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 The Military Media Room    
Jon Zelazny
Los Angeles, CA, USA
top 50
E-4 Specialist

Posts: 77
Anthropoid - 2016 film
Posted on: 4/13/2017 6:59:45 AM
Here's a topic for possible discussion: authenticity vs. entertainment value in historical films

Exhibit A: ANTHROPOID, a British drama concerning the Czech underground's assassination of Nazi potentate Reinhard Heydrich in 1942.

Skimming Wikipedia after viewing, I couldn't help but admire the filmmakers' zealous attention to detail: depicting the team members by name, using actual locations in Prague, and recreating the choreography of the shoot-outs down to the smallest looks and gestures. That being said, it's not a film I'd recommend anybody run out to see. Accuracy aside, it's a pretty chilly affair. Two guys show up on a secret mission. They make plans. They argue with some of their collaborators. One abruptly announces he's marrying the girl from the family hiding them. You don't know a thing about these guys, and it isn't really explained why this particular Nazi needs to be assassinated at this particular moment. There's no attempt to dramatize Heydrich; he's just a figure riding in a car. Then the ending is a protracted Alamo-style assault on a church that doesn't end well for the heroes. I believed it all. But I didn't really care.

Fritz Lang used the same story as basis for HANGMEN ALSO DIE (1943), much of which was written by Bertold Brecht, and only loosely based on the actual incident. I don't remember the plot, but it impressed me enormously, and I always cite it as one of Lang's better Hollywood pictures.

I'm curious which approach sounds more appealing to military history buffs? How much dramatic license is appropriate in movies "based on actual events?"



top 5
E-9 Cmd Sgt Major

Posts: 3931

Re: Anthropoid - 2016 film
Posted on: 4/13/2017 12:37:10 PM

 I like it when they pay attention to historical detail. License is tricky; too often those taking license opt for a plot twist that seems dramatic but ignores very real factors. Other than that, there has been plenty of "historical" films that have taken license. Having some made that adhere to history sounds attractive to me.


With occasional, fatigued glances at life's rear-view mirror from the other side of time.

Gregory C. White
Canton, GA, USA
top 40
E-4 Corporal
Posts: 189

Re: Anthropoid - 2016 film
Posted on: 4/13/2017 4:05:22 PM

I like your critical assessment of the film. The companion that went to the theatre with me did not know who Heydrich was, or his importance or role in the Nazi hierarchy. The film made no effort to explain it; or the backgrounds of the two assassins.

I'm all for historical accuracy whenever possible. The dramatic license bit has gotten out of hand.

Best Regards,

"I do not believe that any man can adequately appreciate the world of to-day unless he has some knowledge of...[and] some feeling for...the history of the world of the past." Theodore Roosevelt

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