What To Watch

Top historical movies to watch on Netflix

From Gladiator to the Professor and The Madman, the giant online streaming platform, Netflix has added more historical movies recently.

Here is a list of the top 20 historical movies you can watch on Netflix this year.

1. The King (2019)

King 2019Hal, the wayward prince and heir to the English throne, is crowned King Henry V after his tyrannical father dies. Now the young king must navigate palace politics, the war his father left behind, and the emotional strings of his past life.

Even though the movie contains fewer battle scenes than expected, it is intriguing and makes any battle scene rewarding.

In The King, Chalamet stars Hal, the oldest son of England’s King Henry IV (Ben Mendelsohn). Opposed to his father’s stance on war, Hal chooses to live far away from his family, instead of spending time with his friend John Falstaff (Joel Edgerton), But when tragedy strikes and Henry IV dies from illness, Hal is thrust into a role he never wanted, becoming King Henry V. As England’s new ruler, Hal looks to usher in an era of peace for its people, but rising tensions with the French force Hal to make some difficult decisions that will define what kind of leader he is, and what will become of England.

2. Outlaw King (2018)

A genuine David vs. Goliath story of how the 14th century Scottish ‘Outlaw King’ Robert the Bruce used cunning and bravery to defeat the much larger and better-equipped English army.

The film starts in 1304 with the siege of Stirling Castle, which features the spectacular tracking shots that help define the exquisite use of cinematography throughout the film’s duration.

3. Gladiator (2000)

A former Roman General sets out to exact vengeance against the corrupt emperor who murdered his family and sent him into slavery.

American historical epic movie, released in 2000, directed by Ridley Scott and starred  Russell Crow. It won critical accolades, large audiences, and five Academy Awards.

Gladiator takes place in AD 180 and is loosely based on historical figures. Roman forces, led by general Maximus (Crowe), defeated Germanic tribes, bringing temporary peace to the Roman empire.

It’s a great movie with incredible fighting scenes, great cinematography, exceptional acting, and performance. It attracts your full attention, so you feel compassion for the main character giving you the urge for revenge and hate.

4. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I to fight the Turks. This movie became one of the most celebrated epics in the history of cinema.

The film opens with the death of Lawrence (played by O’Toole) in a motorcycle accident. A reporter’s questions about Lawrence’s life and character provide a framing device for the story, which begins in about 1916 or 1917 and ends in an exciting event that I don’t want to mention and spoil for you.

5. Saving Privat Ryan (1998)

Following the Normandy Landings, a group of U.S. soldiers goes behind enemy lines to retrieve a paratrooper whose brothers have been killed in action.

Steven Spielberg’s 1998 film Saving Private Ryan may include some of the most horrific fighting scenes ever produced on film. But that isn’t its only element of realism. The film draws on the story of an actual soldier named Fritz Niland and a U.S. War Department directive designed to keep families from losing every one of their sons.

The film tells the story of Captain John H. Miller (played by Tom Hanks), who leads a platoon of GIs during the D-Day invasion of Normandy near the end of World war 2. Their initial mission, along with nearly 175,000 other Allied service members, was to liberate France and defeat the Nazis.

After getting off Omaha Beach (yes, those horrific fighting scenes), Miller can push his platoon up over the ridge and into the French countryside.

A few days into the invasion, Captain Miller receives revised orders from high command. His new mission: locate and rescue Private First Class James F. Ryan (played by Matt Damon), whose three brothers had been killed in the war within a few months of each other.

Private Ryan was a “sole-surviving son,” and the War Department wanted him back with his mother. The problem was, the U.S. Army didn’t know exactly where he was. Captain Miller and his platoon search for the wayward soldier in house-to-house fighting in the film. Eventually, they find Private Ryan and send him back home—but at a high cost to Captain Miller and his men.

6. Mosul (2019)

A police unit from Mosul fought to liberate the Iraqi city from thousands of ISIS militants.

Mosul is produced by the Russo Brothers and stars actor Adam Bessa. Like “6 Underground”, Mosul is set in the Middle East, in a country struggling for liberation against oppressive countrymen.

And like both of those Netflix originals, plus the Morocco-set Close Mosul is directed and written by a filmmaker who does not hail from the region of the world that is centered upon and implicitly criticized by these movies. All of that is to say that Mosul has the veneer of a certain kind of problematic thriller that others the very individuals its protagonists are saving.

7. 300 (2007)

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

300 is an ultraviolent tale based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller. There’s blood galore as the Spartans ( trained war machines ) defend their land against Xerxes massive Persian army. Heads roll, blood splatters, exotic animals are sliced and speared. The Spartans glorified Battlefield bravery and violence, who take no prisoners and show no mercy.

8. Saladin (1963)

After Saladin’s victory over the King of Jerusalem, a peace treaty is signed between them. Still, the commander of the Crusader army, Renaud de Chatillon, slaughters a group of pilgrims going to Mecca. Saladin then decides to take revenge.

A creative movie feels like it was made in the sixties, but the dated production doesn’t back the film quality. Director Yousef Shahin took the genre and spun it 180 degrees, Saladin even with a much smaller budget than American movies, has excellent production values.

The battles scenes are great, the music played by an orchestra conducted by Carlo Savina ( Italian composer)  who worked with famous directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Federico Fellini, and Roman Polanski is rich. Furthermore, Saladin does more than rip off the aesthetical codes of American films. It experiments with cinematography and editing.

9. The professor and the madman (2019)

Professor James Murray begins work compiling words for the first edition of the Oxford English Dictionary in the mid-19th century and receives over 10,000 entries from a patient at Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum, Dr. William Minor.

It teaches an important lesson about the history of the English language, Professor James Murray (Gibson) is working in Oxford as an editor of the new Oxford English Dictionary. As he catalogs words and their definitions, he begins receiving submissions from a source at the Broadmoor Criminal Lunatic Asylum. He receives over 10,000 entries from the “madman” — Dr. William Chester Minor (Penn), a retired Army surgeon in the United States. The pair work together to write the dictionary through letters.

The Professor and the Madman are based on a true story. Sir James Murray was a natural person — he’s even listed on the Oxford English Dictionary Website. As he was editing the first Oxford English Dictionary, he put out a call for volunteers, and Dr. William Chester Minor responded. He contributed thousands of quotations to the first edition of the dictionary.

10. Robin Hood (2010)

In twelfth-century England, Robin Longstride and his band of marauders confront corruption in a local village and lead an uprising against the crown that will forever alter the balance of world power.

Starring Russell Crow, Cate Blanchett, Oscar Isaac, and Mark Strong, directed by Ridley Scott.

11. Seven Years in Tibet (1997)

The true story of Heinrich Harrer, an Austrian mountain climber who became friends with the Dalai Lama at China’s takeover of Tibet.

It is a soul-stirring movie that is perfect in its simplicity. The actor’s performances were great, especially Brad Pitt and David Thewlis. Still, the film’s natural beauty shows the Tibetan people and their lifestyle. The cinematography was breathtaking and perfectly matched the mood of the movie.

Austrian Heinrich Harrer (Brad Pitt) decides to add glory to his country and the Austrian pride by climbing Nanga Parbat in British India and leaving his pregnant wife behind. He is an egoist and a loner, he does not get along with others on his team, but must bend to their wishes after bad weather threatens them.

Then the unexpected events start to happen as they go along in their journey.

12. The Shawshank Redemption (1994)

Two imprisoned men bond over several years, finding solace and eventual redemption through acts of common decency.

This IMDB highly rated movie is unique with its storytelling and production. It is based on the Stephen King novella “ Rita Hayworth and the Shawshank Redemption.

It tells the story of banker Andy Dufresne (Tim Robbins), who is sentenced to life in Shawshank State Penitentiary for the murders of his wife and her lover, despite his claims of innocence.

Over the following two decades, he befriends a fellow prisoner, contraband smuggler Ellis “Red” Redding (Morgan Freeman), and becomes instrumental in a money-laundering operation led by the prison warden Samuel Norton (Bob Gunton). William Sadler, Clancy Brown, Gill Bellows, and James Whitmore appear in supporting roles.

13. The Revenant (2015)

A frontiersman on a fur trading expedition in the 1820s fights for survival after being mauled by a bear and left for dead by members of his own hunting team.

This movie won 3 Oscars: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Leonardo Dicaprio, Best Achievement in Directing Alejandro G.Inarritu, Best Achievement in Cinematography Emmanuel Lubezki.

This movie is brilliant The visuals, directing, and acting is extraordinary, The settings are rich in atmosphere, and the lighting remarkably natural, but it’s the cinematography that shines brightest, it’s both intimate and immersive.

Iñárritu’s direction is even better than in his outstanding direction in ‘Birdman’.

14. Harriet (2019)

The extraordinary tale of Harriet Tubman’s escape from slavery and transformation into one of America’s greatest heroes, whose courage, ingenuity, and tenacity freed hundreds of slaves and changed the course of history.

A Wonderful film based on a true story about a great woman who did some life-changing things in new ways to make a real difference to the people she helped and saved.

15. Elizabeth (1998)

The early years of the reign of Elizabeth I of England and her difficult task of learning what is necessary to be a monarch.

It won 1 Oscar for Best Makeup (Jenny Shircore). This superb period drama has everything going for it, the whole film is splendid for the eyes. ِAn accuracy in the details went into the scenery, cinematography, and costumes and it showed.

The music score was absolutely beautiful, dramatic in some parts and poignant in others, The screenplay is quite extraordinary, and the story while perhaps historically inaccurate is still intriguing.

16. At Eternity Gate (2018)

A look at the life of painter Vincent van Gogh during the time he lived in Arles and Auvers-Sur-Oise, France.

Starring Willem Defoe as Vincent Van Gogh it is one of the most artistic films, it’s a treat for Van Gogh fans.

At Eternity Gate is originally an oil painting by Vincent van Gogh that he made in 1890 in Saint-Rémy de Provence based on an early lithograph.

The painting was completed in early May at a time when he was convalescing from a severe relapse in his health and some two months before his death, generally accepted as a suicide.

The performance of Dafoe is great at all levels and the Theo created by Rupert Friend is delicate and precise, Panoramic shots of scenic landscapes that seem to go on for eternity — the perceived reason for van Gogh’s obsession with painting in nature — are the highlights of the movie, aside from the painter’s famous and familiar works.

17. Sarajevo (2014)

On June 28, 1914, Archduke Franz Ferdinand of Austria is in Sarajevo with his wife, Sophie. While through the city by car, they are victims of an attack and die. This is the trigger of the First World War.

It is not a documentary or a docu-drama, it is only a decent artistic movie. using well-known pieces from the love story to the conscience of a simple/vulnerable man against a huge system.

Maybe, what you will admire about it is the wise balance between what you consider speculations or conspiracy theories and the real events because the atmosphere is real. the only sin may be the references to problems familiar for the WWII period.

It is a good movie with a noble message about war and life.

18. The Danish Girl (2015)

A fictitious love story loosely inspired by the lives of Danish artists Lili Elbe and Gerda Wegener. Lili and Gerda’s marriage and work evolve as they navigate Lili’s groundbreaking journey as a transgender pioneer.

It won 1 Oscar Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role (Alicia Vikander), it is a fascinating movie based on a true story that justified its plaudits.

This is the story of Danish artist Einar Wegener (Eddie Redmayne) who realized that despite being born a man he is really a woman and that woman is called Lile.

Both Eddie Redmayne and Alicia Vikander offer heartbreaking performances. In scene after scene, they bring the audience to tears as their characters, unintentionally more often than not, hurt one another while still loving each other deeply. There is nothing more human than that.

19. The theory of everything (2014)

A look at the relationship between the famous physicist Stephen Hawking and his wife.

This movie won Oscar for Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Eddie Redmayne, it is the story of the most brilliant and celebrated physicist of our time, Stephen Hawking, and Jane Wilde played by Felicity Jones, the arts student he fell in love with while studying at Cambridge in the 1960s.

This is a relatively simple inspirational story, but it’s done very well. It allows for simple scenes like the wheelchair scene to breathe and exist. Redmayne also does tremendous work.

Felicity Jones gets the less flashy role but is just as impressive of performance. The science is explained. The personal story is touching and surprisingly profound. The movie is a little light and a bit sepia tone. It could have been harder-hitting, but this biopic version works well enough.

20. The forgotten battle (2021)

1944, the Second World War. A British glider pilot, a Dutch boy, fighting on the German side, and a Dutch female resistance member all end up involved in the Battle of the Schelde. Their choices differ, but their goal is the same: freedom.

This movie is based on a true story. De slag om de Schelde (2020) is a Dutch movie co-written and directed by Matthijs van Heijningen Jr. It was shown in the U. S. with the title “The Forgotten Battle.” The actual title translates as “The Battle of the Scheldt.”

The Forgotten Battle, a Dutch Second World War drama from director Matthijs van Heijningen, Jr. (he directed that prequel to The Thing a few years back), looks at the 1944 Battle of the Scheldt from three different perspectives: The German occupation, the Dutch resistance, and the Allied soldiers. With a budget of around $16 million, The Forgotten Battle is one of the most expensive Dutch films ever made.

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