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Historical Epics

What are your favorite historical epic movies?

How do you define a historical epic?

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by Anonymousreply 62October 19, 2021 8:23 PM

This was inspired by the Nicholas and Alexandra thread.

Is Titanic a historical epic? Is The English Patient? How about Once Upon a Time in Hollywood?

by Anonymousreply 1October 15, 2021 4:37 PM

It is my favorite genre. Here are a few of my favorites:

Lawrence of Arabia (1963)

Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Sunshine (1999)

Colonel Redl (1985)

Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)

My Fair Lady (1964)

Ben-Hur (1955)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

The Aviator (2004)

The English Patient (1997)

Braveheart (1995)

Empire of the Sun (1987)

The Kremlin Letter (1970)

Mephisto (1981)

Spartacus (1960)

Exodus (1960)

Patton (1970)

Nixon (1995)

Special mention to The Godlen Bowl. It is a historic epic book and a decent Merchant-Ivory film.

by Anonymousreply 2October 15, 2021 4:41 PM

The Golden Bowl****

I am the OP of the Nicholas and Alexandra thread. LOL

by Anonymousreply 3October 15, 2021 4:42 PM

Ben Hur!!!

by Anonymousreply 4October 15, 2021 4:45 PM

Becket (1964) is, in my opinion, the best acted movie ever made. Add it to the list.

Peter O'Toole, Richard Burton, Sir John Gielgud, and SIR DONALD WOLFIT make this movie.

by Anonymousreply 5October 15, 2021 4:46 PM

Can we include series or is it strictly movies? How about The Borgias?

by Anonymousreply 6October 15, 2021 4:48 PM

R2's list needs Last of the Mohicans and Gladiator.

by Anonymousreply 7October 15, 2021 4:50 PM

r5, don't forget the wonderful Martita Hunt!

by Anonymousreply 8October 15, 2021 4:51 PM

Dr Zhivago, of course.

by Anonymousreply 9October 15, 2021 4:53 PM

The King and I

The other movie with David Niven and Deborah Kerr maybe(?). Can't remember the name but supposed to be good.

by Anonymousreply 10October 15, 2021 4:54 PM

55 Days at Peking !

Charlton Heston, Ava Gardner, David Niven, Harry Andrews, and Leo Genn.

by Anonymousreply 11October 15, 2021 4:58 PM

r2/r3, expanding on my list from your thread (off the top of my head):

Doctor Zhivago (1965)

Titanic (1997)

Ben-Hur (1959)

Once Upon a Time in the West (1968)

The English Patient (1996)

The Leopard (1963)

Indochine (1992)

Sunstroke (2014)

The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957)

My Fair Lady (1964)

Saving Private Ryan (1998)

Exodus (1960)

Patton (1970)

Khartoum (1966)

Cold Mountain (2003)

The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

Gladiator (2000)

Barabbas (1961)

King of Kings (1961)

Germinal (1993)

1917 (2019)

Joyeux Noel (2005)

The Right Stuff (1983)

Zulu (1964)

Enemy at the Gates (2001)

War and Peace (1966-68)

Glory (1989)

Rob Roy (1995)

Danton (1983)

by Anonymousreply 12October 15, 2021 4:59 PM

Two wonderful French ones are the stunning Horseman on the Roof, basically love in the time of cholera in Aix En Provence and Queen Margot with evil Catherine de Medici poisoning everyone and unleashing the worst and most brutal wedding in history.

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by Anonymousreply 13October 15, 2021 5:00 PM

R12 Great list! Istvan Szabo has some GREAT historical movies: Mephisto, Confidence, Colonel Redl, and Sunshine with Ralph Fiennes.

Ralph Fiennes in Eugene Onegrin is great, too! Read the Pushkin novel, watch the Tchaikovsky opera, and the watch the Fiennes film.

by Anonymousreply 14October 15, 2021 5:01 PM

Forgot about Queen Margot, love that film. And, of course, the nude scene with Vincent Perez!

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by Anonymousreply 15October 15, 2021 5:03 PM

Historical epics center on some real event or person from the past. I don't think My Fair Lady or The English Patient qualifies. Though the characters may be based on real people and events, the central stories are largely fiction.

by Anonymousreply 16October 15, 2021 5:04 PM


Dances with Wolves


Marie Antoinette by Sofia Coppola


Schindler's List

All This and Heaven Too

by Anonymousreply 17October 15, 2021 5:08 PM

No Out of Africa yet?

by Anonymousreply 18October 15, 2021 5:12 PM

r16, I'm genre-fluid -- if a movie is set in the past, is lengthy (generally more than two hours), and features characters experiencing events directly impacted by the time period they're living in, I consider it a historical epic -- thus, My Fair Lady and The English Patient are historical epics to me.

by Anonymousreply 19October 15, 2021 5:14 PM

My Fair Lady? Historical Epic?


by Anonymousreply 20October 15, 2021 5:18 PM

The continually overlooked and under appreciated Reds.

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by Anonymousreply 21October 15, 2021 5:18 PM

The magnificent and visually stunning Gandhi.

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by Anonymousreply 22October 15, 2021 5:23 PM

R12 understands the assignment.

by Anonymousreply 23October 15, 2021 5:26 PM

I don't think REDS has been overlooked.

by Anonymousreply 24October 15, 2021 8:04 PM

R22 Gandhi is great! I own it on Blu Ray. Ben Kingsley leads an epic cast-

Martin Sheen, Sir John Gielgud, Candace Bergen, Trevor Howard, John Mills, Rosen Seth, Ian Charleson, Edward Fox, Nigel Hawthorne, Michael Hordern, Richard Vernon, and, of course Rohini Hattangadi as Kasturba.

by Anonymousreply 25October 15, 2021 8:19 PM

A historical epic can't simply be "set in the past." It has to be about history happening: it should show people struggling thought major historical events while dressed in fancy clothes. Indeed, ideally, it should feature a romance that contrasts the humanity of individual characters with relentless forces out of their control. There should also be lots of extras, famous actors playing real historical figures, and a sweeping score. Dr. Zhivago may be the perfect example of the historical epic.

by Anonymousreply 26October 15, 2021 9:14 PM

[quote] and, of course Rohini Hattangadi as Kasturba.

Of course.

by Anonymousreply 27October 15, 2021 9:41 PM

[quote] The other movie with David Niven and Deborah Kerr maybe(?). Can't remember the name but supposed to be good.

No, incorrect.

by Anonymousreply 28October 15, 2021 9:42 PM

I think a historical epic has to be based on historical figures, not fictional ones. Otherwise, it’s a period drama.

by Anonymousreply 29October 15, 2021 9:43 PM

Historical Epics are movies with an interval {for emptying the bladder).

by Anonymousreply 30October 15, 2021 9:45 PM

[quote] The other movie with David Niven and Deborah Kerr maybe(?)

Casino Royale?

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by Anonymousreply 31October 15, 2021 9:46 PM

[quote] It is my favorite genre.

I agree, R2. They need to be seen on the big screen.

Unfortunately all the historical epics since Brad Pitt's 'Troy' are digital cartoons other than real movies.

by Anonymousreply 32October 15, 2021 10:12 PM

Mary Queen of Scots (the Redgrave / Jackson one). I know it’s cheesy but I just love it.

by Anonymousreply 33October 15, 2021 10:19 PM

Love the Biblical ones: King of Kings, Greatest Story Ever Told, The Robe, Quo Vadis, Demetrius and the Gladiators. And I'm an atheist.

by Anonymousreply 34October 16, 2021 1:26 PM

"My Fair Lady" is not a "historical epic"!! Good grief, Charlie Brown!

by Anonymousreply 35October 16, 2021 1:45 PM

Kolberg (1945)

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by Anonymousreply 36October 16, 2021 6:15 PM

It isn’t for you, r35.

by Anonymousreply 37October 16, 2021 6:15 PM

"The Birth of a Nation" and "Intolerance" (of course).

by Anonymousreply 38October 16, 2021 6:16 PM

My Fair Lady is NOT an epic.

by Anonymousreply 39October 16, 2021 6:16 PM

Farewell My Concubine and Memoirs of a Geisha count for me as I don’t know much about those cultures and it’s a sweeping lesson within the story.

by Anonymousreply 40October 16, 2021 6:43 PM

The Last Emperor is the best, hands down, of this genre.

by Anonymousreply 41October 16, 2021 6:47 PM

Danton's Death

by Anonymousreply 42October 16, 2021 8:37 PM

Lion in Winter (1968) Hepburn, O'Toole, Hopkins, Dalton...

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by Anonymousreply 43October 16, 2021 9:12 PM

If it originated on the stage, it ain’t an EPIC.

by Anonymousreply 44October 16, 2021 9:17 PM

Last night I started the 1927 silent "Napoleon." It's five and half hours long, so I'll be watching in installments. So far it's beautifully and imaginatively shot, seems technically advanced for its day, but I have to roll my eyes at how abjectly worshipful it is of its subject. But worth viewing if you're fond of historical epics and/or film history.

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by Anonymousreply 45October 16, 2021 9:22 PM

Maybe a little tighter and more recent then most epics, but the depiction of Prague Spring and its effects on a handful of characters in The Unbearable Lightness of Being is an amazing sweeping film and actually holds up to and is the equal of the book.

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by Anonymousreply 46October 16, 2021 9:29 PM

Has The Year of Living Dangerously and Hotel Rwanda been mentioned yet?

by Anonymousreply 47October 16, 2021 9:30 PM

Not every movie that takes place during historic events is an historical epic.

An epic has grand set pieces, spectacular costumes, extravagant locations and many characters.

by Anonymousreply 48October 16, 2021 9:37 PM

My emphasis is on the epicness of the historical moment in time- historically, politically, emotionally and the impact on people, not the sets and the costumes it can pull off. The latter are obviously the people championing My Fair Lady, instead of a film capturing genocide and the slaughter of populations.

by Anonymousreply 49October 16, 2021 9:41 PM

I place My Fair Lady in the context of the time period, the role of class, and the role of sex. Thus, it's an epic to me.

by Anonymousreply 50October 16, 2021 9:50 PM

Saw The Last Duel today. A solid entry in the genre.

by Anonymousreply 51October 16, 2021 9:51 PM

If everyone gets to declare their favorite movie an epic, all order breaks down. Is that what you want?

by Anonymousreply 52October 16, 2021 9:52 PM

Could you say it's an epic musical?

How about The Sound of Music? Surely, that qualifies as a historical epic.

by Anonymousreply 53October 16, 2021 9:56 PM


by Anonymousreply 54October 16, 2021 10:03 PM

If you allow SoM in, you open the door for Cabaret, do you really want that to happen?

by Anonymousreply 55October 16, 2021 10:32 PM

How about Fiddler on the Roof?

by Anonymousreply 56October 16, 2021 10:41 PM


by Anonymousreply 57October 16, 2021 10:42 PM

Co-sign on R41. Superb on every level, I wish they would release a new print, it might get me back to a theater.

by Anonymousreply 58October 16, 2021 11:48 PM

The Vikings! Curtis, Leigh, Douglas, Borgnine! And the delicious Frank Thring.

by Anonymousreply 59October 17, 2021 12:17 AM

[quote] And the delicious Frank Thring

I wonder why George Cukor vetoed him doing Zoltan Karpathy?

Perhaps Frank was just little too, too, over-the-top and camp.

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by Anonymousreply 60October 17, 2021 12:28 AM

The Last Emperor is a great choice, R41: fascinating story, great-looking cast, stunning cinematography and music, war and social upheaval. It even has Peter O’Toole in it, which is practically a genre requirement.

by Anonymousreply 61October 17, 2021 1:28 AM

Is there a movie app - like Mubi or Dekko - but devoted entirely to historical films and TV shows? If not, would you like one?

I would, and the menu would be designed around time period and location. For example, you start with the early 20th century, then Russia, and you have Doctor Zhivago, Nicholas and Alexandra, Reds, Sunstroke, etc.

by Anonymousreply 62October 19, 2021 8:23 PM
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