History Gift Guide – Ancient History Movies

History Gift Guide – Ancient History Movies

The legends and stories of brave and ferocious men of ancient history have fascinated us for a long time.  Hollywood churns out ancient history movies with amazing action and beautiful special effects.  When recreating those ancient times, these history movies help bring alive the sagas and journeys of centuries ago.   History Buffs are always looking for new stories of ancient civilizations that help build upon their current knowledge. Make sure you also check out the Ancient Greece and Ancient Rome history books section.

Here’s a list of some of the best selling Ancient History movies!

[amazon_link id=”B000Q6GX5Y” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]300[/amazon_link]

The epic graphic novel by Frank Miller (Sin City) assaults the screen with the blood, thunder and awe of its ferocious visual style faithfully recreated in an intense blend of live-action and CGI animation. Retelling the ancient Battle of Thermopylae, it depicts the titanic clash in which King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) and 300 Spartans fought to the death against Xerxes (Rodrigo Santoro) and his massive Persian army. Experience history at swordpoint. And moviemaking with a cutting edge.

[amazon_link id=”B000NU2CY4″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Gladiator[/amazon_link]

Ridley Scott’s Gladiator is a rousing, grisly, action-packed epic that takes moviemaking back to the Roman Empire via computer-generated visual effects. While not as fluid as the computer work done for, say, Titanic, it’s an impressive achievement that will leave you marveling at the glory that was Rome, when you’re not marveling at the glory that is Russell Crowe. Starring as the heroic general Maximus, Crowe firmly cements his star status both in terms of screen presence and acting chops, carrying the film on his decidedly non-computer-generated shoulders as he goes from brave general to wounded fugitive to stoic slave to gladiator hero. Gladiator’s plot is a whirlwind of faux-Shakespearean machinations of death, betrayal, power plays, and secret identities (with lots of faux-Shakespearean dialogue ladled on to keep the proceedings appropriately “classical”), but it’s all briskly shot, edited, and paced with a contemporary sensibility.

[amazon_link id=”B00406UK5A” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Centurion[/amazon_link]

AD 117. The Roman Empire stretches from Egypt to Spain, and East as far as the Black Sea. But in northern Britain, the relentless onslaught of conquest has ground to a halt in the face of the guerrilla tactics of an elusive enemy: the savage and terrifying Picts. Quintus Dias (Fassbinder), sole survivor of a Pictish raid on a Roman frontier fort, marches north with General Virilus’ (West) legendary Ninth Legion, under orders to wipe the Picts from the face of the earth and destroy their leader Gorlacon. But when the legion is ambushed on unfamiliar ground, and Virilus taken captive, Quintus faces a desperate struggle to keep his small platoon alive behind enemy lines. Enduring the harsh terrain and evading their remorseless Pict pursuers led by the revenge hungry Pict Warrior Etain (Kurylenko), the band of soldiers race to rescue their General and to reach the safety of the Roman frontier.

[amazon_link id=”B000UPGQIU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Alexander[/amazon_link]

For better or worse (and in this case, it’s mostly for better), Oliver Stone’s Alexander Revisited should stand as the definitive version of Stone’s much-maligned epic about the great Asian conqueror. Following the DVD release of his previous Director’s Cut, Stone offers a video introduction here, explaining why he felt a third and final attempt at refining his film was necessary. Essentially, he’s using this opportunity to re-create the “road show” format of the Biblical epics of the 1950s and ’60s, with a three-and-a-half-hour running time (with an intermission at the two-hour mark) including 45 minutes of previously unseen footage. Stone has also significantly restructured the film, resulting in substantial (if not exactly redemptive) improvements in its narrative flow. Alexander (played in a torrent of emotions by Colin Farrell) is dying as the film opens, his final moments serving to bookend the film’s epic story, which incorporates flashback sequences to flesh out the Macedonian king’s back-story involving the turbulent battle of fate between his father, King Philip (Val Kilmer) and his scheming sorceress mother Olympia (Angelina Jolie, ridiculous accent and all), who insists that Alexander is literally a child of the gods.

[amazon_link id=”B000TGGJKU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Troy[/amazon_link]

Brad Pitt picks up a sword and brings a muscular, brooding presence to the role of Greek warrior Achilles in this spectacular retelling of The Iliad. Orlando Bloom and Diane Kruger play the legendary lovers who plunge the world into war, Eric Bana portrays the prince who dares to confront Achilles, and Peter O’Toole rules Troy as King Priam. Director Wolfgang Petersen recreates a long-ago world of bireme warships, clashing armies, the massive fortress city and the towering Trojan Horse.

[amazon_link id=”B000MQ58WC” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]King Arthur[/amazon_link]

It’s got a round table, some knights, and a noble warrior who rises to become King Arthur, but everything else about this revisionist legend is pure Hollywood. That’s not such a bad thing if you enjoyed Rob Roy, Braveheart, Gladiator, and Troy, and there’s some intriguing potential in presenting the “real” Arthur (played by Clive Owen) as a 5th-century soldier of Rome, assigned to defend Roman-imperial England against a hoard of invading Saxons (led by Stellan Skarsgård in hairy villain mode). As revamped history and “archaeological findings” would have us believe, Guinevere (Keira Knightley) is a warrior babe in face-paint and Lancelot (Ioan Gruffudd) is a nonentity who fades into the woodwork.

[amazon_link id=”B004IF4EX2″ target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Last Legion[/amazon_link]

Swordfights, battles, and betrayal fuel The Last Legion, which tells the story of the last emperor of Rome: a slight 12-year-old boy who is a descendent of Julius Caesar. Protected by commander Aurelius (Colin Firth) and guided to an extent by the wizard Ambrosinus (Ben Kingsley), Romulus (Thomas Sangster) is an unlikely leader. Too inexperienced to rule wisely, he also shows little of the fortitude and courage needed to be a great warrior.

[amazon_link id=”B0013MYB9K” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Ben-Hur[/amazon_link]

Ben-Hur scooped an unprecedented 11 Academy Awards® in 1959 and, unlike some later rivals, richly deserved every single one. This is epic filmmaking on a scale that had not been seen before and is unlikely ever to be seen again. But it’s not just running time or a cast of thousands that makes an epic, it’s the subject matter, and here the subject–Prince Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) and his estrangement from old Roman pal Messala (Stephen Boyd)–is rich, detailed, and sensitively handled. Director William Wyler, who had been a junior assistant on MGM’s original silent version back in 1925, never sacrifices the human focus of the story in favor of spectacle, and is aided immeasurably by Miklos Rozsa’s majestic musical score, arguably the greatest ever written for a Hollywood picture. At four hours it’s a long haul (especially given some of the portentous dialogue), but all in all, Ben-Hur is a great movie, best seen on the biggest screen possible.

[amazon_link id=”B000BZISSU” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]Cleopatra[/amazon_link]

Richard Burton, Rex Harrison and Elizabeth Taylor star in one of the greatest screen spectacles ever made – the story of the Queen of the Nile and her love affairs with Julius Caesar and Mark Antony. The film is distinguished by superb performances from Burton and Harrison (nominated for an Oscar), but at its center is Elizabeth Taylor in one of the most glamorous roles of her career. Astounding in scope and grandeur, the picture won Oscars for cinematography, sets and special effects. It’s famous moments include moviedom’s most flamboyant entrance – Cleopatra’s dazzling arrival in Rome. Bolstered by a talented supporting cast and utterly stunning backdrops, here is a truly epic portrayal of the woman who conquered two of Rome’s greatest soldiers, affected the course of history, and became synonymous with beguiling beauty – Cleopatra.

[amazon_link id=”B004IK30LE” target=”_blank” container=”” container_class=”” ]The Ten Commandments[/amazon_link]

Based on the Holy Scriptures, with additional dialogue by several other hands, The Ten Commandments was the last film directed by Cecil B. DeMille. The story relates the life of Moses, from the time he was discovered in the bullrushes as an infant by the pharoah’s daughter, to his long, hard struggle to free the Hebrews from their slavery at the hands of the Egyptians. A remake of his 1923 silent film, DeMille’s The Ten Commandments may not be the most subtle and sophisticated entertainment ever concocted, but it tells its story with a clarity and vitality that few Biblical scholars have ever been able to duplicate.

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