Monuments Men Recalls Art History at War

Courtesy of Columbia Pictures via

Cam High Social Science students took a field trip to the Roxy Stadium theater last week to view the film Monument’s Men.

Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, Monuments Men is an action drama focused on an unlikely World War II platoon tasked by FDR with going into Germany to rescue artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and returning them to their rightful owners.

It would be an impossible mission: the art trapped is behind enemy lines, and the German army is under orders to destroy everything as the Reich falls. How could seven museum directors, curators, and art historians hope to succeed?

As the Monuments Men, a name they were given for the work they were doing, found themselves in a race against time to avoid the destruction of 1000 years of culture, they would risk their lives to protect and defend mankind’s greatest achievements. From director George Clooney, the film stars Clooney himself, Matt Damon, Bill Murray, John Goodman, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville, and recent academy award winner Cate Blanchett.

Although based on real events, the names of all characters are changed, and the film makes a number of further adjustments to the historical facts in the interests of drama. Clooney is quoted as saying “80 percent of the story is still completely true and accurate, and almost all of the scenes happened.”

Mr. Nigel Pollard of Swansea University in England awarded the film two stars out of five for historical accuracy. Pollard wrote that: “There’s a kernel of history there, but the Monuments Men plays fast and loose with it in ways that are probably necessary to make the story work as a film, but the viewer ends up with a fairly confused notion of what the organization–the Monuments, Fine Arts, and Archives program was, and what it achieved.”

Though not popular with the critics, they miss the the fact that the movie was never intended to be an epic journey that would relegate Star Wars back to the stone age. The film’s modest and intended purpose is to relay the importance of humanity’s cultural works. It is simple and straightforward. Monument’s Men did well in accomplishing it’s intended purpose.