Historic movies are epic masterpieces highlighting popular and lesser known events. Are you a fan of historical movies? Take this quiz and see how many you can name from a screenshot!
The story of William Wallace is brought to life in Mel Gibson's 1995 epic, "Braveheart." Wallace, a Scottish warrior in the 13th Century, led his countrymen in an attempt to gain independence from England. After receiving 12 nominations for the 68th Academy Awards, Braveheart won five Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director. Gibson shot the movie in order, so the first scene in the movie was the first scene filmed. This is not often done in filming.
1997's "Titanic," a film by James Cameron, was a massive blockbuster. Starring Leonardo di Caprio and Kate Winslett, it tells the fictional love story of a couple during the maiden voyage and sinking of the Titanic. Gloria Stuart, aged 87, was nominated for Best Supporting Actress, making her the oldest person ever to be nominated for the award. It was also the first movie in which the same character actresses (young Rose and old Rose, played by Winslett and Stuart) were nominated for Academy Awards.
A Steven Spielberg classic, "Saving Private Ryan" is a war drama that tells the story of the search for an American paratrooper. It stars Tom Hanks in the lead role and a host of other Hollywood actors. The movie has some of the most epic battle scenes ever filmed, including the opening sequence detailing the American landings at Normandy. The movie won five Academy Awards, including Best Director for Spielberg.
A 1987 movie starring Kevin Costner, Robert de Niro and Shaun Connery, "The Untouchables" tells the true story of federal agent Elliot Ness and his efforts to bring down gangster Al Capone. The movie was nominated for four Academy Awards with Sean Connery winning for Best Supporting Actor, his only Oscar to date. Bob Hoskins was paid $300,000 to be a backup to play the part of Al Capone if Robert de Niro turned it down.
2012's "Lincoln," directed by Steven Spielberg, sees Daniel Day-Lewis playing the iconic American President. It focuses on a period after the American Civil War and Lincoln's final few months in office. During filming, Spielberg insisted on calling actors by their characters names. Lincoln was nominated for 12 Academy Awards. Daniel Day-Lewis won the Oscar for Best Actor.
Produced and directed by Cecil B. De Mille, 1956's "The Ten Commandments" is considered a film epic. It tells the biblical story of Moses and the Israelites, their escape from Egypt, and Moses receiving the Ten Commandments from God. At the end of the movie, Moses says “Go, proclaim liberty throughout all the lands, unto all the inhabitants thereof!” This quote is also found on the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia.
Starring Kirk Douglas and directed by the legendary Stanley Kubrick, "Spartacus" was based on the novel by Howard Fast. It tells the story of Spartacus, a slave turned Gladiator who leads a revolt against Roman senator Marcus Licinius Crassus (played by Laurence Olivier). Spartacus won four Academy Awards. Kubrick was not the original director. He was brought in when Anthony Mann left the project after just a week.
"Gangs of New York" tells the story of the Five Points district in New York during the mid-1800s. Although many of the characters are fictional, some are based on actual people from that era. The movie was directed by Martin Scorsese and features Daniel Day-Lewis and Leonardo DiCaprio. Scorsese acquired the rights to the book on which the movie is based in 1979 but it took him another 23 years to film it. Lewis had to be convinced to join the cast after not having acted in over five years.
Part of a set of war movies directed by Clint Eastwood, "Letters From Iwo Jima" tells the story of the battle for that island from a Japanese perspective. "Flags Of Our Fathers," its companion movie, gives the American side of the story. The movie stars Ken Watanabe. It is one of only nine foreign language films ever nominated for an Academy Award for Best Picture.
Set in the Crusades of the 12th Century, "Kingdom Of Heaven" was directed by Ridley Scott and stars Orlando Bloom, Jeremy Irons, and Liam Neeson. It is very loosely based on the life of a crusader called Balian of Ibelin. Although the movie wasn't particularly well received when it was released, Scott's director's cut received much more critical acclaim.
An American Civil War movie, "Glory" tells the story of Robert Gold Shaw, a commander of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment, a contingent of black troops who fought for the Union forces. Both Shaw and this troops battle prejudice, showing their bravery time and time again. Shaw was killed with many of his troops while assaulting the Confederate fort at Fort Wagner. "Glory" won three Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor for Denzel Washington.
A period drama based on Solomon Northrup's memoirs of the same name, "12 Years A Slave" follows the story of a born free African-American who is captured and taken into slavery for 12 years. It features Chiwetel Ejiofor in the lead role, along with Benedict Cumberbatch, Michael Fassbender, and Brad Pitt. Directed by Steve McQueen, this movie received critical acclaim and won three Oscars, including Best Picture.
Based on the 1959 Cornelius Ryan book of the same name, "The Longest Day" shows the allies landing at the beaches of Normandy on D-Day, June 6, 1944. The movie included a who's who of acting talent, including John Wayne, Kenneth More, Sean Connery, Robert Mitchum and Richard Burton. To ensure authenticity, the directors (of which there were five) used consultants from both allied and axis forces from World War II. Despite this, Dwight Eisenhower walked out of a screening of the movie, after finding what he thought to be inaccuracies.
A 1993 movie directed by Steven Spielberg, "Schindler's" List tells the true story of Oskar Schindler, a german businessman who saved over 1,000 Jewish lives during World War II. The movie, which is the most expensive black and white film ever produced, won seven Academy Awards, including Best Director and Best Film.
1992's "The Last Of The Mohicans" was directed by Michael Mann and stars Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead role. It is based on a book of the same name by James Fenimore Cooper, as well as a 1936 movie. Initially, the movie was three hours long but Mann cut it to 112 minutes. Method actor Day-Lewis prepared for his role by staying in the woods for days, as well as learning to hunt and skin animals.
"Ben-Hur," an epic released in 1959, stars Charlton Heston in the lead role. This was movie-making on a grand scale, with more than 300 sets constructed in and around Rome. In total, the sets covered 340 acres. The movie is known for its incredible chariot racing scene orchestrated by famed stuntman, Yakima Canutt. The chariot race alone cost $4 million and was shot over a period of 10 weeks. Ben Hur won 11 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Film, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor.
"Gandhi," with Ben Kingsley in the lead role, tells the real-life story of Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi who encouraged non-violent civil disobedience as a way to fight for India's independence from Great Britain. Director Richard Attenborough had the idea for the movie first in 1962 but had to wait 20 years to make it. His movie won 8 Academy Awards, including Best Picture, Best Actor and Best Director. Interestingly, Gandhi's funeral scene used over 400,000 extras!
This is the story of a ruthless Spanish conquistador who is part of an expedition to find El Dorado, the mythical seven cities of gold in Peru.
With Don Cheadle in the lead role, "Hotel Rwanda," directed by Terry George, tells the story of Paul Rusesabagina, a hotel manager who gives shelter to refugees during the Rwandan genocide of 1994. Rusesabagina saved the lives of over 1,200 people. The movie was nominated for three Academy Awards, including Best Actor for Cheadle.
"Black Hawk Down" tells the true story of the Battle of Mogadishu in Somalia in 1993. U.S. Forces are tasked with capturing militia leader Mohamed Farrah Aidid. But things go terribly wrong, leaving them in direct conflict with Aidid's militia. The movie is an adaption of Mark Bowden's book of the same name and stars Josh Hartnett, Ewan McGregor and Tom Sizemore. "Black Hawk Down" was directed by Ridley Scott.
A film by Bernardo Bertolucci, 1987's "The Last Emperor" tells the story of Pu-Yi, the last emperor of China and the Ching Dynasty. It covers his life from 1908 to 1967 and is told in a series of flashbacks. The movie was given the full backing of the Chinese government at the time, a rarity considering that the Cold War was in full swing. Producer Jeremy Thomas raised the $25 million budget needed for this independent film by himself. "The Last Emperor" won nine Academy Awards.
A film that shows a reluctant future King George VI (Colin Firth) and how he had to take over the monarchy after his brother's abdication. The only problem is that he stuttered profusely. His wife enlisted Lionel Logue (Geoffrey Rush), a speech therapist, to help him with his problem. Although these events did happen, the movie was criticized for the time frame in which it depicted them. "The King's Speech" won four Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Actor.
"The Lion In Winter," released in 1968 and starring Peter O'Toole, Catherine Hepburn and Anthony Hopkins tells the story of King Henry II and his three sons, all who want to inherit his throne. Henry wants John to be the next king, while his wife, Elizabeth, wants Richard to follow his father. The movie is based on a Broadway play of the same name by James Goldman.
2004's "Downfall" tells the story of Hitler and his final days in his bunker in Berlin as told by his secretary. This German movie was released in Germany and Austria under the name "Der Untergang." Bruno Ganz, who plays Hitler in the movie, originally didn't want to play the role. Most of Hitler's lines in the movie were things he actually said, and were not scripted.
Oliver Stone's "JFK," released in 1991, tells the story of attorney Jim Garrison and his attempts to prove that the assassination of Kennedy included some high-level cover-ups. The movie also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Kevin Bacon, and Gary Oldman. IIt cost $4 million to make Dealey Plaza look the way it would have in 1963. The movie was nominated for eight Academy Awards, winning two.
With Helen Mirren playing Queen Elizabeth II, "The Queen" focuses on the British Royal Family after the death of Princess Diana in 1997. Mirren won an Oscar for her role and even impressed the real Queen Elizabeth II, who invited her to Buckingham Palace for dinner. Her performance so impressed the audience at the Venice Film Festival, she received a five-minute standing ovation.
"Ip Man" is the story about a martial arts expert who suffers under the Japanese invasion of China in 1937. The Grand Master of Wing Chun (a form of martial arts) portrayed in this movie taught Bruce Lee. The lead role in Ip Man is played by Donnie Yen.
Based on the novel by Thomas Berger, 1970s "Little Big Man" was directed by Arthur Penn and stars Dustin Hoffman in the lead role. It tells the story of Jack Crabb who recounts how he was raised by Indians and fought with General Custer at the Battle of Little Big Horn. Little Big Man was an actual historical figure, an Indian Chief who was a rival of Crazy Horse and who fought at the Battle of Big Horn.
1962's "Lawrence of Arabia," directed by David Lean and starring Peter O' Toole tells the true story of T.E. Lawrence, a British Army officer who united a number of Arab tribes to fight against the Turks during World War II. After it was nominated for 10 Academy Awards, the movie went on to win seven, including Best Picture and Best Director. At 227 minutes, Lawrence of Arabia is the longest running film with no speaking parts for women.
Based on events during the Algerian war of 1954 to 1962, "The Battle of Algiers" (La Bataille d'Alger) was commissioned by the Algerian government. The movie uses ordinary people in most of the scenes, based on their resemblance to actual historical figures. The movie has only has one professional actor in it, Jean Martin.
A movie depicting the 1981 hunger strike undertaken by Bobby Sands, an IRA activist, "Hunger" was directed by Steve McQueen and stars Michael Fassbender. To prepare for the part, Fassbender went on a crash diet monitored by doctors. The movie also includes a 17-minute shot where the camera doesn't move at all.
2008's "Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan" was directed by Sergei Bodrov. It tells the story of Genghis Khan and how he rose to be the leader of the Mongols, and the most powerful person on earth. Many locations used during the shooting of the movie were extremely remote and the production company built roads to access them easier. Because of the diversity of the crew and extras during shooting, the production company also employed 30 interpreters to help overcome language barriers.
1981's German-made "Das Boot" (The Boat) tells the story of a U-Boat crew during World War II. It was directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Petersen wanted everything to be as accurate as possible so during filming, actors were not allowed outside, helping their skin stay pale as it would have had they been on a submarine for months. Actors also had to act in enclosed interiors, with very little area to move. Das Boot was nominated for six Academy Awards.
"The Last Samurai" tells the story of an American military advisor (played Tom Cruise). After he is captured by Samurai, a group he is supposed to be helping to defeat together with government troops, he learns their culture and sides with them. Cruise spent close to two years in preparation for the movie, not only learning Japanese, but sword skills as well. The movie has some epic battle scenes with a body count of over 558.
Directed by legendary Hong Kong director John Woo, "Red Cliff" (his first Chinese-language film since 1992) tells the story of the end of the Han Dynasty in China. This followed the Battle of Red Cliffs in around 209 AD. The movie cost over $80 million to film, making it the most expensive Asian movie ever produced.
Based on a graphic Frank Miller novel, "300" tells the story of Spartan soldiers at the Battle of Thermopylae. It stars Gerard Butler as Spartan King Leonidas and was directed by Zak Snyder. Butler trained for four months -- four hours per day -- to get into shape for the movie.
"Miracle" tells the story of the U.S. Hockey team's triumph at the 1980 Winter Olympics, an event dubbed 'The Miracle on Ice.' It was directed by Gavin o' Connor and stars Kurt Russell in the lead role. The film, including its dialogue, is a very accurate depiction of the actual events. Many of the actors landed their roles mostly due to their ability to play hockey.
Based on J.G. Ballard's novel, 1987's "Empire Of The Sun" was directed by Steven Spielberg and features John Malkovich and a very young Christian Bale. It tells the story of a young British boy who is sent to a Japanese internment camp in China before World War II, after the Japanese invasion of that country. Bale was chosen for his part ahead of 4,000 other boys who auditioned. It was his first major role.
From director Ron Howard, "Apollo 13" tells the real-life story of astronauts Jim Lovell, Jack Swigert and Fred Haise and their trip to the moon aboard Apollo 13 -- a trip that that went horribly wrong. It stars Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, and Bill Paxton. For the zero-gravity sequence, Howard got permission to use a K-135 aircraft used by NASA. It generates a form of weightlessness by diving steeply from 38,000 feet to 15,000 feet.
Set in South America in the 18th Century, "The Mission" tells the story of a missionary tasked with building a mission for local Gurani Indians. He ends up having to protect them from an unscrupulous slave trader. The film stars Jeremy Irons and Robert DeNiro and was directed by Roland Joffe. Irons' character is loosely based on Jesuit Roque González de Santa Cruz, a Paraguayan priest. "The Mission" won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography.
Directed by and starring Ben Affleck and George Clooney, "Argo" tells the story of a C.I.A. agent attempting to rescue six American hostages in Iran in 1980.
Based on the Tom Wolff book of the same name, 1983's "The Right Stuff" tells the story of the start of the American space program and follows the Mercury astronauts over a 15-year period. It was directed by Phillip Kaufman and stars Ed Harris, Dennis Quad, and Sam Shepard. Ed Harris auditioned twice for the movie. After his first audition, he requested another, thinking the first had gone poorly. He got the part of John Glenn. Although it didn't do well at the box office, "The Right Stuff" is recognized as one of the best movies of the 80s.
This Clint Eastwood-directed movie tells the story of how Nelson Mandela used the power of sport to help unite South Africans a year into their new democracy. It features Matt Damon, and Morgan Freeman as Mandela. Both earned Academy Award nominations for their roles.
1961's "Judgment At Nuremberg" is a drama about the Nazi trials after World War II. It features a stellar cast including Spencer Tracey, Burt Lancaster, Marlene Dietrich and Judy Garland. It focuses primarily on the trials of German judges who allowed atrocities to happen to their own people. The movie was nominated for 11 Academy Awards. Lancaster won for Best Supporting Actor and the writer Abby Mann won for Best Adapted Screenplay. "Judgment At Nuremberg" received two nominations for Best Actor (Maximilian Schell and Spencer Tracy), one of only seven films ever to do so.
Directed by Peter Weir, "The Way Back" tells the story of a Polish prisoner of war who escaped Soviet captivity during World War II and walked 4,000 miles to freedom. It is based on the memoir of Sławomir Rawicz and features Colin Farrel, Ed Harris and Jim Sturgess in the lead roles.
A film by Roman Polanski, "The Pianist" tells the story of composer Wladyslaw Szpilman and his harrowing experience in Warsaw during World War II. It features Adrien Brody in the lead role. Brody lost 14kg (almost 31 pounds) to play the role of Szpilman. The movie won both Best Director and Best Actor (Brody) at the 75th Academy Awards.
Based on the actual events of 9/11, "United 93" tells the story of the passengers aboard the United Airlines flight that crashed in Pennsylvania after passengers fought back against hijackers. It was written and directed by Paul Greengrass.
Based on the atrocities perpetrated by the Khmer Rouge in Cambodia, "The Killing Fields" is a 1984 movie directed by Roland Joffe and with Sam Waterson, Haing S. Ngor andJohn Malkovich in the lead roles. Ngor won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor. IHe became the first Buddhist to win an Oscar. His wife had died during the Khmer Rouge's reign in Cambodia.
Written and directed by Michael Mann, 2009's "Public Enemies" tells the story of attempts by U.S. authorities to capture notorious gangsters, John Dillinger and Baby Face Nelson in the 1930s. The movie stars Johnny Depp and Christian Bale. The movie's title is not shown in the opening credits, only at the end of the film.
Robert Redford's "Quiz Show," a movie from 1994, tells the story of Charles Van Doren and the corruption in early quiz shows on U.S. television. The movie stars John Turturro and Ralph Fiennes.