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Old July 2 2010, 11:45 AM   #1
Australis
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Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

I was thinking of tracking down some alternate history moves, and thought of a good one... and then it popped right out of my head! Yes, getting old, memory like a... thing... grumble, grumble...

Anyway, I can't seem to find a good list of alt.hist movies on the Net, so thought I'd come to the Brains Trust here.

So, what alt.hist movies do you know of?
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Last edited by Australis; July 2 2010 at 03:15 PM.
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Old July 2 2010, 12:00 PM   #2
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

History of the World: Part 1
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Old July 2 2010, 03:13 PM   #3
Australis
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

That's not really alt.hist. Damned funny film though.

alt.hist is the classic "what if the Nazis invaded the UK?" or "what if Rome never fell?" kind of thing. For a fuller description:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alternate_history
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Old July 2 2010, 05:03 PM   #4
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

Fatherland was a pretty good political thriller. Germany wins WWII. Movie, though is set about 20 years later.
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Old July 2 2010, 09:02 PM   #5
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

Ingloreous Basterds?
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Old July 2 2010, 09:09 PM   #6
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

We talking realistic or Watchmen?
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Old July 2 2010, 09:31 PM   #7
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

Aragorn wrote: View Post
We talking realistic or Watchmen?
Heck, there's two other things to consider:

1. Artistic license. A lot of movies drastically tweak the events of history to fit whatever narrative they want to tell; some of the changes could be as big as you'd get in an alternate history film. Inglourious Basterds downright revels in this concept.

2. It's no longer contemporary. There's a lot of films that deal with contemporary hypothetical problems - for example, a nuclear attack on the United States or Britain, real fears when they were made - that would now seem like alternate history movies. Fail Safe, The War Game, that stuff.

I can't think of a lot of movies that actually consciously set out to be alternate history films; at least not any without fantasy elements (such as Watchmen, Jackson's King Kong, and such.)
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Old July 3 2010, 04:05 AM   #8
Australis
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

Kegg raises a couple of points as mentioned on, say Uchronia

Inglorious Bastards was mentioned as AH
But, say, 2001 isn't AH because it was originally done as a projection of the future, as is, say, the original 'Time Machine'. 'Fail Safe' is another example - it was a projection of the future. If it was made now, it would be AH. And in a few years, BTTF will be the same.

There has to be a point of divergence - say, Columbus sinks on his way to the New World, and the fear of sailing off the edge of the world delays further exploration and changes the course of Spanish settlement, say, and they arrive after the Pilgrims. How would the world be now if that happened?

But the divergence could be waaayyy back in the past - say, Neanderthals migrate to the Americas but modern man doesn't, so when Columbus (or whoever ) arrives, there's an entirely different species there. Or even further back, the human species never leaves Africa until after civilisation commences.
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Old July 5 2010, 02:02 AM   #9
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

Bump.

C'mon, you guys, you must know some more.

Here's an example - The Final Countdown. It's AH, but also what's defined as a secret history. Things happen where the past is actually changed, but it's so close to what we know as history that we don't know the difference, and it only profoundly affects a few people.

So, what others can you think of?
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Old July 5 2010, 02:11 AM   #10
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

Australis wrote: View Post
Bump.

C'mon, you guys, you must know some more.

Here's an example - The Final Countdown. It's AH, but also what's defined as a secret history. Things happen where the past is actually changed, but it's so close to what we know as history that we don't know the difference, and it only profoundly affects a few people.

So, what others can you think of?
Red Dawn?
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Old July 5 2010, 02:24 PM   #11
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

I'm trying to think if that was set in the past or in the near future.

Found another one: Jurassic Park, in that it was written in 91 but set in 89, so it comes uner the 'secret history' category, as does a lot of Crichton's stuff.

Finally remembered the one I meant to track down: A Sound of Thunder. I know the reviews weren't great. Someone told me if I'd seen the relevant episode of Simpsons Treehouse of Horror, then I'm good to go.

Found another one: Timequest. Has Bruce Campbell in a supporting role. A traveller stops JFK from going to Dallas. Haven't watched it yet.

And for a while I've had a copy of the attempted Time Tunnel reboot, which relied on events having been changed rather than the central characters just turning up and leaving again.

BTW McCoy, Fatherland was a good mention.

ETA, in books there are two classic texts, Bring the Jubilee by Ward Moore, and The Man in the High Castle by Phillip K Dick. I've read Jubilee but not Castle.
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Old July 5 2010, 03:15 PM   #12
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

The Philadelphia Experiment 2. Nuclear-armed Stealth bomber goes back in time, gets captured by Nazis who use it to win WW2. Not a great movie overall, but worth seeing for Gerrit Graham's remarkable performance(s) as three separate characters.
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Old July 5 2010, 04:01 PM   #13
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

There really aren't a lot of alt. history movies. Hollywood has mostly left that whole subgenre alone, aside from time-travel plot twists that accidentally alter history . . . which isn't quite the same thing.

True story: a few years back at Tor, we tried to come up a well-known alt. history movie, to explain to a new sales force exactly what "alternate history" is, but discovered that there wasn't one!
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Old July 5 2010, 06:29 PM   #14
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

Not sure if you count plain old parallel universes as well but here's a short list of examples which might fit the thread's topic:

Sphere
Contact
Zipang (a series but there's a heavily cut movie version)
Jin-Roh (and the other movies in the same universe)
Steamboy
It Happened Here
Sands Of Oblivion
Timecop
C.S.A.: The Confederate States of America
Premonition
Timeline
Time After Time
Spirit of 76
Sliding Doors
Lola Rennt
Butterfly Effect
Running Man
Battle Royale
Canadian Bacon
The Abyss
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Old July 5 2010, 06:41 PM   #15
Nerys Myk
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Re: Help! List Alt.Hist Movies!

Most movies based on history tend to wind up as alternate histories
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