than those released afterwards

Let’s be honest here, Braveheart was one of the most wildly inaccurate films ever to be released and that can’t be denied, no matter what you may think of it as a film. But all the history films I have seen of recent years, particularly those of real events, seem to be suffering the from same inaccuracy problems as Braveheart- IE they present a heavily fictionalised and completely unrealistic account of what actually happened.

I can just name a few just to show you what I mean: Gladiator, Pearl Harbour, Kingdom of Heaven, 300, Alexander… All based on real events and yet not one of them come even remotely close to the truth. Gladiator compresses the entire reign of Emperor Commodus into the space of a few months, Pearl Harbour (which you would expect to be accurate given it wasn’t that long ago) was just an excuse for blowing some ships up and the less said about 300 the better. We can even see this in those films that have already been watched during my challenge- Centurion, Ironclad, etc. The fact of the matter is that all of these films are based on actual historical events and all of them are inaccurate.¬† Its as though the people writing the film didn’t even bother to read up on the subject matter first. And the let’s not even go anywhere near A Knight’s Tale (Though i’m guessing that one was mostly intentional!)

As a side note, they even managed to spectacularly fudge up Beowulf, which in all honesty isn’t that hard to read given that it’s only about one hundred pages long.

Now if we look at films from before Braveheart: The likes of Zulu, Lawrence of Arabia, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid… All great films, yes ok, they have their inaccuracies I’ll grant you, but even put together, their inaccuracies are nothing compared to what you can find in a single film of the modern era.

Now it’s not neccessarily the case that the older films are better than the newer ones, Gladiator is still a decent film, despite people in the background wandering around in modern clothing, and some of the older films, as my challenge has shown, are complete bilge water (EG: Becket).

To cut everything short, I have come up with three questions based on my original hypothesis:

  1. How has the level of inaccuracy in history films increased over time?
  2. Is there a point where History films became inaccurate or did it increase on a gradual scale?
  3. How much of a role has Braveheart played in this process.?

Hopefully, this British history challenge will be able to help us at least part of the way to an answer and all of the rubbish I’ve just written will at least make a bit more sense.

UPDATE: The results of the test are now up and you can find them here


Once More Unto The Breech | History Challenge #8-11

After a couple of outdated films concerning Henry II it’s time to return to a more decent calibre of film, or at least that was the plan. As we all know, the best laid plans of mice and men and all that… We start with King John, who was last seen as something of a village idiot! Continue reading “Once More Unto The Breech | History Challenge #8-11”


As a completely unashamed fan of all things Dr Who, its only a natural thing for me to also watch its spin off series, the ubiquitous Torchwood. The series started, what seems like many years ago now, back in good old 2006.

It’s changed a bit since then and the latest series is all shiny and American. Now I don’t mind it being a bit Americanised, but I ask you, where are the aliens? I haven’t seen a proper, decent alien menace in Torchwood since… You know i think it might have been the one with the carnival people way back in the second series.¬† Torchwood is supposed to be adult science fiction- That means there should at least be a certain amount of malice/horror contained therein. I like my sci-fi to be complete with dangerous, ugly, flesh ripping monsters and maybe the odd lunatic thrown in for good measure. I haven’t really felt that with the last couple of series. Yeah… Children of Earth had the “456” (Seriously? I could think of a few much better names than that given about ten minutes and a bottle of vodka!) but we never saw it properly and it spent most of the time in a glass cabinet thing. So far with series four we haven’t seen any butt ugly aliens… There may be one at some point, but its starting to bug me a bit. I’m not holding out much hope.


And I have a theory as well… concerning the ending to this series. Cpt Jack will either sacrifice himself/be killed to begin with. Then, soon after, the natural process of death will return and guess who then comes back to life? Just watch me be proven right.

I had Cholera Once

Today didn’t start well.

For starters I had one of those dreams where you think you’re awake but actually you’re still asleep last night. I hate those things because I always feel, afterwards, that I’ve not had enough sleep and end up in a bad mood for the rest of the day. It was also one of those dreams where you find you can’t move when you desperately want to, the ones where it’s like someone’s holding you down. I hate these as well. So all in all not a good start to the day.

Continue reading “I had Cholera Once”

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