History, Best Filmsby LakesideScott | created - 25 Jun 2013 | updated - 13 Dec 2015 | Public
I've divided this list into more manageable sections (click my username above):
Prehistory History through 1699 1700-1899 1900-1949 1950-1974 1975-1999 2000-present
I will eventually turn this into a list of the best historical films - those worth watching and substantially accurate. At the moment, I am concentrating on the divided lists, which will be much more inclusive of a wide range of quality and historical accuracy.
- Instant Watch Options
- Movies or TV
- IMDb Rating
- In Theaters
- On TV
- Release Year
4. The Ten Commandments (1956)
Approved | 220 min | Adventure, Drama
The Egyptian Prince, Moses, learns of his true heritage as a Hebrew and his divine mission as the deliverer of his people.
Votes: 52,446 | Gross: $93.74M
Setting: 1300 B.C.
5. Troy (2004)
R | 163 min | Drama, History, Romance
An adaptation of Homer's great epic, the film follows the assault on Troy by the united Greek forces and chronicles the fates of the men involved.
Votes: 418,535 | Gross: $133.38M
Setting: 1193 B.C.
6. The Odyssey (1997– )
PG-13 | 176 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy
This lavish small-screen adaptation of Homer's ancient epic--replete with Maltese and Turkish locations, state-of-the-art special effects, and many bronzed muscles gleaming with sweat--... See full summary »
7. 300 (2006)
R | 117 min | Action, Fantasy
King Leonidas of Sparta and a force of 300 men fight the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.
Votes: 654,060 | Gross: $210.61M
Setting: 480 B.C.
8. Alexander (2004)
R | 175 min | Action, Adventure, Biography
Alexander, the King of Macedonia and one of the greatest army leaders in the history of warfare, conquers much of the known world.
Votes: 147,062 | Gross: $34.30M
Setting: 336 B.C.
9. Gladiator (2000)
R | 155 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
When a Roman General is betrayed, and his family murdered by an emperor's corrupt son, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.
Votes: 1,094,614 | Gross: $187.71M
Setting: 180 B.C.
12. Cleopatra (1963)
G | 192 min | Biography, Drama, History
Queen Cleopatra of Egypt experiences both triumph and tragedy as she attempts to resist the imperial ambitions of Rome.
Votes: 24,076 | Gross: $57.78M
13. Ben-Hur (1959)
G | 212 min | Adventure, Drama, History
When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.
Votes: 180,624 | Gross: $74.70M
14. The Passion of the Christ (2004)
R | 127 min | Drama
Depicts the final twelve hours in the life of Jesus of Nazareth, on the day of his crucifixion in Jerusalem.
Votes: 190,175 | Gross: $370.78M
Setting: 30 A.D.
15. Caligula (1979)
Unrated | 156 min | Drama, History
Details the graphic and shocking, yet undeniably tragic story of Rome's most infamous Caesar, Gaius Germanicus Caligula.
Votes: 29,342 | Gross: $23.44M
17. Pompeii (I) (2014)
PG-13 | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
A slave-turned-gladiator finds himself in a race against time to save his true love, who has been betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius erupts, he must fight to save his beloved as Pompeii crumbles around him.
Votes: 93,727 | Gross: $23.22M
18. Agora (2009)
R | 127 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
A historical drama set in Roman Egypt, concerning a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hope of pursuing freedom while falling in love with his mistress, the famous philosophy and mathematics professor Hypatia of Alexandria.
Votes: 57,454 | Gross: $0.62M
19. Beowulf (2007)
PG-13 | 115 min | Animation, Action, Adventure
The warrior Beowulf must fight and defeat the monster Grendel who is terrorizing Denmark, and later, Grendel's mother, who begins killing out of revenge.
Votes: 149,043 | Gross: $82.16M
20. Apocalypto (2006)
R | 139 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
As the Mayan kingdom faces its decline, a young man is taken on a perilous journey to a world ruled by fear and oppression.
Votes: 254,682 | Gross: $50.87M
21. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
R | 144 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
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.
Votes: 234,974 | Gross: $47.40M
23. Braveheart (1995)
R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History
When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, Sir William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.
Votes: 817,270 | Gross: $75.60M
24. 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)
PG-13 | 154 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas and the effect this has on the indigenous people.
Votes: 24,426 | Gross: $7.19M
27. The Virgin Queen (2005– )
237 min | Biography, Drama, History
The Virgin Queen explores the full sweep of Elizabeth's life: from her days of fear as a potential victim of her sister's terror; through her great love affair with Robert Dudley; into her ... See full summary »
28. Shakespeare in Love (1998)
R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, History
A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.
Votes: 188,689 | Gross: $100.32M
29. Elizabeth (1998)
R | 124 min | Biography, Drama, History
A film of the early years of the reign of Elizabeth I of England and her difficult task of learning what is necessary to be a monarch.
Votes: 80,785 | Gross: $30.08M
30. Elizabeth: The Golden Age (2007)
PG-13 | 114 min | Biography, Drama, History
A mature Queen Elizabeth endures multiple crises late in her reign including court intrigues, an assassination plot, the Spanish Armada, and romantic disappointments.
Votes: 58,531 | Gross: $16.29M
31. The New World (2005)
PG-13 | 135 min | Biography, Drama, History
The story of the English exploration of Virginia, and of the changing world and loves of Pocahontas.
Votes: 75,177 | Gross: $12.71M
32. The Countess (2009)
Not Rated | 98 min | Biography, Drama, History
A 17th century Hungarian countess embarks on a murderous undertaking, with the belief that bathing in the blood of virgins will preserve her beauty.
33. To Kill a King (2003)
102 min | Biography, Drama, History
A recounting of the relationship between General Fairfax and Oliver Cromwell, as they try to cope with the consequences of deposing King Charles I.
34. Salem Witch Trials (2002 TV Movie)
240 min | Drama, History
A masterful work accurately details the current consensus of what exactly occurred to prompt the colonial witch-trials.
35. The Man in the Iron Mask (I) (1998)
PG-13 | 132 min | Action, Adventure
The cruel King Louis XIV of France has a secret twin brother who he keeps imprisoned. Can the twin be substituted for the real king?
Votes: 136,333 | Gross: $56.97M
36. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)
R | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
Three trappers protect a British Colonel's daughters in the midst of the French and Indian War.
Votes: 124,497 | Gross: $75.51M
TV-14 | 97 min | Biography, Drama, History
In Gambia, West Africa, Kunta Kinte, son of Omoro and Binta, distinguishes himself in manhood training rituals. But he does not enjoy his new status long: slave traders sweeping the ... See full summary »
TV-14 | 96 min | Biography, Drama, History
Despite a violent rebellion, the slave ship Lord Ligonier completes its voyage and Kunta Kinte endures the indiginity of an Annapolis slave auction. Fiddler, the slave in charge of Kunta's ... See full summary »
TV-14 | 90 min | Biography, Drama, History
Kunta Kinte's only child, Kizzy, is on the Moore's ranch, older, and with an 18-year old son, George. He is the opposite of Kunta, as Kizzy says, "a slave through and through" and his ... See full summary »
41. The Patriot (2000)
R | 165 min | Action, Drama, History
Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.
Votes: 223,580 | Gross: $113.33M
43. Marie Antoinette (2006)
PG-13 | 123 min | Biography, Drama, History
The retelling of France's iconic but ill-fated queen, Marie Antoinette. From her betrothal and marriage to Louis XVI at 15 to her reign as queen at 19 and to the end of her reign as queen, and ultimately the fall of Versailles.
Votes: 86,716 | Gross: $15.96M
44. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)
Not Rated | 132 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
A tyrannical ship captain decides to exact revenge on his abused crew after they form a mutiny against him, but the sailor he targets had no hand in it.
TV-14 | 90 min | Biography, Drama, History
The war is over, the Confederacy having surrendered, freeing the slaves. Mr. Harvey invites the slaves to stay if they wish, maybe sharecropping. The rest of the plantation owners, a ... See full summary »
47. Amadeus (1984)
R | 160 min | Biography, Drama, History
Votes: 302,943 | Gross: $51.97M
48. The Duchess (2008)
PG-13 | 110 min | Biography, Drama, History
A chronicle of the life of 18th century aristocrat Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who was reviled for her extravagant political and personal life.
Votes: 67,170 | Gross: $13.82M
49. John Adams (2008– )
TV-14 | 71 min | Biography, Drama, History
The life of one of the USA's Founding Fathers, its second President, and his role in the nation's first 50 years.
50. Lewis & Clark: Great Journey West (2002)
TV-G | 42 min | Short, Adventure, Drama
This documentary chronicles the Lewis and Clark expedition and breathtaking landscape they crossed while searching for the northwest passage. (Source: Netflix)
PG-13 | 138 min | Action, Adventure, Drama
During the Napoleonic Wars, a brash British captain pushes his ship and crew to their limits in pursuit of a formidable French war vessel around South America.
Votes: 179,633 | Gross: $93.93M
53. The Buccaneer (1958)
Approved | 119 min | Adventure, Drama, History
During the war of 1812, Louisiana buccaneer Jean Lafitte assists the Americans in defending New Orleans against the attacking British war fleet.
54. Napoléon (2002)
380 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
The year is 1816, and Napoleon, held prisoner by the British on the island of St. Helena, is telling the young English girl Betsy his life story. His meteoric rise to military prominence ... See full summary »
57. Texas (1994 TV Movie)
Not Rated | 180 min | Adventure, History, Western
In the beginning of the 19th Century many Anglosaxons are settling in the Mexican province of Texas. As the years go by, political conflicts between the settlers and the Mexican government ... See full summary »
59. Amistad (1997)
R | 155 min | Drama, History
In 1839, the revolt of Mende captives aboard a Spanish owned ship causes a major controversy in the United States when the ship is captured off the coast of Long Island. The courts must decide whether the Mende are slaves or legally free.
Votes: 61,341 | Gross: $44.18M
61. The Mexican-American War (2006 TV Movie)
TV-PG | 72 min | History, War
At a time when immigration reform continues to be one of the most heated topics in political and business circles, this 2-hour special reexamines the controversial war that resulted in the ... See full summary »
62. 12 Years a Slave (2013)
R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History
In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.
Votes: 512,486 | Gross: $56.67M
63. The Invisible Woman (2013)
R | 111 min | Biography, Drama, History
At the height of his career, Charles Dickens meets a younger woman who becomes his secret lover until his death.
Votes: 8,020 | Gross: $1.23M
65. The Young Victoria (2009)
PG | 105 min | Biography, Drama, History
A dramatization of the turbulent first years of Queen Victoria's rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.
Votes: 49,858 | Gross: $11.00M
66. Gods and Generals (2003)
PG-13 | 219 min | Biography, Drama, History
The rise and fall of legendary war hero Thomas "Stonewall" Jackson as he leads the Confederacy to great success against the Union from 1861 to 1863.
Votes: 13,901 | Gross: $12.87M
67. Gettysburg (1993)
PG | 271 min | Drama, History, War
In 1863, the Northern and Southern forces fight at Gettysburg in the decisive battle of the American Civil War.
Votes: 23,113 | Gross: $10.77M
68. Glory (1989)
R | 122 min | Biography, Drama, History
Robert Gould Shaw leads the U.S. Civil War's first all-black volunteer company, fighting prejudices from both his own Union Army, and the Confederates.
Votes: 107,948 | Gross: $26.83M
70. The Hunley (1999 TV Movie)
94 min | Action, Drama, History
During the siege of Charleston of 1864, Confederate submarine CSS Hunley becomes the first submersible to sink an enemy warship in wartime.
R | 96 min | Action, Drama, History
The true love story of the conflict between Capt. Robert Adams' dedication to the south and his love for Eveline McCord, his beloved from the north. Produced, written and directed by the descendants of Robert and Eveline, this American Civil War tale is an explosive, richly detailed saga of fierce combat, honor and the will to risk all that's precious for love or country.
72. Dances with Wolves (1990)
PG-13 | 181 min | Adventure, Drama, Western
Lieutenant John Dunbar, assigned to a remote western Civil War outpost, befriends wolves and Indians, making him an intolerable aberration in the military.
Votes: 203,188 | Gross: $184.21M
74. Lincoln (2012)
PG-13 | 150 min | Biography, Drama, History
As the War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.
Votes: 213,345 | Gross: $182.21M
75. Killing Lincoln (2013 TV Movie)
Unrated | 92 min | Biography, Drama, History
Based on The New York Times best-selling novel, Killing Lincoln is the suspenseful, eye-opening story of the events surrounding the assassination of U.S. President Abraham Lincoln.
76. Cold Mountain (2003)
R | 154 min | Adventure, Drama, History
In the waning days of the American Civil War, a wounded soldier embarks on a perilous journey back home to Cold Mountain, North Carolina to reunite with his sweetheart.
Votes: 125,242 | Gross: $95.64M
77. Gone with the Wind (1939)
G | 238 min | Drama, History, Romance
A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.
Votes: 238,390 | Gross: $198.68M
79. Around the World in 80 Days (1956)
Passed | 175 min | Adventure, Comedy, Family
A Victorian Englishman bets that with the new steamships and railways he can circumnavigate the globe in eighty days.
Votes: 19,981 | Gross: $42.00M
80. The Last Samurai (2003)
R | 154 min | Action, Drama, History
An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.
Votes: 343,641 | Gross: $111.11M
82. Young Guns (1988)
R | 107 min | Action, Crime, Drama
A group of young gunmen, led by Billy the Kid, become deputies to avenge the murder of the rancher who became their benefactor. But when Billy takes their authority too far, they become the hunted.
Votes: 46,263 | Gross: $45.66M
83. Tombstone (1993)
R | 130 min | Action, Biography, Drama
A successful lawman's plans to retire anonymously in Tombstone, Arizona, are disrupted by the kind of outlaws he was famous for eliminating.
Votes: 104,835 | Gross: $56.51M
84. Buffalo Soldiers (1997 TV Movie)
G | 100 min | Drama, History, Western
Fact based story about the all-black US Cavalry Troop H which protected the Western territories in post Civil War times. The story focuses on the troops attempts to capture an Apache ... See full summary »
85. The Elephant Man (1980)
PG | 124 min | Biography, Drama
A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man who is mistreated while scraping a living as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous facade, there is revealed a person of intelligence and sensitivity.
R | 160 min | Biography, Crime, Drama
Robert Ford, who's idolized Jesse James since childhood, tries hard to join the reforming gang of the Missouri outlaw, but gradually becomes resentful of the bandit leader.
Votes: 148,004 | Gross: $3.90M
87. From Hell (2001)
R | 122 min | Horror, Mystery, Thriller
In Victorian Era London, a troubled clairvoyant police detective investigates the murders by Jack The Ripper.
Votes: 132,927 | Gross: $31.60M
89. The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang (1979 TV Movie)
142 min | Action, Western
A light-hearted view of the Dalton Gang's legendary raid on Coffeyville, Kansas and the years leading up to it as the brothers form themselves into a gang of horse thieves, train and bank ... See full summary »
92. The Winds of Kitty Hawk (1978 TV Movie)
Not Rated | 98 min | Biography, Drama, History
A beautifully photographed story that gives insight into the lives and accomplishments of the Wright brothers and the period in which they lived.
96. War Horse (2011)
PG-13 | 146 min | Drama, War
Young Albert enlists to serve in World War I after his beloved horse is sold to the cavalry. Albert's hopeful journey takes him out of England and to the front lines as the war rages on.
Votes: 126,644 | Gross: $79.88M
97. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
PG | 216 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama
The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.
Votes: 215,507 | Gross: $44.82M
98. Reds (1981)
PG | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History
A radical American journalist becomes involved with the Communist revolution in Russia, and hopes to bring its spirit and idealism to the United States.
Votes: 17,812 | Gross: $40.38M
99. The Great Gatsby (2013)
PG-13 | 143 min | Drama, Romance
A writer and wall street trader, Nick, finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby.
Votes: 399,116 | Gross: $144.84M
100. Leatherheads (2008)
PG-13 | 114 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance
In 1925, an enterprising pro football player convinces America's too-good-to-be-true college football hero to play for his team and keep the league from going under.
Votes: 28,897 | Gross: $31.20M