War films, by their very nature, purport to recreate true stories or at least take place against the backdrops of past real-life events. Yet it’s unlikely that everything you see on screen is 100 percent historically accurate. After all, movie producers would perhaps argue that people primarily head to theaters to be entertained – and so the needs of the story are more important than accuracy. But sometimes the factual liberties taken in the name of art can lead to the most absurd mistakes.
20. U-571 (2000)
Director Jonathan Mostow’s U-571 was so controversial that even the contemporary British Prime Minister denounced the WWII movie. The action flick tells the story of a U.S. submarine crew who successfully seize an Enigma coding machine. In actual fact, however, it was the Brits who got hold of the device – over half a year before America even joined the Second World War.
19. Dunkirk (2017)
Historian Antony Beevor had a number of issues with Christopher Nolan’s Oscar-winning WWII drama Dunkirk. Writing for The Guardian in 2018, Beevor decried the movie’s “miles of empty, pristine beaches” that should have been filled with “400,000 men and their discarded equipment.” Plus, he said, the Royal Navy actually saved more men than the civilian ships – something the finished film doesn’t suggest.