Is Hollywood right to rewrite WW2 history?

November 2nd, 2004  
Rufus Excalibur

Topic: Is Hollywood right to rewrite WW2 history?

After Braveheart and the Patrriot brought things to a head, war films such as saving Private Ryan, Memphis Belle and U-571 have shown WW2 from not only a US perspective but distorting the historical accuracy. This is especially so of U-571.

The latest rumour is Tom Cruise as a Battle of Britain American Fighter Ace winning the Autumn 1940 showdown with the Luftwaffe singlehandedly.

Millions of young Brits now believe the US won WW2 by themselves and that the UK/GB had almost nothing to do with it at all.

Appreciate the need to attract US audiences but feel that things are going too far. The War films of the 50's and 60's seemed to be far better balanced or am I looking through rose tinted glasses for a bygone era?

Comments please!
November 2nd, 2004  
Get the young people to open a dang book....I greatly respect the british part in winning the war. My grandfather was infact in the British Army at Malta and El-Almein. But i people only watch movies, what knowledge will they have about anything? Now, on the other hand, the USA filmakers have to start making movies that reflect WWII reality better.
November 2nd, 2004  
Hollywood does not have an obligation to educate young people thru movies. I'm with Sherman get em books. Educate them thru schools,not cinema.
I learned about WWII thru reading and in classes and by talking to my Uncles who served in that war, one was a Navy Corpsman with Beach Party on Omaha (those were the guys with the Arch type banners on their steel pots). I could not ask him what he thought of the movie as he passed on a couple years before.
I don't feel that Hollywood realistically portrays WWII, or Korea, or Vietnam or any war. But that is not their business. Their business is to put butts in seats and make entertaining and profitable movies.
November 2nd, 2004  
The great danger is that many people with little knowledge of WW2 will simply assume that the movie they are watching is based on true facts.
November 2nd, 2004  
Fix bayonets
I agree that the youth of today should read a book about whatever subject they wish to sytudy, not just military history. But films are a good way of learning to. When reading a book you have picture in your mind about what its like but when you see a film about it you have a firm picture in your mind of what it was like.

Also reading a book is a great thing to do especially military hisistory because soldiers' own stories are mentioned like in D-Day by Stephan E. Ambrose.

But about Mr Ambrose's book. The book is made up of 32 chapters 22 of those are devoted to the actual day itself. 15 of those 22 chapters are about the American action on D-Day and only 7 have any (large) mention of the British an Canadian Forces on D-Day.

I'm 17 years old and I know a lot about military history including D-Day. If I did not know a lot I'd believe that D-Day was mainly an American operation , with the Americans doing the most work, which isn't true.

Films and books have an equal part to play in learning with some advantages and disadvantes.
November 2nd, 2004  
Mark Conley
I agree: if its in black and white..and printed on paper then it means someone cared enough to do some research. get some facts down and will stand their name behind it..right or wrong. Get them to read a book.

Movies are entertainment. if everything was presented as one would believe it..maybee.

The best book that i remember reading about D-Day was the longest corneilus ryan. big book but everyone was pretty represented as if it was a time line unfolding.

course the movie was good too but the book went deeper and more honest into the story and it was written within the co-sphere of rememberance so that i believe its very factual.
November 2nd, 2004  
Italian Guy
Too many people don't have a clear idea of where the line between fiction and reality lies. In my experience most of them are from the left.
November 2nd, 2004  
If you take all their movies as and consider their message, its fairly upsetting. Not only does Hollywood portray the USA as the only ally as having done anything useful in World War II, it also does its very best to demonize the US military for pretty much everything after that. "A Few Good Men" and "Couirage Under Fire" are a couple I watched again recently. Both make the military look bad and do so unfairly. Neither is a really great example of what I'm talking about, but good enough.
November 2nd, 2004  
Hollywoods job isn't to educate the people, Hollywoods job is to make us good movies we can go and see and love it yet buy the Movie and never watch it....

It is the job of The Education System to teack kids the truth.
November 3rd, 2004  
It is interesting to see the trends in Hollywoods war-movies.

Early on, in the 40:ies, it was much about glory, heroes and doing wath's right.

In the 60:ies many movies that said, "war is bad, but what's even worse is athourities". Examples of these are, "Bridge at Remagen", "The Dirty Dozen" and "Kellys Heroes". The soldiers knows best, discipline is for sissies and officers are ridiculed.

Later we saw movies like, "Apocalypse Now", "Platoon" and "Full Metal Jacket". Their message was in a way, "war is insanity".

It's hard to label the war-movies of today, but one thing i certain - the glory is back. "Saving privat Ryan", "Black Hawk Down" and "We Were Soldiers" to name a few, all held duty and heroism high.

Feel free to fill the gaps

The conclusion, as many have mentioned, is that Hollywoods primary goal is to fill movie theaters. The movies says, in a sence, more about the society at the time they were released, and less about what historically actually happened.

There is two movies about war that gave me a feeling of realism: "Tuntematon Sotilas" ("Unknown Soldier") and "Talvisota" ("The Winter War"), both Finnish movies.