Best History Movies
Zero Dark Thirty
A chronicle of the decade-long hunt for al-Qaeda terrorist leader Osama bin Laden after the September 2001 attacks, and his death at the hands of the Navy S.E.A.L. Team 6 in May, 2011.
A revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President's tumultuous final months in office. In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.
The King’s Speech
The King\'s Speech tells the story of the man who became King George VI, the father of Queen Elizabeth II. After his brother abdicates, George (\'Bertie\') reluctantly assumes the throne. Plagued by a dreaded stutter and considered unfit to be king, Bertie engages the help of an unorthodox speech therapist named Lionel Logue. Through a set of unexpected techniques, and as a result of an unlikely friendship, Bertie is able to find his voice and boldly lead the country into war.
A semi-biographical account of Yip Man, the first martial arts master to teach the Chinese martial art of Wing Chun. The film focuses on events surrounding Ip that took place in the city of Foshan between the 1930s to 1940s during the Second Sino-Japanese War. Directed by Wilson Yip, the film stars Donnie Yen in the lead role, and features fight choreography by Sammo Hung.
Letters from Iwo Jima
Inspired by true events, this film takes place in Rwanda in the 1990s when more than a million Tutsis were killed in a genocide that went mostly unnoticed by the rest of the world. Hotel owner Paul Rusesabagina houses over a thousand refuges in his hotel in attempt to save their lives.
In April of 1945, Germany stands at the brink of defeat with the Russian Army closing in from the east and the Allied Expeditionary Force attacking from the west. In Berlin, capital of the Third Reich, Adolf Hitler proclaims that Germany will still achieve victory and orders his generals and advisers to fight to the last man. When the end finally does come, and Hitler lies dead by his own hand, what is left of his military must find a way to end the killing that is the Battle of Berlin, and lay down their arms in surrender.
We Were Soldiers
Black Hawk Down
When U.S. Rangers and an elite Delta Force team attempt to kidnap two underlings of a Somali warlord, their Black Hawk helicopters are shot down, and the Americans suffer heavy casualties, facing intense fighting from the militia on the ground.
The lifelong friendship between Rafe McCawley and Danny Walker is put to the ultimate test when the two ace fighter pilots become entangled in a love triangle with beautiful Naval nurse Evelyn Johnson. But the rivalry between the friends-turned-foes is immediately put on hold when they find themselves at the center of Japan's devastating attack on Pearl Harbor on Dec. 7, 1941.
After proving himself on the field of battle in the French and Indian War, Benjamin Martin wants nothing more to do with such things, preferring the simple life of a farmer. But when his son Gabriel enlists in the army to defend their new nation, America, against the British, Benjamin reluctantly returns to his old life to protect his son.
Saving Private Ryan
As U.S. troops storm the beaches of Normandy, three brothers lie dead on the battlefield, with a fourth trapped behind enemy lines. Ranger captain John Miller and seven men are tasked with penetrating German-held territory and bringing the boy home.
Enraged at the slaughter of Murron, his new bride and childhood love, Scottish warrior William Wallace slays a platoon of the local English lord\'s soldiers. This leads the village to revolt and, eventually, the entire country to rise up against English rule.
The true story of how businessman Oskar Schindler saved over a thousand Jewish lives from the Nazis while they worked as slaves in his factory during World War II.
King of the Hill
Based on the Depression-era bildungsroman memoir of writer A. E. Hotchner, the film follows the story of a boy struggling to survive on his own in a hotel in St. Louis after his mother is committed to a sanatorium with tuberculosis. His father, a German immigrant and traveling salesman working for the Hamilton Watch Company, is off on long trips from which the boy cannot be certain he will return.
The Winter War
Russia attacked Finland in late November 1939. This film tells the story of a Finnish platoon of reservists from the municipality of Kauhava in the province of Pohjanmaa/Ostrobothnia who leave their homes and go to war. The film focuses on the farmer brothers Martti and Paavo Hakala.
Two New York cops get involved in a gang war between members of the Yakuza, the Japanese Mafia. They arrest one of their killers and are ordered to escort him back to Japan. In Japan, however, he manages to escape. As they try to track him down, they get deeper and deeper into the Japanese Mafia scene and they have to learn that they can only win by playing the game the Japanese way.
Young Treasury Agent Elliot Ness arrives in Chicago and is determined to take down Al Capone, but it\'s not going to be easy because Capone has the police in his pocket. Ness meets Jimmy Malone, a veteran patrolman and probably the most honorable one on the force. He asks Malone to help him get Capone, but Malone warns him that if he goes after Capone, he is going to war.
The Killing Fields
The Killing Fields tells the real-life story of a friendship between two journalists, an American and a Cambodian, during the bloody Khmer Rouge takeover of Cambodia in 1975, which led to the death of 2-3 million Cambodians during the next four years, until Pol Pot\'s regime was toppled by the intervening Vietnamese in 1979.
In the early years of the 20th century, Mohandas K. Gandhi, a British-trained lawyer, forsakes all worldly possessions to take up the cause of Indian independence. Faced with armed resistance from the British government, Gandhi adopts a policy of \'passive resistance\', endeavouring to win freedom for his people without resorting to bloodshed.
A German submarine hunts allied ships during the Second World War, but it soon becomes the hunted. The crew tries to survive below the surface, while stretching both the boat and themselves to their limits.
The Elephant Man
A Victorian surgeon rescues a heavily disfigured man being mistreated by his \"owner\" as a side-show freak. Behind his monstrous façade, there is revealed a person of great intelligence and sensitivity. Based on the true story of Joseph Merrick (called John Merrick in the film), a severely deformed man in 19th century London.
During the Boer War, three Australian lieutenants are on trial for shooting Boer prisoners. Though they acted under orders, they are being used as scapegoats by the General Staff, who hopes to distance themselves from the irregular practices of the war. The trial does not progress as smoothly as expected by the General Staff, as the defence puts up a strong fight in the courtroom.
Akira Kurosawa\'s lauded feudal epic presents the tale of a petty thief who is recruited to impersonate Shingen, an aging warlord, in order to avoid attacks by competing clans. When Shingen dies, his generals reluctantly agree to have the impostor take over as the powerful ruler. He soon begins to appreciate life as Shingen, but his commitment to the role is tested when he must lead his troops into battle against the forces of a rival warlord.
All the President’s Men
In the run-up to the 1972 elections, Washington Post reporter Bob Woodward covers what seems to be a minor break-in at the Democratic Party National headquarters. He is surprised to find top lawyers already on the defense case, and the discovery of names and addresses of Republican fund organizers on the accused further arouses his suspicions. The editor of the Post is prepared to run with the story and assigns Woodward and Carl Bernstein to it. They find the trail leading higher and higher in the Republican Party, and eventually into the White House itself.
The Enigma of Kaspar Hauser
The film follows Kaspar Hauser (Bruno S.), who lived the first seventeen years of his life chained in a tiny cellar with only a toy horse to occupy his time, devoid of all human contact except for a man who wears a black overcoat and top hat who feeds him.
Ivan Vasilyevich Changes His Profession
Shurik Timofeev builds a working model of a time machine. By accident, Ivan Bunsha, an apartment complex manager, and George Miloslavsky, a petty burglar, are transferred to 16th century Moscow, while Tsar Ivan the Terrible goes into the year 1973.
Aguirre, the Wrath of God
A few decades after the destruction of the Inca empire, a Spanish expedition leaves the mountains of Peru and goes down the Amazon river in search of gold and wealth. Soon, they come across great difficulties and Don Aguirre, a ruthless man who cares only about riches, becomes their leader. But will his quest lead them to "the golden city", or to certain destruction?
Michael the Brave
An epic fresco depicting the reign (1593-1601) of Mihai Pătrașcu (better known as "Mihai Viteazul" / "Michael the Brave"), the famous prince who united the three provinces: Transalpine Vallachia, Transylvania and Moldavia, into the country of Romania, at the end of the 16th century (1599-1601) against the opposition of the Ottoman and Austrian Empires, this movie features large scale battle scenes mixed with political intrigues, murderous treachery, and family drama.
Repression is the rule of the day in this film that skewers Greek governance of the 1960s. Z, a leftist rabble rouser, is killed in what appears to be a traffic accident. But given the political climate, the death of such a prominent activist raises troubling questions. Though it\'s too late to save Z\'s life, a postmortem examination suggests that the ruling party was behind his death. As the facts leak out, those who tell the truth pay the price for their honesty.
The Lion in Winter
In Cold Blood
A 1967 film based on Truman Capote\'s book of the same name. After a botched robbery results in the brutal murder of a rural family, two drifters elude police, in the end coming to terms with their own mortality and the repercussions of their vile atrocity.
An expansive Russian drama, this film focuses on the life of revered religious icon painter Andrei Rublev. Drifting from place to place in a tumultuous era, the peace-seeking monk eventually gains a reputation for his art. But after Rublev witnesses a brutal battle and unintentionally becomes involved, he takes a vow of silence and spends time away from his work. As he begins to ease his troubled soul, he takes steps towards becoming a painter once again.
The Battle of Algiers
Tracing the struggle of the Algerian Front de Liberation Nationale to gain freedom from French colonial rule as seen through the eyes of Ali from his start as a petty thief to his rise to prominence in the organisation and capture by the French in 1957. The film traces the rebels\' struggle and the increasingly extreme measures taken by the French government to quell the revolt.
Shadows of Forgotten Ancestors
In a Carpathian village, Ivan falls in love with Marichka, the daughter of his father's killer. When tragedy befalls her, his grief lasts months; finally he rejoins the colorful life around him, marrying Palagna. She wants children but his mind stays on his lost love. To recapture his attention, Palagna tries sorcery, and in the process comes under the spell of the sorcerer, publicly humiliating Ivan, who then fights the sorcerer. The lively rhythms of village life, the work and the holidays, the pageant and revelry of weddings and funerals, the change of seasons, and nature's beauty give proportion to Ivan's tragedy.
Simon of the Desert
King Henry II of England has trouble with the Church. When the Archbishop of Canterbury dies, he has a brilliant idea. Rather than appoint another pious cleric loyal to Rome and the Church, he will appoint his old drinking and wenching buddy, Thomas Becket, technically a deacon of the church, to the post. Unfortunately, Becket takes the job seriously and provides abler opposition to Henry.
The Great Escape
The Nazis, exasperated at the number of escapes from their prison camps by a relatively small number of Allied prisoners, relocates them to a high-security \'escape-proof\' camp to sit out the remainder of the war. Undaunted, the prisoners plan one of the most ambitious escape attempts of World War II. Based on a true story.
As Garibaldi\'s troops begin the unification of Italy in the 1860s, an aristocratic Sicilian family grudgingly adapts to the sweeping social changes undermining their way of life. Proud but pragmatic Prince Don Fabrizio Salina allows his war hero nephew, Tancredi, to marry Angelica, the beautiful daughter of gauche, bourgeois Don Calogero, in order to maintain the family\'s accustomed level of comfort and political clout.
Lawrence Of Arabia
The story of British officer T.E. Lawrence\'s mission to aid the Arab tribes in their revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War. Lawrence becomes a flamboyant, messianic figure in the cause of Arab unity but his psychological instability threatens to undermine his achievements.
The Longest Day
The retelling of June 6, 1944, from the perspectives of the Germans, US, British, Canadians, and the Free French. Marshall Erwin Rommel, touring the defenses being established as part of the Reich's Atlantic Wall, notes to his officers that when the Allied invasion comes they must be stopped on the beach. "For the Allies as well as the Germans, it will be the longest day"
Judgment at Nuremberg
In 1947, four German judges who served on the bench during the Nazi regime face a military tribunal to answer charges of crimes against humanity. Chief Justice Haywood hears evidence and testimony not only from lead defendant Ernst Janning and his defense attorney Hans Rolfe, but also from the widow of a Nazi general, an idealistic U.S. Army captain and reluctant witness Irene Wallner.
The rebellious Thracian Spartacus, born and raised a slave, is sold to Gladiator trainer Batiatus. After weeks of being trained to kill for the arena, Spartacus turns on his owners and leads the other slaves in rebellion. As the rebels move from town to town, their numbers swell as escaped slaves join their ranks. Under the leadership of Spartacus, they make their way to southern Italy, where they will cross the sea and return to their homes.
Inherit the Wind
Judah Ben-Hur, a Palestinian Jew, is battling the Roman empire at the time of Christ. His actions send him and his family into slavery, but an inspirational encounter with Jesus changes everything. He finally meets his rival in a justly famous chariot race and rescues his suffering family.
The Human Condition I: No Greater Love
A Japanese pacifist and socialist, unable to face the dire consequences of conscientious objection, is transformed by his attempts to compromise with the demands of war-time Japan.
A Night to Remember
The sinking of the Titanic is presented in a highly realistic fashion in this tense British drama. The disaster is portrayed largely from the perspective of the ocean liner's second officer, Charles Lightoller. Despite numerous warnings about ice, the ship sails on, with Capt. Edward John Smith keeping it going at a steady clip. When the doomed vessel finally hits an iceberg, the crew and passengers discover that they lack enough lifeboats, and tragedy follows.
Mutiny on the Bounty
All Quiet on the Western Front
A young soldier faces profound disillusionment in the soul-destroying horror of World War I. Together with several other young German soldiers, he experiences the horrors of war, such evil of which he had not conceived of when signing up to fight. They eventually become sad, tormented, and confused of their purpose.
The Passion of Joan of Arc
A classic of the silent age, this film tells the story of the doomed but ultimately canonized 15th-century teenage warrior. On trial for claiming she'd spoken to God, Jeanne d'Arc is subjected to inhumane treatment and scare tactics at the hands of church court officials. Initially bullied into changing her story, Jeanne eventually opts for what she sees as the truth. Her punishment, a famously brutal execution, earns her perpetual martyrdom.
Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ
A dramatized account of a great Russian naval mutiny and a resultant public demonstration, showing support, which brought on a police massacre. The film had an incredible impact on the development of cinema and is a masterful example of montage editing.