Greatest history lessons

by funny_diana | created - 14 Jun 2011 | updated - 25 Sep 2011 | Public

Don't really mean just depiction of actual history, but also fiction placed in historic times (and in very well documented surroundings)

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1. Gladiator (2000)

R | 155 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

67 Metascore

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.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed

Votes: 1,126,603 | Gross: $187.71M

2. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

R | 144 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

63 Metascore

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.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, Martin Hancock

Votes: 239,176 | Gross: $47.40M

3. The Mission (1986)

PG | 125 min | Adventure, Drama, History

Eighteenth century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.

Director: Roland Joffé | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally, Aidan Quinn

Votes: 49,051 | Gross: $17.22M

4. Braveheart (1995)

R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History

68 Metascore

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.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen

Votes: 840,968 | Gross: $75.60M

5. Cleopatra (1999– )

Not Rated | 177 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

Princess Cleopatra becomes Egypt's Queen and has an out-of-wedlock son with the son-less Roman ruler Julius Ceasar. Through two romances, she strives to protect Egypt from the Romans, and make her son the heir to Ceaser's Roman Empire.

Stars: Leonor Varela, Nadim Sawalha, Owen Teale, Philip Quast

Votes: 3,444

6. The Last Emperor (1987)

PG-13 | 163 min | Biography, Drama, History

76 Metascore

The story of the final Emperor of China.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci | Stars: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole, Ruocheng Ying

Votes: 79,504 | Gross: $43.98M

7. Schindler's List (1993)

R | 195 min | Biography, Drama, History

93 Metascore

In German-occupied Poland during World War II, Oskar Schindler gradually becomes concerned for his Jewish workforce after witnessing their persecution by the Nazi Germans.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Ben Kingsley, Caroline Goodall

Votes: 1,002,483 | Gross: $96.07M

8. The Last Samurai (2003)

R | 154 min | Action, Drama, History

55 Metascore

An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly, William Atherton

Votes: 350,413 | Gross: $111.11M

9. Gangs of New York (2002)

R | 167 min | Crime, Drama

72 Metascore

In 1863, Amsterdam Vallon returns to the Five Points area of New York City seeking revenge against Bill the Butcher, his father's killer.

Director: Martin Scorsese | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Cameron Diaz, Daniel Day-Lewis, Jim Broadbent

Votes: 351,986 | Gross: $77.81M

10. Little Big Man (1970)

PG-13 | 139 min | Adventure, Comedy, Drama

63 Metascore

Jack Crabb, looking back from extreme old age, tells of his life being raised by Native Americans and fighting with General Custer.

Director: Arthur Penn | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Faye Dunaway, Chief Dan George, Martin Balsam

Votes: 29,224 | Gross: $31.56M

11. Empire of the Sun (1987)

PG | 153 min | Drama, History, War

62 Metascore

A young English boy struggles to survive under Japanese occupation during World War II.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson, Nigel Havers

Votes: 100,124 | Gross: $22.24M

12. Gandhi (1982)

PG | 191 min | Biography, Drama, History

79 Metascore

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.

Director: Richard Attenborough | Stars: Ben Kingsley, John Gielgud, Candice Bergen, Edward Fox

Votes: 197,068 | Gross: $52.77M

13. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

PG | 216 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

100 Metascore

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.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins

Votes: 225,037 | Gross: $44.82M

14. The Bounty (1984)

PG | 132 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

62 Metascore

Fed up with their captain's harsh discipline, a sailing ship crew decides to take action.

Director: Roger Donaldson | Stars: Mel Gibson, Anthony Hopkins, Laurence Olivier, Edward Fox

Votes: 20,318 | Gross: $8.60M

15. The New World (2005)

PG-13 | 135 min | Biography, Drama, History

69 Metascore

The story of the English exploration of Virginia, and of the changing world and loves of Pocahontas.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Colin Farrell, Q'orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale

Votes: 76,147 | Gross: $12.71M

16. Apocalypto (2006)

R | 139 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

68 Metascore

As the Mayan kingdom faces its decline, a young man is taken on a perilous journey to a world ruled by fear and oppression.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Gerardo Taracena, Raoul Max Trujillo, Dalia Hernández, Rudy Youngblood

Votes: 258,888 | Gross: $50.87M

17. Rob Roy (1995)

R | 139 min | Adventure, Biography, History

55 Metascore

In 1713 Scotland, Rob Roy MacGregor is wronged by a nobleman and his nephew, becomes an outlaw in search of revenge while fleeing the Redcoats, and faces charges of being a Jacobite.

Director: Michael Caton-Jones | Stars: Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange, John Hurt, Tim Roth

Votes: 36,952 | Gross: $31.60M

18. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

R | 160 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

68 Metascore

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.

Director: Andrew Dominik | Stars: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Mary-Louise Parker

Votes: 150,364 | Gross: $3.90M

19. Quills (2000)

R | 124 min | Biography, Drama

70 Metascore

In a Napoleonic era insane asylum, an inmate, the irrepressible Marquis De Sade, fights a battle of wills against a tyrannically prudish doctor.

Director: Philip Kaufman | Stars: Geoffrey Rush, Kate Winslet, Joaquin Phoenix, Michael Caine

Votes: 47,608 | Gross: $7.06M

20. Enemy at the Gates (2001)

R | 131 min | Drama, History, War

53 Metascore

A Russian and a German sniper play a game of cat-and-mouse during the Battle of Stalingrad.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud | Stars: Jude Law, Ed Harris, Joseph Fiennes, Rachel Weisz

Votes: 212,377 | Gross: $51.40M

21. Queen Margot (1994)

R | 159 min | Biography, Drama, History

Young Queen Margot finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage amidst a religious war between Catholics and Protestants. She hopes to escape with a new lover, but finds herself imprisoned by her powerful and ruthless family.

Director: Patrice Chéreau | Stars: Isabelle Adjani, Daniel Auteuil, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Vincent Perez

Votes: 14,682 | Gross: $2.02M

22. Restoration (1995)

R | 117 min | Biography, Drama, History

The exiled royal physician to King Charles II devotes himself to helping Londoners suffering from the plague, and in the process falls in love with an equally poor woman.

Director: Michael Hoffman | Stars: Robert Downey Jr., Sam Neill, David Thewlis, Polly Walker

Votes: 8,019 | Gross: $4.10M

23. The Libertine (2004)

R | 114 min | Biography, Drama, History

44 Metascore

The story of John Wilmot, a.k.a. the Earl of Rochester, a 17th century poet who famously drank and debauched his way to an early grave, only to earn posthumous critical acclaim for his life's work.

Director: Laurence Dunmore | Stars: Johnny Depp, Samantha Morton, John Malkovich, Paul Ritter

Votes: 32,832 | Gross: $4.84M

24. The Untouchables (1987)

R | 119 min | Crime, Drama, Thriller

79 Metascore

Federal Agent Eliot Ness sets out to stop Al Capone; because of rampant corruption, he assembles a small, hand-picked team.

Director: Brian De Palma | Stars: Kevin Costner, Sean Connery, Robert De Niro, Charles Martin Smith

Votes: 240,975 | Gross: $76.27M

25. Marie Antoinette (2006)

PG-13 | 123 min | Biography, Drama, History

65 Metascore

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.

Director: Sofia Coppola | Stars: Kirsten Dunst, Jason Schwartzman, Rip Torn, Judy Davis

Votes: 88,819 | Gross: $15.96M

26. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

R | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

76 Metascore

Three trappers protect a British Colonel's daughters in the midst of the French and Indian War.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Eric Schweig

Votes: 128,045 | Gross: $75.51M

27. Elizabeth (1998)

R | 124 min | Biography, Drama, History

75 Metascore

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.

Director: Shekhar Kapur | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Geoffrey Rush, Christopher Eccleston, Joseph Fiennes

Votes: 81,936 | Gross: $30.08M

28. Hidalgo (2004)

PG-13 | 136 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

54 Metascore

In 1890, a down-and-out cowboy and his horse travel to Arabia to compete in a deadly cross desert horse race.

Director: Joe Johnston | Stars: Viggo Mortensen, Omar Sharif, Zuleikha Robinson, Louise Lombard

Votes: 71,709 | Gross: $67.29M

29. Kagemusha (1980)

PG | 162 min | Drama, History, War

A petty thief with an utter resemblance to a samurai warlord is hired as the lord's double. When the warlord later dies the thief is forced to take up arms in his place.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken'ichi Hagiwara, Jinpachi Nezu

Votes: 26,800

30. Vatel (2000)

PG-13 | 103 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

44 Metascore

Vatel is in charge of the reception to the king Louis XIV. With the prince's political ambitions at stake, its essential to please him. But when he falls in love with the king's lover, passion and duty seem to contradict each other.

Director: Roland Joffé | Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Julian Glover

Votes: 6,763 | Gross: $0.05M

31. Le roi danse (2000)

115 min | Drama, History, Music

Corbiau repeats the Farinelli formula, artistic rivalry and social private drama expressed in dazzling, sometimes excessively lavish baroque scenery, music and costume, but this time in its... See full summary »

Director: Gérard Corbiau | Stars: Benoît Magimel, Boris Terral, Tchéky Karyo, Colette Emmanuelle

Votes: 1,782

32. The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

PG | 161 min | Adventure, Drama, War

87 Metascore

After settling his differences with a Japanese PoW camp commander, a British colonel co-operates to oversee his men's construction of a railway bridge for their captors - while oblivious to a plan by the Allies to destroy it.

Director: David Lean | Stars: William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins, Sessue Hayakawa

Votes: 174,404 | Gross: $44.91M

33. Centurion (2010)

R | 97 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

62 Metascore

A splinter group of Roman soldiers fight for their lives behind enemy lines after their legion is devastated in a guerrilla attack.

Director: Neil Marshall | Stars: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko, Andreas Wisniewski

Votes: 70,920 | Gross: $0.12M

34. Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

PG-13 | 136 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

55 Metascore

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.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud | Stars: Brad Pitt, David Thewlis, BD Wong, Mako

Votes: 106,741 | Gross: $37.96M

35. Goya's Ghosts (2006)

R | 113 min | Biography, Drama, History

52 Metascore

Painter Francisco Goya faces a scandal involving his muse, who is labeled a heretic by a monk.

Director: Milos Forman | Stars: Javier Bardem, Natalie Portman, Stellan Skarsgård, Randy Quaid

Votes: 26,994 | Gross: $1.00M

36. The Man Who Cried (2000)

R | 100 min | Drama, Music, Romance

40 Metascore

A young refugee traveling from Russia to America in search of her lost father falls for a gypsy horseman.

Director: Sally Potter | Stars: Christina Ricci, Cate Blanchett, Oleg Yankovskiy, Claudia Lander-Duke

Votes: 13,250 | Gross: $0.74M

37. Ironclad (2011)

R | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

42 Metascore

In 13th-century England, a small group of Knights Templar fight to defend Rochester Castle against the tyrannical King John.

Director: Jonathan English | Stars: Paul Giamatti, Jason Flemyng, Brian Cox, James Purefoy

Votes: 36,903

38. 300 (2006)

R | 117 min | Action, Fantasy

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: 663,947 | Gross: $210.61M

39. Valhalla Rising (2009)

Not Rated | 93 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

61 Metascore

Forced for some time to be a fighting slave, a pagan warrior escapes his captors with a boy and joins a group of Crusaders on their quest to the Holy Land.

Director: Nicolas Winding Refn | Stars: Mads Mikkelsen, Maarten Stevenson, Alexander Morton, Stewart Porter

Votes: 48,959 | Gross: $0.02M

40. 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: 427,307 | Gross: $133.38M

41. 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: 160,438 | Gross: $53.71M

42. 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)

PG-13 | 154 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

47 Metascore

Christopher Columbus' discovery of the Americas and the effect this has on the indigenous people.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Armand Assante, Sigourney Weaver, Loren Dean

Votes: 24,878 | Gross: $7.19M

43. King Arthur (2004)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

46 Metascore

A demystified take on the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Clive Owen, Stephen Dillane, Keira Knightley, Ioan Gruffudd

Votes: 146,834 | Gross: $51.88M

44. The Man in the Iron Mask (I) (1998)

PG-13 | 132 min | Action, Adventure

48 Metascore

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?

Director: Randall Wallace | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Jeremy Irons, John Malkovich, Gérard Depardieu

Votes: 138,912 | Gross: $56.97M