Historical Movies can come in any era. Some of them are Victorian, others take place during World War I or World War II, and still others go much, much further back. I love historical movies for their richness, especially since so many of them contain high drama. Some of them are a little too dramatic, true, but it's easy to understand why the filmmakers want you to really feel like you were there. Historically speaking haha! there are a lot of really popular historical movies, and those are the ones I'm highlighting, so feel free to add your own favorites!
1. Gone with the Wind
You'll find Gone with the Wind at the top of many lists depicting historical movies. It's high drama, not at all true, of course, and yet steeply rooted in history, especially with the backdrop of the Civil War. Even forgetting the epic story of Miss Scarlett, it is a great depiction of how it must have been to live during the War between States.
2. Saving Private Ryan
Saving Private Ryan, based on a true story, is a World War II historic film, set in the Pacific. Can you imagine losing all of your sons to the war? All but one, of course, Private Ryan. While Matt Damon gathered even more fame in this film, for me Tom Hanks is always the best part.
3. Schindler's List
You can't talk about historical movies without discussing Schindler's List. It's a stark but hopeful depiction of World War II, this time on the German front. Oskar Schindler is one of my favorite movie heroes, as a matter of fact, and his story is incredibly inspiring.
Ben-Hur, based on the novel of the same name, is an incredible historic film. It is, as the title of the novel adds, A Tale of Christ. Ben-Hur is a very wealthy merchant from Jerusalem who is friends with the Roman army's commanding office, Messala. Ben-Hur is brought low in the film but stands strong in an effort to overcome all his hardships and does so in several of the most epic scenes in film history.
Spartacus is one of the most popular historical movies ever. I mean, ever. It's based on the novel written by Howard Fast, and it is absolutely epic. If you love gladiator movies, you cannot miss this. Stanley Kubrick directed it, Kirk Douglas played Spartacus, and Sir Laurence Olivier played Marcus. The film is decadent, action packed, and incredibly moving as well.
Although Cleopatra is infamous for the wrong reasons, it's still considered an important historical film. However, that's primarily because it came famous for how much it cost and how much it lost to make. Why is it here? Because it's actually a really great movie as well, as long as you can bring yourself to pay attention to the story rather than the $1 million dollar, gold costumes.
Glory is one of my favorite historical movies, thanks to my dad. I can't count how many times we've watched it together. Set during the Civil War, it chronicles African Americans in the war and how hard it was for them. With Morgan Freeman, Denzel Washington, and Matthew Broderick, the movie is powerful, passionate, and extremely eye-opening.
8. The Last of the Mohicans
Having gone to college in the Mohawk Valley, the Last of the Mohicans has always been extremely interesting to me. Well, all right, it's been interesting since I was 18. The movie does a lot of justice to James Fenimore Cooper's novel, and Daniel Day-Lewis, as always, was remarkable as Hawkeye. If you love Native American history, in particular, and views on the French/Indian war, this is a great pick.
As you can see, a lot of the top historical movies have much to do with war. Saving Private Ryan and Gone with the Wind don't seem to have anything in common, for example, but in addition to historic context, they also share the tragedy of war. Some historical movies include love stories for extra effect but others focus on just to facts. Which kind of historical movies do you prefer?
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