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Depictions of Historical Characters Can Be Exaggerated!

 Many producers of historically-themed movies always tout the historical accuracy of their creations, but, more often than not, characters and events are often exaggerated or depicted completely incorrectly. Here is a comparison of the depiction of historical figures in the movies with how they actually were in real life: 
Xerxes I in '300′

Portrayed by: Rodrigo Santoro

While 300 was undoubtedly a highly-entertaining movie, there’s practically zero chance that the ancient Persian king, Xerxes I, wore garb anything like that of the character portrayed by Rodrigo Santoro. In real life, the Persian aristocracy wore a robe of honor – a large piece of fabric they draped around themselves.

This would have been decorated with gold ornaments, which probably provided the inspiration for the movie character that drips in gold. The historical Xerxes is also depicted as having a beard and thick hair, unlike the completely bald and clean-shaven movie character.

Alexander III of Macedon (Alexander the Great) in 'Alexander'

Portrayed by: Colin Farrell

Although the historical Alexander the Great was a Macedonian king, he was known to wear his own version of Persian royal garb. He did this in order to win hearts and minds as he went about his various conquests in Asia Minor and beyond. In addition, it’s highly unlikely that the historical figure had bad blonde highlights like the character Colin Farrell played in the movie did.

The young Salvador Dali in 'Little Ashes'

Portrayed by: Robert Pattinson

While Robert Pattinson went to great lengths to give a highly accurate portrayal of the great, eccentric and genius artist, the silly upturned mustache that the movie’s costume designer decided to give the actor further exacerbated the fact that Pattinson looks nothing like the real-life Dali did.

King Leonidas I in '300′

Portrayed by: Gerard Butler

In addition to what many have deemed as an overtly-favorable portrayal of a man who only ever went into battle at the end of his life, It should be noted that real Spartan warriors fought wearing body armor and shields. It also should be noted that all Spartan warriors, including the warrior-king, had plumes in their helmets. The plumes were omitted in the movie to make Leonidas stand out from his subjects.

Emperor Commodus in 'Gladiator'

Portrayed by:  Joaquin Phoenix

This particular instance of portrayal seems to be quite visually accurate, although Joaquin Phoenix did not wear a beard to play the role of Commodus. The film itself is historically inaccurate because Commodus actually ruled the Roman Empire between 180 and 192 AD (it’s portrayed as a shorter time period in the film). Furthermore, the real-life emperor did take part in gladiatorial bouts, however the result was always pre-determined so that he wouldn’t get injured.

William Wallace in 'Braveheart'

Portrayed by: Mel Gibson

This movie was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning five, however the portrayal of William Wallace by Mel Gibson is rather far removed from who the real man was likely to have been. The character in the movie is depicted as a nationalist guerrilla, whereas in reality he was part of the Scottish gentry. In other words, the real William Wallace was not an economically and politically-marginalized peasant as the film character is.

Joan of Arc in 'The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc'

Portrayed by:  Milla Jovovich


There are numerous problems with the depiction of Joan of Arc in this 1999 movie. While Milla Jovovich portrays a character that’s anxious and hysterical, the historical record shows that the real person was highly compassionate, prudent and very intelligent. In addition, the androgyny of the movie character is something that started in director Luc Besson’s mind, rather than being based on anything found in the historical record of the French saint.

King Arthur in 'King Arthur'

Portrayed by: Clive Owen

It’s almost impossible to say how accurate the portrayal of King Arthur himself is in this movie, and that’s because concrete evidence of the character that the movie character is based on has never been found in the historical record. What’s more, historians lambasted the movie for the historical accuracy of the weapons, costumes and events portrayed in it.

King Henry VIII in 'The Tudors'movies-real-life

Portrayed by: Jonathan Rhys Meyers

The handsome Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ appearance is far removed from what the real King Henry VIII looked like. The real-life monarch had a 54-inch waist by the end of his life, and he was thought to suffer from gout. With regard to the attire, however, the producers of the British television series seem to have paid rather close attention to the historical record.

Cleopatra in 'Asterix & Obelix: Mission Cleopatra'

Portrayed by: Monica Bellucci

Although Egyptian pharaoh Cleopatra has always been played by screen sirens such as Vivien Leigh, Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor and, in this case, Monica Bellucci, the real-life Cleopatra was thought to have been small in stature and rather unattractive. The myth of her stunning beauty is based on assumption that she must have to be beautiful to win the hearts of both Julius Caesar and Mark Antony.


Content and image source: Brightside

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