HIS FPX 1150 Assessment 5 History in the Movies: Fact or Fiction

HIS FPX 1150 Assessment 5 History in the Movies: Fact or Fiction

History in the Movies: Fact or Fiction

In 2020, Aaron Sorkin brought his historical movie “The Trial of the Chicago 7” to theatres. The film tells the story of the notorious trial of seven activists accused of plotting to incite disturbances during the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. The movie’s acting, direction, and writing have all received high accolades from critics and audiences alike. 

Nonetheless, it raises the issue of how much of the plot is fiction and how much is reality, as many historical dramas do. In order to assess how closely the movie sticks to historical facts, we will look at how accurately it depicts the trial’s characters and events (Foster, 2021).

The accuracy of the movie, (2020), will be evaluated in this assessment of communication and problem-solving abilities. Making a powerful argument may also be supported by strong problem-solving techniques and considering all sides of a situation. Outside of this course, getting confirmation before making a decision in business or even in your personal life might help you handle issues more quickly and successfully. Also, it can aid in avoiding decisions based on arbitrary or false information.

HIS FPX 1150 Assessment 5 History in the Movies: Fact or Fiction

The historical movie “The Trial of the Chicago 7” centers on the prosecution of seven anti-Vietnam War protestors who were charged with conspiring to incite violence and conspiracy at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago. According to the movie, the Nixon government staged the trial as a political show to terrify the anti-war movement and put an end to criticism. The defendants, including Tom Hayden, Bobby Seale, Abbie Hoffman, and others, struggle to make their cases against a prejudiced judge and an adversarial prosecution. The defendants represent many political philosophies and histories. The film emphasizes the antagonism and tension between the demonstrators and the police, which leads to a violent confrontation that causes several injuries and arrests (Foster, 2021).

Summary: The Trial of the Chicago 7

The film also delves into the personal lives of the defendants, portraying them as flawed and complex individuals who are passionate about their beliefs and committed to their cause. The character of Abbie Hoffman, played by Sacha Baron Cohen, provides comic relief while also raising serious questions about the nature of protest and the limits of free speech. The film’s ensemble cast, which includes Eddie Redmayne, Mark Rylance, and Yahya Abdul-Mateen II, delivers powerful performances that bring the characters to life and convey the emotional weight of the trial (Cavender & Jurik, 2020). Generally, the movie is a gripping and thought-provoking film that sheds light on a pivotal moment in American history and raises important questions about justice, democracy, and the role of protest in society.

Historical Facts of the Movie

While the movie is a gripping and well-made film, it also takes some liberties with historical facts and events. The movie portrays Bobby Seale, the co-founder of the Black Panther Party, as one of the defendants in the trial, even though he was not part of the Chicago Eight (later seven) and only attended the protests briefly. Moreover, the film exaggerates the role of undercover police officers in instigating violence and downplays the role of protesters in escalating the situation. While the film accurately portrays the bias of Judge Julius Hoffman and the prosecution’s attempts to railroad the defendants, it simplifies the legal and political complexities of the trial and the issues at stake (Gray, 2020).

HIS FPX 1150 Assessment 5 History in the Movies: Fact or Fiction

Despite these deviations from historical accuracy, the film effectively captures the spirit and energy of the anti-war movement and the atmosphere of the trial. The movie highlights the importance of dissent and free speech in a democracy and raises important questions about the role of the government in suppressing dissent and manipulating the justice system. The film also brings to life the personalities and passions of the defendants, who fought against overwhelming odds and risked imprisonment to speak truth to power. In general, while the movie takes some creative liberties with historical facts, it successfully captures the events’ essence and significance for American history and democracy (Gray, 2020).

Movie Impacts and the Public’s Understanding 

The movie has helped to shed light on the complex and controversial trial that followed the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests, which many people were previously unaware of or had limited knowledge about. The film’s portrayal of the events and individuals involved has helped to bring attention to the systemic biases and injustices that took place during the trial (Gopinath & Deshmukh, 2023).

The movie has helped to humanize and bring attention to the historical figures involved in the trial, such as Abbie Hoffman, Tom Hayden, and Bobby Seale. By showcasing their perspectives, struggles, and personal lives, the film has helped to break down the myths and stereotypes that may have previously surrounded these individuals and helped to highlight the diverse range of people involved in the movement (Gopinath & Deshmukh, 2023).

The movie has also helped to promote a broader understanding of the political and social context of the time period, including the Vietnam War, civil rights, and counterculture movements. By depicting the interactions and tensions between different groups and ideologies, the film has helped to provide a more comprehensive and nuanced portrayal of the era and the struggles that were taking place (Gopinath & Deshmukh, 2023).

Changes to Improve the Movie’s Portrayal

The accuracy and script of movies matter a lot for the improvement of the movie’s portrayal. Filmmakers can consult historical experts, primary sources, and contemporary accounts to ensure that the events and characters depicted in the movie are faithful to the historical record. They can also strive to convey the broader social, political, and economic context of the events and the perspectives of different groups and individuals involved (Sahu et al., 2022). 

By providing a more nuanced and complex portrayal of the past, filmmakers can help audiences understand the complexities and contradictions of history and avoid perpetuating stereotypes and myths. Furthermore, for historical accuracy, it is also important for filmmakers to be mindful of the ethical and political implications of their work. They can strive to represent marginalized voices and perspectives, avoid perpetuating stereotypes and biases, and promote empathy, understanding, and dialogue (Sahu et al., 2022). 

HIS FPX 1150 Assessment 5 History in the Movies: Fact or Fiction

The movie offers an insightful account of the 1968 Democratic National Convention protests and the subsequent trial of a group of activists charged with inciting riots. The film highlights the contradictions and biases of the justice system and presents a critical perspective on the era’s political climate. By showcasing the perspectives and experiences of the marginalized voices involved in the trial, the film promotes empathy, understanding, and dialogue about the historical events it depicts (Sahu et al., 2022).

Similarly, the movie “Selma” (2014) also portrayed the civil rights movement with sensitivity, respect, and historical accuracy, and helped to spark national conversations about racial justice and political activism. By prioritizing these values, filmmakers can create movies that not only entertain and educate but also inspire and empower audiences to engage with the world in meaningful ways.

Analysis of the Movie

The Nation historian, Michael Kazin, points out that the movie oversimplifies the trial’s political and legal intricacies and exaggerates the part that undercover police agents played in inciting violence. Nonetheless, Kazin also applauds the film for emphasizing the individual tales of the accused and for stressing the value of dissent and free expression in a democracy. He writes, “By foregrounding the human stories of the defendants and dramatizing the government’s blatant attempts to crush political dissent, Sorkin gives new life to a story that too many Americans have forgotten or never knew.” (Kazin, 2020)

Similarly, in a review for Rolling Stone, film critic Peter Travers praises the movie for its compelling storytelling and powerful performances, but notes that the film takes some liberties with the historical record. He writes, “While Sorkin’s script fudges facts and dialogue, it’s a rare movie that does right by history and by its audience.” (Travers, 2020) Travers also highlights the relevance of the film’s message for contemporary politics and social justice movements, writing, “Sorkin’s take on the case is a rallying cry for today’s protesters to take heart: The power of dissent can topple a system rigged against the people.” (Travers, 2020).

By integrating the perspectives of historical experts and film critics, it is possible to develop a nuanced and informed analysis of the impact and value of historical movies.


Historical movies have a powerful impact on the public’s understanding of events, persons, and movements. While they may take creative liberties with the historical record, they can also serve as valuable tools for educating and inspiring audiences, promoting empathy and understanding, and stimulating critical thinking about the past and the present. By striving for historical accuracy, context, and ethical awareness, inform, and contribute to a more informed and democratic society.


Kazin, M. (2020, October 16). Aaron Sorkin’s “Chicago 7” Movie Is more than just a dramatic license. The Nation.


Travers, P. (2020, October 16). ‘The Trial of the Chicago 7’: Film review. Rolling Stone.


Cavender, G., & Jurik, N. C. (2020). Book Review: Aaron Sorkin (dir.), The whole world was watching, but what do we remember? A review of “The Trial of the Chicago 7.” Crime, Media, Culture: An International Journal.


Foster, N. (2021). The Trial of the Chicago 7: More radical than fiction. Film Matters, 12(1), 111–116.


Gopinath, S., & Deshmukh, R. (2023). Historicizing myths in contemporary India: Cinematic representations and nationalist agendas in Hindi cinema. Taylor & Francis.


Gray, S. (2020). Aaron Sorkin’s America: Politics, Trauma, and the Liberal Genius. (Unknown Publication #). [Doctoral dissertation, Manchester Metropolitan University]. E-space: Manchester Metropolitan University’s Research Repository. 


Sahu, S., Kumar, R., MohdShafi, P., Shafi, J., Kim, S., & Ijaz, M. F. (2022). A hybrid recommendation system of upcoming movies using sentiment analysis of YouTube trailer reviews. Mathematics, 10(9), 1568.


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