10 Absurd Historical Inaccuracies In Disney Movies

Disney often pulls from history as inspiration for its movies. But a downside to that is that many people get their history mixed up as a result. Sometimes this comes from honest mistakes, other times Disney obviously changed or omitted something to make things easier to consume for young audiences. So what are Disney’s worst infractions? Here are 10 absurd historical inaccuracies you probably missed.

1. Pocahontas never married John Smith.

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Pocahontas was the first time that many people realized Disney takes liberties with history, to tell its story. In the movie, Pocahontas, daughter of the Algonquin chief falls in love with John Smith, an English colonist. In reality Pocahontas was only 11 years old when was captured and then married off to John Rolfe. She later died at 21 of tuberculosis in England. The real story is pretty tragic.

2. Mulan’s use of the “Emperor” title should have been changed.

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Mulan comes from Chinese folklore and her story takes place 386 – 538 A.D. In the movie. a Hun leader tries to assassinate the Emperor. However, this title was last used about 100 years before Mulan’s story starts. The Great Wall also wasn’t even built yet!

3. Brave‘s costumes are inconsistent with the time.

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Time periods were mixed up when it came to dressing the characters in Brave. According to a Scottish historian, male characters are covered in body paint as if they are in the Iron Age. However women are dressed in coifs and wimples, which were fashionable during the 14th and 15th centuries.

4. Hercules kills his wife and kids.

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Pegasus isn’t in the original myth of Hercules, and Hades has a much smaller part. Also, the Demigod eventually goes insane and kills his wife and children….we understand why that last part was left out of the movie.

5. Aurora and Phillip‘s dance scene is too risque for the time.

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Sleeping Beauty takes place in the 14th century. During this time period, line dancing was popular and people only touch each others hands. However the princess and the prince dance with his arm around her waist in the Disney flick. This would have been SUPER inappropriate.

6. Frozen has Elsa use the phrase, “frozen fractals.”

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Elsa uses this term to refer to ice magic in “Let It Go.” However the word “fractal” wasn’t coined until 1975. 

7. Walt Disney didn’t actually work with P.L. Travers like he does in Saving Mr. Banks.

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After Disney got the rights to Mary Poppins he didn’t feel like sticking around to work with P.L. Travers on the script. Instead he got the Sherman brothers to do that. Travers also cried tears of disappointment at the movie on the night of the premiere not happiness. She was very unhappy with how the story was portrayed.

8. The Princess and the Frog ignores the racism of the Jim Crow era.

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The movie is about Tiana wanting to own a restaurant in New Orleans during the era of Jim Crow segregation. This might have already been a big feat, but it would have been almost impossible during a time where employment conditions for black people were strict. Also interracial marriage during that place and time would have been illegal. 

9. Rinku and Dinesh never moved into Bernstein’s home like in Million Dollar Arm.

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Many movies exaggerate relationships to get the audience to root for them even more. That’s basically what happened with this biopic. The baseball players actually lived in a mansion on the USC campus that was given to them by Ash Vasudevan.

10. In Remember the Titans segregation was portrayed lasting longer than it actually did.

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In the movie we see Alexandria, Virginia which still had two separate high school for white students and black students in 1971. However, a former student  revealed that the schools were desegregated in 1965. In 1971, there was even more federal pressure and three high schools merged with T.C. Williams High School.