Sometimes true events are wilder than any fiction. We desire real stories, not only because they feel authentic, but because they often outshine the fictional ones. “Based on a true story.” How many times have we seen these words appear on our screens and thought “I can’t believe that actually happened!” Well, some have watched these films and thought “hey, I was there, and that’s not how it happened!”
When dramatizing real-life stories, filmmakers have to make hard choices. Whose side of the story are we telling, and how? What do they highlight and what do they omit? Sometimes the changes are minor. However, the changes can often be too drastic for those involved. Want to know which of your favorite real-life-stories are only dubiously factual? Read ahead!
Argo was based on the story of the siege of the American embassy in Tehran, Iran during the 1979 Revolution. Ben Affleck spearheaded this Oscar-winning project as director, co-producer, and lead actor.
While the film was a crowd-pleaser, many found faults in its historical accuracy. The extraction of the six American diplomats, attributed to Affleck’s CIA agent character, was mostly lead by the Canadian embassy. Even former President Jimmy Carter agreed, saying the credit should go to the Canadian ambassador at the time, Ken Taylor.