Best history movie questions of all time

The Passion of the Christ picture

Question: Does anyone know the significance of the Romans clubbing the feet of the two thieves crucifed at Golgotha? And why they did not do this to Jesus? I know there's an explanation for this somewhere in the gospels but I can't find it.

Jeanne Perrotta

Chosen answer: When someone is crucified, they die from suffocation because when the arms are stretched out that far wide and you can't move your legs it is close to impossible to breathe. The platform that their feet were nailed to would serve, for a while, a way to boost your body up enough to be able to take small breaths in and out. Eventually when they were tired of waiting for you to die they would break your legs so you couldn't boost yourself up enough to breathe well and you would asphyxiate quicker. When the storm came after Jesus died, they broke the legs of the 2 thieves, but did not break Jesus's legs. The prophecy stated that the Messiah would die with no broken bones.

princesskelli
Amistad picture

Question: In the last scene of the film the ship appeared to me to be sailing in a westerly direction (sun sets in the west). Wouldn't the ship need to go east from USA to sail to Sierra Leone?

Maureen

Chosen answer: It's likely that the scene was set in the morning, meaning they would be going east.

Greg Dwyer

3

Troy (2004)

Troy picture

Question: What does Agamemnon yell right before the Greeks charge in the first battle?

Chosen answer: He doesn't yell any words, just an expression of anguish over his brothers death.

Black Hawk Down picture

Question: Why did the film makers portray Sgt. Eversmann as the main character/hero of the story? I've read the book and his involvement was minimal.

Chosen answer: The answer to this question is quite simple. Whenever any book is put on to the screen things must be glorified in order to catch the eye of a film goer. In movies like this one, heroes, brave men, and down right bad ass characters are what people need to see. If the movie was just like the book, there would be just a whole bunch of equally important characters, which is something very rarely seen in movies. So in short they made sgt Eversmann a main character simply because the movie needed one.

Schindler's List picture

Question: Does anyone know the name of the song which is playing on the radio in the beginning of the movie, when Schindler is getting dressed for the party?

Chosen answer: "Gloomy Sunday".

Kimberly Klaus

6

300 (2006)

300 picture

Question: Could someone please explain the goat in Xerxes' 'sex room' (for lack of a better word). The scene before Xerxes offers the hunchback Ephialtes everything, this scene begins with a shot of a goat with human hands playing an instrument and (I believe) smoking something. Does Xerxes have a goat fetish or something? Could someone kindly explain this for me.

Chosen answer: The scene is meant to show that Xerxes has exotic creatures/slaves from every corner of the world. In the reality of the film, a goat-headed musician would certainly qualify.

Jason Hoffman
Jesus Christ Superstar picture

Question: At the very end when they show the sun setting over the hill, you can see something/someone moving across the screen, just under the ground. Is this done to symbolize something, or was it a sort of camera problem?

Chosen answer: According to Ted Neeley and Norman Jewison on the DVD commentary, the shepherd walking across the frame in the final shot of the film was never intended to be there, and just happened across the shot as they were filming. Because of the significance of a shepherd in the teachings of Christ, Jewison and the crew were struck profoundly by the timing of this shepherd crossing the field, and kept the shot. They got a perfect sunset, as well as a subtle depiction of the resurrection.

King Arthur picture

Question: What does the Saxon who rallies the troops actually yell? He yells it twice: once, after Cerdic meets with Arthur in front of the wall and gives the order to "prepare the men for battle", and then a second time when Cerdic gives the signal after the only survivor of the first "wave" comes back through the wall. (And I don't mean his cry of "battle formation.").

Chosen answer: He yells 'Schlachtet den feind!' (In very, very bad "German") - 'slaughter the enemy!'. And his army seems to yell: "Schlachtung! Schlachtung! Schlachtung..." - "Slaughter! Slaughter! Slaughter..."

United 93 picture

Question: In the beginning of the movie, why were the hijackers shaving their chests and genital areas? Is this some kind of religious ritual?

Chosen answer: Muslims are supposed to remove their pubic and armpit hair at least every 40 days. It is part of being clean and they would want to be as clean as possible while committing an act on behalf of their religion.

Myridon
Apollo 13 picture

Question: Why did the Apollo 13 spacecraft need a parachute? They were landing on water not solid ground. It's easier to survive a fall when landing on water, so why would they need a parachute if they were landing on water?

Chosen answer: Spacecraft re-enter Earth's atmosphere at extremely high velocity (thousands of miles per hour). Atmospheric friction slows the spacecraft descent somewhat; but, without parachutes, the Apollo spacecraft would still reach the surface traveling at hundreds of miles per hour. Landing in water at such high speed would be like hitting concrete, which would of course be instantly fatal. Hence the necessity of multiple parachutes. The Apollo program (and all early U.S. manned space programs) chose to land in the ocean for two reasons: 1) It was easier to track spacecraft re-entry from horizon-to-horizon at sea without visual and radar obstacles, and; 2) It was faster and easier to position several Navy vessels in the general splashdown location, then deploy helicopters to rapidly retrieve the astronauts and their spacecraft.

Charles Austin Miller
The Man in the Iron Mask picture

Question: When Aramis is reading at the beginning, saying that bit about the storming of the Bastille and of records being found of the prisoner who was only known as "the man in the iron mask", was that actually true - about the prisoner number and/or the iron-masked man part?

Chosen answer: It is partially true. Author Alexander Dumas based his character on records that were recovered about an unknown prisoner whose identity was kept secret by a black cloth that constantly covered his head. The facts gradually changed as a myth grew up around this account, and the cloth mask was eventually said to be iron. This person, who is believed to have been of high rank, was incarcerated in several prisons, including the Bastille. Dumas adapted the legend for his novel and made the unknown man the twin brother of King Louis XIV. However, the man's true identity has never been discovered. The movie has also distorted historical facts about the Bastille. It was originally built as a fortress during The Hundred Years War, and only later was it used as a prison. (It only held about 50 people.) When it was stormed by French peasants in 1789, there were only seven inmates, and it is believed the rioters were actually looking for ammunition rather than attempting to free prisoners.

raywest Premium member
The Untouchables picture

Question: How accurate is the portrayal of the Untouchables, when it comes to names and numbers? Were there actually only four of them? Do Garcia, Connery and Smith play actual people or fictive ones?

Chosen answer: It's about 50% truth and 50% fiction. Ness, Al Capone, and Frank Nitty are real, of course, but the characters played by Connery, Garcia, and Smith are fictional. Ness started out with 50 candidates for his 'Untouchables' force. This was whittled down to 15 finalists and from that he selected 9 agents (none of which has the same name as the characters played by Connery, Garcia, and Smith). It's true that Capone was convicted for tax evasion. He was sentenced to 11 years in prison, but received an early release because he was in the last stages of syphilis. He died shortly after being released from prison.

raywest Premium member
Dunkirk picture

Question: Why did the spitfire pilot land on the beach at the end of the movie facing certain internment when he could have ditched and be taken back to Blighty?

Chosen answer: After running out of fuel, he kept his craft aloft as long as he could so he could shoot down the enemy plane. He then landed when and where he safely could, which was on the beach but in enemy territory. Ditching a plane in water is dangerous would have meant far less chance of survival.

raywest Premium member
Seabiscuit picture

Question: I could not figure out why Red borrowed $20.00. Could someone fill me in?

Chosen answer: Red asked for $10 because he needed to see a dentist, and Howard gave him $20.

Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon picture

Question: What is the significance of the very last shot? We see see Jen (Zhang Ziyi) flying into the clouds and then a mountain/forest shot, in which nothing happens, for about a second and then the credits roll.

Chosen answer: It is an open question. Interpretation of the last scene is really left to the audience. But to those of you who completely missed the whole point of the jump, it refers to the "Legend of the Mountain" as told to Jen by Lo "Dark Cloud". He told her that if a person makes a wish and jumps from the mountain, the wish will be granted and, occasionally, the jumper's life will be spared. "Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon" is actually a fourth book in the series of five books. In the book, Jen survives the fall, but never returns to Lo, fearing her parents shame and prosecution. Popular opinion seems to be that Jen was in fact in love with Li Mu Bai and the jump was an attempt of escaping the live lover towards the dead one.

Hotel Rwanda picture

Question: I believe they mentioned it in the movie, but I missed it. How was it decided who is Tutsi and who is Hutu?

Chosen answer: Generally there were two methods, one they had identification badges that mentioned whether they were Tutsi or Hutu. This is evident when Don Cheadle goes to buy supplies and they want to see some ID. The other was simply that people knew each other. Some people would say who was Tutsi and who was Hutu.

Lummie Premium member
We Were Soldiers picture

Question: Would a sergeant-major participate in a mission?

Chosen answer: This one did, everything ascribed to him in the film was true.

Farmersboy Premium member
Flags of Our Fathers picture

Question: What exactly happened to Iggy? Are we ever supposed to know exactly how he died?

Chosen answer: The movie insinuates that he was killed horribly but doesn't provide many details. Books about Iwo Jima have quotes from witnesses about what happened to him and they all say that he was very brutally tortured, including having his eyes cut out and his genitals removed and stuffed in his mouth. The book "Flags of Our Fathers" contains the following quote, "A few days later someone yelled that they'd found him. They called me over because I was a corpsman. The Japanese had pulled him underground and tortured him. His fingernails... his tongue... It was terrible. I've tried hard to forget all this.

The Alamo picture

Question: In the John Wayne film, Frankie Avalon is riding into Sam Houston's camp and is stopped by two sentries. The one questioning him appears to bear a striking resemblance to Robert Mitchum. Is this him?

Chosen answer: No, that's not him. Robert Mitchum has no part in this movie.

Mortug Premium member
Henry V picture

Question: Throughout the film, why do people refer to Henry as Harry?

Chosen answer: Harry is a nickname for those with the given name of Henry, and has been for centuries. Today's Prince Harry, for example, is actually named Henry but is called by this nickname.

LuMaria 1
The Alamo picture

Question: Can anyone tell me if Santa Anna really ran away from Houston's forces as it shows in the movie? And was that battle really over in 18 minutes? (Not being an American or a Texan for that matter, I have very little knowledge about what happened at the Alamo, I'm just curious).

Chosen answer: The defenders of the Alamo held off Santa Anna's troops for 13 days before a final assault on 6 March 1836, where the complex was stormed just before dawn. The battle ended by sunrise. Santa Anna was captured at the Battle of San Jacinto in April of the same year, and Texas won its independence from Mexico. Also check www.thealamo.org for detailed information and links.

Reformed Dispatcher

22

Glory (1989)

Glory picture

Question: The film opened with a scene from the bloodiest day in American history - which battle was depicted?

Chosen answer: The Battle of Antietam, also known as the Battle of Sharpsburg. It took place 9/17/1862. 3,675 men lost their lives, with an additional 17,301 wounded that day.

Bishop73
The Social Network picture

Question: When Eduardo discovers the dilution of his percentage, he asks Mark if he did it because of the "article about the chicken", which accused Eduardo of forced animal cannibalism. Sean Parker hears this and says, "What's he talking about?" and then says "Seriously, what's the chicken?" Is this implying he was the one who gave the chicken story to Mark's lawyer so he could use it in the previous scene where he mentions it?

Chosen answer: No, earlier when it came up in the lawyers office, Eduardo thought it came from Mark, but the lawyer stepped in and said they were able to find it themselves. Sean really had no idea what he was talking about, but didn't use it against him.

nbafanscw
Cleopatra picture

Question: During Rex Harrison's entire performance as Julius Caesar his arms and legs are covered by garments underneath his military garb and robes, even while in Egypt. The other Romans as would be expected have bare legs and arms. Was Harrison suffering from some skin condition or was he too shy or embarrassed of his limbs to show them in the film?

Chosen answer: The people of higher rank would usually have more or better armor so in his case that would probably be extra armor for his legs and arms.

The Great Escape picture

Question: Who is the actor playing the very tall cooler guard? Has he appeared in any other films?

Chosen answer: His name is Trevor Wood, apparently rather than acting again, he went on to become a solicitor and partner in several London law firms.

Sierra1 Premium member
Miracle picture

Question: Three guys made up the offensive line that was affectionately nicknamed the "Coneheads" after the classic Saturday Night Live skits from the late 70s. What specifically caused them to earn this nickname? What's the connection between those three guys and the Coneheads from Saturday Night Live? The assistant coach starts to give an explanation, but doesn't elaborate enough to offer a clear answer.

Matty Blast

Chosen answer: The "Coneheads" (John Harrington, Mark Pavelich and Buzz Schneider) all were from the same area in Minnesota. Naturally, they gravitated together and would often be found working on plays around orange pylon cones at the end of the rink - hence the "Coneheads" nickname.

12 Years a Slave picture

Question: I'm hoping this was addressed in the book. Solomon was allowed to work as a violinist and allowed to keep the money he earned, which he attempted to use as a bribe to get another character to send a letter on his behalf. Solomon was also sent into town on several occasions to purchase supplies. Why didn't he just buy and envelope with his own money and send it at the post office? Couldn't he have said it was a letter from his master once it was sealed? Couldn't he write it in code if he couldn't send it sealed? All he had to say was that Solomon Northup was a guest at the plantation and his wife could have alerted the authorities.

Chosen answer: Here's why, according to Northup in Twelve Years a Slave: "My great object always was to invent means of getting a letter secretly into the post-office, directed to some of my friends or family at the North. The difficulty of such an achievement cannot be comprehended by one unacquainted with the severe restrictions imposed upon me. In the first place, I was deprived of pen, ink, and paper. In the second place, a slave cannot leave his plantation without a pass, nor will a post-master mail a letter for one without written instructions from his owner."

Kingdom of Heaven picture

Question: It seems like a glaring factual error that Balian is able to read and write, given that he was raised as a peasant in the Middle Ages. Did I miss some mention as to how he became literate?

Krista

Chosen answer: As Sereenie said in the corrections, Balian has spent months travelling with his father, during which time he has learned many things, including sword-fighting, and how to read and write.

STP Premium member
A Bridge Too Far picture

Question: In the scene where the American 82nd Airborne is storming the river bank at Nijmegen, there is a brief shot of one of the German defenders, who looks quite startingly like a puberescent boy. Anyone know whether this assumption is correct, and if so, what's the background to this story?

Daniel4646

Chosen answer: The Germans did use some Hitler youth movement in the war.

30

JFK (1991)

JFK picture

Question: Why does Gary Oldman speak with a Russian accent when Lee Harvey Oswald was from New Orleans?

Chosen answer: Lee Harvey Oswald was very sympathetic to the communist ideal, and lived in Russia for a while. He probably adopted the accent as an affectation towards that end.

Grumpy Scot

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