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Movie Narration & Historical Accuracy: Troy


Troy is one of the few movies that have chosen to bring the most fascinating of historical events to the modern generation. Released in 2004, this Oscar-winning movie was directed by Wolfgang Peterson and is based upon a combination of real-world events, Homer’s Iliad and Virgil’s Aeneid amongst others (Glover, Cox and Jones). However, the plot of the movie is observed to frequently deviate from these sources in order to satisfy the requirements of modern-day motion picture production. This paper will attempt to elaborate upon the degree to which the movie incorporates these deviations while presenting a brief insight into the history that the movie presents.

The fact of the matter is that modern-day movies that are based on historical events that occurred in the past are no longer capable of adhering to the actual series of events that took place in history in their desire to adhere to the needs of the present-day audience.

The movie

The remaking of Homer’s Iliad by Wolfgang Peterson is set in 1250 B.C. in the late Bronze Age. We find Trojan Prince Paris as he convinces the Queen of Sparta, Helen, to abandon the King of Troy Menelaus and return with him to Troy to become his wife. Menelaus is enraged when he is exposed to this event and in his fury, gives his brother Agamemnon the opportunity he had long been in search of. Agamemnon finds his opportunity to gain power and gladly sets sail with 50,000 Greek soldiers to Troy. The Trojans are known for being undefeatable and history is made as the Greeks bring the eventual downfall of the Trojans with them. Obstacles come in the form of Prince Hector of Troy but are vanquished by great Greek warriors such as Achilles.

Deviations of the movie’s storyline from reality

One of the few aspects that appear to have been overshadowed in the movie is that very little attention seems to have been given to Paris, whereas it was Paris’ motivation and his decision to establish ties with Helen that had led to the series of events that led to the making of history.

Another aspect that seems to have been sacrificed for the sake of developing the motion picture is the major detail that Sparta has no harbor. The landmass is situated inland and the nearest contact of water is that with the Eurotas River. In the movie, the invaders appear to land onshore and with the fortress close by. There is another significant fact that appears to have been omitted on purpose in the movie. Odysseus had made it mandatory for all the suitors of Helen to take an oath that was also known as the Oath of Tyndareus. The oath made it obligatory for the suitors who were rejected to come together and seek vengeance from any man outside of the suitors who wished to marry Helen. The exclusion of this fact in the movie seems to have been made in order to add more element and character to the plot and brings forth the invasion as one that was meant for the combined acquisition of power and vengeance.

One more fact without which no discussion on the subject matter would be complete is that the Trojan War continued for almost a decade in reality, whereas the movie chooses to show that the war only went on for a few weeks which is quite contrary to the fact and appears to have been a measure taken solely for the reason of maintaining the audience’s attention. Also, in the movie, Patroclus gets killed in battle while he is on foot, whereas in reality, Patroclus led the army while he rode on a chariot pulled by two godly horses who were later reprimanded by Achilles for allowing Patroclus’ death in their presence. Also, it is believed that after Patroclus’ was killed in battle, his body was not handed over as readily by the Trojans as the movie depicts.

Coming farther into the movie, another person of significance appears to be missing from the movie: the liar Sinon. Sinon was the man who the Greeks sent to deceive the Trojans by convincing them that the Greeks had chosen to abandon the war and had left the Trojan horse as a harmless parting gift. The list of missing characters is quite long when compared to the people who existed in reality and it can be concluded that this measure has been taken to reduce chances of confusion and to keep the audience riveted to the movie.

Care was taken to ensure that the commercial value of the movie did not get compromised in the process of keeping true to the actual storyline. For instance, in order to maintain the illusion for the audience, the sets for the filming of troy were built on the Mediterranean Islands of Malta as well as in Mellieha which was a small town in the north of Malta. A large proportion of the movie included the outer walls of troy. These walls were built and filmed on the island of Comino. As we can infer, none of the set was built around the actual location where the events took place.

Amongst many other such facts, there is also the fact that Homer’s Iliad presents Achilles as a demigod, whereas in the movie, Achilles is nothing more than a mortal who desires fame and power. As the screenwriter of the movie David Benioff stated:

They’re the two great heroes on opposite sides, but it’s not a good guy — bad guy story. It’s humans vs. humans, and that’s what makes it great tragedy.” (Tyrangiel)

In Achilles, the singular motivation of his actions is to attain power and success. To Achilles, nothing was important until and unless there was a chance that it would bring him fame even after he had passed away from the world.


We can infer from this discussion that the statement considered at the beginning of this paper does indeed hold true. In order for movie producers and directors to come up with modern-day motion pictures that cater to the senses and tastes of modern-day viewers, it has become necessary to contort the storylines of actual events.

Works Cited

Movie: Troy. Dir. Wolfgang Petersen. Perf. Julian Glover, et al. 2004.

Tyrangiel, Josh. Troy Story. 2004. Web.


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