Is London Has Fallen Based on a True Story?

Babak Najafi’s 2016 action thriller ‘London Has Fallen’ is the second installment in the ‘Has Fallen’ franchise, after ‘Olympus Has Fallen.’ After the death of the British prime minister James Wilson, administrative heads from the G7 countries fly to London to attend the funeral, “the most protected event on Earth.”

The US president Benjamin Asher arrives early, aided by his security team, including Lynne Jacobs and Mike Banning. However, the story takes a southward turn when a group of terrorists hiding in plain sight unleash hell. A terrorist mastermind wants to execute Benjamin Asher, and Mike must struggle against time to rescue him. Although formulaic, the story packs an explosive punch for the genre fans. However, you may wonder whether the story has a basis in reality. In that case, let us run a thorough investigation.

Is London Has Fallen a True Story?

No, ‘London Has Fallen’ is not based on a true story. The scale and magnitude of the terrorist attack depicted in the movie have not been replicated in real-life London. Babak Najafi directed the film from a screenplay penned by Creighton Rothenberger, Katrin Benedikt, Christian Gudegast, and Chad St. John. Creighton Rothenberger and Katrin Benedikt, the writers of Antoine Fuqua’s 2013 venture ‘Olympus Has Fallen,’ came up with the story of this movie as well.

This movie is the second installment in the ‘Has Fallen’ franchise, after ‘Olympus Has Fallen.’ Most of the leading stars of the first movie, including Gerard Butler, Aaron Eckhart, Morgan Freeman, Angela Bassett, Melissa Leo, Robert Forster, and Radha Mitchell reprise their roles in the sequel. However, Antonie Fuqua could not come on board to direct the movie due to his commitments to ‘The Equalizer.’ Thus, the project went to Fredrik Bond, but he dropped out soon.

Following the roadblock, the duty ultimately fell on the shoulders of Iranian-Swedish director Babak Najafi. Najafi directed the movie with epic grandeur, keeping in line with the source material. You may wonder whether the story has a realistic basis. If that is the case, let us consider the incidents and characters from close quarters.

Firstly, all characters are fictional, but they may have real-life inspirations behind their creation. If you ask about the inspiration behind the British prime minister James Wilson, real-life UK prime minister Harold Wilson’s first name was James. The name “James” may also bring back in memory the name of James Callaghan. He served in the Prime Minister’s seat just after Harold Wilson. However, neither of them faced assassination.

The only British prime minister to have been assassinated was Spencer Perceval, who served the nation from October 1809 to May 1812. John Bellingham, the assassin, was not affiliated with any organization, and he acted on personal interests. Bellingham felt that he was unjustly imprisoned in Russia, and he sought compensation from the government. When the government did not pay heed, he resorted to murder.

The terrorist plot of the story may have sought inspiration from the London Bombings of July 7, 2005. The incident, popularly known as 7/7, was an orchestrated terrorist attack in four separate locations in the city. The terrorists targeted the London Underground metro rail network, detonating bombs near Liverpool Street, Edgware Road, and Russell Square stations. Later, another bomb blasted in a double-decker bus in Tavistock Square in Bloomsbury. More than 50 people died in the aftermath, while more than 700 suffered injury in the blasts. The movie amplifies the concern, but the traces of the 7/7 bombings, carried out by terrorists in civilian clothing, are present in the story.

You may also wonder whether the terrorist mastermind Aamir Barkawi has a real-life counterpart. In his case, the creators may have derived inspiration from the real-life terrorist Anwar al-Awlaki. From an ordinary cleric, the Yemeni-American emerged to be the regional commander of al-Qaeda. The attackers from the 7/7 blast cited his lectures as the chief inspiration behind the attacks. In 2011, Anwar died in a US drone attack, mirroring Barkawi’s final fate. Therefore, the story may be fictional, but ‘London Has Fallen’ may extract its energy from a few real-life incidents that impacted civilian lives in London.

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