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Added by garfield2710 on 8 May 2016 12:12
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Negative Depictions of Real People

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Decade: Rating: List Type:
People who added this item 1501 Average listal rating (962 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.1
William Ford is depicted in the film as a hypocrite who, while still bothered by slavery, still kept slaves anyway. In real life, Northup described Ford as a very kind man, who was completely blind to the horrors of slavery, and Northup didn't say a single negative thing about him in his memoir.
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People who added this item 2028 Average listal rating (1233 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.7
Adaptation. (2002)
Obviously, the real life Susan Orlean and John Laroche did not try to kill screenwriter Charlie Kaufman or his twin brother, (who doesn't exist), Donald Kaufman.
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People who added this item 2387 Average listal rating (1501 ratings) 8 IMDB Rating 8.3
Amadeus (1984)
Antonio Salieri did not kill Mozart (in real life he did claim he had done so, but at that point his sanity had vastly deteriorated, making his claim dubious at best), nor is there any evidence that he resented him. If anything, there's more evidence to suggest that Mozart resented Salieri.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 2269 Average listal rating (1394 ratings) 6.9 IMDB Rating 7.1
Anastasia (1997)
Rasputin was not a power hungry, demonic being who started the entire Russian Revolution simply to spite the Romanovs. He was actually one of their allies, and was murdered by an anti-Romanov. He was eccentric, in that he would drink all the time and had many affairs, but he certainly wasn't evil.
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William Thomson (aka Lord Kelvin) was a brilliant physician, who, among other things, helped formulate the first and second laws of thermodynamics, and determined the correct value of absolute zero temperature (for which the term "Kelvin" was named after him.) In this film, he's portrayed as a nasty, vindictive and petty man, who has a big ego and a short temper.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 1517 Average listal rating (849 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 7.8
In this film, Texas Ranger Frank Hamer was a bloodthirsty, moronic sociopath, who hated Bonnie & Clyde with every fiber of his being, and went to extreme measures to make sure they were killed. In real life, he was just doing his job, and actually had to be persuaded to start tracking them down and was very smart and intelligent, and was chasing two people who not only robbed banks, but kidnapped and killed people. His wife and son sued Warner Bros. for defamation and received an undisclosed out of court settlement.
People who added this item 1326 Average listal rating (817 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 8
The antagonist of the film, Max Baer, is portrayed as a bloodthirsty, humorless man, who hated Braddock, was a dirty fighter, was indifferent to the men he killed and even threatened to kill Braddock in the ring. In reality, he was described by many as a charming, and lovely man, who just happened to be an exceptionally brutal fighter. In fact, when he accidentally killed Frankie Campbell in the ring, he was described as inconsolable, and payed Campbell's widow thousands of dollars. That and his accidental killing of Ernie Shaaf, haunted him for the rest of his life. His children were outspoken over this film's portrayal of him.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 1115 Average listal rating (738 ratings) 6.3 IMDB Rating 7
Cool Runnings (1993)
Very little, if any, of the other teams had a problem with the Jamaican bobsled team. In fact, it's been reported that East Germany, the most antagonistic in this film, was actually one of the ones who were the most supportive.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 459 Average listal rating (270 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.8
Abigail Williams, was not a conniving plotter, who wanted to kill John Proctor's wife so she could have him all to herself (the real Williams was 11, and the real John Proctor was 60, and there is zero evidence that they were having an affair) and was not malicious in her accusations, but was more likely doing it because she was scared she would be executed if she didn't.

The real Thomas Danforth was also not the driving force behind the executions either, that was William Stoughton. Danforth actually felt that Stoughton was going too far. Danforth also did not order the execution of people who were saying the Lord's Prayer (it was said that a witch would be unable to do that), that was actually Cotton Mather.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 1259 Average listal rating (828 ratings) 7.6 IMDB Rating 8
The real life Commander Denniston did not hate Alan Turing, like this film depicts, nor did he hinder Turing's efforts by shutting down Turing's machine. The two were actually quite friendly, and there was little to no friction with regards to Turing's machine.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 208 Average listal rating (136 ratings) 7.9 IMDB Rating 8.1
Ignoring the fact that the Scopes Trial was actually a farce, and was only created to put Dayton, TN on the map, the real life Brady, William Jennings Bryan, was not a raving, egocentric and ignorant person, who hated evolution (even though he didn't believe in it, he was fine with it being taught in schools) who threw a fit at the end of the trial, and was not out to crucify Scopes. In fact, he even offered to pay the fine for him.
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People who added this item 383 Average listal rating (241 ratings) 6 IMDB Rating 6.3
The officer's wife in reality, had no problem with splitting the money with the waitress and actually went down there to congratulate her with her husband. The affair also did not happen, and the two are still happily married. This is a stark contrast to the nasty, greedy and vindictive gold-digger she is in the film.
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People who added this item 1304 Average listal rating (801 ratings) 7.3 IMDB Rating 8
JFK (1991)
Clay Shaw was not a super genius who helped mastermind the assassination of JFK. He was actually a Democrat, who voted for Kennedy, and was well respected by the citizens of New Orleans, and has been all but proven to have no part in the assassination. Even those who don't believe the Warren Report, think he had nothing to do with it. Many believe that Garrison singled him out specifically because he was gay.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 1146 Average listal rating (775 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.6
Moneyball (2011)
Grady Fuson, the scouting director, is depicted of punching Billy Beane in the face, and as a result is fired. The real Fuson had no malice towards Beane whatsoever, and voluntarily left the A's for an unrelated reason.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 2191 Average listal rating (1458 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 7.2
The Patriot (2000)
The British in general are far worse in this film than they were in real life. In particular Col. Tavington, who is based mostly on Banastre Tarelton, never locked people in a church and burned it to the ground.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 3395 Average listal rating (2243 ratings) 5.8 IMDB Rating 6.2
Pearl Harbor (2001)
The Japanese are depicted here callously firing on innocent civilians during the attack on Pearl Harbor, including at a hospital. In reality, only one civilian was killed, and it was an accident due to a misfire. Their commander, Chuichi Nagumo forbade them from doing that.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 375 Average listal rating (237 ratings) 6.5 IMDB Rating 6.7
Queen Victoria was just your typical powerful monarch, not much different from any other ruler. In this film though, she comes across as a bloodthirsty psychopath.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 3464 Average listal rating (2154 ratings) 6.7 IMDB Rating 6.7
Pocahontas (1995)
The real John Ratcliffe, did not try to massacre the Indians for gold. He actually tried to reach out to the Indians, and was skinned alive for his troubles.
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People who added this item 1108 Average listal rating (794 ratings) 7.5 IMDB Rating 8
The Revenant (2016)
The real life John Fitzgerald did not kill Hugh Glass's son (he didn't even exist), and while he did bury Hugh alive and left him for dead, it was done after several days of waiting for him die, so that they could give him a Christian burial, but when he didn't, they got tired of waiting, and just left, hoping the partial burial would suffice (they would not kill him, because it was considered sinful to mercy kill someone). The real Glass forgave Fitzgerald and Jim Bridger (the young man with Fitzgerald), for leaving him to die.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 1981 Average listal rating (1259 ratings) 7.2 IMDB Rating 7.6
Robin Hood (1973)
Prince John was not a craven, pathetic and cowardly person like he's depicted here, and in many other stories of Robin Hood. He was not a great king, but he did establish the British Navy, and was well read in the law, and was sometimes asked to resolve legal disputes.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 334 Average listal rating (215 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.5
Rudy (1993)
The coach, Dan Devine, is portrayed as a nasty individual who was vehemently against Rudy from playing, and was extorted into it. In reality, it was actually his idea. The real Devine was actually a consultant on the film, and approved of him being portrayed this way.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 709 Average listal rating (498 ratings) 7.7 IMDB Rating 8.1
Spotlight (2015)
Eric MacLeish (lawyer of the sexual abuse victims) and Jack Dunn (head of PR at Boston College High School) have claimed that their depictions are worse than they acted in real life. Jack Dunn claimed the film treated him as indifferent and uncaring, however Walter Robinson and Sacha Pfeiffer retorted the film was accurate with how they remembered their interview, but he said that he did care and tried his hardest to bring the issue to light. The studio issued a public statement apologizing to Dunn. In the case of MacLeish, he said the film portrayed him as more greedy than he actually was, and that he did in fact try to help, and was not uncooperative like he was in the film, but still recommended the film nevertheless.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 358 Average listal rating (259 ratings) 7 IMDB Rating 7.4
Sully (2016)
The members of the National Transportation Safety Board are portrayed here as people who were trying to pin the disaster on Chesley Sullenberger. In real life, they merely conducted a routine investigation and did not act antagonistic towards him, as the investigation cleared him of any wrongdoing relatively easily. At Sullenberger's request, the names of the real life board members were changed.
garfield2710's rating:
People who added this item 9245 Average listal rating (6719 ratings) 7.1 IMDB Rating 7.8
Titanic (1997)
The ship's first officer, William Murdoch, is depicted here of shooting 2 men in the back, who are trying to get on lifeboats. Although there is some debate about this issue, the general consensus is that he in fact, did no such thing, and that it was a lesser officer who did that. Although it is believed that the real Murdoch did commit suicide, though most likely out of fear, not guilt. The filmmakers apologized to Murdoch's family for his portrayal in this film.

The film also depicts the ship's crew of keeping the lower class people locked in third class, so that those in first class could make it onto the lifeboats first. This was invented solely for the film to further the theme of class, and has no historical basis at all.
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Sometimes, movies make out people to be way worse than they really were. Here are some of the more infamous examples that got people upset. (I tried to focus this list on recent people, and not ancient historical figures, as nobody cares that much about people from 3000 years ago not being 100% represented accurately).

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