Dramatic License Vs Historical Realism

Great article by my cousin, Stewart Stafford! Enjoy!


 Historical accuracy is a bugbear of many movie fans. Braveheart and Titanic  come in for a lot of criticism, especially from British audiences who objected to the way the British characters were portrayed in those films. As does Saving Private Ryan (many viewers wondered why it was only American troops storming the beaches of Normandy when there were British, Canadian and French troops involved in the operation). Or the U-boat movie U-571 which has the Americans capturing the Enigma code machine when it was the British in reality.

This is from the viewer’s perspective. From the screenwriters’ perspective, historical accuracy is a nice cherry on top but they know they are there to serve the drama first. Screenplays have both monetary and time constraints, this means that events must be compressed, characters combined and shortcuts taken. It simply isn’t possible to transfer everything over from a book verbatim. If a writer has to make…

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