15 People Detail Historical Events That Would Make Great Movies

It has been pointed out (regularly and with prejudice) that Hollywood seems to be out of original ideas. There are a lot of remakes and re-imaginings, along with sequels and prequels, but as far as original films, they seem to be few and far between.

If any producers out there are looking for ideas, the history books are full of them – and these 15 people have some ideas on which events should move to the front of the line.

15. Some quick thinking.

Syndrome K.

in 1943, a hospital in Rome located next to a Jewish ghetto, let Jews fleeing Nazi raids hide there. The professors in charge admitted Jews under the fake diagnosis of “Syndrome K”, described as a highly contagious and dangerous disease.

This successfully kept the Nazis out of the quarantine wards and the Jews safe for the duration of the war.

14. People do love space movies.

Apollo 8. Basically the mission was originally only supposed to be a test of the lunar module in earth orbit, but rumours were circulating that the Soviet Union were going to attempt to send a man into lunar orbit (spoiler: this was not happening).

As a result Apollo 8 was switched to being the first mission to the moon, not to land but to orbit. And this decision was made only 6 months before the scheduled launch date, so it was a race to get everything ready before the flight.

It’s a historic mission that is almost never talked about, compared with Apollo 11 which is much more well known.

13. One angry lady.

The Lioness of Brittany – medieval woman who led brutal attacks by land and sea against the French king in vengeance for the execution of her husband.

From Wiki: It was her practice to leave at least one sailor alive to carry her message to the King of France.

Reminds me of that scene at the beginning of Mulan. “How many men does it take to deliver a message?”

12. Drama for days.

FedEx flight 705

TL:DR – Man tries to hijack plane to get insurance money to send kids to college, crew fight back, jet basically turns into weapon for them.

The backstory of the hijacker was a tragedy very unfortunate never fell into his favor . Auburn Calloway was a Stanford graduate who loved his family, but couldn’t afford to send his kids to college. He used his experience as a navy pilot, and the location of Memphis to grab a job at FedEx. He was frustrated at the fact his life amounted to only flying airplanes, when he could have so much more potential. Calloway then devised a plan to die in a plane crash, so that he could send his insurance money to his ex wife, so that his kids can go to college. He was going to be the flight engineer for the same flight, but the day before he falsified flight hours by a single minute , so he was on the verge of unemployment.

On April 7, 1994, he packed a spear gun and hammers to disguise the hijacking as an accident. His plan was to turn off the flight recorder, and then incapacitate the crew with blunt force trauma, since investigators would rule out that they died from the force of hitting the ground. He would use the spear gun as a last resort. He would put the weapons in a guitar case, to not arouse suspicion. This took place before 9/11, so he just walked through without looking suspicious.

He boards the flight, gets acquainted with the crew to lower their guard, and waits. 19 minutes into the flight, he walks into the cockpit, and hits everyone with hammers.

First Officer Jim Tucker, was rendered unconscious. The other two crew, Captain David Sanders and flight engineer Andre Peterson get off of their seats to stop Calloway, but he threatens them with the speargun he got from the back.

Here’s the crazy part.

Calloway f**ked with the wrong crew.

Peterson grabs the gun, and starts to wrangle it away. Sanders joins him in trying to stop Calloway.

Tucker, still dizzy and disoriented, realizes the situation, and goes back to what he learned. Ex-Navy, Vietnam vet, he knows a thing or two about planes.

He treats the jet like it’s a fighter aircraft. Turning it 140 degrees (basically) upside down, it pushed the bounds of what an DC-10 could do.

There’s a fight in the cargo hold between two injured crew members and a man who had nothing to lose, and a half conscious pilot who is treating the jet like a fighter, flipping the plane upside down so that his crew could overtake the hijacker.

They take a u-turn back to Memphis, emergency landing, about a mile above the ground. The problem is, is that the plane is too heavy, too fast, and too high. There’s a real chance adrenaline will impair their movements and overshoot the runway.

They land, SWAT arrest Calloway, and everyone is sent to the hospital. The damage that Calloway has done to the crew unfortunately makes the crew not able to fly commercially again.

The plane is still in service, but it was upgraded… without the flight engineer position.

I learned about this in this plane investigation series on YouTube, and it astounds me how this literally has never been turned into a movie.

11. An epic in the making.

It’s been batted around a few times in Hollywood but the history of how the ancient Hawaiian Islands were united under one man to form the Hawaiian kingdom is epic.

10. So stinking stressful.

The story of the Pan Am flight that got caught in New Zealand at the start of WWII and couldn’t fly back home by going east because it was too dangerous.

So instead they took their flying boat and flew west on routes they had to figure out from maps pulled from borrowed encyclopedias, dodging the Japanese, and trying to find enough fuel to keep the plane going.

The whole thing took months culminating in taking off from a river in the Congo and having to skim along through a canyon to build up speed since they were too heavy in order to even have a chance of crossing the Atlantic. The whole thing is tailor made for TV or a Film.

There’s a fantastic book written about the whole story called “The Long Way Home” and was written with the Captain of the flight.

9. It doesn’t have a happy ending.

The Spanish Invasion of The Aztec Empire by Cortés. There are so many unbelievable events that led up to the fall of Tenochtitlan and Montezuma II reign.

8. Sounds like there were too many suspects.

The Cold Case of who murdered Ken Rex McElroy. It is prime material for a dark comedy. This dude was such an unrelenting piece of s**t, buried beneath the prison type scumbags, and terrorized a small rural town his whole life. He’d get away with it every time because he’d intimidate the f**k out of anyone who sought to press charges against him. Implicated in rape, arson, assault etc. So yeah no tears shed for that psychopath.

Anyway there was a town meeting to discuss what to do with him because everyone was sick of his s**t. The Sheriff told them to just avoid him and set up a neighborhood watch to keep track of him. Right then they found out he was drinking at a bar. Sheriff told them to leave him alone and go home but he had other s**t to do so he left THE COUNTY. So what do these people do? They go to set up that neighborhood watch….neighborhood watch this man die.

Over 60 people travel to the bar Ken is at where they crowded him as he drinks and slings insults. He goes to his truck where his underage wife is sitting in the passenger seat, talks some more s**t and reportedly was going to grab a gun. So over 60 people must subscribe to the theory that a bad guy assumes room temperature only when well ventilated because he then got lit up.

Unknown the number of shooters but there were 2 separates calibers identified from the rounds found in his body and both were popular hunting rounds. To this day his murder is unsolved because all 60+ wont say s**t. The FBI showed up to help investigate and still everyone kept tight lipped. One person told them “that boy needed a ki**in”.

So yeah, prime material.

7. A force to be reckoned with.

Unless it’s been done already, the life story of Ching Shih. She was a Chinese prostitute that because the deadliest pirate of all time.

At the height of her power, she commanded over 800 large ships, 1000 smaller vessels and over 70,000 pirate crew, comprised of both men and women.

6. Eh, feels done.

A biopic on Hannibal would be really good. The visuals of crossing the Alps with elephants would be stunning.

Vin Diesel has been trying to make a movie about this for years. It’s his passion project. Whether or not he could do justice to the story is another matter.

5. Only if we don’t pull any punches.

The time John Adams and Benjamin Franklin were in France trying to gather support for the revolution and all the shenanigans they got up to.

That time they had to share a bed and bickered about whether to leave the window open. From Adams’ diary

The Taverns were so full We could with difficulty obtain Entertainment. At Brunswick, but one bed could be procured for Dr. Franklin and me, in a Chamber little larger than the bed, without a Chimney and with only one small Window. The Window was open, and I, who was an invalid and afraid of the Air in the night blowing upon me, shut it close. Oh! says Franklin don’t shut the Window. We shall be suffocated. I answered I was afraid of the Evening Air. Dr. Franklin replied, the Air within this Chamber will soon be, and indeed is now worse than that without Doors: come! open the Window and come to bed, and I will convince you: I believe you are not acquainted with my Theory of Colds.

4. A comedy for sure.

I need a Coen brothers movie of the 1904 Olympic marathon.

Over half of the 32 entrants did not finish the marathon.
The marathon’s first “winner” got his picture taken with the US President’s daughter. Then it turned out that he cheated by hitching a ride in a car.
The second “winner” had been doped with rat poison, and was carried over the finish line by his friends. If he hadn’t received immediate medical attention, he would have died on site.
Multiple runners, including the winners of the previous two years’ Boston Marathons, got lung injuries from dust kicked up by the race officials’ cars.
The fourth-place finisher got sick on the way, having stolen apples that turned out to be rotten from a nearby orchard.
The ninth-place finisher might have placed better if he hadn’t been chased off course by wild dogs.
One of the organizers believed that “purposeful dehydration” would help the runners, and had deliberately limited the water sources available to the runners.

3. Wonder what he got up to with that broken leg…

Unless it’s covered in the various movies about Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth’s 12 days on the run are really damn interesting in my opinion.

2. You go girl.

The Niihau Incident.

During the attack on Pearl Harbor, a Japanese Zero was damaged by anti-aircraft fire and crash landed on the remote Hawaiian island of Niihau.

The Hawaiians, initially unaware of the attack on Pearl Harbor, treated the pilot with generosity and respect. After news of the attack came out, the pilot was placed under guard. With the help of some sympathetic locals, the pilot broke out and took two hostages: Ben Kanahele and his wife Ella.

Later that night, Ben and Ella decided to fight their way out. Ben was shot three times, but still had enough strength to lift the pilot over his head and throw him into a brick wall. Ella, thinking her husband had been mortally wounded, killed the pilot by bashing his head in with a rock.

Both Ben and Ella survived the incident and Ben was awarded two medals for his actions. Ella, who actually killed the enemy combatant, received no formal recognition.

1. They did a Drunk History episode.

I tell my students every year when we do my Robert Smalls lesson that there needs to be a Robert Smalls movie.

Born into slavery, sent to Charleston at the age of 12 to work, gets a job on a boat, when the Civil War starts he steals the boat and snuggles his family and the family of the other slaves past Fort Sumter and out to the north blockade, becomes a folk hero and meets with Lincoln and Edward Stanton to convince them to allow blacks to join the army, personally recruits thousands of blacks to fight, becomes the first captain of a ship in the navy, wins numerous engagements during his service, wins a seat in the SC house and then the US house, fights against racist groups like the Red Shirts, overcomes false accusations and earns his seat back…. Dude is amazing

I would watch all of these movies, how about you?

Let us know in the comments if you have more ideas – we want to learn about them!