Some may disagree but I firmly believe that truth CAN sometimes be more entertaining than fiction and there are a LOT of damn good true story movies which think prove this. Having said that, there are still many true stories that have yet to get adaptions to the big screen. Here are ten that I think should deserve a film, or at least a TV movie.
The First and Second Servile Wars
We’ve all heard about Spartacus and his slave army rebelling against Ancient Rome. But did you know that this was just the third and last of three Roman slave revolts in this time period known as the Servile Wars? The Syrian slave Eunus in in Sicily would lead a rebellion triggering the First Servile War and establish a small free community that lasted for several years before the Romans managed to wipe it out. Another Sicilian slave uprising inspired by Eunus but this time lead by Savius would occur a few decades later and actually amass a pretty sizable army before it was brought down. It’s been a while since we had a good Braveheart/Gladiator type movie and these are a great example of what could be done for that.
Okay, seriously, we’ve all heard the name. Edward “Blackbeard” Teach is as synonymous with pirates as Julius Caesar is with Ancient Rome, You simply can not think of old school pirates without also thinking about Captain Blackbeard. He lead a very successful career of raiding, thieving and ransoming that ultimately culminated in one hell of a last stand. Perfect for an epic big screen film adaptation. It’s actually quite shocking that aside from a couple mediocre TV miniseries that has yet to happen.
The Whiskey Rebellion
We all know George Washington as the Continental General and first US President but we never really talk much about what his presidency was really like. One of the more notable things he had to deal with was American’s first real domestic crisis, the Whiskey Rebellion. A three year mass protest of the new Federal distilled spirits tax (aka the “Whiskey Tax”) in Western Pennsylvania. This would probably have to be a TV movie but could still make for compelling drama, especially for political junkies.
Say what you will about the British Empire but you have to give them credit for being the world’s first modern major superpower to not only abolish slavery but actually combat it worldwide. One of their primary weapons in that endeavor was the Royal Navy’s West Africa Squadron which patrolled the West African Coast for more than fifty years. They would seize roughly 1,600 slave ships and free as many of 150,000 captured Africans.
The first African American US Marshall to serve west of the Mississippi River. Bass escaped from slavery during the American Civil War and hid out with various Native American tribes until he was officially freed by the Thirteenth Amendment. He was eventually deputized and would go on to arrest more than 3,000 felons and shoot 14 in defense over a years long career. I actually first heard about him on an episode of Justified believe it or not.
After the Spanish American War the United States received a bunch of new territory including Guam, Puerto Rico and the Philippines. Many of the people in the Philippines understandably weren’t particularly happy with this arrangement as they had fighting for their own independence for several years. Several bloody (and morally ambiguous) conflicts would be fought between US and revolutionary forces between 1898 and World War II. To be fair, one independently made film, 2010’s “Amigo” has been made about the early years of this period but there is still so much ground to cover.
The Last to Surrender
After the surrender of the Empire of Japan which officially ended World War II, many Japanese soldiers on islands throughout the Pacific refused to give up and would hide out for years. Several in particular such as Sgt. Shōichi Yokoi on Guam or Lt. Hirō Onoda in the Philippines would not be caught until the 1970s! Any one of them might make for a fascinating survival/character study type film.
Battle for Castle Itter
Regarded as one of the most bizarre and outrageous battles of the Second World War. In the final months before Germany’s surrender, a ragtag group of US soldiers, defecting German soldiers, recently freed French VIP prisoners (including a tennis star and two former prime ministers), as well as local resistance fighters would all band together to defend the Itter Castle in Austria from a mass assault by fanatical SS troops! Yeah… let’s let all that resonate for a moment.
Battles for Manila and Leyte Gulf
As you may have heard me state in my recent article about Call of Duty: WWII (https://www.bellyinc.com/2017/05/06/call-of-duty-world-war-ii/), the campaign to retake the Philippines from Imperial Japan toward the end of WWII was some seriously epic, Normandy level stuff. US, British (people often forget the major role the UK played in the Pacific Theater) and native Filipinos all working together to drive the Axis forces out. The battles of Leyte Gulf would be the final large scare navel engagements in history with destroyers and battleships having it out in close quarters one last time. The fighting in the capital city of Manila would feature some of the worst carnage of the entire war. A higher death toll then Hiroshima, Nagasaki OR Dresden. Oh yeah, did I mention there was a huge firefight in a baseball stadium?
The Air War in Korea
People often forget how big a deal the Korean War really was and t’s been called “the Forgotten War” by many veterans. One notable aspect was the first instant of large scale aerial jet vs jet combat. Modern air forces were in a transition period between the guns period and guided missile period which meant that fighter jets had to duke it out at near supersonic speeds with only machine guns! Not only did US fighter pilots engage North Korean and Chinese MiGs (yeah that’s right, people forget that US and Chinese forces actually fought each in that war too) but also Soviet pilots that were there in secret to help bolster the North Korean Air Force. In fact the Soviet’s number one flying ace of the war, Col. Yevgeny Pepelyaev got a total of 22 confirmed kills while Capt. Joe McConnel, the top US ace got only 16.
Let me know you think. If anybody has any true stoies that they think deserve a movie, feel free to chime in the the comments.