© 2020 Texas Public Radio
Real. Reliable. Texas Public Radio.
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00
0:00
Available On Air Stations

History As Told By Hollywood

"The Imitation Game," starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is a historical thriller based on the biography "Alan Turing: The Enigma" by Andrew Hodges. (The Weinstein Company)
"The Imitation Game," starring Benedict Cumberbatch, is a historical thriller based on the biography "Alan Turing: The Enigma" by Andrew Hodges. (The Weinstein Company)

The Oscars are this Sunday and a number of the nominees for Best Picture are historically-based films. It’s a genre that the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences seems to favor: in the past five years, four out of five of the Best Picture winners were fact-based.

But when a film is based on historical facts, how much responsibility does the filmmaker have to actual events? Does a filmmaker’s version of events become what an audience remembers as history?

Here & Now’s Jeremy Hobson looks at the issues raised by historical films with Boston Globe film critic Ty Burr, who is author of “ Gods Like Us: On Movie Stardom and Motion Picture Fame.” She also speaks with Robert Toplin, author of “ History by Hollywood: The Use and Abuse of the American Past.”

Films Discussed In This Segment

The Imitation Game (2014)

[Youtube]

Selma (2014)

[Youtube]

Argo (2012)

[Youtube]

J.F.K. (1991)

[Youtube]

Guests

  • Ty Burr, film critic for The Boston Globe. He tweets @tyburr.
  • Robert Toplin, professor emeritus of history at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington.

Copyright 2020 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.