According to the article Appointment in Sammara, a movie about a grotesque war crime committed in Iraq had to be fictionalized for legal reasons.

How would a true account be illegal? I thought military personnel were "public entities" and could be legally named and discussed. Or is there something else at work here, like military secrecy?

  • 1
    One possible reason is that the movie was filmed in 2007 and the main accused was judged in 2009. Other possible reason is to allow the director to take artistic freedoms in relation with other details of the characters lifes.
    – SJuan76
    Mar 14 at 9:12
  • In any case since I think the question is way more related to the specifics of the movie I think it would be a better fit for the movies stackexchange, where maybe they could provide a more detailed explanation by the director/producers of the movie. If the explanation included some legal statement (e.g. "Because by law we cannot use the actual names of soldiers") checking the accuracy of that statement could be on-topic here.
    – SJuan76
    Mar 14 at 9:15
  • Roger Ebert is not a lawyer. He is just guessing that the movie had to be fictionalized. The First Amendment would have protected the film, but people often go further than they have to in an effort to avoid legal problems. It's like driving 55 mph in a 65 mph zone. You don't have to, and it makes you feel like you're less likely face legal problems, but there's always the possibility you run into a cop who doesn't know what the speed limit is or just wants to screw with you.
    – bdb484
    Mar 14 at 19:24
  • Ah, good point. Mar 14 at 23:22

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