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Period Blunders: 14 Historical Movies That Might Leave You Scratching Your Head

Some films leave us in awe — not because of their brilliance but for how insanely silly and implausible they are. Despite the abundance of intriguing historical events, traditions, and characters to explore, some films failed to portray these periods correctly.

These are some of the dumbest period movies to hit the big screen.

1 – Wild Wild West (1999)

Wild Wild West Kenneth Branagh
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

With one-dimensional characters and a shallow storyline, Wild Wild West is a period movie that could have done better.

Set in the Old West, it fails to capture the authenticity and excitement of the era and falls flat in its attempt to bring the Wild West to life.

2 – First Knight (1995)

First Knight Sean Connery, Julia Ormond
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Watching First Knight was one of my worst movie experiences as a fan of Arthurian-based movies. Set in the time of King Arthur, the film lacks the grandeur and epic storytelling that such a legendary tale deserves.

The uninspired performances and dialogues make this adaptation pale compared to other Arthurian-based legends.

3 – Gods and Generals (2003)

God and Generals Robert Duvall
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

Gods and Generals attempt to depict the American Civil War but fall short in its execution. The pacing is insufferably slow and the film lacks a focus on compelling characters or engaging storylines.

Watching this movie feels more like a history lesson than an entertaining experience. Despite its historical significance, it fails to capture the heart of audiences.

4 – World War Z (2013)

World War Z Brad Pitt, Frank Mokoena
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

World War Z approached the movie’s plot by setting a zombie film in a global war setting. However, the film does not deliver on its promising premise, and the characters feel underdeveloped.

It relies heavily on CGI spectacle, sacrificing substance and depth. As a result, it falls into the category of forgettable period movies.

5 – The Black Dahlia (2006)

Scarlett Johansson The Black Dahlia
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

The Black Dahlia failed to bring the infamous murder mystery to the big screen. The complex plot and poor performances overshadow any potential intrigue the movie promised.

The film does not capture the essence of the period and the elements that should have made it compelling.

6 – Grease 2 (1982)

Maxwell Caulfield and Didi Conn in Grease 2 (1982)
Image Credit: Paramount Pictures.

Grease 2 is a disappointing sequel that lacks the charm of the original. It lacks the appeal, originality, and songs that made the first part a classic.

The characters need more depth, and the manufactured storyline makes it a forgettable period movie.

7 – Mulholland Falls (1996)

Mulholland Falls Melanie Griffith
Image Credit: MGM/UA Distribution Co.

Mulholland Falls lacks the suspense and thrills of mystery movies. Nothing is exciting or striking about the murder investigation of a lady named Alisson Pond, which the film focuses on. Despite the perfect cast, the characters failed to deliver a compelling narrative or engaging storytelling.

8 – Back To The Future (1985)

Back To The Future Michael J. Fox, Christopher Lloyd
Image Credit: Universal Pictures.

Back to the Future, released in 1985, follows a high school student who travels back in time using a time machine.

While the film boasts an iconic concept, its execution often leans towards the silly and unrealistic.

9 – The Scarlet Letter (1995)

The Scarlet Letter Demi Moore
Image Credit: Buena Vista Pictures Distribution.

The Scarlet Letter is an adaptation centered on a woman embroiled in a scandalous affair. Living in a strict Puritan society, she defies the law by failing to name the father of her child. Despite the brilliant plot, this film lacks the allure of the original tale, resulting in a lackluster adaptation.

10 – Three Musketeers (2011)

Three Musketeers Milla Jovovich
Image Credit: E1 Entertainment.

The 2011 adaptation of Three Musketeers is often criticized as a prime example of a dumb period movie.

This movie failed to recreate the musketeers’ adventures in 17th-century France. The heavy reliance on flashy visuals and poorly developed characters are among the top reasons viewers roll their eyes throughout.

11 – Alexander (2004)

Alexander Val Kilmer, Colin Farrell
Image Credit: Warner Bros. Pictures.

With dumb period movies, Alexander (2004) takes the crown. This biographical film captures the life of the ancient Macedonian king Alexander the Great.

However, the movie suffers from manufactured storytelling, questionable historical accuracy, and a bloated runtime.

12 – Tulip Fever (2017)

Tulip Fever Christoph Waltz, Alicia Vikander
Image Credit: The Weinstein Company.

Tulip Fever follows a young woman who enters a passionate affair while her husband commissions a portrait.

Despite its promising premise and cast, the movie fails to deliver an engaging narrative, leaving audiences underwhelmed.

13 – The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

MV5BMjA0MjQ2MDg2OF5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwMTgzMzk1MDI@. V1 FMjpg UX1920 e1679892209308
Image Credit: Relativity Media.

Before there was the musical Six, there was The Other Boleyn Girl. This period movie follows Anne and Mary Boley (played by Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson) and their lives as they revolve around King Henry VIII. 

A lot of fans were not happy about the historical accuracies in this movie and say none of it should be taken as an education, only entertainment.

14 – Mary Reilly (1996)

Mary Reilly Julia Roberts
Image Credit: Sony Pictures Releasing.

Viewers did not love Julia Roberts’ portrayal of Mary Reilly, the housemaid for Dr. Henry Jekyll. While this is a fictional movie, people didn’t love Roberts’ accent and the movie didn’t land with everyone.

Source: Reddit.

Boloere Divine Seibidor, fondly called B.S. is a Nigerian-based writer and poet. Her favorite topics to cover include music, especially Hip-Hop, film, lifestyle, and fashion. She’s been published by Feral Journal, Fantasy Magazine, The Temz Review, and most notably, Wealth of Geeks. She enjoys romantic dinners, movie nights, and touring new sites. When she’s not writing, she’s delving back in time to the underground world of Hip-Hop, watching TikTok, or visiting the cinema.



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