Ever Been "Duped" By A Movie?

Last night I watched a movie called “Murder in the First” It was “inspired by a true story” according to the reviews.

It was supposed to be based on Henry Young, a prisoner at Alcatraz, back in the early 40’s.
It portrayed him as mistreated, placed in total isolation for 3 years, etc. etc. etc.

It left this viewer with total outrage toward the justice department and the prison system in general.

All my sympathies were with the “poor mistreated prisoner.”

When the movie was over, I was really interested in this case because it portrayed Alcatraz being put on trial for a murder that the prisoner committed.

So, I googled Henry Young. And Guess what?

The only resemblance to the movie and the actual incident was the name of the prisoner and the fact that he had, indeed been incarcerated at Alcatraz!:mad:

If they had not scrolled “inspired by a true story” across the screen, I would think it was just a half-way entertaining movie.

Oh well, I will just have to be more discerning when I decide to watch a movie.

Anybody else been duped by a movie which you thought was a true story and then find out it was 99% fiction?

Star Wars.

Braveheart duped a lot of people I knew. I had a friend who warned me how ridiculous it was (even though it was awesome), but the real William Wallace is extremely disappointing when you’re first exposure to him is through Mel Gibson.

“Monster” misrepresented a few things.
It’s the story of Aileen Wuornos, supposedly. Movie version: She was a lonely heterosexual prostitute who had been sexually abused by her father’s best friend, beaten by her father because he didn’t believe her, and then stranded by accident in a gay bar. She met a lonely, naive, sweet lesbian who still lived with her highly religious extended family, and who didn’t know anything about the street life Aileen was used to. They fell in love. Aileen was raped and saved her life by turning her attacker’s gun on him. The girlfriend, Selby, learned to come out of her shell, but meanwhile she was overwhelmed by the series of murders Aileen’s self-defense and fear had set in motion.
Best info I could find on how it probably really went: Aileen was brought up by her grandparents. She never met her parents. After her grandparents explained that they weren’t her parents, that the kids’ mother had given them to her own parents to keep them away from her husband, who was in prison for rape at the time Aileen was born, the two children rebelled. Aileen was a prostitute by age 13 and was affected strongly by her brother’s death at around 21 from lung disease. She was bisexual for years before meeting her future partner in crime, whose name was Tyria, and who had a prior for armed robbery. They roamed around together. The first killing was apparently in self-defense, but the rest uniformly happened when Tyria wanted to break up. Aileen would then go wave someone down, get in the car and order him to drive to a secluded place, demand to see how much cash he had, and if it was over 100 dollars, shoot him. She brought the money to Tyria, who decided to stay.
This makes the dramatic tone of the last part of the movie totally different.

I have found there to be a great distinction between “based on a true story” and “inspired by a true story.” When it is based on a true story, there might be some semblance of reality to it (though you still have to be careful). When it says “inspired”, it means that a news article gave them an idea for a movie and they decided to retain some of the character names. Thus, when I see “inspired by”, I remind myself that the movie is just as fictitious as any movie that was invented in someone’s head.

The same is true for movies “based on” or “inspired by” books. “The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe” is based on the book by C. S. Lewis. “Sleepy Hollow” is inspired by the story by Washington Irving.

I got a third one for you; suggested.

I was watching I, Robot the other day and during the ending credits it read:

“Suggested by Isaac Asimov’s novel I, Robot.”

Apparently inspired or based on just didn’t cut it :smiley:

God bless

There’s a similar credit in Alfred Hitchcock’s Spellbound which I got for Christmas (as part of an 8-DVD boxed set). The credit reads “Suggested by the novel The House of Dr. Edwardes by Francis Beeding.”

Wow, I hadn’t noticed that one before.

For those movies even further removed from the original source…


On the small screen, how 'bout all the versions of ‘Law and Order’?

“Ripped from Today’s Headlines! [all people and events are strictly ficitonal]”

Some of the episodes I can tell which real life events inspired them, some not so much. But they have to say that all people and events are fictional to avoid getting sued.

Yes! I’ve seen three movies in the past few years based on novels I really enjoyed, which completely changed the ending and thus ruined the whole story.

First, the movie “Suspicion” with Cary Grant and Joan Fontaine. It’s about a woman who marries a debonair playboy, who she thinks is trying to kill her - but it turns out she just misunderstood him, and there’s a happy ending.

Well, it’s based on a novel by Francis Iles called “Before the Fact”, which I read - and the ending is COMPLETELY different!! (I won’t tell you about it, in case you want to read it.)

Second, the movie version of “The Lonely Passion of Judith Hearne”, based on the novel by Brian Moore. It stars Maggie Smith and Bob Hoskins, and is really difficult to find. But word-of-mouth and eBay helped me find a copy of it, and I settled down happily, enjoying the fact that it was totally faithful to the very traumatic book.

Till the end, when the filmmakers chickened out and TOTALLY changed the way the Bob Hoskins character related to “Judith Hearne”. It was outrageous and insulting to my intelligence! I felt really gypped (especially since I paid $45 bucks for the videotape!! :mad: )

Third, the movie “Mr. and Mrs. Bridge” starring Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. This is based on the novels “Mrs. Bridge” and “Mr. Bridge” by Evan Connell. Same problem as the other two - everything was going great till they got to the end and chickened out!

Filmakers just seem incapable of making a movie with anything but a happy ending. Makes me want to just crawl back into my bookcase! :cool:

And actually, I’ve read that Hitchcock said he wanted the real ending from the book…but well since I don’t want to spoil either…check out the IMDb Trivia page for the movie.

The second Jurassic Park movie… dumb dumb dumb.

I was forewarned that Costner’s version of Robin Hood was bad - but I still want my time and money back!

I love most of Leslie Nielsen’s comedy movies, but I want a refund for “Spy Hard.”

Sheen Gems - too much narration, not enough Bishop, and they kept cutting off his programs just when I wanted to hear more.

DH nominates Water World; I can’t believe nobody’s mentioned it yet. (I never saw it - but I heard about it!)

More from DH:

Tank Girl
Star Trek 5
The Last Boy Scout


You’re answering a different question than was posed by the OP. We’re not talking about being “duped” by slick-looking trailers for purely fictional movies.

Chariots of Fire. The film takes liberties with the events at the 1924 Olympics itself, most notably the events surrounding Liddell’s refusal to race on a Sunday. In the film, he only learns on boarding the boat to Paris that one of the heats is to be held on the Sabbath. In fact, the schedule was made public several months in advance, and Liddell spent the remaining months training for the 400 metres, an event in which he had previously excelled. The film depicts Lord Lindsey, having already won a medal in the 400 metre hurdles, giving up his place in the 400 metres for Liddell. In fact Burghley was eliminated in the heats of the 110 hurdles (he would go on to win a gold medal in the 1928 Olympics), and Lindsey’s deference to Liddell in the 400 was entirely fabricated. Burghley also refused to let them use his name because it was not how it actually happened.

There’s still drama there, why couldn’t they just have kept to the truth of it all?

I so agree. From now on whenever I read a novel or watch a movie, I am ALWAYS going to research the actual event, if it is a subject I am interested in.

Oops! :blush:

But yes, you made me think of one: Breaker Morant. A great movie - but Morant was not anywhere as nice as he was portrayed, and was indeed guilty as charged.

Does it count if you love the movie but didn’t like the book? If so: The African Queen. (I read the book later. Depressing.)

And I can still claim Sheen Gems. I thought it would be a selection of his shows, not a few cuts with too much voice over.

God bless and inspire all those who make movies,


Yeah, the episode a couple weeks ago was about a child and a maid killed in their home. The parents were both doctors.The witnesses said a man in an overcoat and brief case was seen in the neighborhood at the time of the murders.

That is actually an open case in my town. No idea who did it and why at this point. So, there is an element of truth to these shows.


“Hoffa”. Jimmy Hoffa was not kidnapped from a diner located at the end of deserted country road. He was kidnapped from a popular 4 star restaurant located in strip mall, on a 8 lane main street.

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