Sometimes it’s just easier to play yourself in a movie.
Nobody should ever go to the movies to see history portrayed accurately. Films are entertainment, first and foremost, even films based on real people. American Sniper, one of the biggest box-office hits of the year, is one of four Best Picture nominees based on real people and real events.
Here are a few facts versus fiction about the portrayal of Navy sniper Chris Kyle.
Fiction: In the film, since Cooper was a little older, he was supposedly in his 30s when he enlisted in the Navy.
Fact: Chris Kyle enlisted in the military, joining the Navy SEALs when he was 24.
SHOOTING A BOY
Fiction: In the opening sequences of the film, Kyle shoots and kills a young boy carrying a grenade, one that was handed to him by his mother (or a female with him anyway).
Fact: According to his book, Kyle didn’t shoot a child while in Iraq. He did shoot the woman who originally carried the grenade, and it exploded in front of her.
THE DEATH OF BIGGLES
Fiction: Ryan “Biggles” Job, played by Jake McDorman, is blinded by gunfire and sent home where he dies shortly thereafter in the hospital following complications from facial surgery.
Fact: Job did not die that soon. In fact, after being blinded by the gunfire, Job came home, got married, got a job, attended college, and even climbed Mount Ranier. He did pass away from surgery complications, but not until 2009, three years later.
CHRIS KYLE VS. MUSTAFA
Fiction: Mustafa is a decorated Iraqi sniper in the film, one that Kyle pursues and eventually kills in an incredibly long shot.
Fact: Mustafa was allegedly killed by other snipers in Iraq. Kyle never claimed to have squared off against Mustafa the way he does in the film.
KYLE CALLING HIS WIFE MID-FIGHT
Fiction: In the middle of a firefight and impending dust storm, Kyle uses a satellite phone to call his wife, Taya, and say he is ready to come home and he is done fighting. This was right after he “killed Mustafa” in the film.
Fact: Kyle only called home and spoke to Taya in the down times between fights. He did, however, call Taya one time and a fight broke out in the middle of the conversation, which is depicted at another moment in the film.