Essay on Historical Accuracy in Films

1862 Words Sep 28th, 1999 8 Pages
Historically accurate movies that are also captivating have an immense burden to meet. To capture the essence of the time through a personal story that captivates movie executives who regularly make movies with Steven Seagall and Bruce Willis seems an almost insurmountable task. But difficulties in sales aside, there are two crucial elements for movies about history to be the most effective they can be. These elements are historical accuracy in a personal story, and a sense of hope. <br><br>Historical accuracy does not mean trying to encompass everything that happened in a particular time period. Rather, it requires a story that highlights key elements of the period involved while containing nothing that could never have happened in the …show more content…
But to be the most potent, <u>Amistad</u> is also an emotional story. The scenes on the <u>Amistad</u> during the ride to America are some of the most brutal ever made about slavery, and hurt emotionally. So while Spielberg's main focus in the film is the courtroom drama, it is also a harrowing vision of the Cinqué's fellow Africans and their personal struggles in oppression. It stimulates the brain and the heart, and presents an effective historical picture.<br><br>Finally, the critically acclaimed <u>Nightjohn</u> (recognized for best achievement in 1996 by the National Motion Picture Critics Association) is an extremely emotional story that presents a truly interesting circumstance while still being truthful to the realities of slavery in the South. This is the only movie we watched where the master really got out and worked with the slaves - a much more common phenomenon than master sitting in the house all day and doing nothing. Yes, it is unlikely that a child like Sarny would wield the kind of power she did in church that day, and also that a slave would steal back into the south to teach other slaves to read. But the life that these events breathe into the story is critical to its success as a good film, in addition to being an historical film. And, like <u>Amistad</u> and <u>The Last Supper</u>, the trappings that Charles Burnett adds to <u>Nightjohn</u> do not inherently damage its historical realities. And the hope that Burnett passes from

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