5 Movies That Casually Introduced World-Shattering Details

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Exposing ancient people to the modern world, and then plopping them back in their own era, would cause innumerable problems. For starters, Beethoven falls in love with Bon Jovi-style rock music 200 years before it’s actually invented, and his own influential music is going to start sounding pretty weird when he tries to emulate “Livin’ On A Prayer” with a harpsichord. How are Bill and Ted even going to get famous when musical tastes will shift so radically?

Orion Pictures
After failing as a musician, Ted finally goes to military school and is killed in the Gulf War.

Abraham Lincoln would need all of two minutes in a modern school library to learn how, and when he’s murdered. With that knowledge, he’s sure to find an excuse to miss that night’s trip to the theater and forever change American history. What if Joan of Arc avoids capture and execution, or Napoleon learns how to avoid defeat on the battlefield? What if the famously brilliant Socrates learns anything about modern technology, and teaches it to the ancient Greeks? Ironically, all the history that Bill and Ted desperately learned became completely inaccurate the moment they started their report.


Millions Upon Millions Will Die Thanks To The Basterds Killing Hitler

In Inglourious Basterds, Hitler gets pumped full of enough lead to poison a whole town’s water supply, while the rest of the Nazi leadership burns to death. This all happens right around D-Day. Whatever mid-level bureaucrats are left in charge of Nazi Germany would probably just surrender. America wins the war in 1944! U-S-A! U-S-A!

Universal Pictures
The Reich, the Reich, the Reich is on fire! We don’t need no water, let the movie theater burn!

Oh, but wait … who attacked Pearl Harbor? Unless you learned history from Animal House, you know that the answer is Japan. One of the other heavily militarized nations in the Third Reich — the one that only surrendered after the threat of total annihilation by nuclear weapons. Hitler’s death didn’t make them vanish into thin air.

After Berlin fell in May of 1945, Allied generals took a serious look at a full-scale assault on mainland Japan called Operation Downfall. Casualty estimates varied, but ranged into millions of Allied troops, and tens of millions of Japanese soldiers and civilians. Everyone agreed that it would have been a lengthy and brutal struggle. So surrender was instead forced, with the use of two nuclear bombs, which “only” killed 200,000+ people.

US Army Air Forces
Note: we managed to kill 100,000 people just a few months earlier with plain old regular bombs.

But those bombs weren’t ready until the summer of 1945 — more than a full year after Hitler was killed in Inglourious Basterds. An early German surrender would have meant full Allied attention on Japan, with no nuclear option. The Basterds may have ended the war early in Europe, but worldwide casualties would have ballooned enormously. Wait, are we trying to argue that dropping nuclear bombs on civilians was the better option, here? That … that can’t be right.

Jordan Breeding has a blog, a Twitter, and even though he’s definitely changed the world nobody knows it. Or agrees.

For more fictional universes that leave a lot more questions than answers, check out 6 Important Problems That Famous Movies Forgot To Solve and 6 Characters Who Forget They Have Powers That Solve The Plot.

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