Ridley Scott finally realizes Stanley Kubrick’s dream by making an English biopic on Napoleon I. Starring Joaquin Phoenix as the titular Emperor, the film will see his rise to prominence through the perspective of his first wife, Empress Josephine, played by Vanessa Kirby.
As the BBC recounts, it was a dream project for author Kubrick, and his vision was in development hell until his death. Although Kubrick may not have succeeded, there are still countless films of Napoleon given his impact on history. Which begs the question, which tales from history should get their chance to shine on the big screen? The folks at Reddit have come up with a few topics that are worth adapting.
ten Leo Major, the one man army
World War II was the greatest global conflict of all time, and it was widely covered in movies and series. There are countless examples of acts of heroism by single individuals throughout the war, but it would be hard to find if there are tales as incredible as a Leo Major.
Bike maker Redditor said there should “definitely” be a movie about Canadian soldier Leo Major “hands down”. Initially intended to do reconnaissance on the city of Zwolle, he will end up helping to liberate the city on his own. The film could show the incredible actions of the man as he largely acts alone until he finally receives help from the Dutch resistance.
9 The revolt of Vue Pa Chay
When we talk about the French colonization of Indochina, we think mainly of Vietnam because it was the immediate precursor of the American military intervention in the 60s and 70s. But there is another chapter of the occupation French which deserves to be noted, and it is the Revolt of View Pa Chay. A war against unjust French taxation was used against the Hmong population and thus sparked fierce resistance from the Hmong people led by Vue Pa Chay.
Redditor mjk1093 was the one who suggested the conflict on Reddit. The Hmong chief was an interesting figure, climbing trees to take orders from God. His troops even “succeeded in independently reinventing the cannon.” The cannon in question was made from a tree trunk and loaded with various pieces of metal and gunpowder. The makeshift cannon was incredibly heavy and only one Hmong resistance fighter was able to carry and wield it, which could be quite cinematic. The film could shed light not only on a conflict, but also on a culture that is vastly underrepresented in the media.
8 The Battle of Samar
Tropes of “last stand”, “against all odds” or “at all costs” are famous story elements for any audience member. The Battle of Leyte Gulf encompassed multiple conflicts, but there was one that managed to include all three aforementioned tropes, the Battle of Samar.
The Battle of Samar was a naval battle that pitted the largest Imperial Japanese naval force ever assembled, consisting mainly of battleships, including the Yamamoto, against the American Taffy-3 force, consisting of destroyers and light aircraft carriers. Against all odds, Taffy-3 managed to prevent the large imposing force from advancing on Leyte Gulf by giving the Allies ample time and avoiding a devastating Imperial Navy attack. Redditor spacemanspiff30 said “Samar is probably one of the most amazing stories of all time.”
seven bone war
Healthy competition is an achievement celebrated in many circles such as sportsmen, scientists and inventors. Unfortunately, competition is not always practiced in a healthy way and some cases can become so aggressive that they lead to violence. An example of the latter was Bone Wars, also known as The Great Dinosaur Rush.
In the 19th century, two paleontologists, Othniel Charles Marsh and Edward Drinker Cope became infamous for their fierce rivalry where each tried to outdo each other by any means necessary. One such way explained by RogueLieutenant was that “they would sneak into each other’s dig sites and blast fossils to thwart each other.” This tale could be Prestigebut instead of magicians, they are paleontologists.
6 The American overthrow of the Hawaiian monarchy
Editor Yumit18 suggested the “takeover of Hawaii and deposal of Queen Liliuokalani” by the United States in 1893. This event is infamous for being the first instance of the US government sponsoring the coup of a sovereign nation in the name of capitalist interests. Queen Liliʻuokalani attempted to restore the powers of the Hawaiian monarchy and help those disenfranchised by the growing American businesses on the island nation.
In response, a group consisting of pro-American farmers, business leaders, and eventually US Marines would succeed in overthrowing the Queen and the monarchy entirely. This would eventually lead to the annexation of Hawaii to the United States in 1898.
5 Zheng Yi Sao, Pirate Queen
Redditor aiandi couldn’t sing enough praise for famous hooker-turned-pirate Zheng Yi Sao, “the richest and most successful pirate to ever live.” Additionally, “SHE commanded a fleet of 40,000 men and retired to live to old age.” Also known as C Shih, she would take over her late husband’s fleet and expand it to 400 junks, all under her command.
It would come into conflict with various parties, including the East India Company. Eventually, she would predate Escobar in negotiating a surrender to the Qing dynasty, but on his terms, allowing him to live out his days with immense wealth and never be prosecuted for his plunder.
4 Hannibal the Conqueror
Probably the “greatest military general in history” says littledramaboy when suggesting there should be a movie of legendary Carthage commander Hannibal. Other than a few appearances in a few Italian silent films and the subject of multiple documentaries, there hasn’t been a single feature film about one of the greatest military minds to ever walk this Earth.
His strategy used in the Battle of Cannae is still considered one of the greatest military victories of all time. He was one of the first commanders to know the personality of their enemies to determine their strengths and weaknesses. His exploits in the Second Punic War are still celebrated to this day, but most draw attention to the war elephants he brought with him during the invasion of Italy.
3 Kintpuash and the Modoc War
The American Indian genocide is one of the darkest chapters in this nation’s history. From the Trail of Tears to various conflicts with the US military, there is no shortage of stories about the fate of Native Americans. One such tale is that of Kintpuash (hit the water impetuously) also known as Captain Jack, chief of the Modoc tribe.
Redditor pat953 thinks the story of Chief Modoc and his people’s defense against the US military would make a great movie. Kintpuash would find himself successfully fending off the armed forces before being tragically betrayed by members of his tribe. He was eventually arrested along with other leaders of the Modoc tribe and sentenced to death.
2 The Waikato Invasion
“The sun never sets on the British Empire” is one of the most famous phrases of the 19th century. It’s both mocking and disturbing because the British had colonial sway in various countries around the world.
One of these lands was the island of New Zealand. Redditor shadowbannedkiwi thinks this should be a movie as a way to teach a wider audience a valuable history lesson about one of the British Empire’s greatest atrocities. “It was a heavy conflict between two crowns. The British Crown and the Maori Crown, who put up strong resistance to the larger British forces.”
1 John Brown, abolitionist
John Brown is one of the most controversial figures in United States history for his unwavering dedication to the pre-Civil War abolitionist movement which believed strongly in the use of violence to confront the institution of slavery. His dedication to the cause was such that even the famous abolitionist Frederick Douglass believed Brown’s actions matched his own, saying, “I live for the slave, he would die for them.”
Redditor troubadour76 mentioned that Quentin Tarantino would only make a biopic if it was “John Brown and Bleeding Kansas”. Along with his sons, John Brown would engage the pro-slavery soldiers in the conflict to determine the slave status of the newly named state.
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