This question is not based on any real concern
June 16, 2008 12:18 PM   Subscribe

I just saw The Bank Job and had a question about the disclaimer at the end

It says,

"This motion picture is based upon actual events and people..[snip]..Similarity of any dramatized characters, incidents.. to any actual event.. is entirely coincidental and unintentional"

The disclaimer contradicts itself. I realize that this is probably something to with libel CYA, but having just admitted that the film is "based on actual events", how can the similarity be unintentional?

What's the legal status of these disclaimers? If someone is indeed depicted libelously, what protection does it offer (in US, UK)?
posted by daksya to Law & Government (6 answers total)
i believe what it is saying is that the premise was inspired by a true story, but that the events and people in the movie are not intended to represent the facts of the case or the actual people involved.

it's like those "ripped from the headlines" episodes of "law and order"--they go with the premise of the true story but spin it out into something unique.
posted by thinkingwoman at 12:28 PM on June 16, 2008

Response by poster: thinkingwoman: the events and people in the movie are not intended to represent the facts of the case or the actual people involved

True, it's not a historically rigorous reconstruction but still the similarity is intentional. After all, the disclaimer also mentions that names have been changed. What relevance would that have if the movie does not represent actual people? And what of the epilogues detailing what happened to the main characters afterwards?

I do think that "inspired by" and "based upon" offer different latitudes in terms of fidelity, but that's my opinion.
posted by daksya at 12:48 PM on June 16, 2008

The key is the word "dramatized". Any stuff they made up is not based on real people and any coincidence is unintentional.
posted by smackfu at 12:53 PM on June 16, 2008

I think it's at least partially the writers having a bit of a laugh with the idea of a disclaimer.

This article gives some background on how much of the film was true.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 1:25 PM on June 16, 2008

They used the events as the basis for the film's story but that doesn't mean that the people in the story are supposed to be the people from the actual events.

After all, telling the same stories with different characters is all Hollywood ever does anyway, isn't it? :-)
posted by winston at 1:51 PM on June 16, 2008

Response by poster: winston, what about the events in the movie? They disclaim that as well.

Anyway, I figured it out and it's my hasty bad. A part of the disclaimer which I snipped states that certain characters, events...etc are dramatized. Of course, those will not correspond to reality, and by implication, the other (non-dramatized) people, events do represent actual people & events. Unsurprisingly, they don't specify what's dramatized and what's not.

There's no contradiction here and this was a hasty question. My apologies.
posted by daksya at 11:28 PM on June 16, 2008

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