4 Movies That Get American History Wrong

Happy Columbus Day! It's the holiday that celebrates how Columbus "discovered America"... despite the fact that America was already populated, and Columbus thought he was landing in India. No matter -- the urge to rewrite history is as American as actual history, and often makes it much more entertaining. For example, here are 4 movies that do it very nicely:

The Patriot
The title character in this Mel Gibson project is based on an actual Revolutionary War soldier, Francis "Swamp Fox" Marion. Marion is credited with inventing modern guerilla warfare, but as this article points out, he "never single-handedly killed an entire British infantry unit." Not to mention that he was "a racist who hunted Indians for sport." Yikes.

This musical film was based largely on the real events surrounding the creation of the Declaration of Independence. But for drama's sake, many people and events are smooshed together -- including protagonist John Adams, who's basically a composite of John and Samuel Adams. Also, the Southern delegates staging a walk-out over the slavery issue? Never happened. Also: the real delegates didn't sing nearly so well.

My Darling Clementine
This classic Western, starring Henry Fonda, is centered around the real-life Gunfight at the OK Corral. Although many facts about that fight are unknown, director John Ford played fast and loose with his characters -- and the gunfight itself, which actually lasted about 30 seconds.

This Disney animated feature tells a bittersweet love story, based on the Native American girl Pocahontas saving the life of Englishman John Smith. The life-saving thing really did happen. But the romance? The real Pocahontas was ten years old, so... not so much.

What's your favorite historical movie? Chime in below!

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