Bambi was the reason that almost all animators (even to this day in age) are not only asked, but required to draw animals in their studies. The story goes that when Disney himself saw the first few rough animations of the deers moving, they looked like what could be generously described as two people in a horse suit doing the peepee dance. So ashamed of this, Disney brought in a live deer the next day and forced his entire staff to spend the next few weeks doing nothing but deer drawings. It paid off, and not only is Bambi known for its beautiful animal animations, but animal anatomy has become a permanent part of nearly every single animator's training.
During the process of designing the characters, the animators brought in lions ranging from small cubs all the way to adults even bringing in a baboon to hold a stick in order to figure out how to animate Rafiki. To add to this, many field trips to the local zoos were involved to better understand animal anatomy. The zoos that are credited include the Los Angeles Zoo, the San Diego Zoo, the San Diego Zoo Safari Park and the Miami Metro Zoo
In order to understand the landscape of Africa, a select group of animators were sent to Kenya to tour the reserves and learn about the culture. It's thanks to this trip that the catchphrase "Hakuna Matata" is so commonly used nowadays.
For a movie sorely lacking in proper research and mired in Politically Correct History otherwise, Pocahontas does manage to get one detail correct. The settlers fly the Union Jack that was the English standard from 1606 to 1800: the modern one, but without the red stripe on the cross of St. Andrew. For those who don't know, the Saltire (St. Andrew's Cross) with the red St. George's Cross superimposed represents the union of Scotland and England. The second red cross added later represents Ireland (now just Northern Ireland).
In Mulan when Mushu reads a newspaper, he turns the pages left-to-right since it's in Chinese, not right-to-left as thought it were English.
A language consultant was brought in to invent the Atlanteans' language in Atlantis: The Lost Empire. It has a full vocabulary, at least one relevant to their culture, a character system, and consistent grammar and syntax. The only time in the movie this ever becomes relevant is the fact that Milo can read ancient Atlantean whereas the Atlanteans themselves have long forgotten how. While the shield runes are done using a letter-by-letter English cipher, an equivalent to the I_eland letter string is in the time-and-culture-appropriate names for Iceland and Ireland.
Lilo & Stitch: When Lilo announces that she wants to call her new "dog" Stitch, the woman at the humane society says, "That's not a name." Nani shoots her a dirty look and she quickly adds, "-in Iceland!" In Iceland, there actually are strict rules about what parents are legally allowed to name their children.
Another small Disney moment: Apparently, the animators watched chefs preparing food at a local Benihana to properly animate Long John Silver preparing food in a short animation in Treasure Planet. Disney staff may not always do perfect research, but when they do, they do it right.
Brother Bear, like Bambi and The Lion King, did extensive research on animal anatomy.
In Disney's Tangled, the tactics used by Mother Gothel on Rapunzel are disturbingly accurate, such as Gothel's refined verbal and emotional abuse, lying to her "daughter" and trying to make Rapunzel dependent on her. There's some Fridge Brilliance in this as well, as the way Rapunzel reacts and behaves throughout the movie (with mood swings etc.) resembles how a victim of lifelong emotional abuse would realistically behave.
Wreck-It Ralph has a ton of Shout-Out moments that double as this trope. Noteworthy ones include: getting Sonic's voice actor in for a cameo appearance, which doubles as a plot point; Vanellope's kart's asymmetrical textures being caused by Ralph breaking the baking game reminiscent of glitched racing characters and karts; blink-and-you-miss-it clips in the arcades opening time-skip showing how characters like Sonic, Eggman, and Bowser (typically home console characters) end up in an arcade; right down to Zangief being at Bad-Anon, not because he was a villain, but because he was a pain in the ass for one of the producers, and many other players of Street Fighter II, to beat. (His speech to Ralph even highlights it, he is not a villain for evil's sake but a villain because of his strength and notoriety.)
Frozen includes a montage of historically accurate ice harvesting techniques, which is particularly impressive considering that Real Life ice harvesting died out in the middle of the 20th century.
Judy Hopps, a rabbit, doesn't have paw pads. It's a little known fact that real rabbits have fur instead of paw pads.
Nick nearly gets caught sneaking by a guard shack because the wolves guarding the facility catch his scent on the wind, a subtle joke about how foxes have musk glands. Also, the film notes that Nick eats fruit which is possible for foxes as they're omnivores and actually love blueberries, apples and plums.
The eyes of the victims of Night Howler poisoning take on real life tapetum lucidum.
It's noted that the predators in the city make up only 10% of the total population. This is based on the real life fact known as the Rule of Ten where for every predator there must be 10 prey animals to sustain it. However, it doesn't explain why the situation still exists now that civilization has eliminated the traditional food chain.
The commentary for Sinbad: Legend of the Seven Seas claims a lot of this. From the rigging on the ships to the design of the lock and dam system, a lot of details were taken into consideration.
Kung Fu Panda was so well praised in China for getting their culture so dead on in a great movie that the Chinese government set up meetings that essentially asked, "Why can't we make an animated film about China that good??"
In fact, one of their lead animators was a martial arts expert, and eventually all the animators actually took kung fu courses to help them better draw the moves of the various characters and stay true (for the most part) to the different styles. Other research shows in the authentic Chinese landscape, art, and architecture.
For even more evidence of this, Exhibit A: The Art of Kung Fu Panda. You'll be blown away by the extreme attention to detail in absolutely everything. There's the landscape (example: the visual team looked to the works of traditional Chinese paintings for inspiration, and when designing the sugarloaf mountains in the Valley of Peace, they made sure to choose the right number of peaks to represent both openness and security, as well as emphasize mist because of the Chinese concept of beauty in emptiness). Then there's the architecture of the Jade Palace, where the roofs are not only properly designed to allow maximum light in any season and for rainwater runoff, but there are even dougongs, or interlocking wooden brackets, tucked up under the eaves that the audience will never even see. And there's the character designs, such as Tigress's stripes being incorporated into her costume, Mantis having a real Chinese robe design put on his carapace, and Viper's coils being tattooed with Chinese poetry. For added fun, listen to the directors' commentary where they wax eloquent on the color theory and symbolism of different parts of the film. All in all, it does seem to be crossing over into Doing It for the Art territory.
Dreamworks nails it with How to Train Your Dragon. Toothless' movements, behavior and flight reflect a myriad of animal behaviors, and as such comes off as one of the most "realistic" dragons.
The sequel How to Train Your Dragon 2 has a darker case in Drago's Bewilderbeast, who acts like an animal that's been abused its entire life, particularly performing elephants. Drago's weapon of choice is a bullhook/elephant goad, an item used in the training of elephants and the use of which is considered animal abuse by most animal rights groups.
While not always accurate, Osmosis Jones portrays human physiology rather more correctly than a cartoon about a talking white blood cell might be expected to. When reminiscing about his family's history on the police force/immune system, Jones refers to his ancestors having come over on the umbilical cord; before it has bone marrow, a human embryo's blood cells really are manufactured in a yolk sac, which connects to the belly via the umbilical cord (as does the placenta). The creators also worked with a real martial arts expert to accurately portray Thrax's fighting style.
Pixar has become noted for this, especially in some of their most recent films. Some highlights: (just watch the DVD extras for all the details)
In Toy Story, animators wore shoes bolted to 2x4s to figure out how toy soldiers would actually walk.
Coral reefs and particularly how things move underwater for Finding Nemo.
Cars is full of an astounding amount of detail. The King is Richard Petty's iconic 1970 Plymouth Superbird, down to virtually every detail, and his crash at the end of the film is a chillingly exact recreation of Petty's 1988 Daytona 500 crash. (Now watch the movie again and realize that that crash actually happened, with a person inside the car and try not to get goosebumps.) The sound engineers recorded engine sounds of the exact make and models of each kind of car featured in the film so they would sound exactly right even though virtually none of the audience would know any difference. The King's wife is voiced by Petty's Real Life wife and was modeled after the car Mrs. Petty drove in to follow her husband to races earlier in his career.
Pixar consulted with chefs and restaurateurs and key animators took gourmet cooking classes to make sure they could get as much right about the way a restaurant works as possible. They even got a haute cuisine chef to show how the craft works and used Collette's mentoring montage to show that research off. Every scene that sets up how the restaurant operates is true to life. Up to and including how a restaurant deals with pushy big-name food critics.
They also actually cooked some of the recipes used in the movie themselves, so that they could accurately render how foodstuffs look and react when being prepared via various cooking techniques.
The ratatouille variant that Rémy prepares for Ego at the end was invented for the film; Chef Keller was asked what he would do if a critic like Ego were to suddenly enter his restaurant and, in a moment of inspiration, created the dish.
If one looks closely, one can see that the chefs have small burn scars on the undersides of their forearms. Some real-life chefs also have these, from accidentally touching hot pans while cooking.
For the scene where Linguini jumps into the river after Remy, one of the animators jumped into a pool wearing a chef's uniform so they could accurately portray a soaking wet uniform.
Even the rats' social organization underwent a little research, as they properly refer to their group as a "colony" rather than a pack, and don't have obvious leaders aside from older rats advising their children.
The WALL•E crew spent considerable time studying and using actual film cameras like the 70mm Panavision and consulted with famous cinematographers Roger Deakens and Dennis Muren to make the the movie appear as if it had been filmed rather than rendered. (These experts noted wryly that many of the effects Pixar used — like lens flare, motion blur, and limited focus — had been viewed by camera-using cinematographers as errors to be avoided, eliminated, or minimized whenever possible.) They also spent a lot of research on silent acting, because of the limited expressions of WALL•E and EVE. In fact, the little dialogue in the film, and how they got WALL•E and EVE to express so much emotion despite not having faces, is what got the movie so much praise.
Not only is Elastigirl's radio chatter while flying a plane in The Incredibles accurate, Holly Hunter researched what the jargon actually meant, meaning it sounds realistic as well. The only snag was substituting the aircraft's tail number from the "proper" N-number so that it could be a Shout-Out.
Several Pixar artists went to a South American plateau for a realistic look and inspiration for Up (not exactly a day trip). The rock shaped like a turtle is based on a real rock they saw, as well as the rock they mistook for a person. Considering how alien and fantastic the place looked, it is amazing when you realize how accurate it is, especially since very few people would be able to notice any inaccuracy. Even the seemingly random changes in the film's weather (such as how quickly mist clears away) is actually par for the course on those real-life plateaus; according to the DVD commentary, the research team almost got trapped there because of sudden rainstorms.
An archery teacher who watchedBrave's trailer commended the film for showing the characters who get their archery wrong do it in the right ways, the way real novice archers mess up, while the main character does it right in the right ways, right down to the nonintuitive slow-motion physics of archery.
Quite a bit of research in psychology went into the making of Inside Out. Riley's Emotions are based on Paul Ekman's theory of six basic emotions (Fear borrowing some elements from the sixth emotion in Ekman's model, Surprise), and the short-term memories being sent to long-term memory when Riley goes to sleep are based on current ideas as to the purpose of sleep. Also, the shots of San Francisco are heavily based on locations in the real-life city.
Surf's Up lists multiple surfing consultants in the credits. Who would have thought that a CGI film on surfing penguins would go the extra mile?
The animators worked hard to recreate the moves and entrances of the wrestlers. Sin Cara's movements, in particular, are really fluid. They even note Kane's heterochromia.
The movie also goes to great lengths illustrating Kayfabe and the nature of the WWE as an entertainment business. Vince McMahon, whose ring persona is that of a ruthless Corrupt Corporate Executive, is portrayed as a fairly pleasant, reasonable guy in private and Kane, portrayed as a vicious monster in the ring, is a Graceful Loser to Shaggy and Scooby. Most fictional portrayals of pro wrestling tend to gloss over this aspect of it, only giving it a passing mention if they mention it at all.
In [[Yellowbird, windmills can be seen spinning in the background when the flock arrives in Holland. In use since the 14th century, windmills served many purposes, such as bringing water from the lowlands to water crops and grinding grain.
9.April: screenwriter Tobias Lindholm based his script on historical records and interviews with veterans of the German invasion in 1940.
The story of the Titanic in A Night to Remember was based on the official findings of the inquiry into the disaster and is widely hailed as the most realistic depiction. The only real error it makes is showing the ship sinking in one piece. But statements that it broke into two pieces were, at best, disputed at the time the movie was made, and that the Titanic broke into two pieces before it sank was only confirmed in 1985 when the wreckage was discovered. And even today it's debated whether the Titanic split above or below the surface.
The Apollo 13 movie. There are a few technical inaccuracies and blended characters and such, but these are primarily in service to the Artistic License and Rule of Drama. Ron Howard (the director) and Tom Hanks, in the "making of Apollo 13" documentary which was part of the collector's edition, were referred to as the "accuracy police" by someone who worked on it. The actor who played the flight director compared working on the film to cramming for finals - getting all this information in their heads and focusing on it the night before they did it. They even had Dave Scott, commander of Apollo 15, there every day to make sure that they flipped the right switches and everything.
Scott: "I'm really impressed with the authenticity of the way they're doing this. They're so interested in getting this accurate and precise down to not only the word, but the inflection of the word and the meaning behind the word."
The misquote of Lovell saying "Houston, we have a problem" rather than "Houston, we've had a problem" has been stated to have been intentional, with the reasoning being that they didn't like the use of past tense, for whatever reason (perhaps Rule of Drama, to keep the audience's tension in the moment).
The set for Mission Control was so faithful to the original that at least one real-life Mission Control tech from NASA, who was brought in to evaluate the set, caught himself expecting the elevator from the NASA building when he left through the side door.
During the closing credits of Argo the moviemakers show off a little by juxtaposing shots from the movie with photos of the actual people and events the story was based on. Some of them are amazingly close to reality.
Attack of the Clones has a minor example in the early movie where the two Jedi are interrogating the sub-contracted bounty-hunter Zam Wesell to figure out who hired her. Just as she's about to spill the beans, a projectile imbeds itself in her neck, followed by the report of the weapon that fired it—though this may seem a plot contrivance to make sure that we're surprised by the dart, in actuality this is an example of this trope, as in reality, super-sonic weapons fired from a long range(Jango Fett is clearly a long way off in the subsequent shot) impact before the sound of their firing reaches the target, which is part of the reason why they're so deadly. You don't get to hear the shot and drop, as is often shown in cinema, you drop and then you hear the shot(or, if you're the target, your buddies do) but by then the shooter's usually re-located, again, as in the film.
Blood Of The Vampire is set during the 1880s, during a time when blood types had not been discovered yet; Dr. Callistratus even points that out to the protagonist when hiring him.
In Bridge of Spies, attorney James Donovan cites Mapp v. Ohio, the precedent that any evidence obtained during the illegal search of Abel's apartment cannot be used in court. Furthermore, when the judge tries to shoot this down on the grounds that Abel is not an American citizen, Donovan cites (by name) the case Yick Wo v. Hopkins, the precedent that constitutional protections apply to anyone living in the U.S., not just American citizens.
Captain America: The First Avenger is extremely accurate: the scene on the Italian front presents units that were on that front, many of HYDRA's weapons were actual Nazi attempted superweapons (in-universe made possible by the power of the Tesseract), two of the HYDRA bases were Peenemünde, site of the developement of the V-2, and the Riese Facility, where the Nazi were rumored to work on some superweapon...
As an added bonus: the real-life bombing of Peenemünde was codenamed Operation Hydra.
The writers of Contagion consulted real-life epidemiologists when writing their script. If you know anything about epidemic disease, it's possible to appreciate the movie on a whole additional level.
The SWAT team's tactics when entering the building the Joker's minions have occupied are in fact, the actual procedures a real SWAT team would carry out under the same situation: the officers approach the suspects with weapons drawn and at the ready and identify themselves, demanding that the suspects surrender and put their weapons down. Until the suspects present a threat to either the officers or innocents, they have to hold fire. More than one reviewer questioned why SWAT wasn't opening fire, not realizing that this was how they really operate.
Commissioner Loeb's funeral procession is very realistic, thanks to the fact that the police officers you see are actual off-duty Chicago Police Department officers. Additionally, the CPD supplied the bagpipe marching band.
For Das Boot, the filmmakers painstakingly recreated both the interior and the exterior of a German Type VII U-boat. Only one minor allowance to the set was made (a section of the control room wall could be removed to allow cameras), but that was only used once. Also, the film was made mostly in chronological order. The cast was kept indoors throughout the shooting so that their increasing pallor would reflect the complexion changes a real U-boat crew would go through.
Don't Think Twice, being a film made by improvisers, consistently shows its work, from the principles and structure of improv classes, to name-dropping improvisers like Viola Spolin, Del Close, and Paul Sills, whose names will mean nothing to large chunks of the audience.
Before making Dr. Strangelove, Stanley Kubrick and several of his collaborators read dozens of reports made by the Air Force and the RAND Corporation. Dr. Strangelove himself is caricature of Wernher von Braun, Edward Teller, Herman Kahn and John von Neumann (but not, as often thought, Henry Kissinger, who wasn't widely known outside of academic circles at the time). Interestingly it was Kahn who suggested the Doomsday Machine, which was exactly the kind of defense that Herman Kahn fought against in his work. This attention to the smallest technical and military details is where the film gets its infamous nervous humor. Additionally, at the time of the filming, the interior of a B-52 was highly classified. The film crew made up the layout and look by extrapolation from the older B-29, and laid out the floor plan based on the external measurements of the 52. They did such a good job, the Air Force was concerned briefly that they had an insider source.
Gattaca has a close to perfect depiction of a leg lengthening device. It's also in general one of the most realistic depictions of genetic engineering in all of fiction. Years after it was made, most of its ideas about genetics continue to hold true, and its basic premise of a class-based liberal eugenics society is terrifyingly plausible.
Ghostbusters (1984) goes to great lengths to show its work, at least when it comes to parapsychology. The script didn't invent ectoplasm: according to parapsychology, it's the residue of telekinetic contact, and having it appear as a result of spectral contact isn't much of a stretch. Virtually every paranormal event Egon and Ray reference, from the symmetrical bookstacking case to The Tunguska Event, are all real events (although Ray misstates the year of Tunguska), and the way Peter handles Dana's possession, though played for laughs, follows the advice of both exorcists and secular psychologists about never letting the alternate personality intimidate or take control of the situation. And if there's any doubt that Dana's apartment building was indeed built as a portal for the fictional Sumerian god Gozer, it's dispelled by the fact that the top of the building is an accurate recreation of a Sumerian ziggurat. Most of this research comes from co-creator Dan Aykroyd, whose enthusiasm for the paranormal inspired the movie in the first place. In fact, his father, paranormal investigator (real life ghostbuster) Peter Aykroyd, wrote some of his research material.
According to this news article◊, Gareth Edwards and his crew prepared for the monster fights by studying footage of animals fighting, so Godzilla's fighting style is based off of those of real life animals such as bears and komodo dragons.
There's also the tsunami scene which begins when all of the water on the beach is retreating far beyond where it normally would, heading out to sea. This is an actual sign of an incoming tsunami.
The makers of the film Gojira did a lot of hard work to make the aftermath of Godzilla's attack on Tokyo look eerily similar to what Hiroshima and Nagasaki looked like after they were hit by the atomic bomb. Considering the original film is an allegory about the horrors of atomic warfare, yeah...
The film of The Good Earth is painstakingly accurate to the actual look of turn-of-the-century Chinese rural life, notably including in the beginning a scene of Wang Lung's neighbors operating a traditional Chinese foot-powered water mill, despite being filmed in 1937. (Originally they wanted to cast only Chinese actors, as well, but the studio declared that apparently American audiences weren't ready for that.)
The makers went to great lengths to accurately build a German POW camp for The Great Escape. Of course, it did help that several of the actors had been prisoners of war during WW 2. Donald Pleasence, who had been in a German POW camp, made a few suggestions to John Sturges, who wasn't aware of that fact, and was told to keep his opinions to himself. However, when the director learned that Donald Pleasence knew what he was talking about, he was asked for advice all the time.
In Guardians of the Galaxy, Star Lord flies through the cold vacuum of space in what amounts to a space helmet and street clothes. He also removes his mask to save Gamora. The media in general likes to depict exposure to space immediately resulting in your blood boiling over, your skin instantly freezing, your eyes popping out of your head, etc. None of that actually happens right away. This movie shows what actually happens accurately, with the two surviving long enough to be picked up.
Gung Ho's depiction of Japanese executives dealing with American workers was so accurate that Toyota actually uses the film to show Japanese managers that are bound for the USA how NOT to do things. .
One of the reasons Heaven's Gate cost so much was that director Michael Cimino was obsessed with getting all the period details right. (A promotional tie-in with Kodak film quoted him as saying, "If you don't get it right, what's the point?") One legendary anecdote had Cimino deciding that the street on his main set wasn't wide enough, and then having both sides of the street torn down and moved back three feet, at great cost and time wasted. Unfortunately, it all backfired horribly — the trope was so abundant that people refused to accept its little quirks as "real" at all. Cimino tended to abandon generic verisimilitude in favour of being "accurate", in turn ignoring a lot of things that people expect (or want) to see in a western. In particular, there was widespread criticism regarding Nate's Final Speech being written from inside a burning cabin (which was actually one of the few scenes in the film true to historical fact) as well as the infamous roller skate dance scene.
Since it was a Deconstructive Parody, the creators of Hot Fuzz spent a good deal of time in research and interviews of actual police forces, which doesn't become fully noticeable until you see the "Fuzz Fact" commentary. For instance, they were spot-on about all the politically-correct vocabulary guidelines, and the "unofficial punishments" of making officers buy donuts and ice-cream for minor offences such as forgetting their hats. The scenes where the officers are filling paperwork were added specifically because the cops they interviewed lamented that paperwork is the biggest facet of the job and the one least seen in the media.
No funeral pyres to see in Immortals; Theseus buries his mother exactly the way the Greeks buried their dead in 13th century B.C.: the completely shrouded corpse laid to rest in a vault inside a massive tomb... which is where the film's MacGuffin happens to be.
Inception is a film that runs on Applied Phlebotinum, but that's not to say everything is handwaved away. Christopher Nolan consulted with several PhD or MD-holding psychologists and somatic experts to come up with the various things characters do within dreams. The DVD and Blu-ray releases of the film include a documentary called "Dreams: The Cinema of the Subconscious", in which these experts are interviewed. Among them is notable "lucid dreamer" Alan Worsley, who was the first to use eye-movement as a signal to those in the real world that he was aware that he was dreaming. The concept of the "totems" is also based on "reality-checking", which is how lucid dreamers tell if they are in a dream or reality, since the brain can't differentiate between the two.
Insecurity has a very realistic depiction of hacking. The writer and director is a professional computer programmer, and the actors were capable of writing authentic code on-screen. If you know a little about computers, it is a very rewarding movie.
Into the Storm (2009) is practically impeccable in historical accuracy. They get even tiny details (such as the name of Churchill's butlers and his favorite film) entirely correctly.
Iron Man 2 : Vanko's tattoos were modeled after real Russian prison tattoos, which have different designs depending on things such as the length of the prison sentence.
It Happened Here featured such accurate Wehrmacht uniforms that a group of Bundeswehr officers gave them an inspection while filming and pronounced them "absolutely correct."
In Jacob's Ladder, for all of the chiropractor scenes, director Adrian Lyne ensured there was a real chiropractor on-set, who would work with actor Danny Aiello so as to ensure authenticity. According to Lyne, chiropractors often approach him and thank him for going to the trouble of getting what they do exactly right.
Jurassic Park is quite famous for its realistic depiction of dinosaurs (so far as the dinosaurs were understood at the time the movie was made). Not only did the movie have spectacular effects and animatronics but their movement, according to experts, was also modeled quite realistically. Bipedals run like bipedals and T. rex takes the right stance when lowers its head to feed or bite the car's tires in its first attack. The animators did in-depth research about the movement of the dinosaurs and tested things on themselves like running and jumping obstacles, before animating the scene with the flock of Gallimimuses (being bipedal species). The film's only big liberties are with the sizes of some dinosaurs, and the ways in which science marched on regarding other aspects.
The third sequel, Jurassic World, features sauropods with correctly designed forefeet, plunge diving female Pteranodons with short crests and a Mosasaurus with teeth on her palate and the beginnings of a fluke on her tail.
Less-obviously in Jurassic World, the hybrid dinosaur Indominus rex was very deliberately made to be as accurate as possible rather than being a Mix-and-Match Critter like its original draft, the Diabolus rex, would've been (descriptions of the D. rex imply that it would have essentially been a tyrannosaur with raptor-like sickle claws). The end result is an entirely fictional species which still looks like it could have plausibly existed in the fossil record—the only exceptional difference from most other theropods is its enormous arms, and otherwise it looks very much like real dinosaurs such as Allosaurus or Giganotosaurus.
Historical changes/inaccuracies aside in Tom Cruise and Ken Watanabe's The Last Samurai, a lot of details — from architecture to Ujio's simple tea ceremony — was studied meticulously, as noted in the Official Movie Guide. When the Japanese extras were brought to the village set in New Zealand, many of the older ones teared up because of how accurate the set designers and builders had created the buildings, citing that the housings looked like how their grandparents' villages did.
Steve McQueen's 1970 Le Mans would have made a perfectly good documentary. Half the film is the real race anyway, and posterity would've loved to have Steve McQueen interviewing the drivers of the time.
Lucky Bastard is a found-footage horror film that takes place on the set of a porn shoot. The filmmakers labored long and hard to accurately depict what happens during such a shoot, both in front of and behind the camera: production snafus, rampant piracy, and the blasé attitudes of all involved.
The makers of Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World extended Patrick O'Brian's already-extensive shown work by digging deep into history for minute costume and hairstyle details (subsequently rendered in period-appropriate materials with period-appropriate techniques), the inner and outer workings of period-specific tall ships (they fired actual cannons to get the sound effect right), and cultural miscellany to illustrate the backdrop of the film. All extras and actors filmed aboard the ship were put through a "boot camp" to prepare them for their shipboard duties, and most of the filming actually took place at sea aboard a replica of an 18th-century tall ship.
The Matrix Reloaded features a brief glimpse of Trinity hacking a power grid mainframe. Compared with most films' dumbed-down portrayals of "hacking a computer", this instance is remarkably realistic, despite being on-screen for only a few seconds, and references actual hacking tools and known security vulnerabilities (circa 2001). It is likely the creators felt the need to "get it right" since the concept of computer hacking is a central theme in the Matrix films.
Many Michael Mann movies fall into this category, but special mention must go to Heat and Collateral. In the DVD commentary for his 1981 movie Thief, Mann explains that several former Chicago thieves and police detectives consulted for the movie and even acted in several of the roles (most of the former thieves portrayed cops in the film, and vice versa), lending their technical expertise and knowledge of real-life criminal and law enforcement tactics to enhance the accuracy and realism of the film.
The Galaxy Song in Monty Python's The Meaning of Life is pretty damn accurate for being a joke in a humour movie. Eric Idle has performed that song several times since it was in the movie, and where people have given him better approximations for the distances and speeds mentioned, he sometimes works them in. Remember, they were graduates of Cambridge.
Similarly, as Eric Idle was a historian, many of the details in Monty Python's Life of Brian were accurate to the letter, such as the fact that it was considered sophisticated in Roman society to have a speech impediment (but not so among the common folk), everything the Romans did for the civilizations they conquered, and the Latin grammar.
My Cousin Vinny is one of the more accurate depictions of the U.S. legal system, regarding procedure and attorney conduct. It is even listed by the American Bar Association as one of the top "Courtroom Films".
All the scenes in Corsica where photographed in the exact locations where the incidents occurred. — Author's note
Once showcases Glen Hansard's knowledge of the minutiae of busking, such as cover versions earning far more than original songs.
Pacific Rim: Detonating a nuclear bomb underwater results in a void being created by all the water being pushed away. The void bubble eventually collapses and the water comes rushing back in a few seconds later. Though granted, Gypsy Danger should have been destroyed at that range. Also, Hannibal Chau's tattoos are based on real prison tattoos, intended to have specific meanings.
At the Pearl Harbor memorial base, there is an informative video that tourists can watch that gives a detailed analysis of the battle, including, at one point, a complete survey of the defenses that they had in place which made them confident that they could resist an attack. The Ben Affleck film Pearl Harbor had a character awkwardly quote it word-for-word.
The Perfect Host: John tries to get refuge in a Jehovah's Witness woman's home by claiming he's also a Witness. She instantly sees through this though as he uses having a cross to prove this-Jehovah's Witnesses don't believe in them. It's a detail most people don't know about.
A lot of stuff in Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides is very well-researched. For example, historical accounts of the real-world Blackbeard do mention him never showing his face to the crew, singeing his own beard to inspire terror, and possibly indulging in sorcery.
Many reviewers criticized the fourth Rambo film for its "excessive" Gorn in the finale and for Rambo not dying from nuclear fallout after running from the mushroom cloud-producing Tallboy explosion. The problem is, the movie depicted both of these things as very true-to-life. The .50 Browning M2 Rambo uses in the climax really will do that kind of damage to a human body (it fires a big bullet, developed for use on tanks) and the Tallboy bomb was one of the largest conventional —not nuclear— explosive used in WWII and, as such, will indeed form a mushroom cloud. One marine even wrote to Stallone to comment on how impressed he was with the realistic depiction of the machine gun's effects.
And despite critics' complaints that the fourth film's violence was exaggerated, it's been confirmed by many that the movie is not far off from the actual reality on the ground. To twist the knife further, while filming on the Thailand side of the country's border with Burma, Stallone commented that the cast and crew got to see the brutality first hand. Rambo's motto — Live For Nothing, or Die For Something — has become the rallying Battlecry for Karen warriors in real life and many of the Karen people have thanked him for showing the world just how absolutely horrific life in Burma has been for them. Stallone has called this one of the things in his life that he's most proud of.
Inigo Montoya and The Man In Black drop the names of real 16th & 17th century fencing masters during the Chatty Duel in The Princess Bride.
In the original RoboCop (1987), a sequence depicting Alex Murphy's transport to a Detroit hospital doesn't use actors for the team that brings him into the operating room — it's an actual trauma team using real terminology ("Let's shock a flatline and quit...") and proper medical and diagnosis procedures.
Guy Ritchie's Sherlock Holmes (2009) shows an incredible amount of knowledge of, not only the original novels, but 1800's London and some other Holmes media. Considering Guy Ritchie and the screen writer are fans and that many of people who worked on the film have shown a good deal of knowledge on the books, it should be of no surprise. Sadly, due to the many unfaithful adaptions of Sherlock Holmes, many people have taken accurate things as Holmes being a bohemian, Holmes's skill at boxing, sword fighting and martial arts, Watson being a lady's man and a man of action, Holmes using a revolver, Holmes's sense of humor, Holmes's sunglasses and hat, Watson's pet pitbull, and so on as being inaccurate when the makers of the film should be getting credit for showing that they know their Holmes.
Sneakers is a very accurate depiction of cryptology and hacking. It, in fact, literally shows its work: in one scene, a character is using an overhead projector and transparencies. The mathematics there were written by the movie's consultant, Dr. Len Adleman. As in, Rivest-Shamir-Adleman encryption. Even the magic decryption box is fairly plausible. Like every cryptographic algorithm ever invented except one (one time pad cryptography), public key cryptography has yet to be proven secure. If someone figured out how to reduce the time complexity of prime factorization from exponential to polynomial time, they might be able to decrypt things that we currently consider to be completely secure.
Spotlight built a full scale replica of the Boston Globe's newsroom and the basement Spotlight office in an abandoned Sears. When the actors's Real Life counterparts visited the set, they rearranged their desks to reflect how they would have looked in 2001. The film also literally shows the work of checking through volumes and volumes of clerical directories, complete with 2001-accurate Excel spreadsheet.
Sucker Punch: The girls keep their rifles on their shoulders, roll in their steps rather than bouncing, and never cross lines of fire when clearing a room (and clearing the room they went from cover to cover, interlocking fields of fire). The firearms savvy troper will recognize EoTech holographic sights, historically accurate firearms (even the Samurai's 20mm version minigun), and a suppressed M4. Even handling a semi-automatic firearm, Baby Doll only crosses her thumbs in back once, but with hands that tiny it's believable she didn't catch the Colt Hammer Bite (when the slide comes back in the cycling of the action and cleaves any flesh in its way).
The film version of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles has a scaled-up but otherwise beautifully accurate version of the New York storm drain system as a major set piece.
The Terminal portrays secondary language acquisition very correctly. In addition, Viktor Navorski's native language is very consistent with what Eastern European languages are like (it's a dialect of Bulgarian). Tom Hanks' wife, Rita Wilson, is of Bulgarian descent and so Hanks went to her for voice coaching.
Back to the subject of the RMS Titanic, James Cameron's blockbuster film featured a re-creation of the doomed ship so authentic that, when he flooded the set to film the ship going under water, real-life Titanic salvagers derived a new explanation of what happened to the spiral staircase based on what happened to the set.
They even went so far as to make corrections after the movie hit theaters. When Neil deGrasse Tyson commented that they got the night sky wrong in one scene, he was asked for a correct depiction of the sky at the time and place where the sinking occurred. When he furnished one, they re-edited the footage of that scene to include the correct night sky.
Ken Marschall, one of the foremost experts on Titanic and visual historian who worked as a consultant on the film, stated multiple times in interviews that, to him, it wasn't just a movie set. To him, it really was Titanic.
Tremors shows some good research in Burt Gummer; he and his wife debate the utility of a .223 AR-15 vs. a .375 H&H bolt gun, and the Wrong Goddamned Rec Room has not only a Dillon progressive reloading press but a very large vibratory case cleaner. Also, as one would expect from a man like Burt, he's completely aware of and obeys proper gun safety measures. They also do pretty well with their geology terminology.
In United 93, all the inaccuracies of 9/11 were accurately portrayed. Rather than stripping down the confusion to make things easier for an audience to follow, all of the misinformed fragments are out there, just as it was in real life due to how rapidly things were unfolding. Different groups referred to the wrong planes by the wrong numbers. There were differing reports on how many planes were out there. After American Airlines Flight 77's impact with the Pentagon, the news reported a fire on the National Mall when there was none. It takes multiple phone calls for the passengers to learn that the World Trade Center and the Pentagon have been hit by hijacked planes just like their own, which finally prompts them to fight back when their fates become inevitable. All of their phone conversations with family and friends are word-for-word what they said in Real Life, too.
The 1983 film WarGames was remarkably accurate in its portrayal of how David does hacking, even if the capabilities of the computers themselves was beyond the reality of the time. Though even the writers acknowledge that Joshua should not have been speaking at NORAD, but the viewer is used to hearing the voice.
During the production of The Way of the Gun, director Christopher McQuarrie's brother, an expert in firearms training and squad tactics, was brought onboard as a firearms supervisor and consultant - and it shows. Throughout the film, Parker and Longbaugh use effective movement tactics (the "Move-Moving" scene), perform the correct close-quarters entry procedures whenever they enter a room, use tactical reloads and generally perform as a cohesive pair of experienced weapon operators. McQuarrie points out during the DVD Commentary that proper Gun Safety is observed as well. For instance, Ryan Philippe keeps his finger off the trigger when not firing.
The creators of the original The Wicker Man (1973) did extensive research on the religion of pre-Christian Celts. Unfortunately they did the research on the work of Sir James Frazer, who himself was only talking in terms of 'probability' rather than 'actuality' and only intended his work to be supporting evidence for the earlier work done by Sir John Rhys. Accuracy of both is debated.
The rocket launch sequence in Fritz Lang's Woman in the Moon — in spite of the fact that rockets don't need to be submerged in water - was extremely accurate and done entirely to justify the studio's hiring of German rocket scientists for the productionnote Indeed, real rocket launches are now in part modelled on Lang's depiction. This probably makes it the best scene in the film as it contrasts with how much Lang's wife/coauthor Thea von Harbou made up convenient things about the moon: she depicts it with normal gravity, gold-filled caves, and a perfectly breathable atmosphere (what's more, it's a perfect half-atmosphere which exists only on the far side of the moon). All these ideas would have been considered ludicrous even at the time of the film's release.
The screenwriters of X2: X-Men United did research on how to blow up a dam for the climactic scenes of the movie; this went mostly unremarked upon in the film (though no doubt the director and effects artists got some use out of it), but was described at some length in the novelization.
A minor instance in X-Men: First Class; Xavier's paper on mutation that we hear mentions that neanderthals were probably exterminated by their "mutated" cousins homo sapiens. While modern research indicates that it was more likely the two interbred, at the time of the film (the 60s) the theory was not yet established at large. Notably in X2, Storm recites the interbreeding theory to the class at the start of the film, making this double as a Call-Forward.
In the 2010 remake of True Grit, at the climax Rooster Cogburn attempts to Suck Out the Poison after Mattie Ross is bitten by a rattlesnake. Despite being a commonly-believed recommendation at the time, it is now known that this is in fact one of the worst things you can do in the event of a snake bite. Mattie's near-death and subsequent amputation of her arm are probably because of the bacteria that Rooster introduced to her wound during the sucking, which would have lead to infection and generally more life-threatening situation than the poisoning itself.
In Whip It, the audience is given the general rules of scoring in Roller Derby in exposition, but not many of the specific rules of play. At several times during the matches, a jammer is shown waving their arms up and down by repeatedly placing their hands on their hips. This is never explained within the film, but is the means by which a lead jammer can end a jam and prevent any further scoring.
In Spider-Man: Homecoming, student Michelle doesn't want to go in the Washington Monument because she doesn't want to "celebrate a monument built by slaves." Her teacher starts to say "I don't think it was built by...", and a (black) security guard shrugs noncommittally—so the teacher lets her stay behind. The Monument's foundation and first 150 feet were built in 1848-55, which makes it highly likely that slaves were involved in its construction—but unlike other famous D.C. buildings (like the White House), we have no actual records to prove that slaves were used. So, the guard's shrug was correct.