My Favorite Historical Films

Some of the films listed below are historical fiction, while others are historical non-fiction. In other words, while some of the events portrayed in these movies may depict certain historical events or periods, the characters may be purely fictional - or they may represent actual historical figures. The genres of movies below range from war films, biographical films, gangster films, or films displaying other significant events from the past.
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1.
Munich (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Based on the true story of the Black September aftermath, about the five men chosen to eliminate the ones responsible for that fateful day. (164 mins.)
 
2.
Defiance (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Jewish brothers in Nazi-occupied Eastern Europe escape into the Belarussian forests, where they join Russian resistance fighters and endeavor to build a village in order to protect themselves and about 1,000 Jewish non-combatants. (137 mins.)
Director: Edward Zwick
 
3.
Free State of Jones (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
A disillusioned Confederate army deserter returns to Mississippi and leads a militia of fellow deserters, runaway slaves, and women in an uprising against the corrupt local Confederate government. (139 mins.)
Director: Gary Ross
 
4.
The Baader Meinhof Complex (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
A look at Germany's terrorist group, The Red Army Faction (RAF), which organized bombings, robberies, kidnappings and assassinations in the late 1960s and '70s. (150 mins.)
Director: Uli Edel
 
5.
Braveheart (1995)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  
When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England. (178 mins.)
Director: Mel Gibson
 
6.
Malcolm X (1992)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
Biographical epic of the controversial and influential Black Nationalist leader, from his early life and career as a small-time gangster, to his ministry as a member of the Nation of Islam. (202 mins.)
Director: Spike Lee
 
7.
Gandhi (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Gandhi's character is fully explained as a man of nonviolence. Through his patience, he is able to drive the British out of the subcontinent. And the stubborn nature of Jinnah and his commitment towards Pakistan is portrayed. (191 mins.)
 
8.
The Letters (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 5.6/10 X  
A drama that explores the life of Mother Teresa through letters she wrote to her longtime friend and spiritual advisor, Father Celeste van Exem over a nearly 50-year period. (114 mins.)
Director: William Riead
 
9.
Cesar Chavez (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.4/10 X  
A biography of the civil-rights activist and labor organizer Cesar Chavez. (102 mins.)
Director: Diego Luna
 
10.
JFK (1991)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A New Orleans DA discovers there's more to the Kennedy assassination than the official story. (189 mins.)
Director: Oliver Stone
 
11.
Seven Years in Tibet (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
True story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountain climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama at the time of China's takeover of Tibet. (136 mins.)
 
12.
The King's Speech (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of King George VI of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, his impromptu ascension to the throne and the speech therapist who helped the unsure monarch become worthy of it. (118 mins.)
Director: Tom Hooper
 
13.
Patton (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The World War II phase of the career of the controversial American general, George S. Patton. (172 mins.)
 
14.
Serpico (1973)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The true story about an honest New York cop who blew the whistle on rampant corruption in the force only to have his comrades turn against him. (130 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
 
15.
The Motorcycle Diaries (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
The dramatization of a motorcycle road trip Che Guevara went on in his youth that showed him his life's calling. (126 mins.)
Director: Walter Salles
 
16.
Che: Part One (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
In 1956, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara and a band of Castro-led Cuban exiles mobilize an army to topple the regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista. (134 mins.)
 
17.
Che: Part Two (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
In 1967, Ernesto 'Che' Guevara leads a small partisan army to fight an ill-fated revolutionary guerrilla war in Bolivia, South America. (135 mins.)
 
18.
The Liberator (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Simon Bolivar fought over 100 battles against the Spanish Empire in South America. He rode over 70,000 miles on horseback. His military campaigns covered twice the territory of Alexander the Great. His army never conquered -- it liberated. (119 mins.)
Director: Alberto Arvelo
 
19.
Carlos (2010 Mini-Series)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
The story of Venezuelan revolutionary Ilich Ramírez Sánchez, who founded a worldwide terrorist organization and raided the 1975 OPEC meeting. (334 mins.)
 
20.
12 Years a Slave (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. (134 mins.)
Director: Steve McQueen
 
21.
Apocalypto (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
As the Mayan kingdom faces its decline, the rulers insist the key to prosperity is to build more temples and offer human sacrifices. Jaguar Paw, a young man captured for sacrifice, flees to avoid his fate. (139 mins.)
Director: Mel Gibson
 
22.
The Patriot (2000)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son. (165 mins.)
Director: Roland Emmerich
 
23.
Doctor Zhivago (1965)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The life of a Russian physician and poet who, although married to another, falls in love with a political activist's wife and experiences hardship during the First World War and then the October Revolution. (197 mins.)
Director: David Lean
 
24.
Fifty Dead Men Walking (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.9/10 X  
Based on Martin McGartland's shocking real life story. Martin is a young lad from west Belfast in the... (117 mins.)
Director: Kari Skogland
 
25.
Bloody Sunday (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
A dramatization of the Irish civil rights protest march and subsequent massacre by British troops on January 30, 1972. (107 mins.)
Director: Paul Greengrass
 
26.
Hotel Rwanda (2004)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
The true story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda. (121 mins.)
Director: Terry George
 
27.
Escape from Alcatraz (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Alcatraz is the most secure prison of its time. It is believed that no one can ever escape from it, until three daring men make a possible successful attempt at escaping from the most infamous prisons in the world. (112 mins.)
Director: Donald Siegel
 
28.
Dog Day Afternoon (1975)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
A man robs a bank to pay for his lover's operation; it turns into a hostage situation and a media circus. (125 mins.)
Director: Sidney Lumet
 
29.
Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people. (144 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
 
30.
In the Heart of the Sea (2015)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
A recounting of a New England whaling ship's sinking by a giant whale in 1820, an experience that later inspired the great novel Moby-Dick. (122 mins.)
Director: Ron Howard
 
31.
The Bounty (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The familiar story of Lieutenant Bligh, whose cruelty leads to a mutiny on his ship. This version follows... (132 mins.)
Director: Roger Donaldson
 
32.
The Killing Fields (1984)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot's bloody "Year Zero" cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million "undesirable" civilians. (141 mins.)
Director: Roland Joffé
 
33.
The Imitation Game (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
During World War II, mathematician Alan Turing tries to crack the enigma code with help from fellow mathematicians. (114 mins.)
Director: Morten Tyldum
 
34.
Charlie Wilson's War (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A drama based on a Texas congressman Charlie Wilson's covert dealings in Afghanistan, where his efforts to assist rebels in their war with the Soviets have some unforeseen and long-reaching effects. (102 mins.)
Director: Mike Nichols
 
35.
13 Hours (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
During an attack on a U.S. compound in Libya, a security team struggles to make sense out of the chaos. (144 mins.)
Director: Michael Bay
 
36.
Lone Survivor (2013)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
Marcus Luttrell and his team set out on a mission to capture or kill notorious Taliban leader Ahmad Shah, in late June 2005. Marcus and his team are left to fight for their lives in one of the most valiant efforts of modern warfare. (121 mins.)
Director: Peter Berg
 
37.
Black Hawk Down (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
123 elite U.S. soldiers drop into Somalia to capture two top lieutenants of a renegade warlord and find themselves in a desperate battle with a large force of heavily-armed Somalis. (144 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
 
38.
Valkyrie (2008)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
A dramatization of the 20 July assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Hitler during World War II. (121 mins.)
Director: Bryan Singer
 
39.
Fury (2014)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
1945, in the World War II Germany, the tough Sergeant Don 'Wardaddy' Collier commands a tank and survives... (134 mins.)
Director: David Ayer
 
40.
Apocalypse Now (1979)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.5/10 X  
During the Vietnam War, Captain Willard is sent on a dangerous mission into Cambodia to assassinate a renegade colonel who has set himself up as a god among a local tribe. (153 mins.)
Director: Francis Coppola
 
41.
Full Metal Jacket (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  
A pragmatic U.S. Marine observes the dehumanizing effects the Vietnam War has on his fellow recruits from their brutal boot camp training to the bloody street fighting in Hue. (116 mins.)
Director: Stanley Kubrick
 
42.
The Deer Hunter (1978)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  
An in-depth examination of the ways in which the U.S. Vietnam War impacts and disrupts the lives of people in a small industrial town in Pennsylvania. (183 mins.)
Director: Michael Cimino
 
43.
Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
A dramatization of the Japanese attack on the U.S. naval base at Pearl Harbor and the series of American blunders that allowed it to happen. (144 mins.)
 
44.
Flags of Our Fathers (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
The life stories of the six men who raised the flag at The Battle of Iwo Jima, a turning point in WWII. (135 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
45.
Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of the battle of Iwo Jima between the United States and Imperial Japan during World War II, as told from the perspective of the Japanese who fought it. (141 mins.)
Director: Clint Eastwood
 
46.
Casualties of War (1989)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
During the Vietnam War, a soldier finds himself the outsider of his own squad when they unnecessarily kidnap a female villager. (113 mins.)
Director: Brian DePalma
 
47.
The '60s (1999 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The Herlihys are a working class family from Chicago whose three children take wildly divergent paths:... (172 mins.)
Director: Mark Piznarski
 
48.
Antwone Fisher (2002)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
Antwone Fisher, a young navy man, is forced to see a psychiatrist after a violent outburst against a fellow crewman. During the course of treatment a painful past is revealed and a new hope begins. (120 mins.)
 
49.
The Fighter (2010)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
A look at the early years of boxer "Irish" Micky Ward and his brother who helped train him before going pro in the mid 1980s. (116 mins.)
 
50.
Cinderella Man (2005)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.0/10 X  
The story of James Braddock, a supposedly washed-up boxer who came back to become a champion and an inspiration in the 1930s. (144 mins.)
Director: Ron Howard
 
51.
United 93 (2006)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
A real-time account of the events on United Flight 93, one of the planes hijacked on September eleventh, 2001, that crashed near Shanksville, Pennsylvania when passengers foiled the terrorist plot. (111 mins.)
Director: Paul Greengrass
 
52.
Goodfellas (1990)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  
Henry Hill and his friends work their way up through the mob hierarchy. (146 mins.)
Director: Martin Scorsese
 
53.
American Gangster (2007)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In 1970s America, a detective works to bring down the drug empire of Frank Lucas, a heroin kingpin from Manhattan, who is smuggling the drug into the country from the Far East. (157 mins.)
Director: Ridley Scott
 
54.
Public Enemies (2009)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.0/10 X  
The Feds try to take down notorious American gangsters John Dillinger, Baby Face Nelson and Pretty Boy Floyd during a booming crime wave in the 1930s. (140 mins.)
Director: Michael Mann
 
55.
Kill the Irishman (2011)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
The true story of Danny Greene, a tough Irish thug working for mobsters in Cleveland during the 1970's. (106 mins.)
 
56.
Donnie Brasco (1997)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
An FBI undercover agent infiltrates the mob and finds himself identifying more with the mafia life, at the expense of his regular one. (127 mins.)
Director: Mike Newell
 
57.
Blow (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  
The story of George Jung, the man who established the American cocaine market in the 1970s. (124 mins.)
Director: Ted Demme
 
58.
The Untouchables (1987)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
Federal Agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop Al Capone; because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team. (119 mins.)
Director: Brian De Palma
 
59.
Gotti (1996 TV Movie)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
John Gotti, the head of a small New York mafia crew breaks a few of the old family rules. He rises to... (116 mins.)
Director: Robert Harmon
 
60.
The Finest Hours (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  
The Coast Guard makes a daring rescue attempt off the coast of Cape Cod after a pair of oil tankers are destroyed during a blizzard in 1952. (117 mins.)
Director: Craig Gillespie
 
61.
Eddie the Eagle (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  
The story of Eddie Edwards, the notoriously tenacious British underdog ski jumper who charmed the world at the 1988 Winter Olympics. (106 mins.)
Director: Dexter Fletcher
 
62.
Race (2016)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  
Jesse Owens' quest to become the greatest track and field athlete in history thrusts him onto the world stage of the 1936 Olympics, where he faces off against Adolf Hitler's vision of Aryan supremacy. (134 mins.)
Director: Stephen Hopkins
 
63.
The Right Stuff (1983)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.9/10 X  
The story of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and their macho, seat-of-the-pants approach to the space program. (193 mins.)
Director: Philip Kaufman
 
64.
The Believer (2001)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  
A young Jewish man develops a fiercely anti-Semitic philosophy. Based on the factual story of a K.K.K. member in the 1960s who was revealed to be Jewish by a New York Times reporter. (98 mins.)
Director: Henry Bean
 
65.
Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  
Two Western bank/train robbers flee to Bolivia when the law gets too close. (110 mins.)
Director: George Roy Hill
 
66.
From Here to Eternity (1953)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
In Hawaii in 1941, a private is cruelly punished for not boxing on his unit's team, while his captain's wife and second-in-command are falling in love. (118 mins.)
Director: Fred Zinnemann
 
67.
Missing (1982)
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
When an idealistic writer disappears during the Right Wing military coup in 1973 Chile, his wife and American businessman father try to find him. (122 mins.)
Director: Costa-Gavras