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What Do Most Bodyguard Movies Get Wrong?

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In the realm of action-packed cinema, bodyguard movies have captured the imagination of audiences worldwide. The allure of professionals that have a “very particular set of skills” and safeguard their clients against perilous threats and relentless adversaries has given rise to a genre that continues to thrive. However, behind the adrenaline-pumping sequences and gripping storylines lies a stark contrast between fiction and reality. 

Amidst the glitz and glamour of Hollywood portrayals, real-life protectors and bodyguards are the unsung heroes of high-profile individuals, working tirelessly to ensure their clients’ safety and peace of mind. Their role involves meticulous planning, strategic thinking, and an unwavering commitment to neutralizing potential threats discreetly and efficiently. 

While bodyguard movies undoubtedly provide entertainment and escapism, they are not without their fair share of inaccuracies.   

Inappropriate Engagement with Attackers

Contrary to the glorified portrayals in bodyguard movies, experienced executive protection professionals prioritize the protection of their clients above all else. They are trained to assess threats meticulously and employ strategic tactics, resorting to force only as a last resort. Engaging attackers head-on with flashy fight sequences, as seen in the movie “The Bodyguard” deviates significantly from the actual methods employed by skilled bodyguards. 

 In “The Bodyguard,” Frank Farmer, a highly skilled and experienced former Secret Service agent, is assigned to protect Rachel Marron from a relentless stalker. The movie features thrilling action sequences where Frank confronts the stalker head-on, displaying his prowess in hand-to-hand combat and weapon use. While “The Bodyguard” captivated audiences with its gripping storyline and chemistry between the lead actors, it contributes to the misconception that bodyguards are invincible fighters who can effortlessly take down any threat. In reality, professional bodyguards prioritize the safety of their clients above all else and rely on advanced threat assessment and strategic planning to mitigate risks. 

Such inaccuracies can lead the public to develop unrealistic expectations of bodyguards, undermining the seriousness of their profession and the critical decisions they must make to keep their clients safe. In reality, confrontation should be minimized, and de-escalation techniques and crisis management skills should be emphasized. 

The Waiting Game in Bodyguard Movies

Executive protection often involves periods of surveillance and waiting for clients in different areas. This essential aspect is frequently omitted or condensed in bodyguard movies, where time is compressed to maintain a fast-paced narrative. However, the ability to wait patiently and maintain vigilance is a core skill for protection professionals. 

Nevertheless, one well-known bodyguard movie that overlooks the importance of waiting is “Man on Fire” (2004), starring Denzel Washington as John Creasy, a former CIA operative turned bodyguard. In “Man on Fire,” John Creasy is hired to protect Pita, a young girl from a wealthy family in Mexico City. The movie quickly escalates into a fast-paced action thriller, with Creasy engaging in intense, high-octane confrontations to rescue Pita after she is kidnapped. 

While “Man on Fire” delivers heart-pounding action and emotional intensity, it condenses the critical period of waiting and surveillance into a mere montage. By skipping over this essential phase, the movie fails to highlight the astute observation, preparation, and strategic planning that go into protecting high-profile individuals in real-life scenarios. 

By glossing over the waiting aspect, bodyguard movies miss an opportunity to demonstrate the careful planning and strategizing involved in executive protection. This oversight can skew public perception, leading viewers to underestimate the complexity and patience required in the field. 

Oversimplifying the Client-Bodyguard Relationship

Bodyguards develop a unique bond with their clients, based on trust, understanding, and a deep commitment to their well-being. This dynamic is far more intricate than the superficial connections depicted in many bodyguard movies. 

For example, one bodyguard movie that falls into the trap of oversimplification is “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” (2017), starring Ryan Reynolds as Michael Bryce, a top protection agent, and Samuel L. Jackson as Darius Kincaid, a notorious hitman. In “The Hitman’s Bodyguard,” Michael Bryce is reluctantly assigned to protect Darius Kincaid, a hitman and his former nemesis. The movie primarily focuses on the humorous banter and contrasting personalities of the two protagonists, leading to a seemingly straightforward camaraderie. 

While “The Hitman’s Bodyguard” offers audiences an entertaining and action joyride, it glosses over the complexities and challenges inherent in the client-bodyguard relationship. The movie’s emphasis on comedic interactions between Bryce and Kincaid overshadows the intricate balance of trust, vulnerability, and genuine concern that underpins the connection between real-life bodyguards and their clients. 

In reality, the client-bodyguard relationship requires a delicate balance of professionalism and empathy. While forming a strong bond is essential, bodyguards must maintain a level of detachment to make unbiased decisions during critical situations. 

Real-life Limitations of Weapons

Bodyguard movies often portray characters wielding an array of sophisticated weaponry, conveniently neglecting the stringent regulations and practical limitations of carrying weapons in certain environments.  

One well-known movie that accentuates this error is “Taken” (2008), starring Liam Neeson as Bryan Mills, a retired CIA operative seeking to rescue his kidnapped daughter. In “Taken,” Bryan Mills embarks on a relentless mission to rescue his daughter from human traffickers. Throughout the film, he carries an assortment of firearms, knives, and other lethal tools, utilizing them with extraordinary proficiency to take down his adversaries.  

While “Taken” grips audiences with its intense action and Liam Neeson’s commanding performance, it disregards the practical limitations that bodyguards face when carrying and using weapons in real-life scenarios. Contrary to cinematic portrayals, executive protection professionals must adhere to strict legal regulations, especially when traveling internationally or in public spaces. 

By overlooking the limitations and responsibilities that come with carrying weapons, bodyguard movies may inadvertently encourage a culture of glamorized violence, promoting an inaccurate image of the profession.  

While it is understandable that creative liberties are taken in movies for entertainment purposes, striking a balance between drama and reality is vital to preserving the integrity of the profession. Bodyguard movies can continue to entertain and captivate audiences while ensuring that the core values and challenges of the executive protection profession are represented authentically. 

I believe that most cinematic depictions of bodyguards tend to overlook the importance of the planning process. The impression given is that bodyguards are constantly reacting, when in reality, those of us who excel in this profession spend a significant portion of our time meticulously planning.

The emphasis on physical prowess and tough exteriors is, of course, appealing to viewers. Yet, the most successful agents are those who navigate social dynamics with grace and subtlety. Their ability to blend into diverse environments is a crucial skill that often goes unnoticed.

I wish that Hollywood and other entertainment platforms would highlight these ‘soft skills’ more. However, I understand this may not align with audience expectations. As a content creator myself, I’m aware that the general public tends to gravitate more towards the thrilling and violent depictions of our profession.

There is an image that clients and principals often have in their minds about what we should be, an image that we find ourselves frequently dispelling as we educate them on the realities of the service we provide. I’ve lost count of how many times clients have asked me to wear a suit solely because they’ve seen it in a show like ‘The Bodyguard.’ The truth is, wearing a suit and an earpiece in a bustling city can often create more chaos than calm.

In essence, the security industry isn’t as glamorous or volatile as it’s often portrayed. It’s about planning, adaptability, and maintaining a keen awareness of our surroundings. The true art lies in managing risk before it even materializes.

Byron Rodgers CEO // BRG

Perception vs. Reality of Bodyguard Movies

Becoming an EP professional involves rigorous training in surveillance, threat assessment, defensive driving, crisis management, and more. This specialized skill set ensures that they are prepared for any eventuality. The job of a bodyguard is not just physically demanding, but also emotionally taxing. Constantly being on high alert and having the responsibility for a client’s safety can take a toll on mental and emotional well-being. Real-life experiences from EP professionals offer invaluable insights into the challenges they face and the strategies they employ to ensure their clients’ safety. 

Furthermore, movies have a profound impact on public perception, shaping how people view certain professions, including executive protection. Bodyguard movies can inspire individuals to pursue a career in executive protection. Still, they must understand that the reality is far more complex and requires dedication, discipline, and a commitment to continuous learning. 


As the curtains draw to a close on the mesmerizing world of bodyguard movies, we find ourselves at the intersection of entertainment and reality, where fact and fiction intertwine. While these films offer a thrilling escape into the lives of daring protectors and their high-stakes missions, it is imperative to recognize the considerable gap that separates cinematic portrayal from the genuine complexities of executive protection. 

Indeed, bodyguard movies serve as a celebration of heroism and valor, inspiring awe and admiration for the protagonists who fearlessly confront danger to protect their clients. However, this admiration must not blind us to the multifaceted, demanding, and often perilous nature of real-life executive protection professionals. 

To ensure a richer cinematic experience and promote a deeper understanding of the profession, filmmakers and audiences must recognize the importance of striking a harmonious chord between entertainment and realism. While creative liberties undoubtedly add flair to these productions, grounding the narrative in truth, authenticity, and the professional values of bodyguards will elevate the genre to new heights. 

In essence, bodyguard movies can wield immense power in shaping public perception and influencing the aspirations of those drawn to the security industry. By embracing a more accurate portrayal, these films have the potential to not only entertain, but also elevate the appreciation for the sacrifices and challenges faced by real-life bodyguards. 

Ultimately, it is through this symbiotic relationship between captivating storytelling and honoring the truth that bodyguard movies can transcend their entertainment value and become a powerful medium to shed light on the extraordinary lives of those who protect us in the shadows.  

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