10 Historical Drama Movies

Friday, February 25 by Shawn Lealos

The 10 best historical drama movies take important events in world history and create entertaining and educational looks at the colorful, and often controversial, aspects of our past. The movies earned Oscars and critical acclaim while remaining true to the stories they strive to tell.

  1. “Elizabeth”Cate Blanchett received an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Queen Elizabeth I of England in one of the best historical drama movies. The movie follows Elizabeth’s ascension to the throne following the death of her sister. Blanchett reprised the role nine years later, tracking the Queen’s later years.
  2. “Amistad” – Steven Spielberg directs one of the best historical drama movies about a slave mutiny aboard the ship, Amistad. The movie then follows the legal battle that followed the mutiny. Matthew McConaughey, Morgan Freeman and Anthony Hopkins star in the film.
  3. “Lawrence of Arabia” – Directed by David Lean, this remains one of the greatest historical drama movies ever made. The film follows the life of British officer T.E. Lawrence and follows his exploits in Arabia during World War I. Peter O’Toole stars as Lawrence.
  4. “The Bridge on the River Kwai” – David Lean directs this, one of the better historical drama movies ever made. The movie, while fictional, follows an actual historical event – the building of the Burma Railway in 1942. The movie was added to the National Film Registry in 1997.
  5. “Michael Collins” – Liam Neeson stars in this, one of the best historical drama movies ever made. He stars as General Michael Collins, an Irish patriot and revolutionary who died during the Irish Civil War. Julia Roberts, Alan Rickman and Aidan Quinn also star.
  6. “Saving Private Ryan” – Tom Hanks stars in this Steen Spielberg film, one of cinema’s best historical drama movies. Hanks leads a squadron to find and rescue Private Ryan after Ryan’s thre brothers all died in service. Spielberg won the Oscar for Best Director.
  7. “Schindler’s List” – In one of the best historical drama movies ever made, Liam Neeson stars as Oskar Schindler, a German who saved the lives of over 1,000 Jewish refugees during the Holocaust. The movie won seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director for Steven Spielberg.
  8. “Good Night, and Good Luck” – George Clooney directs this, one of the best historical drama movies. The movie tells the story of journalist Edward R. Murrow and his public battles with Senator Joseph McCarthy during the anti-Communist movement the Senator spearheaded.
  9. “JFK” – Oliver Stone directed one of the best historical drama movies of all time in “JFK.” Kevin Costner plays New Orleans district attorney Jim Garrison, a man who filed charges against someone he believed conspired in the murder of President John F. Kennedy. The movie was a direct assault on the Warren Commission.
  10. “All the President’s Men” – Based on the novel, this movie tells the story of the two journalists who helped bring about the impeachment of Richard Nixon. One of the best historical drama movies, Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman play the journalists who exposed Watergate.
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