7 Roman Legion Movies That Rewrite History

Wednesday, May 2 by Gregory Wakeman

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When film companies deal with historic events you expect them to approach the piece with a certain level of caution. Surely film executives realize how important it is to get these occurrences factually accurate? Apparently not. They have butchered many a legacy with these epics and for some reason films depicting the mighty age of the Romans are usually given the worst treatment. Here is a list of seven Roman legion movies that rewrite history.

"Cleopatra"

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Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton's epic is often remembered for not only being one of the most expensive flops ever assembled but one of the longest Hollywood films ever produced, with the director's cut running in at an impressive 320 minutes. Yet it attempts to remain loyal to its history but still fails with a few details which includes the arrival of Cleopatra into the Roman Forum itself as this wouldn't have taken place as foreign rulers were prohibited from crossing the Pomerium. You live and learn though.

"Gladiator"

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	Russell Crowe and Ridley Scott's epic deviates from historical fact throughout their 2000 movie. Scott tried to clarify this by exclaiming that Hollywood movies had made some historical facts too unbelievable to include. But there was still no need to include an incest storyline that there was no evidence of and make Roman soldiers wear costumes that there is no evidence ever existed.</p>
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	"<strong>Ben <span data-scayt_word=Hur"

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Before becoming the world's most famous gun-nut, Charlton Heston used to be a pretty good actor with his most famous performance coming in 1959's Gladitorial epic won 11 Academy Awards and was one of the most grandest cinematic projects ever assembled. Of course that doesn't mean that there weren't a few mistakes committed during its production with urban myth abiding that you can see a red Ferrari during the chariot race. Which would be amazing if it was true.

"The Passion Of The Christ"

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Okay, so it's not technically a Roman story but Mel Gibson's epic was set a pretty long time ago. Gibson courted a lot of controversy with his Biblical epic mainly because of his treatment of those people of the Jewish persuasion but he also depicted Pontius Pilate as a well-meaning public servant who has no other choice than to put Jesus to the mob when actually he was a ruthless bully who crucified many citizens for no good reason. Sounds a bit mean.

"The Eagle"

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The Roman Empire is played by American actors and Rome's enemies appear to be entirely British. That might be a nod to the Revolutionary War. Just maybe. What's definitely known is that it's lazy filmmaking and it's also very, very inaccurate.

"King Arthur"

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Antoine Fuqua's 2004 film stars Clive Owen as the eponymous character with Ioan Gruffudd as Lancelot and Keira Knightley as Guinevere so you would presume that the first complaint should be that there is no way people in these era could have been so handsome. But that comes after the filmmakers novel changing of most of the events, religion and weaponry used within the plot that sees many pieces of technology used decades before historians even realized.

"The Last Legion"

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Doug Lefler's 2007 film features a host of grievous errors that the movie isn't able to recover from. This includes the uniforms and weapons of the ninth legion reflecting an earlier period of Roman history, rather than being period correct. In this age of instant information, there's really no good excuse for not getting the fact correct. And if you don't, expect to be butchered in online forums, right? Not that it matters.