The Boys In The Boat Real-Life Story Vs The Movie - 6 Differences

The Boys In The Boat Real-Life Story Vs The Movie – 6 Differences

George Clooney’s most recent film, titled “The Boys in the Boat,” has been released at long last. The Boys in the Boat is a film adaptation of Daniel James Brown’s best-selling book of the same title, which tells the story of a competitive rowing crew that sails to triumph despite the difficulties of the Great Depression. In this post, learn about The Boys in the Boat’s book vs movie story differences and The Boys in the Boat showtimes.

When The Boys in the Boat book was first published in 2013, the book was met with a positive welcome from readers as well as acclaim from several publications, including The New York Times and The Guardian. Following the acquisition of the film rights of The Boys in the Boat by MGM Studios many years later, Clooney eventually became involved in the project. Finally, we are able to witness the story being brought to life.

If you are not already familiar with the book or The Boys in the Boat movie, the following is the film’s synopsis: “During the height of the Great Depression, members of the rowing team at the University of Washington are pushed into the spotlight as they compete for gold at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.” The cast of The Boys in the Boat includes Callum Turner, Jack Mulhern, Joel Edgerton, Hadley Robinson, Luke Slattery, and Thomas Elms.

The Boys in the Boat’s book fans can easily identify the changes in film. These changes were introduced to make it more thrilling and ensure that it did not have a runtime of more than ten hours. This is something that happens with every book that is adapted for the screen. Regardless of whether you have read the book but have not yet seen the movie, or vice versa, you are undoubtedly curious about the extent to which this thrilling story of triumph has evolved throughout the course of its production. There is more to it than you think. Here are six instances in which the events depicted in the book depart from those depicted in the film:

1. Timeline Compression 

Timeline Compression

The book written by Brown is neatly organized into four sections, the first of which contains information about the period before the formation of the group in 1993. In this section, the early life of the main character, Joe Rantz, portrayed in the movie by Callum Turner, is examined in great length. 

It describes the manner in which his family relocated and how the onset of the Great Depression brought about a series of unfortunate events. Additionally, it discusses the tense relationship that Joe Rantz had with Thula LaFollette, his father’s second wife. 

In addition, the history of coaches Al Ulbrickson, Tom Bolles, and boatmaker George Pocock is discussed in this part, along with their contributions to the institution of the University of Washington’s rowing program.

The parallel between the trial and selection of the rowing squad and the construction of the Olympic field in Germany is not addressed in the film; however, this section does an excellent job of contrasting the two events. Given that most of this portion of the book comprises background information on the key individuals that occurred a significant amount of time before the creation of the Husky Clipper crew, it is pretty likely that it was omitted for the sake of time. 

On the other hand, this means that a significant event in Rantz’s life, which is that he was abandoned by his father when he was fifteen years old and had to learn how to rely on himself, as well as the trouble he had in trusting other people as a result of this, is not thoroughly addressed. Some dramatic moments in the movie suffer as a result.

2. The Story Of Joe Rantz Is Not The Primary Focus

Like mentioned above, the film does not dive into the fact that Joe Rantz was abandoned by his biological father and stepmother when he was a young child, which had a significant impact on his life and ambition. Compared to the book, the movie adaptation of “The Boys in the Boat” lays a slightly greater emphasis on the character of coach Al Ulbrickson, played by Joel Edgerton. 

Of course, Rantz continues to play a vital role, but Ulbrickson’s struggles to choose the members of the team, nervousness over whether or not they are ready to race, and battle to fund their Olympic goal frequently take center stage. On the other hand, the novel centered on Rantz, who had triumphed over significant challenges in order to be selected for the squad and had to contend with a great deal of harassment as a result of his circumstances regarding his finances.

3. Skips The Race To Meet President Franklin D. Roosevelt

Skips The Race To Meet President Franklin D. Roosevelt

The race in Poughkeepsie was significant in the movie since it was the first time in a long time that the University of Washington had won the race. Even though the race itself was tight and the Husky Clipper crew emerged triumphant, the film did not feature that before the race, they rowed up the river to Hyde Park, which was the location of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s residence. 

In spite of the fact that they discovered it and then knocked on the front door, they found that Roosevelt was not at home. On the other hand, Roosevelt’s son invited the team inside, and they engaged in a fruitful conversation about rowing.

4. Support From The Berkeley Coaches

In the movie, the Berkeley coach is shown to be providing financial assistance to the squad; however, his help is more centered on giving advice and motivation to the team as they travel toward the Olympic Games.

During the course of the movie, there is a scene in which the coach of the University of Berkeley team visits Ulbrickson and inquires about the amount of money that he has available to transport the team to Berlin. In response to Ulbrickson’s statement that they are short $300, the Berkeley coach drafts a check for him immediately, stating that his players deserve the opportunity to go. 

It is one of those scenarios that just makes you feel positive and believe in the importance of friendly competition…except for the simple reason that it never actually took place. By holding fundraising events and soliciting corporate donations from Washington’s businesses, the team successfully raised all the funds they required. In our honest opinion, the original tale was perfectly adequate, despite the fact that this addition was intended to give a little bit more drama to the situation. 

Being able to gather together with a quarter here and a dollar to make a team of blue-collar lads’ goal come true is an excellent example of the spirit Brown writes about so passionately. After all, the majority of people did not have any extra money at the time.

5. The 1936 Olympic Games Did Not Have A Photo Finish

The narrative of The Boys in the Boat reached its height when they competed in the men’s eight final at the Olympic Games held in Berlin, Germany, in 1936. It took the United States team some time to catch up to Germany and Italy, and the race was decided by a photo finish in the 2023 film since the three teams were extremely close. 

The United States team was further behind than Germany and Italy. Ultimately, the American rowers triumphed by a margin of just more than half a second, so claiming the gold medal. In actuality, the story is slightly different from what it seems.

During an interview with USA Today, Daniel James Brown stated that the 1936 Olympics men’s eight final turned out to be a nail-biter and was too close to call by the time it ended. However, rather than a photograph that would reveal the winner, the judges had to deliberate for some time to select the positions each team would be in.

6. Dramatic License

Dramatic License

In order to have a more significant emotional impact, the movie takes some artistic liberties in a few different sequences. Among these include:

  • The simplification of relationships.
  • The dramatization of specific problems.
  • Fictional aspects were added to the narrative in order to make it more compelling.

It is primarily due to the fact that the film is not a historical narrative like the book is; instead, it is a sports drama. This is the primary reason Ulbrickson is the film central character. In order to prevent the movie from running too long or confusing the central narrative, which focuses on the races that took place in the years building up to the Olympics as well as the actual Olympic competition itself, a significant portion of the historical backdrop that Brown provides has been simplified or removed. 

This is the reason why the majority of the challenges are depicted on the water, including the struggles of the squad in working together, the difficulties and triumphs of the boys who want to be part of the team, and Ulbrickson’s brusque pep talks. Additionally, the races are the ones that receive the most intriguing cinematography. The finale of the 1936 Olympic Games was even portrayed theatrically in order to make a more exciting story; the race did not indeed culminate in a photo finish. 

After the judges had finished deliberating, the teams were required to stay inside the Boat until it was ultimately declared that the American team had won. The American team’s Boat crossed the finish line exactly six-tenths of a second earlier than the Italian team’s Boat did.

It is also why Rantz’s relationship with Joyce Simdars, played by Hadley Robinson, receives more attention. Rantz had really proposed to Simdars in April of 1932, another alteration that has occurred in their relationship since the book was written. However, the fact that they did not get back together during their time in college provides a more exciting plot for moviegoers, as it provides Rantz with a fitting send-off to the Olympic Games.

It is essential to keep in mind that the Boat movie is not a documentary in the traditional sense, although it is an engaging movie. Providing a fictitious interpretation of a real-life event places a greater emphasis on entertainment and emotional resonance than factual accuracy.

If you want to learn more about the true tale, we suggest you read The Boys in the Boat book by Daniel James Brown. This book offers a more nuanced and extensive account of the journey that the team took.

Is The Movie “The Boys In The Boat” Worth A Watch? What Are The Boys In The Boat Showtimes?

The film might not surprise you because it is conventionally old-fashioned, but you will be satisfied by it. The director, George Clooney, is aware of the power of this timeless tale of an underdog, and he can convey it in a visually stunning and emotionally moving way. 

Clooney and screenwriter Mark L. Smith tell the story in a pretty traditional manner, but it is sincere and fascinating. They emphasize the numerous challenges the team has to overcome and the likelihood of their success beyond expectation.

You can easily find The Boys in the Boat showtimes near you on Fandango. The Boys in the Boat showtimes near Marcus Oshkosh cinema details are here.

Where To Watch The Boys In The Boat Streaming Online?

Where is Boys in the Boat playing? You can buy “The Boys in the Boat” on Apple TV, Amazon Video, YouTube, Google Play Movies, Microsoft Store, Vudu, as download or easily rent it on Google Play Movies, YouTube online.


Does the film “The Boys in the Boat” have real-life inspiration?

Indeed. The Boys in the Boat, the new film directed by George Clooney, is based on an event recounted for the first time in Daniel James Brown’s book of the same name, published in 2013.

In the film adaptation, Callum Turner plays the role of Joe Rantz, the original book’s protagonist. According to Brown, Rantz is said to have been raised in a very poor environment and come from a little village close to Seattle. In the years that followed, his father abandoned him, and his mother passed away due to lung cancer when he was just four years old.

Throughout the course of the book, Rantz’s childhood is explored in greater depth, and the circumstances of living with his aunt and a stepmother who detested him are described in detail. Additionally, the film “The Boys in the Boat” highlights Rantz’s independence and resiliency by depicting how beginning at the age of 15, he was required to hunt, fish, as well as take care of himself, even if it meant living in a car that had been abandoned or abandoned.

After completing his studies in Washington, Rantz went on the hunt for employment and found out that he was able to earn a wage by participating in the school’s rowing squad, provided that he met the requirements. In both the novel and the movie, Rantz’s journey is depicted alongside that of seven other young men selected for the squad and coached by Al Ulbrickson, played by Joel Edgerton. Under Adolf Hitler’s watchful eye, the team developed and participated in the 1936 international athletic competition.

Remarkably, Rantz tied the knot with his first love, Joyce Simdars, following the conclusion of the Olympic Games, and the couple remained together for the remainder of their lives. Following his graduation in 1939, he went on to work for the Boeing Corporation for a period of thirty-five years despite the fact that he had initially studied chemical engineering. 

By the time that Daniel James Brown came to know Rantz, seven members of the rowing team had already passed. Rantz himself passed away not long after that, in 2007, so his daughter Judy worked along with Brown to recount his tale by utilizing recorded cassettes that she had obtained during the course of her journey.

Which events occurred during the Olympic games in 1936?

The Olympic Games of 1936 took place in Berlin, and Germany disseminated propaganda throughout the competition. Germany, under the leadership of the Hitler government, gave the impression of being a powerful and unified nation while at the same time concealing its atrocities against Jews and other minorities from the rest of the globe. 

At that time, Germany had started operating the Dachau facility, which would eventually become the concentration camp that had been in operation for the longest period of time. Hitler eliminated any indications of antisemitism in Berlin prior to the sporting events by removing Nazi signs and publications from the city. This was done to ensure that tourists were unaware of the events that were taking place.

When other nations arrived to participate in the Olympics, they perceived Germany as a relatively serene nation. Despite the endeavor to conceal the Nazi regime, a significant number of activists were conscious of it and chose to abstain from attending the event. 

Some leaders even brought up the fact that Germany had violated Olympic laws that prohibited discrimination based on race or faith, among other aspects of concern; nonetheless, they were unsuccessful. Only three years later, Germany launched an invasion of Poland, which resulted in the beginning of World War II.

Closing Words

It was necessary for the film, which was directed by George Clooney and scripted by Mark L. Smith, to make several adjustments to the narrative of the events in order to make the plot more dramatic.

In spite of the fact that genuine persons were portrayed in The Boys in the Boat movie, including Callum Turner in the role of Joe Rantz, the filmmakers were forced to make some changes to the narrative in order to accommodate the limits of a two-hour film. One of the most significant events in the life of Joe Rantz, which occurred when he was a little child and his stepmother and father abandoned him, was not included in the movie.

In contrast to what is shown in the movie, the coach at Berkeley did not give the rowing team any money; instead, he pledged his support for the squad’s journey to the Olympics. In the film, the timeline of events that occurred is condensed, and several crucial times in the lives of the individuals are left out. 

Despite this, this is an old-fashioned story delivered in an old-fashioned manner, and there are times when it is an excellent method to remind all of us that we are superior to those who do not believe in us. Even with a few alterations, The Boys in the Boat is still a film that should be watched in its entirety.

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Sarah is a writer by profession and passion. She is a real tech-savvy who loves everything tech! Talk about the latest tech releases, latest news from the tech world, on-trend tech gadgets, or simple tech hacks – Sarah knows it all! Being a movie enthusiast, she always has a close eye on the latest releases. Her insights about how well the movie will do on the box offices are surprisingly always correct! We call her the “Encyclopaedia of Movies”.