Can you answer these questions on war movies that are based on true stories?

By: John Miller
Image: tmdb

About This Quiz

It's true, war is hell. But how true are war movies? Only the people who fought will ever truly know. In the meantime, see how much you how about war movies based on real-life events.

"Defiance" is based on a true story that takes place during which war?

"Defiance" takes place during World War II. Three Polish brothers evade the Nazis and gather a group of people that survives in the woods. This was no fairy tale -- it actually happened.

Filming for "Defiance" took place in the Polish sites where the real-life story unfolded.

The film crew worked mostly in Lithuania, nearly Belarus. They were more than 100 miles from the real-life locations depicted in the movie.

In real life, how many people did the brothers depicted in "Defiance" manage to save from the Nazis?

The three brothers arranged for many Jews to escape cities guarded by the Nazis. By the end of the war, they had sheltered around 1,200 terrified people.

The 1989 film "Glory" depicts black soldiers during which war?

In "Glory," a group of black soldiers in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry fight in the Civil War. The movie highlights the sacrifices that black troops made during the gruesome conflict.

In "Glory," most of the troops in the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry are free black men.

The movie depicts most of the troops as runaway slaves. In reality, most of the men were already free, but that fact would have taken away some of the drama.

"Glory" depicts the black troops mounting a desperate charge and losing half of their unit. In real life, what percentage of the unit experienced casualties?

The movie didn't exaggerate the casualties very much. In real life, the assault on Battery Wagner cost the unit about 40 percent of its troops, still a very high casualty rate for any battle.

The movie "Jarhead" shows U.S. soldiers in the Middle East firing their weapons in the air to celebrate a victory. That actually happened.

Most Marines would be rather ashamed to start firing weapons in celebration. They are the ultimate professionals and unlikely to dangerously discharge firearms unless they mean someone harm.

"Jarhead" is a real-life slang term for what, exactly?

In the United States Marines, it's not usual to hear soldiers called jarheads. The term originated during World War II, and Marines see the term as a badge of honor.

"Valkyrie" is a true story about a plot to kill which wartime leader?

In "Valkyrie," Hitler's own soldiers plot to kill the fanatical leader. One man leaves a briefcase bomb in a conference room during a meeting that Hitler is attending and just misses killing the evil overlord.

Who is the star of 2008's "Valkyrie"?

Tom Cruise is the star of "Valkyrie." He plays Claus von Stauffenberg, the man who nearly pulled off what would have been the world's greatest assassination.

"The Imitation Game" deals with which true World War II subject?

"The Imitation Game" is all about espionage. It follows Allied codebreakers as they attempt to crack the famous Nazi Enigma Machine.

How closely does "The Imitation Game" imitate the real-life World War II story?

The movie, which highlights Alan Turing's efforts to decrypt the Enigma machine, is only loosely based on reality. But Allied codebreakers did, in fact, play a tremendous role in beating the Nazi secret codes.

In "The Imitation Game," Alan Turing names his codebreaking machine "Christopher." That was also the machine's real-life name.

The name "Christopher" was a complete fabrication. The codebreaking machine was actually named "Victory," and Turing was by no means the primary person in charge of the project, as the movie implies.

"Schindler's List," a World War II movie, tells a true story about which man?

In 1993's "Schindler's List," a man of German ancestry works to save Polish-Jewish refugees from the Nazi extermination machine. His name was Oskar Schindler, now famous for his deeds.

How did Oskar Schindler save people from the Nazis?

He gave people jobs at his factories, which made ammunition and enamelware. His connections to German intelligence (and huge bribes) helped protect his employees from Nazi persecution.

In real life, Schindler is often credited with saving about how many Jews?

Schindler was on a mission to save people less fortunate than himself during the war. He probably saved about 1,200 Jews from near-certain death.

"Black Hawk Down" portrays a helicopter raid gone wrong in which country?

2002's "Black Hawk Down" relates the true story of a U.S. helicopter raid that went wrong in Somalia. The purpose of the mission was to capture a local warlord.

In "Black Hawk Down," the story revolves American troops. In real life, it's true that Americans were the only troops involved in the fighting.

Americans were in the middle of the fighting, but other allies were involved, too. Malaysian troops, for instance, were critical in helping the U.S. soldiers to safety.

"Black Hawk Down" had an all-star cast. Who was NOT in the film?

Brad Pitt didn't appear in this violent, bloody movie. It featured stars like Sizemore, McGregor, Sam Shepard, Eric Bana and other familiar faces.

"Letters from Iwo Jima" is a 2006 movie that tells a World War II story from which perspective?

Director Clint Eastwood used "Letters from Iwo Jima" to tell the story of the Battle of Iwo Jima from the perspective of Japanese soldiers. Many of the events are based on true stories.

In real life, as in the movie, American troops were greeted mostly by silence when they first landed on Iwo Jima.

The movie shows Marines land in an eerie calm on Iwo Jima. That's how it happened in real life -- and then the Japanese unleashed their bullets, and one of the deadliest battles of the war began.

"Born on the Fourth of July" is an account of a veteran who served in which war?

"Born on the Fourth of July" stars Tom Cruise as Ron Kovic, a Vietnam War veteran who is severely injured during combat duty. The story is based on Kovic's autobiography.

After seeing "Born on the Fourth of July," how did veteran Ron Kovic respond to Tom Cruise's depiction of the events?

Kovic was moved by the movie's portrayal of his autobiography. He was so moved, in fact, that he gave Cruise his Bronze Star.

During "Born on the Fourth of July" police in Syracuse, New York, beat up protesters, including Kovic, the veteran in the wheelchair. This actually happened.

Kovic wasn't even at the protest event. The inaccuracy was so grievous that director Oliver Stone apologized to the police department.

In 1987's "Hamburger Hill," U.S. troops launch a major assault in which country?

"Hamburger Hill" finds sweaty, muddy infantrymen launching a seemingly impossible attack on North Vietnamese forces lodged in South Vietnam. It is based on a true story.

"Hamburger Hill" features mostly characters based on real people.

The movie shows U.S. troops repeatedly assaulting the same hill in vain until they finally triumph. That happened in real life. But the characters were entirely made up.

"Lone Survivor" is a true story about which U.S. military unit?

The 2013 movie "Lone Survivor" is all about four Navy SEALS who set out to kill Taliban leader Ahmad Shah in Afghanistan. It is based on a true story.

What is "Lone Survivor" based on?

The movie is based on a book written by Marcus Luttrell, one of the SEALS who survived the failed mission. The movie follows a SEAL mission called Operation Red Wings.

"The Patriot," released in 2000, is a historically accurate story about the American Revolution.

"The Patriot" stars Mel Gibson in this overwrought war movie about the American fight for independence. It is based on a true story only in the most general sense.

How does "The Patriot" address the issue of slavery in the colonies?

This feel-good movie uses rough American history as a framework for the plot, but it omits some issues altogether. For instance, as white colonists fight for freedom, they somehow overlook that blacks are enslaved all over the colonies.

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