Historical content has always been a fruitful vein for Hollywood directors to mine, largely because so many fascinating things have happened throughout history. In many cases, these historical events are even more impressive than any fiction could be, and that makes them ideal for adaptation to film. Here are five of the best movies out now which you can either see at the theater or on DVD, and which are sure to satisfy your interest in amazing historical events.
This movie depicts the real-life events which occurred during World War II, featuring the efforts of businessman Oskar Schindler in saving more than 1,000 Jews from persecution by the Nazis. These Jews all worked in factories owned by Schindler, and in many cases the filming was done on actual locations where these events occurred. At great risk to himself, Schindler managed to spare all these Jewish lives, and there is a remarkable postscript to the film which shows many of the descendants of those Jews who were spared.
Saving Pvt. Ryan
This is a Steven Spielberg movie starring Tom Hanks and Matt Damon, along with a host of others, and which is set in World War II in the immediate aftermath of the Normandy invasion. During the invasion, three brothers are killed on the beaches, and a fourth is trapped behind enemy lines. Tom Hanks as Capt. John Miller is tasked with taking a force which must penetrate Nazi lines in order to retrieve that fourth brother, so the entire family would not be killed on the battlefield. Along the way, the film manages to accurately depict the horrors of war, as well as the unbelievably strange occurrences which can happen, and can have a major impact on the outcome of an action.
Lawrence of Arabia
An all-time classic directed by David Lean, this film boasts a whole catalog of major stars, including Alec Guinness, Peter O’Toole, Omar Sharif, Claude Raines, Jose Ferrer, and Anthony Quayle. The story depicts the efforts of a British officer, T.E. Lawrence, and his mission to help Arab tribes overthrow their Ottoman suppressors in the context of the first World War. As the film unfolds, Lawrence develops into a flamboyant, almost messianic figure involved with Arab unity, but his own psychological instability causes serious obstacles for achieving his goals. This is one of those movies out now that you’ll have to catch on disc, since it was actually filmed in 1962.
Mel Gibson starred in this movie and directed it as well, including a host of international stars, all of whom help tell the tale of the legendary Scottish warrior William Wallace. When Wallace’s childhood love and new bride, Murron, is slain by soldiers of the local English Lord, Wallace leads a revolt, which grows into a countrywide effort to overthrow the English.
The King’s Speech
This is one of those movies out now which tells a terrific story featuring Colin Firth, Geoffrey Rush, Guy Pearce, Derek Jacobi, and Helena Bonham Carter in historical roles from the time of King George VI, father of Queen Elizabeth II. When George reluctantly assumes the British throne, he is thought to be unworthy as king because of a dreadful stutter. After enlisting the aid of an unorthodox speech therapist, and experimenting with a variety of unusual techniques, George manages to make the most crucial speech of his life, and become the authoritative leader his country needs. ryan kavanaugh