Gulliver's Travels: Based on a True Story? College
An opening title card introduces the 1996 movie Fargo as one that is not only based on a true story, but with the exception of name changes made at the request of the survivors, a film that proceeds to present the events of that true story exactly as they occurred. In fact, not a single event presented in Fargo is based on a true story (Chaloupka 163). On the other hand, the opening credits of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid significantly tamp down its claims of authenticity relative to Fargo with a title card suggesting that “Most of what follows is true” and then proceeds to live up to that promise surprisingly well for a Hollywood western. In between those two extremes lie a seemingly endless number of movies that profess to be factual, but deliver the goods in an amazingly inconsistent manner. From the way in which Hollywood constantly tries to lend its product some kind of greater value with claims to authenticity, it would appear that the mistrust of fiction so strongly urged by Plato thousands of years ago remains firmly in place (Halliwell 50). A significant amount of the voluminous satire that permeates through every page of Gulliver’s Travels is directed toward this deep-seated suspicion of the worth of fiction and...
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