Is American Made Based on True Story? – Welcome to Hollywood’s intriguing world, where fact and fiction often collide. “American Made,” directed by Doug Liman in 2017, is one such action-comedy that has many questioning its basis in reality; Tom Cruise leads its cast, making this film both enjoyable and conversation-inducing for its real life connections.
Doug Liman’s and Universal Pictures’ “American Made” is an exhilarating, adrenaline-fuelled rollercoaster showcasing Tom Cruise’s pilot, actor, and daredevil talents. Starring Domhnall Gleeson, Sarah Wright, Alejandro Edda Mauricio Mejia Caleb Landry Jones, and Jesse Plemons, with premiere screenings occurring first in Taiwan before making its way across to US theaters on September 29, 2017.
‘American Made’ Movie Plot Story:
In 1978, Barry Seal was introduced as a Baton Rouge pilot working for TWA out of Baton Rouge. However, when Monty Schafer, an agent from CIA recruits him for clandestine reconnaissance missions over Central America while maintaining the facade that his wife Lucy believes him to be just another ordinary TWA pilot.
As the story develops, the 1980s bring more intrigue. The CIA assigns Barry as a courier between Panama and General Noriega’s army in Panama; during one such mission he encounters Medellin Cartel members, accepting their offer of transporting cocaine via airdrop rather than traditional airport delivery routes.
The CIA appears to be turning a blind eye, permitting Barry to continue this dangerous double game; however, eventually the DEA caught up with him and forced his family out of Mena, Arkansas, so they can continue with their illicit activities without law enforcement intervention; Mena eventually becomes one of the main hubs for U.S. cocaine trafficking operations.
Schafer asks Barry to provide weapons to the Nicaraguan Contras. However, as he delves further into their dealings, Barry discovers their true motives – more interested in wealth than fighting – which leads him to strike a deal with Medellin Cartel instead of continuing with Contra operations in Nicaragua. Barry even assists CIA with creating a training base in Mena – however this goes awry as soon as the Contras arrive and flee from it immediately upon their arrival.
Barry’s sudden wealth leads him to hide cash in suitcases buried in his backyard, prompting a visit by freeloading brother-in-law JB who promises him assistance from Medellin Cartel if any trouble ensues. JB eventually meets an explosive end due to their actions;
The FBI quickly becomes aware of Mena’s wealth accumulation, with JB’s extravagant spending further compounding matters. Eventually, the CIA shuts down their operation, leaving Barry subject to arrest by all four agencies (FBI, DEA, ATF and Arkansas State Police) simultaneously; however, he manages to strike a deal with White House officials, resulting in him serving a community service sentence instead of arrest.
But the story doesn’t stop there: Barry’s journey is increasingly dark as the CIA engages in further arms smuggling from Iran for Contra rebels in Nicaragua. Finally, Schafer gets promoted and exposes the scandal publicly while Lucy settles back down happily in Baton Rouge, working fast-food jobs.
Is ‘American Made’ Movie True Story?
Hollywood productions often present audiences with an intriguing blend of fact and fiction, creating films like “American Made”. Starring Tom Cruise and directed by Doug Liman, this 2017 flick draws its inspiration from Barry Seal, an ex-TWA pilot turned drug smuggler for Medellin Cartel during the 1980s.
Answering whether “American Made” is a true story is complex. While the film’s narrative is undeniably rooted in real events, it takes creative liberties and dramatizes certain aspects to craft an engaging and entertaining cinematic experience. In other words, the movie is based on true events but is not a strict historical documentary.
Fact vs. Fiction:
This film introduces us to Barry Seal, an air traffic control pilot employed by TWA who the CIA recruits for covert reconnaissance missions. As seen in the movie, Barry Seal is depicted smuggling drugs for Medellin Cartel while becoming an important informant for DEA agents. These elements do have some basis in reality and must be distinguished.
Barry Seal worked as a TWA pilot and engaged in smuggling operations – his flying skills and daring nature made him a valuable asset to the CIA. But while the film suggests direct interactions between Seal and Medellin Cartel leaders, their behavior did not match what occurred in real life – they often only addressed him as “El Gordo,” or “The Fat Man.”
The film depicts his involvement in cocaine smuggling through airdrops into rural areas – something which happened in reality – but its portrayal for cinematic effect includes dramatic aerial sequences that may or may not correspond with reality.
Barry Seal’s Real Life:
Barry Seal lived an exciting and perilous life. As depicted in the movie, he worked as an informant for the DEA providing critical intelligence about drug trafficking – just as described. Furthermore, there was constant threat to his life from those involved with the drug trade; involvement with law enforcement agencies and exposure to such dangerous surroundings was all too real in real life.
However, the film captures a specific sense of tension and danger, typical of Hollywood storytelling. This choice heightens suspense while keeping audiences on edge, contributing greatly to its entertainment value.
The Tragic End:
Barry Seal’s story ends tragically both on screen and off. Convicted, yet given only 1,000 hours of community service for cooperating with authorities. His constant fear of an explosion, which the film accurately portrays, reflects the precarious nature of his situation.
In 1986, Barry Seal was assassinated by an order from the Medellin Cartel, mirroring its depiction in the movie. This event provided a shocking conclusion both to both his film career and actual life; successfully depicting all the tension and danger that was ever-present throughout both.
Did Barry Seal Actually Smuggle Drugs and Work for the CIA?
Yes, Barry Seal was a real individual, and his life was filled with adventurous twists and turns. While working for TWA as a pilot and engaging in smuggling operations, Seal also found himself recruited by the CIA for reconnaissance missions in Central America as depicted in the movie. While Seal dealt directly with leaders of Medellin Cartel during this period of his career (portrayed as direct interaction in film), in reality they referred to him as “El Gordo,” or The Fat Man.
Seal was in fact an informant for the Drug Enforcement Administration and provided crucial intelligence about drug trafficking; however, his life in this movie is fictionalized to fit with Hollywood narrative conventions and create an engaging cinematic story arc.
What Happened to Barry Seal in Real Life?
In real life, Barry Seal’s story had an unfortunate conclusion. Eventually convicted and sentenced to only 1,000 hours of community service after cooperating with authorities, he faced great risk from involvement with drug dealing activities – something accurately captured in this movie.
Barry Seal was brutally assassinated in 1986 as an order of the Medellin Cartel hit squad, an event which is both fictional and real, yet captures perfectly both the tension and danger surrounding his life during these uncertain times. The film portrays this reality quite effectively.
“American Made” serves as a cinematic rollercoaster, drawing its inspiration from Barry Seal’s life of adventure. Although its events are real, “American Made” takes creative liberties to craft an engaging narrative. Tom Cruise brings authenticity and daring to his portrayal of Barry Seal while simultaneously blurring lines between fact and fiction for an engaging narrative experience that should not be missed! A must watch for those interested in high-stakes adventures!
As with many Hollywood productions, “American Made” offers audiences a thrilling journey into the worlds of espionage, drug smuggling and covert operations; though not 100% historically accurate. It gives audiences an entertaining glimpse into a life lived dangerously; from charismatic performances to heart-pounding action sequences “American Made“, it leaves audiences both entertained and curious about its real story behind Barry Seal’s legend.
So the next time you watch a Hollywood blockbuster claiming to be “based on a true story,” remember that truth may be as ethereal as its cinematic illusions. “American Made” offers an adventure worth taking, even if that means taking on what may amount to “fun lies based on real truth.”