'American Sniper': The truths and myths about Chris Kyle

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'American Sniper': The truths and myths about Chris Kyle
STEPHENVILLE, TX - FEBRUARY 11: Taya Kyle (C), wife of slain Navy SEAL Chris Kyle, is escorted to a waiting vehicle as she leaves the Erath County Donald R. Jones Justice Center February 11, 2015 in Stephenville, Texas. Security is tight for the trial of Eddie Ray Routh, 27, of Lancaster, who is charged with the 2013 deaths of Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range near Glen Rose, Texas. (Photo by Brandon Wade / Getty Images)
AMERICAN SNIPER 2014 Warner Bros film with Bradley Cooper at right and Kyle Galiner
STARS EARN STRIPES -- Season: 1 -- Pictured: Chris Kyle -- (Photo by: Chris Haston/NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
STARS EARN STRIPES -- 'Mission Finale' Episode 106 -- Pictured: (l-r) Chris Kyle, Dean Cain -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
STARS EARN STRIPES -- 'Mission' Episode 105 -- Pictured: (l-r) Grady Powell, Chris Kyle, Eve Torres, Dean Cain -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
STARS EARN STRIPES -- 'Mission' Episode 105 -- Pictured: (l-r) Dean Cain, Eve Torres, Chris Kyle, Grady Powell -- (Photo by: Tyler Golden/NBC)
AMERICAN SNIPER 2014 Warner Bros film with Bradley Cooper
American Sniper is a 2014 American biographical action film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Dean Hall. It is based on Chris Kyle's autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History and stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller with Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman and Cory Hardrict in supporting roles.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 15: An image is displayed on a big screen onstage of Best Actor nominee Bradley Cooper for his role in the film 'American Sniper' at the 87th Academy Awards Nominations Announcement at the AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on January 15, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
BEVERLY HILLS, CA - JANUARY 15: Directors J.J. Abrams (L) and director Alfonso Cuaron announce the film 'American Sniper' as a nominee for Best Sound Mixing during the 87th Academy Awards Nominations Announcement at AMPAS Samuel Goldwyn Theater on January 15, 2015 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Tommaso Boddi/WireImage)
American Sniper is a 2014 American biographical action film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Dean Hall. It is based on Chris Kyle's autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History and stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller with Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman and Cory Hardrict in supporting roles.
AMERICAN SNIPER 2014 Warner Bros film with Sienna Miller
American Sniper is a 2014 American biographical action film directed by Clint Eastwood and written by Jason Dean Hall. It is based on Chris Kyle's autobiography American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History and stars Bradley Cooper and Sienna Miller with Luke Grimes, Kyle Gallner, Sam Jaeger, Jake McDorman and Cory Hardrict in supporting roles.
A US Marine Special Operations soldier provides security during the construction of a new checkpoint by Afghan and US forces April 3, 2013 in the district of Spin Boldak, Kandahar province, Afghanistan.
Members of U.S. Navy SEAL Team Ten stand at attention during funeral for fellow SEAL Chris Kyle at the Texas State Cemetery
Military veterans hold American flags at funeral of Nay SEAL Chris Kyle in Austin, Texas
Military veterans hold American flags at funeral of Nay SEAL Chris Kyle in Austin, Texas
Austin, Texas, USA. 12th February 2013. Funeral procession for former navy Seal Chris Kyle.Atmosphere.George Goodman of DeLand Florida is reflected in the window of an APD cruiser. St.Johns and IH35.02/12/2013.(Credit Image: Jeff Newman/Globe Photos/ZUMAPRESS.com/Alamy Live News)
Prosecutors play the tape of the police interview with former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh at his capital murder trial at the Erath County, Donald R. Jones Justice Center on Feb. 16, 2015 in Stephenville, Texas. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Prosecutors play the tape of the police interview with former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh at his capital murder trial at the Erath County, Donald R. Jones Justice Center on Feb. 16, 2015 in Stephenville, Texas. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Prosecutors play the tape of the police interview with former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh at his capital murder trial at the Erath County, Donald R. Jones Justice Center on Feb. 16, 2015 in Stephenville, Texas. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
Texas Ranger David Armstrong holds up evidence seized at Eddie Ray Routh's house during the capital murder trial of former Marine Cpl. Eddie Ray Routh at the Erath County, Donald R. Jones Justice Center on Feb. 12, 2015 in Stephenville, Texas. Routh, 27, of Lancaster, is charged with the 2013 deaths of former Navy SEAL Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield at a shooting range near Glen Rose, Texas. (Paul Moseley/Fort Worth Star-Telegram/TNS via Getty Images)
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It seems since its Christmas Day release, Clint Eastwood's film "American Sniper," based on the life of Navy SEAL Chief Petty Officer, Chris Kyle, has continued to be the subject of both criticism and praise.

So how accurate was Bradley Cooper's portrayal of Kyle? We'll dispel some of the myths and make a few notes about what the movie left out. Warning, lots of spoilers ahead.

Chris Kyle's autobiography "American Sniper: The Autobiography of the Most Lethal Sniper in U.S. Military History" was the basis of much of what we saw in the movie. It's worth noting why Chris Kyle decided to write "American Sniper"; his widow Taya Kyle explained the decision at the 2013 National Rifle Association conference.

"Chris only wrote that book because other people were going to write it about it and he felt proper credit wouldn't be given to those he served with. He also knew he could be portrayed as something he wasn't."

So, on to the movie - much of the first half of "American Sniper" is built around Chris Kyle's first kills: a little boy and his mother who were trying to throw a grenade at a group of Marines.

Of his 160 confirmed kills, Kyle might have killed a child or children, but he doesn't mention it in his book. However, he did explain shooting and killing a woman who was holding her toddler.

Kyle told Time, "I had to do it to protect the Marines, so do you want to lose your own guys or would you rather take one of them out?"

In the movie, Kyle - who was known as "The Legend" by his comrades - has a $20,000 bounty on his head. That bit of information was true.

"When I'd go into a house when we occupied the houses, I'd take my uniform off and you could see my tattoo. ... If someone was killed by a sniper in the area they associated that with me," Kyle told Conan.

What about the movie's main antagonist, the Iraqi sniper called Mustafa? Well it's not completely clear how much of a role he actually played during Kyle's four tours in Iraq and Time notes Mustafa wasn't mentioned in the book. When asked why, Kyle said, "He shot my friend. I'm not going to put his name in my book." In the movie Kyle manages to kill Mustafa, but Time reports that kill was never confirmed.

On a lighter note, there's a scene in "American Sniper" right after Kyle joined the Navy where he meets Taya, his wife, in a bar. Taya talked about that real life moment during an interview with Fox News.

Gretchen Carlson with Fox News asked, "So the first scene, when you meet Chris and do the shots, really happened?"

"Yes. ... I was drinking I think scotch on the rocks and yes I did vomit and yes he did hold my hair back," Taya said.

Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield were killed at a shooting range in 2013. The man who shot and killed the two, Eddie Ray Routh, is a veteran who suffers from PTSD; Kyle was helping Routh through treatment. Routh's trial is set to begin in February.

So far, the film has racked in more than $154 million domestically and is nominated for Best Picture at the Academy Awards.

Nominees for "Best Picture" at the 87th Academy Awards:

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Oscars: Best Picture
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'American Sniper': The truths and myths about Chris Kyle

"Birdman"

Photo Credit: FOX Searchlight

"Boyhood"

Photo Credit: IFC Films

"The Grand Budapest Hotel"

Photo Credit: FOX Searchlight

"The Imitation Game"

Photo Credit: The Weinstein Company

"Selma"

Photo Credit: Paramount Pictures

"The Theory of Everything"

Photo Credit: Universal Pictures

"Whiplash"

Photo Credit: Sony Pictures

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