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Fact or Fiction: Hollywood vs. History
by Staff
Did you learn most of your history from the silver screen? If so, you might want to fact-check a few things. Test your real history knowledge by separating the real story from cinema inaccuracies.

First stop: Prague, 1790. At this time, the city is home to none other than musical legend Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Thinking back to the movies, you remember that he was poisoned by bitter rival Antonio Salieri. Is this a factual crime you can hope to prevent?

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact

You have to be careful traveling in time not to screw anything up. You know from watching "Shakespeare in Love" that the Bard was inspired to write "Romeo and Juliet" by his real-life relationship with an aspiring actress. So does this mean you need to be careful flirting with the Elizabethans, lest you derail the course of English literature? Was this bit of cinema fact, fiction or almost fact?

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact

Having seen the film "300," you're pretty excited about checking out a historic battle between muscle-bound underwear models and a hellish monster army. All right, so you're bright enough to know that most of that stuff is purely fictional fantasy. Did the movie even get the "300" part right about the historic Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C.?

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact

Talk about a battle! How about jaunting back through the centuries and checking out the death of Roman Emperor Commodus at the hands of a mere gladiator. Is there any truth to this scene in "Gladiator," or are we in for another Amadeus/ Salieri disappointment?

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact

The 1990 film "Mountains of the Moon" depicts the historic character Captain Sir Richard Francis Burton as not only sustaining but surviving a vicious javelin wound -- the weapon entered through one cheek and exited the other. It makes for a very grisly moment of film time, but did it really happen?

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact

In the 2006 film "The Last King of Scotland," Scottish doctor Nicholas Garrigan barely escapes the regime of Uganda's Idi Amin by hiding himself among a group of hostages from a hijacked Air France airliner. Is this a case of fact, fiction or almost fact?

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact

The 1963 film "The Great Escape" follows a host of American and British airmen as they plot their escape from a Nazi prisoner of war camp. Is this a matter of fact, fiction or almost fact?

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact

In the 1995 space adventure "Apollo 13," the famous words "Houston, we have a problem" are uttered by command module pilot Jack Swigert (played by Kevin Bacon). Is this factual, fictional or almost factual?

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact

Consider Mel Gibson's "Braveheart." Early on in the film, the hero William Wallace becomes an enemy of the English when he objects to primae noctis (which allowed the British officers to be the first to deflower a new bride). Did King Edward II really institute this policy?

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact

In the "Pirates of the Caribbean" film series, the few villains who aren't fanciful pirates, cannibals, zombies or deep-sea monsters tend to belong to something called the East India Trading Company. Can we believe this?

  • fact
  • fiction
  • almost fact