Mel Gibson’s THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST set back Christianity back centuries. Well maybe at least seventy years. (Check out MIke Davis’ article comparing Nazi passion play films to The Passion).
Yahoo! had an interesting story about the top ten or so films that failed basic history. Mel Gibson was well represented with Braveheart, Apocolypto, and The Patriot.
This one movie has given entire Anthropology departments migraines. Sure the Maya did have the odd human sacrifice but not to Kulkulkan, the Sun God, and only high-ranking captives taken in battle were killed. The conquistadors arriving at the end of the film made for unlikely saviors: an estimated 90% of indigenous American population was killed by smallpox from their infected livestock.
Revolutionary War figure Francis “The Swamp Fox” Marion was the basis for Mel Gibson’s character, but he wasn’t the forward-thinking family man they show in the flick. He was a slave owner who didn’t get married (to his cousin) until after the war was over. Historians also say that he actively persecuted and murdered native Cherokees. Plus, the thrilling Battle of Guilford Court House where he vanquishes his British nemesis? In reality, the Americans lost that one.
One reviewer called the Patriot “as fascist a film as anything made in decades.”