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History at the Movies: FilmStory

Posted April 13th, 2015

If you ever wonder about the history depicted on the silver screen, you’ll want to familiarize yourself with FilmStory, an ever-growing database of movies and essays discussing the past as shown in film. The website is a beautiful educational resource. But beware! It’s easy to get lost (in the best way possible). Each movie page includes a list of related films to explore.

I recently submitted historical context and accuracy commentary for the 2010 film Robin Hood, directed by Ridley Scott and starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett. You can read my entry on FilmStory here. It’s particularly fitting that I have had the opportunity to contribute to FilmStory given the enormous number of hours I spent in front of the TV as a child watching Kevin Costner play the outlaw. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, whatever its merits, or lack of them, was in all likelihood the ultimate catalyst for my enduring interest in medieval history. As the Bayeux Tapestry scrolled by in the opening sequence, I was sucked in. Both Crowe’s and Costner’s depictions of the hero and his world attempt to tell the tale in a gritty, boots-on-the-ground sort of way that I find compelling despite myriad historical inaccuracies. The great thing about Robin Hood is that each generation has reinvented him and his story, making it easier for this historian to go with the flow.

Filed Under: Historical Research

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