His­tory vs Hol­ly­wood

Does Ri­d­ley Scott favour ac­tion over ac­cu­racy in this Cru­sader epic about the Siege of Jerusalem?

All About History - - CONTENTS -

A look back at Ri­d­ley Scott’s Cru­sader block­buster, King­dom of Heaven

Di­rec­tor: Ri­d­ley Scott Star­ring: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Ghas­san Mas­soud, Jeremy Irons Re­leased: 2005

01 Balian of Ibe­lin, played by Orlando Bloom, was in­deed a real-life knight who served in Jerusalem dur­ing the Third

Cru­sade. How­ever, un­like in the movie, at no point did the no­ble­man work as a black­smith as penance for his wife’s sui­cide.

02 King Bald­win IV, played by Ed­ward Nor­ton, re­ally did suf­fer from lep­rosy – al­though he did not wear a sil­ver mask to hide it, as in the film. It is also true that he de­feated Sal­adin’s forces at the Bat­tle of Mont­gis­ard, when he was just 16 years old.

03 Al­though the film por­trays a ro­mance between Balian and Princess Sibylla, in real-life no such re­la­tion­ship ex­isted. How­ever, Sibylla was mar­ried to Guy de Lusig­nan, the main an­tag­o­nist of the movie, who be­came king of Jerusalem through their mar­riage.

04 As de­picted in the film, the Cru­saders did wan­der in the desert for three days with­out wa­ter be­fore they were am­bushed, spark­ing the Bat­tle of Hat­tin. It is also true that Sal­adin’s forces crushed the Cru­saders at Hat­tin be­fore he marched to Jerusalem.

05 While Balain de­fends the city of Jerusalem as Sal­adin’s forces ap­proach, the re­al­ity was far dif­fer­ent. Balain barely es­caped Hat­tin with his life and he only went to Jerusalem to get his wife and chil­dren – and only stayed after the peo­ple begged him to.

Ver­dict Though it is not a com­pletely in­ac­cu­rate film, Scott has used a lot of artis­tic li­cence here

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