History is fascinating.
Examining years gone by and humanity’s efforts to grow, adapt and change over time often makes for some of cinema’s most compelling tales, so it’s no wonder that some of the biggest blockbusters ever made were historical epics.
The problem is, Hollywood often gets so caught up in the storytelling aspect that they forget to actually depict things as they were. With human history so full of exciting tales, no single person could be expected to know exactly when and how Hollywood have taken liberties with historical fact. But, if you hadn’t already guessed, they do it an awful lot.
So, whether we’re talking about wonky facts, skewed timelines or the simple bastardization of truth, here are 7 movies guilty of disregarding their own historical basis.
7. Apocalypto (2006)
Mel Gibson’s historical epic might have gone over well with critics, but its historical accuracy was practically non-existent.
Apocalypto doesn’t specify exactly when it’s set, but there’s still several wildly inaccurate points and elements used throughout the movie.
The largest of these indiscretions is the general depiction of the Mayans’ way of life. Protagonist Jaguar Paw lives in a small jungle hunting village, something which would have been historically unlikely at best. The Mayans were a mostly agricultural people, and their architecture was far more sophisticated than the stick huts depicted in the movie.
There’s also the matter of the ritual sacrifice – something which drives Apocalypto‘s whole plot – which seemingly wasn’t something the Mayans ever did. This is actually more in line with the Aztecs, who were from an entirely different era.
There’s also the matter of Apocalypto‘s ending, which (spoiler alert) sees the arrival of Spaniards, something which didn’t happen until roughly 400 years after the movie’s apparent setting.