Movies provide an almost unlimited amount of power to the creator if not for budgets and the need to please the heads of studios. This power can be used to shape knowledge and even historical understanding. Some movie creators use the opportunity to create alternate realities in which history was altered and some choose to simply change minor details. Sometimes these minor changes in historical accuracy are more than just bad research on the writers part. These changes in historical accuracy are sometimes used to inspire a set of ideology and beliefs similar to Christians and their use of Lord of the Rings as the representation of concepts in their religion.
A good example of these historical changes in movies would be Ridley Scott’s The Kingdom of Heaven. Obviously, there are certain mistakes made in the movie because of logistic issues such as the film location not being an accurate representation of Israel, but the real changes come to the characters themselves. It is known through historical record that Balian was added by the Patriarch Heraclius during his defense of the city of Jerusalem and yet the movie depicts very few Christians other than the settling Catholics to be part of the defense (Furnish, 2005). Portraying this image to the audiences implies that all credit for the defense of Jerusalem goes to Balian in the film, and this has a negative impact on the Christian faith. Movies help to build concepts in society and now this film has eliminated a major religion from the defense of city that is significantly holy to many religions. By excluding this part of history, the film has taken away credit from the Christians in a major historical event and given it to Balian.
Another area of issue in this movie was Balian’s speech to his troops right before surrendering to Salah al-Din. Balian in the movie goes on a rant about how it is not the religious relic sites of Jerusalem that really matter, it is the people who matter (Furnish, 2005). Basically the movie is implying that the Crusaders and Muslims fighting over Jerusalem was for noting. If this was true than I doubt that there would have been 8 crusades to try and capture Jerusalem. On top of all of this, there is a scene at the end of the movie where Salah al-Din picks up a cross off the ground and set it up on a table. Obviously the cross is not a symbol of Islamic faith, but the movie shows this scene to imply the respect that Salah al-Din had for the Christian faith.
Why would movie directors include scenes in movies trying to project an certain image that may not be a true representation of historical accuracy?
For what reasons would a director exclude historical bits of information? Is it ethical to change history for entertainment purposes.?
Furnish, T. R.(2005 16 May). Kingdom of Heaven: What parts are real?. Retrieved from http://historynewsnetwork.org/article/11933