Yes, it happened and it was real, very real indeed. It is no myth or just a story. Jesus referred to Noah as a real person and the flood as a real event. We can totally rely on his words. The best estimate as to when the flood occurred is about 20,000 years ago. The Bible gives no specific date only a sequential chronological progression of the events of creation. This dating comes from the most recent science record of the first humans somewhere around 45,000 years ago. That’s very recent in the timeline of the earth considering the dinosaurs were last on earth 250 million years ago.
As to the extent of the Flood. The Bible states that it covered the earth, which to the population at that time would have been their known region. Recognizing that the peoples at that time were concentrated in a very local geographic area in what is called today Mesopotamia (principally Iraq), it is generally recognized that the flood was universal to the entire human population at that time. Recent archaeological discoveries have unearthed large settlements that are now underwater in the Persian Gulf. The geography of this area of the earth has changed greatly since the flood. Numerous movies have been made purporting to tell the flood story, but all fall far short of depicting the Biblical narrative
The Bible does not describe in any detail character traits of Noah and his family other than being righteous. There are no quotes from Noah or his family in the Bible. All words and conversations in the movies are drawn from the imagination of the producer. The movie, Noah, produced in 2014 strayed so far from scripture that is was scorned by scientists and condemned by religious scholars. The movie was banned in much of the Muslim world despite the fact that the story takes place in what is today the heart of Islam. The movie distorts Bible teaching about God, animals, sin and salvation. The producer of the movie, Noah, didn’t just add to and take away from the story of Noah as recorded in Genesis, he reversed good and evil, elevated animals above humans, gave rocks souls, he equated fallen man with Jesus, and even elevated man higher than God.
For more thoughtful information about the flood, we strongly recommend visiting “Reasons to Believe” at www.reasons.org and/or reading Hugh Ross’ book, Navigating Genesis 1-11.