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When filmmakers make movies about real people or events, such as "The Social Network," "The King's Speech," "United 93," "Ali," "Nixon," "JFK," "The Alamo," and so on, how much artistic liberty do you


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Very little to none at all, depending on how major the event or person was.

Unfortunately the filmmakers don't care what I think, and frequently re-write history shamelessly.

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As soon as you point a camera at something you create a version of reality. Sticking actors in front of it reciting lines written by a screenwriter makes it even more so.

I'm all for these kinds of movies, as long as they are prefaced by the caveat, "Based on a true story". Then it's clear that events, lines, situations may have been changed in order to make them more 'cinematic' or 'entertaining'.

For an example of how not to do it, look at the end of "Schindler's List". Spielberg parades the actual survivors past Schindler's actual grave along with the actors who portrayed them in the film. It seeks to validate everything that happened in the film as historical truth, when it really isn't at all.

I'm all for using historical figures though. That upcoming Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies movie looks like a lot of fun!

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how much artistic liberty do you think is OK.

Enough to make me happy. If you made a movie of my life, it would be a 30 second Budwiser CM.

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I remember when "JFK" came out, there was a big outcry in the U.S. mainstream media, insulting Oliver Stone and claiming that he was distorting the facts and misleading the current generation about the assassination. I was totally absorbed by the movie but not for one minute did I think it was a documentary. It did make me think about the assassination and read more and look at other documentaries.

I think filmmakers have a more difficult job if the subject is still alive or recently deceased or if the event is still relatively recent, such as 9/11, but with long-past subjects, who knows what the person was really like. The events of the Alamo have two opposite interpretations, depending on what side of the border you come from.

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as much as they want, otherwise the film is a documentary.....

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One of the worse distortions of history was in the big-screen version of the gangster epic movie "The Untouchables". Federal agent Eliot Ness murders gangster Frank "The Enforcer" Nitti in 1931 by pushing him off a courthouse building roof. In real life it is doubful they ever had much to do with each other and Nitti succeeded Al Capone as leader of the Chicago Outfit (mafia) until his death in 1943, supposedly by suicide (see Ronald D. Humble, "Frank Nitti: the True Story of Chicago's Notorious Enforcer).

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Lummox's post is to the point.

And I'd add that ALL movies are fictional representations unless definitively stated otherwise - never!

So I suggest people drop the baggage and enjoy the creativity of films and primarily base ones likes & dislikes on the "cinematic experience."

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I like it when movies start off with "Inspired by true events."

It kind of reminds me of that scene in "No Country For Old Men" when that lady was asking Tommy Lee Jones about some story he told her:

Lady: Was that story true?

TLJ: It was true........that it was a story....

Some people are offended when movies distort facts, but movies are movies, and not documentaries as other posters have mentioned. Except on "Dragnet," where only the names have been changed to protect the innocent.

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How much? Enough to make it interesting. Just mention it is based on true facts, like others pointed out. If you want the truth, it's out there, so find out for yourself or watch a documentary(which by the way has its flaws too)

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history is an academic discipline that is continually unearthing new material and interpreting events accordingly, shedding light on new matters that affect the way people come to view thins in context.

so, as long as the people making the movies have done their homework and presenting a viable interpretation of the course of events or people involved, then the smarter they are the more artistic license they should have at their disposal, as it would seem that the purpose for making a movie on a historical topic familiar to many is to revitalize it and make it relevant to the current scenario.

besides, if somebody tries to make an ideological film, then the educated public will lambaste them, and the film will flop.

somebody has to make a movie about regan soon...just to silence palin and other wannabe republicans. on the other hand, there would be the same vociferous reaction as to stone's film...

they'll be making films about america herslef before long---history...

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First and foremost people watch movies to as a form of ENTERTAINMENT.

If I want to sit through and listen through Nixons hours of conversations, I'd watch a documentary.

Even though some of these movies are bad, and some were really good, they do spark a lot of TV documentaries on the "real" subjects, and how things "really were".

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As much as they want. Otherwise, it can't be called freedom.

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I have no objection to them fabricating fantastic stories to sell tickets, don't get my earlier post wrong by thinking I'm against creativity. But the words based on a true story give the FALSE impression that it's realistic. Perhaps if they changed it to LOOSELY based on a true story or inspired by a true story then altered beyond recognition I would feel happier.

There are Americans who believe the Enigma codes were broken by Americans, for example. I'm sure you Americans won't object to that wild variation from fact, but if someone NOT from America made a movie portraying JFK to be a black pimp, killed in a gun-fight over a white slave prostitute, and made him appear solely responsible for the massacre of entire nations, I'm sure you'd have a slightly different opinion. If something claims to be based on fact, it shouldn't be permitted to deviate from KNOWN fact very much. Certainly not to the point of rewriting history.

If I made a movie based on fact which played up the way America manipulated Japan in the run up to Pearl Harbour, stretching known fact into a blatant lie, you'd soon start whinging. When your country does it to the rest of the world you think it's great, even when they do it to themselves you don't object, which is up to you. But your country does not have the right to create outright lies about other countries or people and pretend it's based on fact. Nor do any other countries, about America or anywhere else.

There are some cases where the whole truth will never be known, so once the people involved are dead it's reasonable to speculate, provided it's made clear that that's what you are doing.

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"Countries" don't usually make movies - esp in the democratic world.

Most popular movies (as listed) are made by individuals or private consortiums who express their own leanings, even in a so called "based on fact" story.

Nations as entities can't be held responsible.

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Should be kept as close as possible to the actual historical events, if they need to embelish things to make it more attractive or dramatic then it shouldnt be a movie worthy story in the first place.

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Saving Private Ryan is a good example of film-makers taking liberties with history. It is without doubt one of the greatest war films ever made, but The Word According to Spielberg says that the US of A was by far the main player in the events of D-Day, and the British/ANZAC/Canadians only bit players.

No right-minded person would deny the courage of anyone of any nationality who helped bring about the end of Nazism that longest of days, but one can't help but think my grandfather - blessings be upon his name - might have a word or two to say about the way his fallen comrades were erased from such an otherwise magnificent depiction of history.

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"idiocracy" is based on a true story.

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Sometimes these films can be quite informative. I saw "The Social Network" and immediately took steps to block Facebook from my computer.

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