Best Historical Epics

by jaredpahl | created - 31 Jul 2018 | updated - 2 weeks ago | Public

A list of the greatest Hollywood Epics, with a slant towards historical action. Be it sword-and-sandals, Medieval knights, martial arts, or low fantasy, these are the biggest, best, and most thrilling epics I've seen.

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1. Braveheart (1995)

R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History

68 Metascore

When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen

Votes: 899,588 | Gross: $75.60M

2. Gladiator (2000)

R | 155 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

67 Metascore

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

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen, Oliver Reed

Votes: 1,227,580 | Gross: $187.71M

3. Troy (2004)

R | 163 min | Drama, History

56 Metascore

An adaptation of Homer's great epic, the film follows the assault on Troy by the united Greek forces and chronicles the fates of the men involved.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Julian Glover

Votes: 456,508 | Gross: $133.38M

4. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

R | 144 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

63 Metascore

Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the Crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, Martin Hancock

Votes: 252,154 | Gross: $47.40M

5. Lawrence of Arabia (1962)

Approved | 216 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

100 Metascore

The story of T.E. Lawrence, the English officer who successfully united and led the diverse, often warring, Arab tribes during World War I in order to fight the Turks.

Director: David Lean | Stars: Peter O'Toole, Alec Guinness, Anthony Quinn, Jack Hawkins

Votes: 245,837 | Gross: $44.82M

6. The Last Samurai (2003)

R | 154 min | Action, Drama, War

55 Metascore

An American military advisor embraces the Samurai culture he was hired to destroy after he is captured in battle.

Director: Edward Zwick | Stars: Tom Cruise, Ken Watanabe, Billy Connolly, William Atherton

Votes: 373,417 | Gross: $111.11M

7. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (2000)

PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

93 Metascore

A young Chinese warrior steals a sword from a famed swordsman and then escapes into a world of romantic adventure with a mysterious man in the frontier of the nation.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Yun-Fat Chow, Michelle Yeoh, Ziyi Zhang, Chen Chang

Votes: 241,534 | Gross: $128.08M

8. 300 (2006)

R | 117 min | Action, Drama, Fantasy

52 Metascore

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

Director: Zack Snyder | Stars: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West

Votes: 696,955 | Gross: $210.61M

9. Henry V (1989)

PG-13 | 137 min | Action, Biography, Drama

83 Metascore

In the midst of the Hundred Years War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Simon Shepherd, James Larkin

Votes: 26,706 | Gross: $10.16M

10. Outlaw King (2018)

R | 121 min | Action, Biography, Drama

59 Metascore

A true 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 occupying English army.

Director: David Mackenzie | Stars: Chris Pine, Stephen Dillane, Rebecca Robin, Billy Howle

Votes: 46,988

11. House of Flying Daggers (2004)

PG-13 | 119 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

89 Metascore

A romantic police captain breaks a beautiful member of a rebel group out of prison to help her rejoin her fellows, but things are not what they seem.

Director: Yimou Zhang | Stars: Ziyi Zhang, Takeshi Kaneshiro, Andy Lau, Dandan Song

Votes: 102,964 | Gross: $11.05M

12. The Patriot (2000)

R | 165 min | Action, Drama, History

63 Metascore

Peaceful farmer Benjamin Martin is driven to lead the Colonial Militia during the American Revolution when a sadistic British officer murders his son.

Director: Roland Emmerich | Stars: Mel Gibson, Heath Ledger, Joely Richardson, Jason Isaacs

Votes: 239,518 | Gross: $113.33M

13. Noah (2014)

PG-13 | 138 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

68 Metascore

Noah (Russell Crowe) is chosen by God to undertake a momentous mission before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the world.

Director: Darren Aronofsky | Stars: Russell Crowe, Jennifer Connelly, Anthony Hopkins, Emma Watson

Votes: 230,860 | Gross: $101.20M

14. The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)

Approved | 188 min | Drama, History, War

The death of Marcus Aurelius leads to a succession crisis, in which the deceased emperor's son, Commodus, demonstrates that he is unwilling to let anything undermine his claim to the Roman Empire.

Director: Anthony Mann | Stars: Sophia Loren, Stephen Boyd, Alec Guinness, James Mason

Votes: 7,518 | Gross: $4.75M

15. Hero (2002)

PG-13 | 107 min | Action, Adventure, History

85 Metascore

A defense officer, Nameless, was summoned by the King of Qin regarding his success of terminating three warriors.

Director: Yimou Zhang | Stars: Jet Li, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ziyi Zhang

Votes: 167,011 | Gross: $53.71M

16. Excalibur (1981)

PG | 140 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

56 Metascore

Merlin the magician helps Arthur Pendragon unite the Britons around the Round Table of Camelot, even as dark forces conspire to tear it apart.

Director: John Boorman | Stars: Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay, Cherie Lunghi

Votes: 54,029 | Gross: $34.97M

17. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

PG-13 | 138 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

81 Metascore

During the Napoleonic Wars, a brash British captain pushes his ship and crew to their limits in pursuit of a formidable French war vessel around South America.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd, James D'Arcy

Votes: 190,680 | Gross: $93.93M

18. Clash of the Titans (2010)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

39 Metascore

Perseus demigod, son of Zeus, battles the minions of the underworld to stop them from conquering heaven and earth.

Director: Louis Leterrier | Stars: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Ralph Fiennes, Jason Flemyng

Votes: 258,399 | Gross: $163.21M

19. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

R | 112 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

76 Metascore

Three trappers protect the daughters of a British Colonel in the midst of the French and Indian War.

Director: Michael Mann | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means, Eric Schweig

Votes: 137,646 | Gross: $75.51M

20. The Last Emperor (1987)

PG-13 | 163 min | Biography, Drama, History

76 Metascore

The story of the final Emperor of China.

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci | Stars: John Lone, Joan Chen, Peter O'Toole, Ruocheng Ying

Votes: 85,880 | Gross: $43.98M

21. Wrath of the Titans (2012)

PG-13 | 99 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

37 Metascore

Perseus braves the treacherous underworld to rescue his father, Zeus, captured by his son, Ares, and brother Hades who unleash the ancient Titans upon the world.

Director: Jonathan Liebesman | Stars: Sam Worthington, Liam Neeson, Rosamund Pike, Ralph Fiennes

Votes: 173,618 | Gross: $83.67M

22. Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (2007)

R | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

74 Metascore

The story recounts the early life of Genghis Khan who was a slave before going on to conquer half the world in 1206.

Director: Sergei Bodrov | Stars: Tadanobu Asano, Amadu Mamadakov, Khulan Chuluun, Honglei Sun

Votes: 42,456 | Gross: $5.70M

23. Hercules (I) (2014)

PG-13 | 98 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

47 Metascore

Having endured his legendary twelve labors, Hercules, the Greek demigod, has his life as a sword-for-hire tested when the King of Thrace and his daughter seek his aid in defeating a tyrannical warlord.

Director: Brett Ratner | Stars: Dwayne Johnson, John Hurt, Ian McShane, Joseph Fiennes

Votes: 138,163 | Gross: $72.69M

24. King Arthur (2004)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

46 Metascore

A demystified take on the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Clive Owen, Stephen Dillane, Keira Knightley, Ioan Gruffudd

Votes: 152,770 | Gross: $51.88M

25. The Eagle (2011)

PG-13 | 114 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

55 Metascore

In Roman-ruled Britain, a young Roman soldier endeavors to honor his father's memory by finding his lost legion's golden emblem.

Director: Kevin Macdonald | Stars: Channing Tatum, Jamie Bell, Donald Sutherland, István Göz

Votes: 61,952 | Gross: $19.49M

26. Alexander (2004)

R | 175 min | Action, Biography, Drama

39 Metascore

Alexander (Colin Farrell), the King of Macedonia and one of the greatest army leaders in the history of warfare, conquers much of the known world.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson, Angelina Jolie

Votes: 155,441 | Gross: $34.30M



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