Why do the majority of excellent historical films endure decades after their release? Because they have strong characters, epic settings, and overpowering action scenes that not only engage the spectator visually but also leave a lasting impression. Consider the following recommendations from members of an online forum.
1. Ben Hur (1959)
The film is a remake of a previous same-named movie, which was taken from Lew Wallace's 1880 book Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ. The story revolves around Judah Ben-Hur, a wealthy Jewish prince of Judaea who is sold into slavery by his old pal, a Roman imperial. Ben-Hur survives the terrible murder of his family but vows vengeance. With his career-defining performance, Charlton Heston won the Academy Award for Best Actor of the Year in the title role.
2. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
This historical epic explores the complexity of religions through a grim and tragic story. The story, which takes place in the 12th century during the Crusades, centers on a French blacksmith named Balian who travels to Jerusalem to protect the city from Sultan Saladin, attempting to retake the city from the Christians. In the fabled Battle of Hattin, the two heroes face up against one another, but each one stands with his own merits and beliefs.
3. Spartacus (1960)
The historical epic Spartacus, directed by Stanley Kubrick and starring Kirk Douglas in an outstanding performance, won four Academy Awards. The story of Spartacus, the leader of a slave insurrection, gained inspiration from the Howard Fast novel of the same name. The events of the Third Servile War are woven into a tale of freedom, love, and political corruption inside the Roman Empire.
4. Troy (2004)
This epic recounts the legendary narrative of power, glory, love, desire, betrayal, and courage through intense drama and high-octane action in a magnificent production. In this story, Achilles leads the Myrmidons and the Greek army to invade Troy against Hector's Trojan army. It focuses on a few weeks of the conflict rather than the actual decade-long Trojan conflict.
5. Braveheart (1995)
Mel Gibson anchors this movie as the producer, director, and principal. In the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England, he takes on the role of Sir William Wallace, a Scottish warrior from the 13th century. Due to its captivating and intriguing plot, Braveheart has won five Academy Awards amid widespread praise.
6. 300 (2006)
This fantastic retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae centers on 300 Spartan warriors under the command of King Leonidas as they fight off an invasion by Xerxes and his 300,000-man army. Whether or not it is based on reality, Gerard Butler's intense performance as Leonidas strengthens the movie's portrayal of the Spartans' unmatched bravery and warriorhood.
7. The Last Samurai (2003)
This historical action-drama narrows the struggle between modernity and history in different cultures. It is a movie about Nathan Algren, a veteran soldier who has suffered from his combat experiences, set against the backdrop of 19th-century Japan. To end an uprising against the new emperor of Japan, he is tasked with educating the Japanese army. But as his objective evolves, he embarks on a path of self-realization and transformation that gives him a purpose he never imagined.
8. Gladiator (2000)
Russell Crowe plays Maximus the Gladiator in the movie Gladiator. After the death of the Roman Emperor, Maximus—once a trusted general—becomes a slave. With his bravery and combat prowess, he steals the stage and commands a sizable troop to overthrow the army.
9. The Fall of The Roman Empire (1964)
This three-hour epic film explores the causes of the Roman Empire's collapse from within. We begin with Emperor Marcus Aurelius doing his hardest to keep the Empire together. The setting makes it similar to Gladiator. But as the title of the article suggests, things soon start to fall apart.
10. Empire of The Sun (1987)
A little English child who is separated from his parents during the Japanese assault on Shanghai during World War II is portrayed by Christian Bale as being curious and a little unpleasant. Based on J.G. Ballard's semi-autobiographical novel, this narrative offers a young person's perspective on World War II and how civilians endured it.
11. The Pianist (2002)
In this World War II drama, Adrien Brody gives his most tragic performance. A Polish-Jewish pianist who escapes captivity from the Germans and witnesses the 1943 Warsaw Uprising, surviving to share his story, as well as the memories of his family, friends, and ancestors, is the subject of this Holocaust memoir-based movie.
12. Argo (2012)
Ben Affleck, who also directed the drama, plays a CIA agent who oversaw the release of six ambassadors held captive in Tehran from 1979 to 1981 by assuming the identity of an Iranian filmmaker who was shooting a science fiction movie. It won Best Picture, Best Adapted Screenplay, and Best Film Editing Oscars in its year.
13. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
Daniel Day-Lewis plays Nathaniel Hawkeye, a white man who has lived with Native Americans and is treated as one of their own by the elders in the historical drama set in colonial-era America. This runs counter to the intentions of the English and French colonists, who are at war with the Native Americans and attempting to seize their land.
14. The Eagle (2011)
In the Scottish Highlands, the Ninth Legion goes AWOL. Marcus Aquila, played by Channing Tatum, is a young Roman looking for the Legion's lost eagle standard to restore his father's honor. In this thrilling film, Harry encounters Jamie Bell along the route, a Pictish warrior who aids him on his mission.
15. Centurion (2010)
Centurion covers the tale of a Roman centurion who is the descendant of a renowned gladiator leading a troop of soldiers on a raid of a Pict camp to rescue a captured general. The story is loosely based on the disappearance of the Roman Empire's Ninth Legion in Caledonia in the early second century AD.
16. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
As Queen Elizabeth I grows into her role as queen, she faces a number of crises in her reign. With everything from romantic issues to assassination plots to dealing with the Spanish Armada, this movie takes a look into the infamous queen's life.
17. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
Lawrence of Arabia is based on the true story of T.E. Lawrence, an English officer who was able to successfully unite and lead the Arabs and British into working together in the midst of World War II. This movie is also often credited as one of the most beautiful movies ever created.
18. Alexander (2004)
Starring big names such as Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson, and Angelina Jolie, Alexander tells the story of the King of Macedonia, who was one of the best war leaders in history. The story dives into the conquerer's journey and how his story still lives on today.
19. Jason and the Argonauts (1963)
Going back to the Greek Empire, Jason and the Argonauts tells the story of Jason and his team as they search for the Golden Fleece. While shrouded in Greek mythology, this movie explores what we know of Greek culture and its mythology.
20. El Cid (1961)
Set in the historical context of the Moors and the Christian Spaniards fighting against each other, El Cid is about the fictional Spanish hero, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, and his quest to defend his country against the Moors.
Amaka Chukwuma is a finance and lifestyle writer with a real knack for the craft. She's been at it for over four years, making her mark on places like FinanceBuzz and The Buttonwood Tree, not to mention some cool collaborations with various brands. Her. Her work with Wealth of Geeks has been widely appreciated, with syndication across multiple platforms and publications. Amaka's got a BA in Linguistics. When she's taking a break from her writing adventures, you'll probably find her digging into some delicious pies or exploring the food scene. Want to see what she's up to or get a taste of her work? Hit her up on LinkedIn and Twitter.