Welcome to Reel History! On this podcast we talk about historical movies and TV, anything that claims to be based on a true story, and we check – how bad did they mess it up? What was life actually like during that time period? That’s why we’re here – to separate the real history from the Reel History! Hosted by two Irish history buffs and a Swedish guy who doesn’t know anything about history. Part of the Shows What You Know network; find all our podcasts at ShowsWhatYouKnow.com. Cover art by Kim Boland. Follow us @Reel_History and don’t forget to rate and review!
Apocalypto (2006) | Mesoamerica Meets Cortés (1519)
Welcome to episode 2 of season 2 of Reel History! 🎤
This week we dust off our mics, clear our throats and try not to choke as we digest the 2006 smash hit ‘Apocalypto’.
Mel Gibson delivers a heart thumping tropical jungle chase that is one part Rambo, one part Predator with a double serving of his trademark dollop of historical inaccuracy.
Set in early 1500s pre-Spanish Yucatán Mexico, we follow our hero Jaguar Paw (Rudy Youngblood) as he seeks to reunite with his stricken family, crossing a Mayan world in the midst of violent end-of-days chaos. Hot on his heels are a bunch of vicious assassins led by Middle Eye (Gerardo Taracena) and the wily Zero Wolf (Raoul Trujillo) who are determined to hunt Jaguar Paw mercilessly across a beautifully shot lush but perilous landscape.
Sounds great right? Well, not exactly. Whilst the film delivers on many fronts, Mel’s crimes against historical accuracy have never been so grave! Tune in to find out how bad did he mess it up.
Given this hiccup we decided to explore what was really going on in the valley of Mexico when in 1519 the Spanish pitched their tent on the turf of the powerful Aztec / Mexica Emperor Montezuma.
Join us as we cast an eye on a moment often heralded as the ´birth of modern history’. We find out how the infamous Hernan Cortez and his ragtag army used shock and awe tactics and good old fashioned treachery to bring this complex, sophisticated civilization to its knees.
On this whirlwind adventure we discuss everything from the Maya, the Aztecs, the truth behind human sacrifice, astronomical prophecies and how Cortez and his companions famously ´suffered from a disease of the heart that could only be cured by gold’. All this with the bonus of listening to Michael struggle to pronounce words like Huitzilopochtli and Quatzalcoatl in a Irish midlands flat accent.
Sources“Conquistador: Hernan Cortes, King Montezuma, and the Last Stand of the Aztecs ” by Buddy Levy
A Knight’s Tale (2001) | Feudal Europe (1372)
Season 2 of Reel History starts today! We’re aiming to release episodes every other week so please subscribe, leave us a review and tweet your history puns at us @reel_history.
A Knight’s Tale from 2001 is a sport films about jousting and while it has a tenuous connection to any real history it serves as an excellent jumping off point for a discussion about knights, jousting, courtly romance and intrigue.
Did you know that Heath Ledger’s Sir Ulrich von Liechtenstein was actually a real person? And while Paul Bettany’s depiction of Geoffrey Chaucer is a riot of WWE proportions, what connection is there really between this film and Chaucer’s “The Knight’s Tale” from The Canterbury Tales? Answers to all this and more about feudal Europe can be found in our SEASON PREMIERE of SEASON 2 off Reel History!
Greatest Knight: The Remarkable Life of William Marshal, the Power
Behind Five English” by Thomas Asbridge
Reel History Season 1 FINALE
With 10 episodes we’re closing out season 1 of Reel History! In this finale episode we follow a more loose structure, having general chats about history and answering listener questions that have cropped up throughout the season. If you have any questions for us to answer in future episodes, don’t hesitate to get in touch via email@example.com.
We’ll be back with season 2 after we’ve built up a buffer of episodes to release bi-weekly. Please take the time in between seasons to tell a friend, review Reel History on Apple Podcasts and check out our many sibling shows at showswhatyouknow.com!
Outlaw King (2018) | Robert the Bruce at War (1304)
Welcome to episode nine of Reel History: Shows What You Know About Braveheart! Join us as we delve into 14th Century Britain and come to terms with the feudal struggle between the Kingdoms of Scotland and England. How can a man falling off a horse lead to decades of bloodshed? How does Robert the Bruce go from Earl of Carrick to become first a folk hero and then a national icon?
Feudal Britain is brought to life in this Netflix medieval epic, pitting Edward Longshanks “The Hammer of Scots,” and his apparently lunatic son against the resisting Scotland in a winner takes all battle for supremacy in the north. Join as we dissect Chris Pine’s role playing the legendary Outlaw King, Robert the Bruce.
As this is a brand new podcast (part of the Shows What You Know network) we’d be delighted if you’d take the time to leave a review on Apple Podcasts or check us out on Spotify!
Sources“Robert the Bruce: King of Scots” by Ronald McNair Scot“A Great and Terrible King – Edward I and the Forging of Britain” by Marc Morris
The Irishman (2019) | The American Mafia (1975)
Welcome to Cut to Black: A Reel History Special. This is a crossover between two of our Shows What You Know podcasts! On Cut to Black we discuss The Sopranos; on Reel History we dig into the historical context of movies and television.
This episode bridges the gap between both podcasts as we’ll be using Scorsese’s The Irishman as a jumping-off point to discuss the formation of the mafia in the USA, so whether you’re hearing this on our Cut to Black feed or Reel History feed we believe there will be something in it for you!
So, I heard you paint houses? This week we tackle the Martin Scorsese mobster masterpiece, The Irishman! Join us in our special crossover episode with sister show Cut to Black as we discuss the origins of the American Mafia. How did the organisation of the Mafia Commission lead to deals with Union boss Jimmy Hoffa and what was the role of WWII veteran “the Irishman,” Frank Sheeran in Hoffa’s infamous disappearance? From the Five Points Gang to the Bay of Pigs invasion, we track the influence of the mob on shaping the 21st century.
Hamilton (2015) | American Revolution (1776)
Welcome to episode 7 of Reel History ! Well this week we were eager to find out “how does a ragtag volunteer army in need of a shower- Somehow defeat a global superpower?” 🤔
So naturally our gaze couldn’t help being drawn to the phenomenal smash hit “Hamilton – An American Musical” (2015) !
Who would ever dream of making a 46-song Broadway Musical about the adventurous life of the founding fathers’ “little lion of federalism” Alexander Hamilton (1755-1804)? Well award-winning playwright Lin-Manuel Miranda had that exact revelation when reading Ron Chernows biography of this almost neglected trail blazer.
To his enemies (and he had many) simply a “bastard brat of a scotch peddler” – Alexander was in fact a “young ,scrappy and hungry” pioneer of inexhaustible ability at the vanguard of the American revolutionary golden generation.
Happily this era also happens to be one of Mark’s most cherished subjects so we naturally couldn’t resist plunging head-first into the earth-shattering events of the entire period as we witness the birth and fledgling fortunes of this plucky (if flawed) young Republic.
The founding fathers famously thought that it was ridiculous for a continent to belong to an island. We touch on their fiery and brilliant ideals and lives (not to mention duels ⚔) from the imperious Washington to the much maligned “American Cataline” Aaron Burr. Oh and in case you forgot he’s the ´damn fool that shot him’!
So kick back and prepare to face off against Britain’s king George as we remember that “when push comes to shove” he will “kill your friends and family to remind you” of his love. 👑😂
As this is a new podcast we’d be delighted if you’d take the time to leave a review on Apple Podcasts. And follow us on Twitter @Reel_History for historical tidbits throughout the week!
Sources:“Founding Brothers – The Revolutionary Generation” by Joseph J. Ellis “Alexander Hamilton” by Ron Chernow “1776” by David McCullough.