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Is The Gilded Age Based On A True Story?

Gabriella Ferlita

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Is The Gilded Age Based On A True Story?

Being dubbed the American Downton Abbey, the HBO series The Gilded Age sees the likes of Mamma Mia!’s Christine Baranski, Sex in the City’s Cynthia Nixon and Avengers: Endgame’s Carrie Coon take on socialite characters set during one of America’s most lavish moments in history. 

The nine-part series follows a young Pennsylvania-born Marion Brook (Louisa Jacobson), who becomes consumed by this new-found luxurious lifestyle. Viewers also see New York unfolding through her point of view, as aristocrats witness their playing field being transformed by rich industrialists. So, is The Gilded Age based on a true story?

Is The Gilded Age based on a true story?

Fans of this Downton Abbey-inspired show might be disappointed to learn that The Gilded Age’s storyline is “largely” fictional, as Smithsonian Magazine reported. The set of characters are just vessels to portray the lives of the rich and wealthy during “The Gilded Age”.

However, the time-frame of which the series is set in is pretty historically accurate, and does actually depict New York’s history during that period.

History reports that “The Gilded Age” describes “the tumultuous years between the Civil War and the turn of the twentieth century” which followed a similar increase in industry and technology to that of the Industrial Revolution in Great Britain. 

That particular time-frame followed the first transcontinental railroad being completed in 1869, with the first functioning typewriter being invented, Alexander Bell receiving a patent for the first telephone, and Thomas Edison showcasing the first functioning lightbulb following soon after in the next decade.

As opportunities for America started to become more apparent, there was a big financial difference between the rich upper class, and the less-well-off working class. The TV series does a pretty good job of depicting this dramatic divide between classes during this time-frame.

The Gilded Age is available to stream now on Sky and NOW.

Featured Image Credit: HBO/Sky

Topics: TV and Film

Gabriella Ferlita
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