Fiction is fun, but don't mess with the history

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Bad history in 'Robin Hood'

A recent review of a new historical novel asserted that "you can't enjoy a historical novel if the history's wrong". How true. The same is true for "historical" movies. The 2010 version of 'Robin Hood' can be forgiven for inventing the earlier life of the legendary bandit. But this Ridley Scott production also rides roughshod over the documented history of the period. Many of the historical figures and events are there: King Richard, his younger brother John, King Philip of France, William Marshall, the barons' rebellion. The facts, however, are so thoroughly turned on their heads that it's hardly worthwhile to list all the falsehoods. One will suffice: early in the movie, King Richard (Lionheart) is returning to England from the Third Crusade but dies during a battle in France. Actually, even that one sentence contains several untruths. You can read about the real story here. I have no respect for "historical" fiction that messes with the history.

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