Period Dramas-The Age of Antiquity-8th Century BC-30 BC

by eliza_gaskell | created - 06 Mar 2011 | updated - 18 Jun 2011 | Public

This is a list of movies or/and mini series set in the period between the 8th century BC - 30th century AD

The Age of Antiquity is divided into 3 parts: Arachic (8-6th century BC), Classical Greece (5th to 4th centuries BC), Hellenistic period (340 to 330 BC), Roman Republic (5th to 1st centuries BC), Roman Empire (1st century BC to 5th century AD) and Late Antiquity (4th to 6th centuries AD). For this is I have concentrated on the Arachic, Classical and Hellenistic Periods.

Unfortunately there was not a great deal of productions that have dealt with time time period, though naturally there are a many number of Greek and Italian productions. For this list I have tried not to add them as many would have not the fortunate to see them outside of Greece and Italy.

I have laxed the time period in this list as many will notice I have added films from outside the time period and from different cultures. The reason why I have done this is because, I simply do not want to mix up the other Period Dramas. Mythology, Myths and legends are the main contents, as well as the productions set in the Arachic times. However I am willing to take on board any comments who can strongly argue their case. Sometimes it's difficult to have the correct era, especially in myths, folk tales and legends.

For those who are serious about Period Dramas and deem a movie/mini series worthy to be listed, add your comments

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1. Agora (2009)

R | 127 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

55 Metascore

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 philosophy and mathematics professor Hypatia of Alexandria.

Director: Alejandro Amenábar | Stars: Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac, Ashraf Barhom

Votes: 58,743 | Gross: $0.62M

Date set:391 This is a gem of a film which blends in feminism, religion, science and humanity. Hypatia (Rachel Weisz), is perfectly cast the the female astronomy, mathematics, and philosophy teacher. She loves only science and has no times for admirers such as Davus (the slave) or Orestes. The special effects are admirable and the costumes are authentic and I particulary liked the pacing of the film. What I did not like is the male dominated depliction of the religous factions, particularly the Christian leader, Cyril. On stating that, I did notice it did show Christians and Jews in a different light, a rebellious, unclouth, undeducated mob who don't seem to the the teachings of Jesus installed in them...especially the one about forgiveness and loving your enemy.

2. Jason and the Argonauts (2000– )

180 min | Adventure, Fantasy

One of the most legendary adventures in all mythology is brought to life in Jason and the Argonauts, an epic saga of good and evil. As a mere boy Jason, the heir to the kingdom of Ancient ... See full summary »

Stars: Derek Jacobi, Olivia Williams, Angus Macfadyen, Dennis Hopper

Votes: 4,330

Also see: Jason and the Argonauts (1963) It's a watchable TV movie, and lenthy, with a few well know actors. It's a shame Jason London acting skills in not in the same strata as the rest of the cast. Good to see Jolene Blalock in a role other than T'Pol in Star Trek Enterprise. My personal taste is for the 1963 production, which has the stop motion of clay animatronics for the mythical beings. You just can't beat them when they are classics

3. Clash of the Titans (2010)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

39 Metascore

Perseus demigod, son of Zeus, battles the minions of the underworld to stop them from conquering heaven and earth.

Director: Louis Leterrier | Stars: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng

Votes: 247,282 | Gross: $163.21M

Also see: Clash of the Titans (1981) Overkill on the special effects, overkill on the acting, overkill on the plot, over this movie. The only one who acted superbly was Medusa, and she was an animated character. No attempt has been made for the actors to speak in an accent. Everyone seems to have kept their original accent; including Sam Worthington, those Australian accent is killjoy on the ears.

4. The Egyptian (1954)

Approved | 139 min | Biography, Drama, History

In ancient Egypt, a poor orphan becomes a genial physician and is eventually appointed at the Pharaoh's court where he witnesses palace intrigues and learns dangerous royal secrets.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Gene Tierney, Michael Wilding

Votes: 2,952

5. Hercules (1983)

PG | 98 min | Adventure, Fantasy

The story of the Greek mythological figure, updated in this 80's version.

Director: Luigi Cozzi | Stars: Lou Ferrigno, Brad Harris, Sybil Danning, Rossana Podestà

Votes: 2,929 | Gross: $10.68M

6. The Golden Voyage of Sinbad (1973)

G | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Sinbad and the vizier of Marabia, followed by evil magician Koura, seek the three golden tablets that can gain them access to the ancient temple of the Oracle of All Knowledge.

Director: Gordon Hessler | Stars: John Phillip Law, Caroline Munro, Tom Baker, Douglas Wilmer

Votes: 6,906

This movie was huge in it's day. The stop motion animation was ground breaking and sleek. Now it looks dated. But to those who seen it as a matinee or on the small screen, years ago, it was impressive. I liked the story line and the innocence of it. A great adventure with a great story line. Sometimes it good to revisit the past movies of our childhood ***Trivia***Dr Who fans will know that Tom Baker starred as the villianous Koura

Sinbad is a character from 1001 Arabian Nights. The oldest known manuscript found of 1001 Arabian Nights is 9th Century.

7. Medea (1969)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama, Fantasy

On a quest to retrieve the Golden Fleece, Jason returns to Greece with the powerful sorceress, Medea. But when the King banishes her, Medea will plot her furious revenge.

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini | Stars: Maria Callas, Massimo Girotti, Laurent Terzieff, Giuseppe Gentile

Votes: 3,434

8. Iphigenia (1977)

Not Rated | 127 min | Drama

To appease offended gods before going to war, a commander must sacrifice his favorite daughter to them but does so under the pretext of marrying her off.

Director: Mihalis Kakogiannis | Stars: Irene Papas, Kostas Kazakos, Kostas Karras, Tatiana Papamoschou

Votes: 1,261

9. Minotaur (2006)

R | 93 min | Adventure, Fantasy, Horror

Long ago in the Iron Age, a shadow loomed over a lonely village. For generations, the village youths are stolen from their families and delivered as sacrifice to a mythical beast - the ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan English | Stars: Tom Hardy, Michelle Van Der Water, Tony Todd, Lex Shrapnel

Votes: 3,972

What on Earth is wrong with Tom Hardy? There are some movies he has really shines and shows he is worthy of acting i.e Star Trek and Inception. But this is a dud. Folks, don't even waste grey matter here, this would seriously be an insult to your intelligence...mythology on acid!!!

10. Alexander the Great (1956)

Not Rated | 141 min | Biography, Drama, History

The life and military conquests of Alexander III of Macedon (20/21 July 356 - 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great.

Director: Robert Rossen | Stars: Richard Burton, Fredric March, Claire Bloom, Barry Jones

Votes: 2,889

11. Alexander (2004)

R | 175 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

39 Metascore

Alexander, the King of Macedonia and one of the greatest army leaders in the history of warfare, conquers much of the known world.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson, Angelina Jolie

Votes: 149,321 | Gross: $34.30M

Angelina Jolie is a little to young to be Alexander's mother, and I wished Colin Farrell crossed in to "Broke Back Mountain" territory. Alexander was a Macedonia for Heaven's sake, being true to their sexual nature is what makes them Macedonians. I wish the director had the b*lls do and follow it through. It lags in some part, but there was moments were it was truly terrific. One thing I must add, is it's good to see Val Kilmer in a decent role

12. Troy (2004)

R | 163 min | Drama, History, Romance

56 Metascore

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.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Julian Glover

Votes: 428,518 | Gross: $133.38M

I apologise in advance to those who adore this movie, but I truly found it to be dull and boring as Brad Pitts acting. It is clearly evident that this movie is a vehicle for Brad Pitt, Orlando Bloom and Eric Bana. I agree the costume was superb, I agree the special effects were wonderful and I concede the supporting cast acting were very good. Having stated that, I found the entire production tiresome. (1)Rose Byrne character Briseis falls in love with Achilles,her capture, yeah right...in psychology it is called stockholme syndrome. (2)Brad Pitt, the lad cannot act here, this definitely was not a challenging role for him (3) Diane Kruger and Orlando Bloom as the doomed lovers, no chemistry what so ever between the two of them. I'd rather watch the mating dance of the South American tree frogs, then those two.

13. Helen of Troy (2003– )

175 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

The abduction of beautiful Helen, wife of Spartan King Menelaus, by Paris of Troy triggers a long war.

Stars: Emilia Fox, James Callis, Daniel Lapaine, Nigel Whitmey

Votes: 5,766

I really didn't mind this production. A bit of mythology is added, when 3 goddesses ask Paris who is the most beautiful, and Aphrodite wins, because she offered him the most beautiful woman on Earth; which was Helen. Sure does not have the budget of a huge film, and it you can tell in the over use of scenery, sets and painted background. What I liked about this movie is the villian, Rufus Sewell as Agamemnon, who sacrificed his daughter so that the Gods can favour him with wind for his battleships to sail to war. Which makes me wonder, why does the depliction of Helen have to be blonde? She's a middle east woman, so technically she dark haired beauty.

14. The Odyssey (1997– )

PG-13 | 176 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

The warrior king Odysseus leaves his idyllic life in the kingdom of Ithaca to fight in the Trojan War. After winning the war, he now must endure a lengthy, ten-year journey to return and, ... See full summary »

Stars: Armand Assante, Greta Scacchi, Isabella Rossellini, Bernadette Peters

Votes: 12,014

also see: The Odyssey (1992) Wonderful production of the re-telling of Homer's epic tale. ***SPOILER*** Armand Assante waltzing in as the aging Odyssus, who final has arrived home, and strings a bow and arrow. The bow and arrow is significant as his wife, Penelope will only marry the man who an string it, as it once belonged to her husband Odysseus .

15. 300 (2006)

R | 117 min | Action, Fantasy, War

52 Metascore

King Leonidas of Sparta and a force of 300 men fight the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

Director: Zack Snyder | Stars: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West

Votes: 665,365 | Gross: $210.61M

Abdominal muscles galore! fake or real, it's eye candy if you're a female. A bit over the top with the acting, but hey it's based on a comic book; shows in in scenery and the posing, the lighting and the sets. Overall I truly enjoyed this movie

16. The Giant of Marathon (1959)

90 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

A Greek soldier leads the fight against an invading Persian army.

Directors: Jacques Tourneur, Bruno Vailati, Mario Bava | Stars: Steve Reeves, Mylène Demongeot, Sergio Fantoni, Alberto Lupo

Votes: 658

17. Electra (I) (1962)

Not Rated | 110 min | Drama

Living in exile after the death of their father, the grown children of a murdered and usurped king converge to exact eye-for-an-eye revenge.

Director: Mihalis Kakogiannis | Stars: Irene Papas, Giannis Fertis, Aleka Katselli, Theano Ioannidou

Votes: 1,027

18. Fury of Achilles (1962)

118 min | Adventure, Drama, History

In the tenth year of the Trojan War, tensions between Achilles and Agamemnon divide the Greek camp while giving hope to the Trojans.

Director: Marino Girolami | Stars: Gordon Mitchell, Jacques Bergerac, Cristina Gaioni, Ennio Girolami

Votes: 186

19. Nefertite, regina del Nilo (1961)

97 min | Drama, History

Chronicles the rise and fall of the woman who eventually became known as Queen Nefertiti.

Director: Fernando Cerchio | Stars: Jeanne Crain, Vincent Price, Edmund Purdom, Amedeo Nazzari

Votes: 196

20. Ulysses (1954)

Not Rated | 94 min | Adventure, Fantasy, History

A movie adaptation of Homer's second epic, that talks about Ulysses' efforts to return to his home after the end of ten years of war.

Director: Mario Camerini | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Silvana Mangano, Anthony Quinn, Rossana Podestà

Votes: 2,792

21. The Spartans (2004– )

175 min | Documentary, History

A history of the ancient Spartans, featuring historian Bettany Hughes as presenter and narrator.

Star: Bettany Hughes

Votes: 156

22. Rise and Fall of the Spartans (2002– )

Documentary, History, War

The history of the great militaristic Ancient Greek city state.

Star: Travis Wojcik

Votes: 48

23. The Theban Plays by Sophocles (1986– )
Episode: Theban Plays: Oedipus the King (1986)

111 min | Drama

Plagues are ravaging Thebes, and the blind fortune-teller Tieresias tells Oedipus, the King, that the gods are unhappy. The murder of the former king has gone unavenged, and Oedipus sets ... See full summary »

Director: Don Taylor | Stars: Michael Pennington, Claire Bloom, John Gielgud, John Shrapnel

Votes: 118

Also see Oedipus the King (1968)

24. Oedipus Rex (1957)

Approved | 87 min | Drama

The land ruled by King Oedipus is plagued by ill-fortune and the people are promised relief by the gods if the slayer of the former king is apprehended and punished. This does not bode well... See full summary »

Directors: Tyrone Guthrie, Abraham Polonsky | Stars: Douglas Campbell, Eleanor Stuart, Robert Goodier, William Hutt

Votes: 224

also see: Oedipus Rex (1993)

25. The Illiac Passion (1967)

90 min | Drama

Prometheus engages in repeated scenes of bisexuality in this independent feature from the New York underground.

Director: Gregory J. Markopoulos | Stars: Richard Beauvais, David Beauvais, Robert Alvarez, Taylor Mead

Votes: 21

26. Sudan (1945)

Passed | 76 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

Young, lovely Naila becomes queen of the ancient Egyptian kingdom of Khemis when her father is killed in a slave revolt. Continuing her penchant for going incognito among the people, she ... See full summary »

Director: John Rawlins | Stars: Maria Montez, Jon Hall, Turhan Bey, Andy Devine

Votes: 91

27. Empires of the Deep

Sci-Fi | Announced

Set in a mythical world, the story of an unlikely love story between a young human and a mermaid.

Directors: Michael French, Jonathan Lawrence, Scott Miller | Stars: Olga Kurylenko, Steve Polites, Maxx Maulion, Pierre Bourdaud

yet to be released. One of the 2011 movie I want to see

28. The Trojan Women (1971)

GP | 105 min | Drama

The women of Troy face enslavement after the fall of their city.

Director: Mihalis Kakogiannis | Stars: Katharine Hepburn, Vanessa Redgrave, Geneviève Bujold, Irene Papas

Votes: 993

also see: The Trojan Women (2006)

29. The 7th Voyage of Sinbad (1958)

G | 88 min | Family, Fantasy, Action

When a princess is shrunken by an evil wizard, Sinbad must undertake a quest to an island of monsters to cure her and prevent a war.

Director: Nathan Juran | Stars: Kerwin Mathews, Kathryn Grant, Richard Eyer, Torin Thatcher

Votes: 9,788

30. Hercules (2005– )

Not Rated | 240 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

A chronicle of the life of the Greek hero who after killing his three sons must perform five labors to repent.

Stars: Paul Telfer, Elizabeth Perkins, Sean Astin, Leeanna Walsman

Votes: 1,776

31. Socrates (1971 TV Movie)

120 min | Biography, History

A false accusation leads the philosopher Socrates to trial and condemnation in 4th century BC Athens.

Director: Roberto Rossellini | Stars: Jean Sylvère, Anne Caprile, Giuseppe Mannajuolo, Ricardo Palacios

Votes: 518

32. Hellhounds (2009 TV Movie)

83 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

A Greek warrior must travel to the Underworld and battle killer hellhounds in order to rescue his murdered bride from the clutches of Hades.

Director: Ricky Schroder | Stars: Scott Elrod, Adam Butcher, Amanda Brooks, James A. Woods

Votes: 655

sad but true, a dismal result but all actors and actresses must..sigh...start somewhere

33. The 300 Spartans (1962)

Approved | 114 min | Adventure, Drama, History

A small army of Greeks spearheaded by 300 Spartans do battle with the whole invading Persian army.

Director: Rudolph Maté | Stars: Richard Egan, Ralph Richardson, Diane Baker, Barry Coe

Votes: 5,991

This is a not bad production. Sure the acting is a bit wooden and the lines a delivered in a wooden manner, but you have to commend it for the scenery. All 100% outdoor scenery set in Greece, now that's a feat in itself. Plus there is a bit of action, which some with snigger at, nevertheless, it is very well staged and crafted.

34. Ying xiong (2002)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Adventure, History

85 Metascore

A defense officer, Nameless, was summoned by the King of Qin regarding his success of terminating three warriors.

Director: Yimou Zhang | Stars: Jet Li, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ziyi Zhang

Votes: 160,787 | Gross: $53.71M

35. The Emperor and the Assassin (1998)

R | 162 min | Drama, History

75 Metascore

In pre-unified China, the King of Qin sends his concubine to a rival kingdom to produce an assassin for a political plot, but as the king's cruelty mounts she finds her loyalty faltering.

Director: Kaige Chen | Stars: Li Gong, Fengyi Zhang, Zhou Sun, Xiaohe Lü

Votes: 5,508 | Gross: $1.33M

36. Ashoka the Great (2001)

R | 176 min | Action, Biography, Drama

The epic tale of King Asoka's life is recounted here.

Director: Santosh Sivan | Stars: Shah Rukh Khan, Kareena Kapoor Khan, Danny Denzongpa, Rahul Dev

Votes: 11,890 | Gross: $0.70M

Date set 304BC-232BC