List of historical drama films

The historical drama is a film genre in which stories are based upon historical events and famous persons. Some historical dramas attempt to accurately portray a historical event or biography, to the degree that the available historical research will allow. Other historical dramas are fictionalized tales that are based on an actual person and their deeds, such as "Braveheart", which is loosely based on the 13th century knight William Wallace's fight for Scotland's independence, and "Saving Private Ryan", a heavily fictionalised version of a search for a paratrooper of the US 101st Airborne Division during World War II.


Some well-known historical drama films, by the historical era they are portraying, include:

Films set in Prehistorical times

*"Quest for Fire" (1981)
*"The Clan of the Cave Bear" (1986)
*"10,000 BC" (2008)

=Films set in Antiquity (until the fall of the Roman Empire)=
*"Troy" (2004), based on Homer's "Iliad". This movie is set in the Bronze Age, c. 1190 BC.
* "Helen of Troy", a Movie released for TV, also based on the "Iliad" (c. 13th century BC).
*"Alexander", based on the life of Alexander the Great (4th century BC).
*"Attila" (about Attila the Hun, 5th century A.D.)
*"Spartacus", set during the Roman Republic.
*"The Passion of The Christ (film)
*"Jesus of Nazareth" (Jesus Christ).
* "Ben-Hur (1959 film) ", set in the Roman Empire c. A.D. 26
* "Nero (2005 film) ", set in the Roman Empire c. A.D. 62
* "Cleopatra (1963 film)", the famous 1963 movie set during the first years of the Roman Empire (1st century AD) that depicts the life of Cleopatra, a queen of Egypt.
* "Cleopatra (1999 film)", the 1999 Movie made for TV, also set during the first years of the Roman Empire (1st century AD).
*"Rome (TV Series)" (2005), a TV Series set in the time of the Roman Empire.
*"Hero (movie)", a movie set in Ancient China 300BC
*"Gladiator" (set during the reign of Roman Emperor Commodus, who ruled from 180 to 192).
* "The Fall of the Roman Empire" (1964) (set during the reign of Roman Emperor Commodus, who ruled from 180 to 192).
*"300 (movie)" a film set in the Battle of Thermopylae
*"I, Claudius (TV series)" a TV Series set during the rule of the of the Roman Julio-Claudians

=Films set in the Middle Ages (5th to mid-15th centuries)=

Late Roman/Early Middle Ages (5th to 11th centuries)

*King Arthur (movie), a 2004 movie set in the last years of the Roman occupation. It tells the story of King Arthur, but it depicts him as a Roman warrior instead of a medieval king.
*The Mists of Avalon, 2001 TV movie based on the novel The Mists of Avalon by Marion Zimmer Bradley recounting the King Arthur legend from the perspective of the female characters).
*Tristan + Isolde (2006), set about a century (around the 6th century AD) after the departure of the Romans from Britain (or Britannia), it tells the story of a war between the Irish and the people of Britain (Saxons, Celts, etc.), but especially of the love between Tristan and the Irish princess Isolde (based on the medieval legends of Tristan and Iseult).

Middle Ages (1000-1453)

West Europe

* "El Cid" (1961) (Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, an 11th century Spanish warrior known as El Cid}
* Kingdom of Heaven, set during the Crusades in the 12th century.
* Braveheart (William Wallace, a 13th century Scottish knight who fought for Scotland's independence).
* Henry V (1989), William Shakespeare's play adapted on screen by Kenneth Branagh
* , set in France in the beginnings of the 15th century. The movie is about Joan of Arc, the legendary female warrior during the 100 Years' War.
* Joan of Arc (1948)
* Joan of Arc (1999)
* The Passion of Joan of Arc(1928) based on trial records of Joan of Arc
* Saint Joan (1957) based on a play about the life of Joan of Arc by George Bernard Shaw

East Europe

* (2003) set place in ninth-century Europe, abut Slavic tribes and thers confrontations with vikings
* Prince Vladimir (film) (2006) set in 9th century, based on the story of Prince Vladimir
* Alexander Nevsky (Alexander Nevsky)(1938), a 13th century Russian leader.
* Aleksandr. Nevskaya bitva (2008), film based on Battle of the Neva
* Battle of Kosovo (1989), set in 14th century, about Serbia's attempt to stop Ottoman invasion in Europe.
* 1612 (film) (2007) set in Russia at the beginnings of the 16th century

=Early Modern (1453-1600)=
* The Lion in Winter, 1968 movie about three ambitious princes who want the throne around 1183 AD
* The Lion in Winter 2003 tv movie, Henry II is in power as his wife Eleanor's plots with her sons
* , a movie that tells the story of the discovery and conquest of the New World by Christopher Columbus in 1492.
* Richard III (best known version) (Richard III of England).
* Anne of the Thousand Days (Anne Boleyn, the Queen of England during the 16th century, Queen Consort of King Henry VIII and the mother of Queen Elizabeth I).
* Henry VIII and his Six Wives (Henry VIII of England).
* The Other Boleyn Girl (Anne Boleyn, Queen of England).
* The Private Life of Henry VIII (Henry VIII of England)
* Elizabeth (Elizabeth I of England, the Queen in the 16th century).
* Elizabeth R, a 1970's BBC mini-series about Elizabeth I of England.
* Young Bess (Elizabeth I of England).
* Lady Jane (Lady Jane Grey, the uncrowned queen regnant of the Kingdom of England for nine days in the mid-16th century).
* Fire Over England (the Spanish Armada, a Spanish-controlled fleet which sailed against England in the late 16th century).
* Ivan the Terrible by Sergei Eisenstein, a biographic movie about Ivan IV of Russia.
* A Man for All Seasons (about Thomas More).
* Kagemusha (about the Battle of Nagashino, Japan).
* Henry VIII (TV serial), an ITV drama about Henry VIII starring Ray Winstone, Helena Bonham Carter and David Suchet
* , BBC drama starring Rufus Sewell
* The Virgin Queen (TV show), a BBC production about Elizabeth I of England starring Anne-Marie Duff
* Elizabeth I (TV series), historical drama starring Helen Mirren, Jeremy Irons and Ian McDiarmid
*, 2007 historical drama starring Cate Blanchett and Clive Owen
* Cromwell (about Oliver Cromwell).
* Mary, Queen of Scots, a 1971 movie about the queen Mary I of Scotland.
* The Last Valley, Germany during Thirty year's war.
* La Reine Margot, set during the St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre.
*"The Crucible"(Aurthur Miller) (Salem Witch Trials)

=Films set in the 18th and 19th Centuries=
* "Amadeus"
* "Amistad" (an 1839 mutiny aboard a ship containing African slaves bound for the United States)
* "The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford", which focuses on the end of Jesse James' career as a criminal and the man who eventually kills him, Robert Ford.
* "Barry Lyndon"
*"Beau Brummell" (Beau Brummell, a 19th century arbiter of fashion in England who popularized the man's suit and necktie)
* "Brotherhood of the Wolf" (2001) based on a real-life series of killings that took place in France in the 18th century and on the famous legend around the Beast of Gévaudan
* "Casanova" (Giacomo Casanova famous 18th century womanizer)
*"The Charge of the Light Brigade" (the Charge of the Light Brigade)
*"The Four Feathers" (1939) based on the British army's Gordon Relief Expedition during the late 1880s in Sudan
*"The Four Feathers" (2002)
*"Gone with the Wind" (the American Civil War)
*"Glory"(about one of the first official African-American units in the United States armed forces, the 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, which fought in the American Civil War in the mid-19th century)
*"Lady Caroline Lamb" (Lady Caroline Lamb, a novelist and British aristocrat active in the early 19th century)
*"The Madness of King George" (George III of the United Kingdom, King of Great Britain and Ireland for the latter half of the 18th century.
*"Marie Antoinette (1938 film)" about Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, 18th century)
*"Marie Antoinette (2006 film)" about Marie Antoinette, Queen of France, 18th century)
*"Mrs. Brown" (Queen Victoria and John Brown)
*"Mutiny on the Bounty" (set in 1789 during the mutiny on the Bounty, a British Royal Navy ship)
*"Rob Roy" (about Scottish folk hero Robert Roy MacGregor)
*"Roots" (the slave trade)
*"The Scarlet Empress"(Catherine II of Russia, the "enlightened despot" who reigned as Empress of Russia for in the latter half of the 18th century)
*"Tombstone" (events leading up to the 1881 Gunfight at the O.K. Corral)
*"War and Peace (1956 film)" (based on the work by Tolstoy, set in Russia during the Napoleonic Era)
*"Waterloo" (the Battle of Waterloo)
*"Wild Bill" (the life and times of Wild Bill Hickok)
*"Wyatt Earp"

=Films set in the early 20th Century=
*"Anastasia" (based upon Grand Duchess Anastasia Nikolaevna of Russia and the activities of Anna Anderson)
*"Battle of Britain"
*"The Battleship Potemkin" (the Battleship Potemkin uprising)
*"Bonnie and Clyde"
*"Breaker Morant" (Harry "Breaker" Morant, an Australian Lieutenant who ordered the summary execution of several prisoners during the Second Boer War in 1901)
*"The Bridge on the River Kwai" (construction of the Burma Railway by British POWs during World War II)
*"A Bridge Too Far" (Operation Market Garden)
*"Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid"
*"Downfall" (the defeat of Adolf Hitler and the Third Reich)
*"Enemy at the Gates" (based on the Battle of Stalingrad)
*"Evita" (Evita Peron)
*"Flags of Our Fathers" (Battle of Iwo Jima from American perspective)
*"Flyboys" (American volunteer combat pilots in service for the Allies during World War I)
*"Gandhi" (Mahatma Gandhi)
*"Judgment at Nuremberg" (the post World War II Nuremberg Trials)
*"Letters from Iwo Jima" (Battle of Iwo Jima from Japanese perspective)
*"The Longest Day" (D-Day during WW II)
*"Memphis Belle" (a U.S. bombing mission over Germany during World War II)
*"Michael Collins" (Irish Michael Collins)
*"A Night to Remember" (the "Titanic" disaster)
*"Patton" (the exploits of General George S. Patton during World War II)
*"Pearl Harbor"
*"Saving Private Ryan" (D-Day and its aftermath)
*"Schindler's List" (German industrialist Oskar Schindler's assistance to keep Jewish people from being interred in concentration camps during World War II)
*"Sink the Bismarck!" (the WW II German battleship Bismarck, which was sunk in 1941)
*"Titanic" (the "Titanic" disaster)
*"Tora! Tora! Tora!" (the attack on Pearl Harbor in 1941)
*"Valkyrie" (July 20 plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler)
*"Young Winston" (the biography Winston Churchill before he became Britain's WW II-era Prime Minister)
*"The Legend of Bagger Vance" set in Savannah, Georgia, in 1931.

=Films set in the latter 20th Century=
*"All the President's Men" (the Nixon-era Watergate scandal)
*"American Hot Wax" (disc jockey Alan Freed's involvement in rock and roll during the 1950s)
*"The Battle of Algiers" (set during the 1960s Algerian War of Independence)
*"Blood Diamond" (set during the Sierra Leone Civil War)
*"Bloody Sunday" (1972 Bloody Sunday shootings)
*"Bobby" (the assassination of Senator Robert F. Kennedy in 1968)
*"Cry Freedom" (set during the apartheid era of South Africa)
*"The Doors" (1960s in the United States)
*"Full Metal Jacket" (Vietnam War)
*"Gracie" (set in 1978, six years after the introduction of Title IX)
*"Good Night, and Good Luck." (Edward R. Murrow)
*"The Good Shepherd" (rise of CIA Counter-intelligence leading up to the Bay of Pigs Invasion)
*"Great Balls of Fire!" (the career of 1950s rock'n'roller Jerry Lee Lewis)
*"Hamburger Hill" (a battle which took place in 1969 during the Vietnam War)
*"Hotel Rwanda" (the 1990s Rwandan Genocide)
*"JFK" (the assassination of President John F. Kennedy)
*"The Killing Fields" (the Khmer Rouge's genocide)
*"The Last King of Scotland" (Ugandan President Idi Amin)
*"Miracle" (the U.S. hockey team's gold medal victory at the 1980 Winter Olympics)
*"Mississippi Burning" (the FBI investigation into the murders of civil rights workers in 1964)
*"Munich" (the murder of Israeli athletes during the 1972 Summer Olympics)
*"Nixon" (the political life of Richard M. Nixon)
*"Platoon" (Vietnam War)
*"Quiz Show" (the scandal which took place on the TV game show Twenty One during the 1950s)
*"The Right Stuff" (the Project Mercury space launches)
*"Savior" (soldier during the Bosnian War in former Yugoslavia)
*"Shooting Dogs" (the 1990s Rwandan Genocide)
*"Sometimes in April" (the 1990s Rwandan Genocide)
*"Summer of Sam" (the Son of Sam murders in New York City in 1977)
*"Thirteen Days" (the 1962 Cuban Missile Crisis)
*"We Were Soldiers" (the first days of the Vietnam War)
*"Z" (the assassination of Gregoris Lambrakis)
*"Zodiac" (the Zodiac murders in the United States during the 1960s and '70s)

ee also

* Period piece
* Middle Ages in film

External links

* [ History on Film] - A historian looks at how Hollywood has presented historical events in the movies.

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