Dramatisations, Docudramas About Historical Events

by ursulahemard | created - 09 Oct 2017 | updated - 1 month ago | Public

Historic Dramatisations which are as accurate as possible to real events and real people and are supported by history buffs, teachers, students .... work in progress ... suggestions wellcome!

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1. 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: 88,346 | Gross: $43.98M

2. Nicholas and Alexandra (1971)

GP | 183 min | Biography, Drama, History

Tsar Nicholas II, the inept last monarch of Russia, insensitive to the needs of his people, is overthrown and exiled to Siberia with his family.

Director: Franklin J. Schaffner | Stars: Michael Jayston, Janet Suzman, Roderic Noble, Ania Marson

Votes: 4,134

3. Downfall (2004)

R | 156 min | Biography, Drama, History

82 Metascore

Traudl Junge, the final secretary for Adolf Hitler, tells of the Nazi dictator's final days in his Berlin bunker at the end of WWII.

Director: Oliver Hirschbiegel | Stars: Bruno Ganz, Alexandra Maria Lara, Ulrich Matthes, Juliane Köhler

Votes: 315,704 | Gross: $5.51M

4. John Adams (2008)

TV-14 | 71 min | Biography, Drama, History

The life of one of the USA's Founding Fathers, its second President, and his role in the nation's first 50 years.

Stars: Paul Giamatti, Laura Linney, John Dossett, Stephen Dillane

Votes: 26,299

5. Gettysburg (1993)

PG | 271 min | Drama, History, War

In 1863, the Northern and Southern forces fight at Gettysburg in the decisive battle of the American Civil War.

Director: Ron Maxwell | Stars: Tom Berenger, Martin Sheen, Stephen Lang, Richard Jordan

Votes: 25,088 | Gross: $10.77M

6. Kagemusha (1980)

PG | 162 min | Drama, History, War

84 Metascore

A petty thief with an utter resemblance to a samurai warlord is hired as the lord's double. When the warlord later dies the thief is forced to take up arms in his place.

Director: Akira Kurosawa | Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Tsutomu Yamazaki, Ken'ichi Hagiwara, Jinpachi Nezu

Votes: 29,870

7. Culloden (1964 TV Movie)

69 min | Drama, History, War

A reconstruction of the Battle of Culloden, the last battle to take place on British soil, as if modern TV cameras were present.

Director: Peter Watkins | Stars: Tony Cosgrove, Olivier Espitalier-Noel, Don Fairservice, George McBean

Votes: 1,332

8. A Man for All Seasons (1966)

G | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

72 Metascore

The story of Sir Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarry.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw, Leo McKern

Votes: 29,278 | Gross: $28.35M

9. Cromwell (1970)

G | 139 min | Biography, Drama, History

Oliver Cromwell can no longer tolerate King Charles' policies, and the self-interest of the ruling class, and leads a civil war to install Parliament as the ultimate ruler of England.

Director: Ken Hughes | Stars: Richard Harris, Alec Guinness, Robert Morley, Dorothy Tutin

Votes: 4,564 | Gross: $0.55M

10. The Romanovs: An Imperial Family (2000)

140 min | Biography, Drama, History

The story of the last year and a half of Tsar Nicholas II and his family from the February Revolution of 1917 to their execution in July 1918.

Director: Gleb Panfilov | Stars: Aleksandr Galibin, Lynda Bellingham, Vladimir Grachyov, Yuliya Novikova

Votes: 255

11. Becket (1964)

PG-13 | 148 min | Biography, Drama, History

68 Metascore

King Henry II of England comes to terms with his affection for his close friend and confidant Thomas Becket, who finds his true honor by observing God's divine will rather than the King's.

Director: Peter Glenville | Stars: Richard Burton, Peter O'Toole, John Gielgud, Gino Cervi

Votes: 13,022

Most of the historical inaccuracies in the film are from the play, as Anouilh was writing drama rather than a history, and he took dramatic licence.

The major inaccuracy is the depiction of Becket as a Saxon who has risen to a perceived Norman social standing, when in fact the historical Thomas Becket was a Norman (while Henry was an Angevin). Anouilh did this because he had based the play on a 19th-century account that described Becket as a Saxon. He had been informed of this error before his play was produced, but decided against correcting it because it would undermine a key point of conflict, and because "history might eventually rediscover that Becket was a Saxon, after all."

Becket is depicted as Henry's loyal "drinking pal", who aids him in illicit romantic entanglements, but who becomes saintly and responsible after his appointment as Archbishop. Passing mention is made in the film of the Constitutions of Clarendon (simply as the "Sixteen Articles"); the struggle between Becket and Henry is boiled down to their conflict over Lord Gilbert's murder of the captive priest. In no way is Becket depicted as a man who desired special legal privileges (defrocking rather than prison) for his clergy, as some believe that he was.

Henry's mother, Empress Matilda, died in 1167, three years before the treaty of Fréteval allowed Becket to return in England. Henry appears to not have any respect for his mother and treats her as something of an annoyance, a rather drastic departure from what is generally held as historical fact. Empress Matilda was Henry's sole parent for much of his childhood, and she was instrumental in shaping Henry into the fierce warrior and skilled administrator he was. Far from seeing his mother as a burden, Henry seems to have adored Matilda and relied heavily on her advice and guidance until her death.

Henry's wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine was in fact beautiful, brilliant and superbly educated, famous for her wit, charm and daring.

She is shown publicly rebuking Henry in a scene near the end of the film, when in fact Eleanor, whatever private reservations she may have had, is not known to have ever behaved in such a manner in public. During the same scene, she says she will go to her father to complain of Henry's treatment of her; however, her father had died decades before, when Eleanor was just 15 years old. It was her father's death that made Eleanor the Duchess of Aquitaine and the most eligible bride of the 12th century, and Henry would not have married her had she not come with Aquitaine. When combined with Henry's own duchies in France, the marriage gave the royal couple control over more land in France than the actual King of France possessed at the time. Also, the film shows Henry and Eleanor as having four children, all boys. In truth Henry and Eleanor had eight children, five sons and three daughters. While the eldest son, William, had died before the events of the film, the three daughters are neglected.

12. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

R | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

96 Metascore

In the antebellum United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery.

Director: Steve McQueen | Stars: Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Kenneth Williams, Michael Fassbender, Brad Pitt

Votes: 602,195 | Gross: $56.67M

Historical accuracy

African-American history and culture scholar Henry Louis Gates Jr. was a consultant on the film, and researcher David Fiske, co-author of Solomon Northup: The Complete Story of the Author of Twelve Years a Slave, provided some material used to market the film. Nevertheless, news and magazine articles around the time of the film's release described a scholar alleging some license that Northup could have taken with his book, and liberties that McQueen definitely took with Northup's original, for dramatic, modernizing, or other reasons.

Scott Feinberg wrote in The Hollywood Reporter about a September 22 New York Times article that "dredged up and highlighted a 1985 essay by another scholar, James Olney, that questioned the 'literal truth' of specific incidents in Northup's account and suggested that David Wilson, the white amanuensis to whom Northup had dictated his story, had taken the liberty of sprucing it up to make it even more effective at rallying public opinion against slavery." According to Olney, when abolitionists invited an ex-slave to share his experience in slavery at an antislavery convention, and when they subsequently funded the appearance of that story in print, "they had certain clear expectations, well understood by themselves and well understood by the ex-slave, too."

Noah Berlatsky wrote in The Atlantic about a scene in McQueen's adaptation. Shortly after Northup's kidnapping, he is sent on a slave ship. One of the sailors attempts to rape a female slave, but is stopped by a male slave. "The sailor unhesitatingly stabs and kills [the male slave]," he wrote, stating that "this seems unlikely on its face—slaves are valuable, and the sailor is not the owner. And, sure enough, the scene is not in the book."

Forrest Wickman of Slate wrote of Northup's book giving a more favorable account of the author's onetime master, William Ford, than the McQueen film. In Northup's own words, "There never was a more kind, noble, candid, Christian man than William Ford," adding that Ford's circumstances "blinded [Ford] to the inherent wrong at the bottom of the system of Slavery." The movie, however, according to Wickham, "frequently undermines Ford." McQueen undercuts Christianity itself as well, in an effort to update the ethical lessons from Northup's story for the 21st century, by holding the institutions of Christianity up to the light for their ability to justify slavery at the time. Northup was a Christian of his time, writing of his former master being "blinded" by "circumstances" that in retrospect meant a racist acceptance of slavery despite being a Christian, a position untenable to Christians now and to Christian abolitionists of the 19th century but not contradictory to Northup himself. Valerie Elverton Dixon in The Washington Post characterized the Christianity depicted in the movie as "broken".

Emily West, an associate professor of history at the University of Reading who specializes in the history of slavery in the U.S., said she had "never seen a film represent slavery so accurately". Reviewing the film for History Extra, the website of BBC History Magazine, she said: "The film starkly and powerfully unveiled the sights and sounds of enslavement – from slaves picking cotton as they sang in the fields, to the crack of the lash down people's backs. We also heard a lot about the ideology behind enslavement. Masters such as William Ford and Edwin Epps, although very different characters, both used an interpretation of Christianity to justify their ownership of slaves. They believed the Bible sanctioned slavery, and that it was their 'Christian duty' to preach the scriptures to their slaves." Wikipedia

13. The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford (2007)

R | 160 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

68 Metascore

Robert Ford, who's idolized Jesse James since childhood, tries hard to join the reforming gang of the Missouri outlaw, but gradually becomes resentful of the bandit leader.

Director: Andrew Dominik | Stars: Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck, Sam Shepard, Mary-Louise Parker

Votes: 161,515 | Gross: $3.90M

14. The Battle of Algiers (1966)

Not Rated | 121 min | Drama, War

96 Metascore

In the 1950s, fear and violence escalate as the people of Algiers fight for independence from the French government.

Director: Gillo Pontecorvo | Stars: Brahim Hadjadj, Jean Martin, Yacef Saadi, Samia Kerbash

Votes: 49,164 | Gross: $0.06M

Not all reception was positive. In France, Cahiers du cinéma devoted a special feature to the film consisting of five articles by critics, philosophers, and film scholars, wherein the negative assessment of the film was cast in such strong terms that it undermined, on moral grounds, the legitimacy of any critic or analyst who did not condemn the film, let alone anyone who dared consider it worthy of filmic attention."

Political controversies in the 1960s The movie produced considerable political controversy in France and was banned there for five years. The topic was controversial because there were differing views on whose side the film was on. Many in France felt the film was too sympathetic to the Algerian view and may be why it was not screened for many years. "A moving film that presented events from the Algerian point of view."

Pontecorvo said "The Algerians put no obstacles in our way because they knew that I'd be making a more or less objective film about the subject. The French authorities, who were very sensitive on the Algerian issue, banned the film for three months." Threats from fascist groups prevented screenings of the film for four years despite Pontecorvo's attempt to make a politically neutral film.

The Battle of Algiers and guerrilla movements: The release of The Battle of Algiers coincided with the decolonization period and national liberation wars, as well as a rising tide of left-wing radicalism in Western nations in which a large minority showed interest in armed struggle. Beginning in the late 1960s, The Battle of Algiers gained a reputation for inspiring political violence; in particular, the tactics of urban guerrilla warfare and terrorism in the movie were supposedly copied by the Black Panthers, the Provisional Irish Republican Army, and the Jammu Kashmir Liberation Front. The Battle of Algiers was apparently also Andreas Baader's favourite movie Wikipedia

15. Black Robe (1991)

R | 101 min | Drama, History, War

In the 17th century, a Jesuit missionary nicknamed Black Robe by the natives and his small party of companions try reaching the Huron tribe in Canada all while facing mistrust, Iroquois warring parties and harsh winter conditions.

Director: Bruce Beresford | Stars: Lothaire Bluteau, Aden Young, Sandrine Holt, August Schellenberg

Votes: 6,057 | Gross: $8.21M

Black Robe was praised as a "magnificently staged combination of top talents delivering a gripping and tragic story",and has been rated one of the most meticulously researched representations of indigenous life put on film. Notably, the film includes dialogue in the Cree, Mohawk, and Algonquin languages. The French characters speak English in the film. Latin is used for Catholic prayers.

Political activist Ward Churchill, after highly praising the film-making, criticized historical inaccuracies. He said he thought the film vilified the Mohawks as part of a theme that Indian resistance to European culture was evil

16. The Mission (1986)

PG | 125 min | Adventure, Drama, History

55 Metascore

Eighteenth century Spanish Jesuits try to protect a remote South American tribe in danger of falling under the rule of pro-slavery Portugal.

Director: Roland Joffé | Stars: Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally, Aidan Quinn

Votes: 53,116 | Gross: $17.22M

Historical basis[edit] Main article: Bandeirantes The Mission is based on events surrounding the Treaty of Madrid in 1750, in which Spain ceded part of Jesuit Paraguay to Portugal. A significant subtext is the impending Suppression of the Jesuits, of which Father Gabriel is warned by the film's narrator, Cardinal Altamirano, who was once himself a Jesuit. Altamirano, speaking in hindsight in 1758, corresponds to the actual Andalusian Jesuit Father Luis Altamirano, who was sent by Jesuit Superior General Ignacio Visconti to Paraguay in 1752 to transfer territory from Spain to Portugal. He oversaw the transfer of seven missions south and east of the Río Uruguay, that had been settled by Guaranis and Jesuits in the 17th century. As compensation, Spain promised each mission 4,000 pesos, or fewer than 1 peso for each of the circa 30,000 Guaranis of the seven missions, while the cultivated lands, livestock, and buildings were estimated to be worth 7–16 million pesos. The film's climax is the Guarani War of 1754–1756, during which historical Guaranís defended their homes against Spanish-Portuguese forces implementing the Treaty of Madrid. For the film, a re-creation was made of one of the seven missions, São Miguel das Missões.[8]

Father Gabriel's character is loosely based on the life of Paraguayan saint and Jesuit Roque González de Santa Cruz. The story is taken from the book The Lost Cities of Paraguay by Father C. J. McNaspy, S.J., who was also a consultant on the film.[9]

The waterfall setting of the film suggests the combination of these events with the story of older missions, founded between 1610–1630 on the Paranapanema River above the Guaíra Falls, from which Paulista slave raids forced Guaranís and Jesuits to flee in 1631. The battle at the end of the film evokes the eight-day Battle of Mbororé in 1641, a battle fought on land as well as in boats on rivers, in which the Jesuit-organized, firearm-equipped Guaraní forces stopped the Paulista raiders.[8]

Historical inaccuracies[edit] The fictional characters Gabriel and Rodrigo were involved in a struggle that is factually incorrect since it was only the Guarani who fought against oppression in the resulting three-year warfare against the Portuguese. The Jesuit missionaries did not directly disobey the orders of Altamirano, and none stayed to fight with their converts.[citation needed] The character of Altamirano is also historically inaccurate. He was not a cardinal sent by the Pope but an emissary sent by the Superior General of the Society of Jesus, Ignazio Visconti, to preserve the Jesuits in Europe in the face of attacks in Spain and Portugal.[10]

17. Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970)

G | 144 min | Action, Drama, History

46 Metascore

In 1941, following months of economic embargo, Japan prepares to open its war against the United States with a surprise attack on the US naval base at Pearl Harbor.

Directors: Richard Fleischer, Kinji Fukasaku, Toshio Masuda | Stars: Martin Balsam, Sô Yamamura, Jason Robards, Joseph Cotten

Votes: 30,330 | Gross: $29.55M

Historical accuracy[edit]

USS Yorktown during the filming of Tora! Tora! Tora!, 1968. Parts of the film showing the takeoff of the Japanese aircraft utilize an Essex-class aircraft carrier, USS Yorktown, which was commissioned in 1943 and modernized after the war to have a very slightly angled flightdeck.[19] The ship was leased by the film producers, who needed an aircraft carrier for the film; and as Yorktown was scheduled to be decommissioned in 1970 the Navy made her available. She was used largely in the takeoff sequence of the Japanese attack aircraft. The sequence shows interchanging shots of models of the Japanese aircraft carriers and the Yorktown. It does not look like any of the Japanese carriers involved in the attack, due to its large bridge island and its angled landing deck. The Japanese carriers had small bridge islands, and angled flight decks were not developed until after the war.[20] In addition, during the scene in which Admiral Halsey is watching bombing practice an aircraft carrier with the hull number 14 is shown. Admiral Halsey was on the USS Enterprise, not the Essex-class carrier USS Ticonderoga, which would not be commissioned until 1944. This is understandable, however, as both the Enterprise and all six of the Japanese carriers from the attack had been scrapped and sunk, respectively. Enterprise was scrapped in 1959, and four of the six, including Akagi, were sunk within six months of the attack at the Battle of Midway.

In Tora! Tora! Tora!, an error involves the model of the Japanese carrier Akagi. In the film, Akagi's bridge island is positioned on the starboard side of the ship, which is typical on most aircraft carriers. However, the aircraft carrier Akagi was an exception; its bridge island was on the port side of the ship. Despite this, the bridge section appeared accurately as a mirrored version of Akagi's real port-side bridge.[21] Secondly, all the Japanese aircraft in the footage bear the markings of Akagi's aircraft (a single vertical red stripe following the red sun symbol of Japan), even though five other aircraft carriers participated, each having its own markings. In addition, the markings do not display the aircraft's identification numbers as was the case in the actual battle. The white surround on the roundel on the Japanese aircraft was only used from 1942 onwards. Prior to this the roundel was red only.[22]

The USS Ward was an old "4-piper" destroyer commissioned in 1918; the ship used in the movie, USS Savage, which portrays the Ward looked far different from the original destroyer.[23] In addition, in the movie she fired two shots from her #1 turret. In reality, the Ward fired the first shot from the #1 4" un-turreted gunmount and the second shot from the #3 wing mount.[24]

A stern section of the USS Nevada was built that was also used to portray the USS Arizona and other U.S. battleships. The lattice mast (or cage mast) section of the Tennessee-class/Maryland-class battleship was built beside the set of the USS Nevada stern section, but not built upon a set of a deck, but on the ground as the footage in the movie only showed the cage mast tower. The large scale model of the stern shows the two aft gun turrets with three gun barrels in each; in reality, Nevada had two heightened fore and aft turrets with two barrels each while the lower two turrets fore and aft had three barrels each. Another model of Nevada, used in the film to portray the whole ship, displays the turrets accurately. It should be noted that the reason for this anomaly is because the aft section model was used in the film to portray both USS Nevada and USS Arizona. The ships looked remarkably similar except that Arizona had four triple turrets and a slightly different stern section. Footage and photographs not used in the film show the cage mast as being built on the ground. The USS Nevada/USS Arizona stern section was shown exploding to represent the explosion that destroyed the Arizona, although in reality the explosion took place in #2 magazine, forward, and Arizona's stern section remains essentially intact to this day.

The film has a Japanese Zero fighter being damaged over a naval base and then deliberately crashing into a naval base hangar. This is actually a composite of three incidents at Pearl Harbor attack: in the first wave, a Japanese Zero crashed into Fort Kamehameha's ordnance building; in the second wave, a Japanese Zero did deliberately crash into a hillside after U.S. Navy CPO John William Finn at Naval Air Station at Kāneʻohe Bay had shot and damaged the aircraft; also during the second wave, a Japanese aircraft that was damaged crashed into the seaplane tender USS Curtiss.[25]

During a number of shots of the attack squadrons traversing across Oahu, a white cross can be seen standing on one of the mountainsides. The cross was actually erected after the attack as a memorial to the victims of the attack.

18. Longitude (2000 TV Movie)

200 min | Drama, History

In two parallel stories, the clockmaker John Harrison builds the marine chronometer for safe navigation at sea in the 18th Century and the horologist Rupert Gould becomes obsessed with restoring it in the 20th Century.

Director: Charles Sturridge | Stars: Jeremy Irons, Anna Chancellor, Emma Kay, Samuel West

Votes: 2,041

19. All the President's Men (1976)

PG | 138 min | Biography, Drama, History

80 Metascore

"The Washington Post" reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein uncover the details of the Watergate scandal that leads to President Richard Nixon's resignation.

Director: Alan J. Pakula | Stars: Dustin Hoffman, Robert Redford, Jack Warden, Martin Balsam

Votes: 96,333 | Gross: $70.60M

20. Hotel Rwanda (2004)

PG-13 | 121 min | Biography, Drama, History

79 Metascore

Paul Rusesabagina was a hotel manager who housed over a thousand Tutsi refugees during their struggle against the Hutu militia in Rwanda.

Director: Terry George | Stars: Don Cheadle, Sophie Okonedo, Joaquin Phoenix, Xolani Mali

Votes: 321,793 | Gross: $23.53M

21. Selma (I) (2014)

PG-13 | 128 min | Biography, Drama, History

85 Metascore

A chronicle of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.'s campaign to secure equal voting rights via an epic march from Selma to Montgomery, Alabama, in 1965.

Director: Ava DuVernay | Stars: David Oyelowo, Carmen Ejogo, Tim Roth, Lorraine Toussaint

Votes: 80,179 | Gross: $52.08M

22. Spotlight (I) (2015)

R | 129 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

93 Metascore

The true story of how the Boston Globe uncovered the massive scandal of child molestation and cover-up within the local Catholic Archdiocese, shaking the entire Catholic Church to its core.

Director: Tom McCarthy | Stars: Mark Ruffalo, Michael Keaton, Rachel McAdams, Liev Schreiber

Votes: 387,343 | Gross: $45.06M

23. Europa Europa (1990)

R | 112 min | Drama, History, War

75 Metascore

A boy in Nazi Germany, trying to conceal that he is Jewish, joins the Hitler Youth.

Director: Agnieszka Holland | Stars: Solomon Perel, Marco Hofschneider, René Hofschneider, André Wilms

Votes: 14,339 | Gross: $5.58M

24. Camp de Thiaroye (1988)

157 min | Drama, War

In this semi-autobiographical film, black soldiers help to defend France, but are detained in prison camp before being repatriated home.

Directors: Ousmane Sembene, Thierno Faty Sow | Stars: Sidiki Bakaba, Hamed Camara, Ismaila Cissé, Ababacar Sy Cissé

Votes: 433

25. Anne of the Thousand Days (1969)

PG | 145 min | Biography, Drama, History

King Henry VIII of England discards one wife, Catharine of Aragon, who has failed to produce a male heir, in favor of the young and beautiful Anne Boleyn.

Director: Charles Jarrott | Stars: Richard Burton, Geneviève Bujold, Irene Papas, Anthony Quayle

Votes: 6,346 | Gross: $2.07M

Historical accuracy: Historians dispute King Henry VIII's paternity of one or both of Mary Boleyn's children. Henry VIII: The King and His Court, by Alison Weir, questions the paternity of Henry Carey;Dr. G.W. Bernard (The King's Reformation) and Joanna Denny (Anne Boleyn: A New Life of England's Tragic Queen) argue that Henry VIII was their father. Anne Boleyn might not have been eighteen years old in 1527; her birth date is unrecorded. Most historians today believe that she must have been about 25 in 1527. There is no proof that Henry VIII ordered the breaking of Henry Percy and Anne Boleyn's engagement because he wanted Anne for himself at that point. Percy's family, the Northumberlands, were one of the leading families in the North of England and they had always wanted Henry Percy to marry Mary Talbot, a rich heiress from the same region, and not a girl from a comparatively lower status family. They might have asked the King and Cardinal Wolsey's intervention when the engagement was made to be known. In fact, in order to have no impediment for Henry VIII's and Anne's marriage, all parties always denied that any engagement had ever taken place. Most histories of the period say nothing about Anne pressuring Henry to have More executed. Catherine of Aragon's daughter Mary was not present at the time of Catherine's final illness and death; they were being kept apart forcibly. Catherine of Aragon's depiction by Irene Papas was quite wrong in terms of appearance, as it is well documented that the Queen had auburn hair and a very pale complexion. Obviously Papas was chosen as she has stereotypical Mediterranean appearance matching false popular assumptions on how a 'Spanish' noble would look. The meeting between Anne and Henry shortly before her execution is fictional, and even if such a meeting had taken place, some details of their discussion are implausible. Anne's marriage was annulled anyway, and she was never offered a deal which would have given her her freedom. Elizabeth and Mary were both declared illegitimate, but were nevertheless in the line of succession, but not until after Anne's death. Thus, at that point the chances of Elizabeth inheriting the crown probably seemed rather low. Henry did not intervene in Anne's trial; she was disallowed the right to question the witnesses against her. She and the King met last at a joust the day before her arrest. Anne of the Thousand Days depicts Anne as innocent of the charges; considered historically correct, per the biographies by Eric W. Ives, Retha Warnicke, Joanna Denny, and Tudor historian David Starkey which all state her innocence of adultery, incest, and witchcraft. Wikipedia

26. The Lion in Winter (1968)

PG | 134 min | Biography, Drama, History

1183 A.D.: King Henry II's three sons all want to inherit the throne, but he won't commit to a choice. They and his wife variously plot to force him.

Director: Anthony Harvey | Stars: Peter O'Toole, Katharine Hepburn, Anthony Hopkins, John Castle

Votes: 27,776 | Gross: $22.28M

27. Danton (1983)

PG | 136 min | Biography, Drama, History

In 1793, as the Terror begins in France, Georges Danton, a champion-of-the-people, returns to clash against Maximilien Robespierre and his extremist party.

Director: Andrzej Wajda | Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Wojciech Pszoniak, Anne Alvaro, Roland Blanche

Votes: 5,958

28. Salvatore Giuliano (1962)

Not Rated | 125 min | Crime, Drama, History

The unclear and complicated twists between governal powers, independentist party and Mafia in the Sicily of the '40s culminate with the death of Salvatore Giuliano.

Director: Francesco Rosi | Stars: Frank Wolff, Salvo Randone, Frederico Zardi, Pippo Agusta

Votes: 2,659

29. Beatrice (1987)

R | 130 min | Drama

A warrior leaves home to fight in the Hundred Years' War (1337-1453) between France and England. Before his departure, he gives his 10-year-old son, François, a sword to safeguard his ... See full summary »

Director: Bertrand Tavernier | Stars: Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu, Julie Delpy, Nils Tavernier, Monique Chaumette

Votes: 587 | Gross: $0.21M

30. Vatel (2000)

PG-13 | 103 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

44 Metascore

Vatel is in charge of the reception to the king Louis XIV. With the prince's political ambitions at stake, its essential to please him. But when he falls in love with the king's lover, passion and duty seem to contradict each other.

Director: Roland Joffé | Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Uma Thurman, Tim Roth, Julian Glover

Votes: 7,128 | Gross: $0.05M

31. Louis, enfant roi (1993)

160 min | Biography, Drama, History

The title of this major French costume drama means "Louis, child-king", and indeed it's a fascinating fresco about the formative years of the young king Louis XIV, before he became the ... See full summary »

Director: Roger Planchon | Stars: Carmen Maura, Maxime Mansion, Paolo Graziosi, Jocelyn Quivrin

Votes: 236

32. Lincoln (2012)

PG-13 | 150 min | Biography, Drama, History

86 Metascore

As the American Civil War continues to rage, America's president struggles with continuing carnage on the battlefield as he fights with many inside his own cabinet on the decision to emancipate the slaves.

Director: Steven Spielberg | Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Sally Field, David Strathairn, Joseph Gordon-Levitt

Votes: 235,089 | Gross: $182.21M

Historian response: Eric Foner (Columbia University), a Pulitzer Prize–winning historian of the period, claimed in a letter to The New York Times that the film "grossly exaggerates" its main points about the choices at stake in the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment. Kate Masur (Northwestern University) accuses the film of oversimplifying the role of blacks in abolition and dismissed the effort as "an opportunity squandered" in an op-ed for The New York Times. Harold Holzer, co-chair of the Abraham Lincoln Bicentennial Foundation and author of more than 40 books, served as a consultant to the film and praised it, but also observed that there is "no shortage of small historical bloopers in the movie" in a piece for The Daily Beast. Barry Bradford, a member of the Organization of American Historians, offers an analysis of some of the finer historical points of the film's representation of clothing, relationships and appearance.[77] Allen Guelzo (Gettysburg College), also writing for The Daily Beast, had some plot criticism, but disagreed with Holzer, arguing that, "The pains that have been taken in the name of historical authenticity in this movie are worth hailing just on their own terms". In a later interview with the World Socialist Web Site Guelzo claimed that "the film was 90 percent on the mark, which given the way Hollywood usually does history is saying something".David Stewart, independent historical author, writing for History News Network, described Spielberg's work as "reasonably solid history", and told readers of HNN to "go see it with a clear conscience". Lincoln biographer Ronald White also admired the film, though he noted a few mistakes and pointed out in an interview with NPR, "Is every word true? No." Historian Joshua M. Zeitz, writing in The Atlantic, noted some minor mistakes, but concluded "Lincoln is not a perfect film, but it is an important film". Following a screening during the film's opening weekend, the Minnesota Civil War Commemoration Task Force held a panel discussion in which Dr. David Woodard of Concordia University remarked, "I always look at these films to see if a regular person who wasn't a 'Lincoln nut' would want to read a book about it after they watched the movie. I get the impression that most people who are not history buffs will now want to read something about Lincoln." Wikipedia

33. The King's Daughters (2000)

119 min | Drama, History, Romance

Madame de Maintenon rises from humble beginnings to become a courtesan to the royal court and eventually marries King Louis XIV. With the king's indulgence, Maintenon opens a special school for girls.

Director: Patricia Mazuy | Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-Pierre Kalfon, Simon Reggiani, Jean-François Balmer

Votes: 588

34. Story of Women (1988)

108 min | Drama, Romance

Marie Latour, a woman of limited schooling, raises two children in a ratty flat during World War II in occupied France. In 1941, her husband Paul returns from German captivity, too weak to ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol | Stars: Isabelle Huppert, François Cluzet, Marie Trintignant, Nils Tavernier

Votes: 3,615 | Gross: $0.44M

35. Dunkirk (2017)

PG-13 | 106 min | Action, Drama, History

94 Metascore

Allied soldiers from Belgium, the British Empire, and France are surrounded by the German Army, and evacuated during a fierce battle in World War II.

Director: Christopher Nolan | Stars: Fionn Whitehead, Barry Keoghan, Mark Rylance, Tom Hardy

Votes: 501,703 | Gross: $188.37M

Historical accuracy:

Hispano Buchon masquerading as a Bf 109E, wearing a temporary paint scheme for the film. The film received praise for its generally realistic representation of the historical evacuation. It accurately depicts a few Royal Air Force planes dogfighting the Luftwaffe over the sea, limited to one hour of operation by their fuel capacity. Destroyers and fighter planes were held back from battle, as the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force would have been the sole defenders of Britain in case of an invasion attempt. Also praised were accurate depictions of how a small boat attempted to evade aerial attack, and how soldiers returning to England saw a civilian population largely unaware of or unaffected by the war. Leaflets demanding that the British surrender were dropped from the air, but not of the design used in the film. The film was praised for its realism by surviving Dunkirk veterans, although Branagh said that those with whom he saw it thought it "was louder than the battle".

However, although some events are loosely based on true history, the characters and storyline are fiction. Branagh's role is a composite character based in part on the actions of James Campbell Clouston. When the beach scenes were shot, the weather was worse than during the real evacuation; Nolan explained that this helped to understand the danger faced by the pleasure boats. In one scene, an officer gives a salute without wearing his military beret, which a veteran pointed out as inaccurate protocol. The German planes had their noses painted yellow in the film to better distinguish them; in reality, this was not done until a month after Dunkirk.The involvement of French, African, and Indian soldiers was either limited or left out of the film. Modern shots were used for the aerial photographs, whereas in reality the town was substantially in ruins by the time of the evacuation. British officers did initially refuse to evacuate French soldiers, with conflict arising from both sides, although Churchill later insisted that the French be evacuated alongside the British. Wikipedia

36. The Civil War (1990)

TV-14 | 680 min | Documentary, History, War

A comprehensive survey of the American Civil War.

Stars: David McCullough, Sam Waterston, Julie Harris, Jason Robards

Votes: 12,321

37. The Killing Fields (1984)

R | 141 min | Biography, Drama, History

76 Metascore

A journalist is trapped in Cambodia during tyrant Pol Pot's bloody 'Year Zero' cleansing campaign, which claimed the lives of two million 'undesirable' civilians.

Director: Roland Joffé | Stars: Sam Waterston, Haing S. Ngor, John Malkovich, Julian Sands

Votes: 49,005 | Gross: $34.70M

38. Ivan the Terrible, Part I (1944)

Not Rated | 95 min | Biography, Drama, History

During the early part of his reign, Ivan the Terrible faces betrayal from the aristocracy and even his closest friends as he seeks to unite the Russian people.

Director: Sergei M. Eisenstein | Stars: Nikolay Cherkasov, Lyudmila Tselikovskaya, Serafima Birman, Mikhail Nazvanov

Votes: 8,527

39. The Year of Living Dangerously (1982)

PG | 115 min | Drama, Romance, War

65 Metascore

A young Australian reporter tries to navigate the political turmoil of Indonesia during the rule of President Sukarno with the help of a diminutive photographer.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sigourney Weaver, Linda Hunt, Bembol Roco

Votes: 18,448 | Gross: $10.28M

40. Valkyrie (2008)

PG-13 | 121 min | Drama, History, Thriller

56 Metascore

A dramatization of the July 20, 1944 assassination and political coup plot by desperate renegade German Army officers against Adolf Hitler during World War II.

Director: Bryan Singer | Stars: Tom Cruise, Bill Nighy, Carice van Houten, Kenneth Branagh

Votes: 219,556 | Gross: $83.08M

41. A Bridge Too Far (1977)

PG | 175 min | Drama, History, War

Operation Market Garden, September 1944: The Allies attempt to capture several strategically important bridges in the Netherlands in the hope of breaking the German lines.

Director: Richard Attenborough | Stars: Sean Connery, Ryan O'Neal, Michael Caine, Laurence Olivier

Votes: 48,965 | Gross: $50.80M

42. Good Night, and Good Luck. (2005)

PG | 93 min | Biography, Drama, History

80 Metascore

Broadcast journalist Edward R. Murrow looks to bring down Senator Joseph McCarthy.

Director: George Clooney | Stars: David Strathairn, George Clooney, Patricia Clarkson, Jeff Daniels

Votes: 91,833 | Gross: $31.50M

43. Nixon (1995)

R | 192 min | Biography, Drama, History

66 Metascore

A biographical story of former U.S. President Richard Nixon, from his days as a young boy, to his eventual Presidency, which ended in shame.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Joan Allen, Powers Boothe, Ed Harris

Votes: 27,651 | Gross: $13.56M

44. The Train (1964)

Not Rated | 133 min | Thriller, War