How Historical figures actually looked like Vs. how they were in movies

When we go to the theatre to watch a movie based on a historical event, we very much expect that the historical figures in those movies must have been portrayed like how they were in real life. And these expectations go to another level when the movie is marketed by saying that it is based on a certain specific event or it is based on some important historical figures. But, there have been times when some characters in movies were simply not portrayed accurately; and major differences cropped up in how those historical figures were, when it came to their real life personas. Differences came up not just in looks but also in the characteristics of the personality of those who lived in the past. Take a look at some of the major differences right here:

 This Is How Historical Figures Really Looked Like

1. Alexander III of Macedon (Alexander the Great) in ’Alexander’

Alexander, the Great was this Macedonian King who used to wear his own version of the Persian Royal Garb, which was basically done to win the hearts of people of the areas which he conquered during his conquests in Asia Minor. Now, this is not how Collin Farrell looked like in the movie, and in fact it is also quite unlikely that the real king had blonde highlights like the ones shown in the movie.

Alexander III of Macedo

2. Xerxes I in ‘300′

Although the movie, 300 was very entertaining, but the fact that cannot be entertained is that the depiction of the Persian King, Xerxes I was simply not how he was in real life. In reality, the Persian Ruler had a beard and long hair, while in the movie he is shown as bald and in a completely shaven look. Not just that, even the wardrobe had major differences. The Persian Aristocracy in those days wore a robe of honor, which used to be like a large piece of flowing fabric that they draped around their bodies, but actor Rodrigo Santoro was not shown like this. And to make matters even more questionable, the core characteristics of King’s personality were mixed up. According to some historians, the Persian king was narrow-minded and weak, but still arrogant and conceited, while some others say that he was a wise and an experienced warrior. But, in the movie, the makers actually just mixed up all these characteristics together.

Xerxes I in '300 movie

3. King Leonidas I in ’300′

Gerard Butler’s epic portrayal of King Leonidas I in 300 made us all think that the ruler was actually like that. But, according to some historians, the King actually only fought once in his 10 year old reign in the Battle of Thermopylae, and eventually even died in that one single heroic moment of his life. Moreover, the Spartan kings at that time wore body armor and shields and even had plumes in their helmets, but all these aspects were missing in the movie.

King Leonidas I movie 300

4. The young Salvador Dali in ‘Little Ashes’

Robert Pattinson on his part did a great job in portraying the eccentric and genius artist that Deli was, but the moustache as well as the look of the character in movie did not really match with that of the real artist.

Salvador Dali in 'Little Ashes movie

5. Emperor Commodus in ‘Gladiator’

Here too, you can see that the character played by Joaquin Pheonix doesn’t really look like how Commodus was in real life. In fact, the movie actually has certain other inaccuracies as well. For instance, the King used to take part in gladiatorial battles, but the result was mostly pre-determined so as to leave him without any injuries. Furthermore, in the movie it is shown that the Emperor ruled over the Roman Empire for just two years, whereas in reality the reign lasted for about 13 years.

Emperor Commodus in movie Gladiator

6. Joan of Arc in ’The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc’

Although, Mila Jovovich’s performance in the movie was quite remarkable, but Joan of Arc is shown as being anxious and hysterical, while in reality, historical records say that the person in real-life was very intelligent, prudent and highly compassionate. In fact, the androgyny of the character is something that took birth in the minds of the makers rather than it being a fact taken from real records.


The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

7. William Wallace in ‘Braveheart’

Even though the film was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, winning five of them, we cannot really say that historically it was accurate. How different Mel Gibson looks from the real-life William Wallace is quite evident to you too, but that is not where the differences end. In the movie, the character is shown to be an economically and politically-marginalized peasant, whereas in reality, Sir William Wallace came from a noble family and was a Scottish knight.

William Wallace in Movie Braveheart

8.King Henry VIII in ‘The Tudors’

Jonathan Rhys Meyers’ portrayal of King Henry VIII looks different because of the fact that in reality the King was more than double his size. Apart from that, we must say that the attire of the King was something that the makers of the British TV series gave proper attention to.

King Henry VIII in 'The Tudors

9.King Arthur in ‘King Arthur’

The titular character of King Arthur played by Clive Owen certainly doesn’t look like the real-life Ruler. In fact, the movie was highly criticized by historians because there were major inaccuracies in the events shown in the movie, and also in the usage of weapons and the costumes worn by characters.

King Arthur in 'King Arthur

10. Cleopatra in ‘Asterix and Obelix: Mission Cleopatra’

Although the last pharaoh of the Ptolemaic Egypt, Cleopatra has always been played by very beautiful women like Sophia Loren, Elizabeth Taylor, Vivien Leigh and here in particular by Monica Belluci, but it has been found in historical records that in reality, she was rather unattractive and small in stature. Though, the myth of her beauty is something that many believe to be true, this assumption is because of the fact that she won the hearts of the Roman Dictator Julius Caesar and also of his successor Mark Antony.

Cleopatra in 'Asterix and Obelix


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