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Everybody loves to hate a villain.


Usually, we think of villains in relation to novels, television shows, comic books, and movies. But history books and popular culture have a knack for drawing lines between good and evil too.

But, as we know, history is full of bias and injected with human emotion. Subtle exaggerations or scapegoating ploys add on to one another over years and years.

And eventually, even good people can be labeled as the scourges of our past.

Redditor blackwraythbutimpink asked:

"Who is seen as a 'bad guy' in history but was actually ok?"

Of course, Hollywood has a lot to do with it. A good script needs conflict and a villain, even if that means stretching the truth a bit.

Full of Heart, In Fact

"More so sports history, but the film Cinderella Man portrayed boxer Max Baer as a murderous psychopath who gladly killed two fighters in the ring."

"In reality, he was personally devastated by these deaths. In the one he was most directly responsible for, he ended up giving his winnings from his next few fights to the fighters family."

-- lemihaf

Wrong Name

"William Murdoch was the guy who shoots two passengers and then himself in 'Titanic.' "

"In reality, while there were reports of an officer shooting two passengers and then committing suicide, there was nothing confirming it to have been Murdoch."

"In fact, Murdoch was in charge of launching life boats on the starboard side and had launched more than half of his fully loaded lifeboats before anyone else launched any. No one knows for sure what happened to him aside that he was lost with the ship."

-- RichardCano

Not All Rivals Are Evil

"The play Mozart and Salieri (and later the film Amadeus) popularized the idea that Mozart's rival, Antonio Salieri, was a huge jerk who ultimately killed Mozart..."

"...but in reality there's no indication that Mozart was poisoned, or that Salieri had anything to do with his death. Also Salieri was a philanthropist and probably a lot more decent than theater/film made him out to be when they needed an antagonist for Mozart."

-- Renmauzuo

An Impressive Navigator

"Captain William Bligh of the HMS Bounty. Portrayed as a monster in novels and films. He was actually a well thought of Naval Officer who when forced off his ship sailed a small craft 4000 miles with minimal provisions."

"When there was no suitable craft available he and his crew then built their own and sailed from East Timor back to England. He was exonerated by the courts, and had a successful career as Governor of New South Wales."

-- spoon_shaped_spoon

Bobsled Villains

"Cool Runnings, the Swiss were kind and welcoming to the Jamaicans in bob sled. When the film came out the Jamaicans felt bad for how distorted it made the Swiss to be sneering villains."

-- Augen76

Someone to Triumph Over

"The coach from the movie Rudy was actually very supportive of him. He was upset that he was shown to be the villain of the movie. Also, Rudy turned out to be a major scumbag."

-- [deleted]

Other people set their sights on the historical figures who were cast in the wrong light by the inaccurate, prevailing narratives about them.

Peacebroker

"Khrushchev was actually the bigger man during the Cuban missile crisis. He initiated the negotiations and even let Kennedy look like the hero by keeping America's side of the bargain secret."

"Not to mention all the measures he took afterwards to prevent something like it from happening again."

-- MyUsernameIsAwful

A Man of Principles

"Brutus. He's gone down as committing one of history's greatest betrayals, but what he actually did was choose his Republican ideals over a man he personally loved (who had sparked a civil war with an illegal invasion of Italy, and was unquestionably acting like an autocrat)."

-- Cougar_Boot

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Ousted, But a Good Leader

"Thomas Sankara. When he lead Burkina Faso it was probably the most progressive African nation at the time, and even by todays standards it would be up there when compared to them."

"He was also responsible for not only making it less reliant on France, but also it's name (which used to be 'Upper Volta'), and interestingly since he was a guitarist he also wrote the new national anthem."

"He was assassinated in 1987 after a coup."

-- RealBlueBeluga

Mega Bias

"I'm not saying Elisabet Bathory was totally innocent, but I do find it highly sus that the guy who lead the investigation into her 'crimes' was the same guy that her dying husband had made her guardian, and who wound up owning every bit of property she lost after the trial."

-- rift_in_the_warp

Principles are Real

"Draft Dodgers in Vietnam. They have forever been painted as cowards or traitors but let's be honest they didn't believe in the fight/want to die. "

"I am a combat vet myself and it took me a lot of years to realize this. Hell I no longer know what the point of Vietnam, Afghanistan, or Iraq were (minus the rich getting richer)."

-- Irondaddy_29

Good Line Though

"Marie Antoinette Queen of Let Them Eat Cake. It's just a made up lie by the revolutionary."

-- greendev

And others set their sights on the figures who found themselves in the tabloids and discussions of popular culture.

It Was Actually Terrible

"The lady who sued McDonald's for giving her third degree burns." -- skittlkiller57

"Dude, yes. She got fucking third degree burns."

"She was burned so badly it fused her labia. All she wanted was for them to pay for her medical bills due to their obscenely hot flesh searing coffee, which had already been the subject of numerous complaints." -- ARabidDingo

Scapegoated

"Monica Lewinski. Gonna leave it at that." -- PetiteSymphony

"Pretty fu**ed up how the world blamed the young intern for the sex scandal instead of the powerful, much older president..." -- AkechiJubeiMitsuhide

Smearing Pee Wee

"Paul Reubens. For decades of my life I was under the impression that Pee Wee Herman was guilty of some predator sh**."

"But no, dude was just spotted in a porn theater. I don't think the masturbation claims were ever even substantiated. Meaning he lost his career because he legally watched porn in his personal free time."

-- Bugbrain_04

It's a list that may drive you to check twice when you hear everyone bashing a historical figure. Perhaps some enemy of theirs began all that bashing.

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