The movie “Kingdom of Heaven” directed by Ridley Scott describes various events associated with crusades. The film was set in 1184 and presented conscious thoughts relating to specified historical fiction, characters, and dramatic events (Schlimm 130). Subsequently, the movie boasts of a marvelous artistic and commercial appeal to the contemporary audiences. Furthermore, the movie is a classic attempt to promote peaceful coexistence among different religious groups and beliefs (Christians and Muslims) in the Holy Land. The film discredits the historical conflicts and perceptions towards such religious entities. With stunning cinematography and visually intense battle scenes, the film gives an accurate description of various historical happenings and redefines relationships between different religious groups (Schlimm 134). The paper will analyze various aspects of the movie that are historically accurate or inaccurate. The movie “Kingdom of Heaven” scrutinizes the theme of peaceful coexistence between different religious groups. In the film, Ridley Scott used both facts and historical accuracies to describe various events.
Historically accurate aspects of the movie
The movie “Kingdom of Heaven” depicts the significant role of the holy city of Jerusalem as an abode to both Christians and Saracens (Kingdom of Heaven). According to the film, the residents of Jerusalem led a peaceful under the leadership of King Baldwin IV, which is a historical fact. Nevertheless, most of the stipulated events describe a complex political and religious arena in modern-day Jerusalem. In the movie, the city is facing a protracted struggle of control between different Knights (Kingdom of Heaven). The struggles are motivated by profit-related motives and attacks on a religious group (Muslims) are justified because “God wills it.”
Another historically actual event was the defeat of the Christian army during the Battle of Hattin in 1187. During the Battle, Salah-ad-Din led an army that captured the Holy City of Jerusalem. Additionally, the movie gives a clear historical description of Balian d’Ibelin’s efforts to defend Jerusalem and the people (Kingdom of Heaven). However, the lack of a robust Christian army resulted in the ultimate defeat by the Muslim army. Besides, Guy de Lusignan did get married to Princess Sybilla in real life. Moreover, the movie is right to portray Lusignan as incredibly arrogant and imprudent about politics and military strategies. Eventually, after the capture of Jerusalem Lusignan was in real life taken into captivity.
Historically inaccurate aspects of the movie
The film “Kingdom of Heaven” strayed from depicted historical accuracies and applied fiction to appeal to the different emotions of the people. In the movie, the character Balian acting as a blacksmith is represented as a native of Europe who came into the Holy Land to defend the cross, while the real character was a Palestinian from a noble family of Barison d’ibelin (Kingdom of Heaven). The film’s Balian married Princess Sybilla of Jerusalem, while the real one married Dowager Queen Maria Commena. Additionally, the portrayal of Balian as agnostic who always questioned the efficacy of Christian faith contradicts the real character who was deeply religious (Christian).
The film gave an inaccurate depiction of certain characters. For instance, the movie’s version of Baldwin IV as peace loving and willingness to reconcile with Salah-ad-Din is an incorrect historical assertion. The real character was a trouble-loving leper King who loved to initiate confrontations. The movie describes Princess Sybilla as a kind, humble, and honest person contrasting the actual individual who was frivolous, conceited, and exceptionally immodest (Kingdom of Heaven). Moreover, the film’s Sybilla disliked and feared Guy de Lusignan, while the real character was absolutely in love with the man. According to the movie, the Templars were hanged for supporting Reynald’s intense military raids on the innocent Arab caravans.
Alternatively, the real Templars acted as a particular religious order that was staunchly loyal to the Pope and was not subjected to any laws or authorities. Additionally, the real Reynald did not use the Templars to attack Arab caravans. Ultimately, after the capture of Jerusalem by Salah-ad-Din, the movie portrays the King’s (Salah) efforts to unite Christians and Muslims by putting the cross peacefully back to its place on the table. In reality, however, Salah and his army of believers did not have any respect or love towards the Christian faith (Kingdom of Heaven). Additionally, Salah ordered the dragging of the Christian across by the soldiers across the Jerusalem streets in reality.
In general, the movie “Kingdom of Heaven” gave a clear illustration of different events, some accurate, other fictitious. However, Ridley Scott tried to adapt to some vital aspects of the movie’s settings and the historical significances. Despite the numerous instances of fiction, the film successfully captured the intense action of the characters and various places such as Jerusalem. Indeed, some of the historically inaccurate parts of the movie aimed to entertain the audiences and contributed towards strengthening the plot and settings. Undeniably, Ridley Scott’s attempts to promote religious tolerance in the film resulted in numerous cases of fictions distorting some of the obvious historical facts.
Kingdom of Heaven (2005), d. Ridley Scott“Reimagining the Crusades,” Archaeology Magazine Nov/Dec 2018(https://www.archaeology.org/issues/315-1811/features/7041-reimagining-the-crusades)
Schlimm, Matthew Richard. “The necessity of permanent criticism: A postcolonial critique of Ridley Scott’s Kingdom of Heaven.” Journal of Media and Religion 9.3 (2010): 129-149.