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4 animated films based on real stories

Disney added the live-action film Mulan to its streaming service last week, with a staggering “Premier Access” fee of $ 29.99 – on top of (!) The Disney + subscription. You can’t blame Disney for trying to get back part of the $ 200 million they spent producing a movie set to be released during a global pandemic. But there isn’t even a dragon with an Eddie Murphy voice in this version. When you watch the live-action preview (because I’m not paying $ 30 to see a movie on my home TV), it’s a lot easier to imagine the true legend behind Hollywood̵

7;s Mulan. Many animated films are based on true stories from history. Here are four of them.

5 animated films based on real stories


Disney + and Prime

Photo by Violette Filippini on Unsplash

The first record of the legend of Hua Mulan is a 1st century folk song. She appears in plays, songs, and stories, all of which tell the same story as the animated film. Mulan’s father taught her martial arts, horse riding, and archery. When the army pulls in the men in their village, they take the place of their father and defeat the barbarian refuge on China’s borders. According to legend, their campaign lasted ten years. Afterwards the Emperor of China offered her a government position, which she – still as a man – refused. Instead, she returned to her village and, to the amazement of her family, revealed her identity.



Photo by Violette Filippini on Unsplash

This underrated production by Fox Animated Studio is based on the Russian Revolution and the bizarre friendship between the Tsar and Tsarina and the “holy man” Rasputin. While Rasputin died years before the revolution, he was still a key figure in the life of the royal family. The Bolsheviks captured Nicholas II, the Tsarina, and their five children. The revolutionaries locked her up for over a year before unceremoniously executed her one night. Just like in the movie, the rumors of Anastasia’s survival continued into the 80s.


Disney + and Prime

Matoaka was a Powhatan woman who was nicknamed Pocahontas – playfully – by her father, the boss of Tsenacommacah. Colonizers captured and held Pocahontas during a conflict with the indigenous tribes. During his captivity, Pocahontas converted to Christianity and married a tobacco farmer, John Rolfe. Together they returned to England, where she gave birth to a son and later died. Some suspects, John Smith, made up the story of Pocahontas who saved him from execution to make himself more important at home in Denmark. However, there is evidence that Pocahontas was friends with Smith’s settlement and brought them food to add to their supplies.



Photo by Mitchell Henderson on Unsplash

The story, real and animated, revolves around a diphtheria outbreak in Nome, Alaska. An existing serum was able to treat the epidemic but was located nationwide in Anchorage. A train made part of the route to Nenana, dog sledding more than 600 miles. Twenty mushers took part in the relay, with the final leg being covered by Gunnar Kaasen with a team led by Balto and a dog named Fox. The true story of Balto falls into tragedy after the hero race through Alaska. He was sold into a variety act along with the dog team. After years of abuse and neglect, the team was taken to an exhibit at a Cleveland zoo. When Balto died in 1933, his taxidermists became a permanent museum exhibit.

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