If you are fond of watching men from the Middle Ages, then this list is for you. Damsels in distress, kingdoms at war, brave knights… these are just a few of the elements found in movies set in the Medieval times. So if you find yourself bored and got nothing else to watch, here’s a list of the top 10 Medieval Movies list you’ll definitely find epic.
Merlin: "When a man lies, he murders some part of the world."
Directed by John Boorman, Excalibur is an alternative take to the story of King Arthur. The thing that sets apart Excalibur from all other King Arthur adaptations is that the film covers Arthur’s whole life, from birth to his end. You’ll see his struggles from the withdrawal of the sword to his married life with Queen Guinevere. It is noted to be one of the best adaptations of King Arthur’s legend. For those too young and wish to watch this story sooner, there is a PG-rated version with less graphical scenes.
9. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
Azeem: "Is she worth it?"
RobinHood: "Worth dying for."
Just like King Arthur’s legend, the story of Robin Hood has been showcased in different film adaptations. In this version, Kevin Costner played the lead role, but it was actually Alan Rickman, who played Sheriff, that stole the show. The movie is worth watching, especially on lazy Sunday afternoons, with its merry men and cool tree house community. It was 1991’s second highest grossing movie, and it’s themesong, Bryan Adams’ (Everything I Do) I Do It For You, was even nominated as Best Song in the Academy Awards.
8. The Last Legion
Aurelius: "Who are you?"
Ambrosinus: "One who knows humiliation to be a poor teacher, of both men and boys."
Aurelius: "I smell a philosopher."
The Last Legion is a Doug Lefler’s movie adaptation of Valerio Massimo Manfredi’s epic novel of the same title. It stars Colin Firth, with Aishwarya Rai and Sir Ben Kingsley. The movie provides interesting elements that ties its story to King Arthur’s legend. Although how interesting as it may sound, the movie received a poor reception from the critics and the public. It only received $25M in the worldwide box office, from a production budget of $67M.
7. First Knight
King Arthur: "May God grant us the wisdom to discover right, the will to choose it, and the strength to make it endure."
Another King Arthur legend adaptation, First Knight focuses on the love story between Lancelot and Queen Guinevere. There is also a significant difference among other Arthurian films since there’s a noticeable age gap between King Arthur (Sean Connery) and Guinevere (Julia Omond) in this movie. Critics also gave mixed reviews about this film by Jerry Zucker. Although box office earnings around the globe ($127M) said that it’s good enough to watch.
6. Seventh Seal
Antonius Block: "Faith is a torment. It is like loving someone who is out there in the darkness but never appears, no matter how loudly you call."
Directed by Ingmar Bergman, The Seventh Seal tells the story of Antonius Block, a medieval knight, and his chess game with Death, who is after his life. This black and white film is a definite masterpiece in the movie world. It even ranked no. 8 in Empire magazine’s 100 Best Films, and was included in the Vatican’s 45 Great Films in 1995.
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5. Kingdom of Heaven
Balian of Ibelin: "What man is a man who does not make the world better."
Many would say that the movie failed in casting when they have chosen Orlando Bloom as the lead character, but this Ridley Scott film is still epic regardless of that. The movie definitely delivered amazing visuals and noteworthy battle scenes. The story is about a blacksmith-turned-knight who helped defend the Kingdom of Jerusalem from the movie’s antagonist Ayyubid Muslim sultan Salahuddin. It was a flop in the United States, but did better worldwide with earnings totaling to $211M. And did I forget to say that the cinematography is amazing? It’s definitely worth sitting for a couple of hours.
4. The 13th Warrior
Ahmed Ibn Fahdlan: "Have we anything resembling a plan?"
Herger the Joyous: "Mm-hm. Ride till we find them... and kill them all."
Even though it is a box office failure, The 13th Warrior is still a movie worth seeing. This historical fiction movie is based on Michael Crichton’s novel Eaters of the Dead, and stars Antonio Banderas and Vladimir Kulich. The movie was re-shot several times since the first edits didn’t go well with the test audience, and critics also said that the plot was relatively thin. However, the sets and the costumes were great, and have one of the best portrayals of the Arabs.
3. King Arthur
Lancelot: "Why do you always talk to God and not to me? Pray to whomever you pray that we don't cross the Saxons."
Arthur: "My faith is what protects me, Lancelot. Why do you challenge this?"
Lancelot: "I don't like anything that puts a man on his knees."
Arthur: "No man fears to kneel before the God he trusts. Without faith, without belief in something, what are we?"
Although some might say that this is another portrayal of the Arthurian legend, this film is different since Arthur is played as a Roman officer, instead of being a medieval knight/king. The producers tried to market the movie as the “most accurate” version of King Arthur’s tales inspired by recent archeological findings. The movie stars Clive Owen, Ioan Gruffudd, and Keira Knightley as the main casts. One major difference of the movie among its kind is that Guinevere is actually a Celtic warrior, instead of being the “damsel in distress”. Definitely one of the many reasons to watch this movie.
2. A Knight's Tale
Wat: I don't understand women.
Chaucer: Nor do I. But they understand us. Well, maybe not you.
Heath Ledger’s first big movie lead, A Knight’s Tale is far from any normal medieval movie you have watched. This film directed by Brian Helgeland, is actually an adventure-comedy, which tells the story of a peasant pretending to be a knight. Enjoy watching medieval jousting and middle age people cheering to the tune of We Will Rock You. How a 70’s song got into the movie? You definitely have to watch this movie to find out!
William Wallace: "It's all for nothing if you don't have freedom."
Lastly, who would ever forget this award-winning movie of 1995? Braveheart, which is directed and starred by Mel Gibson, is a movie about William Wallace, who led the Scots against England’s King Edward I. Out of 10 Academy Award nominations, Braveheart won 5 of them, namely: Best Makeup, Best Film Editing, Best Cinematography, Best Picture, and Best Director. Although winning a lot of awards, it was still considered as one of the most inaccurate historical movie of modern times. But it was still not a reason to miss out on this great film since the film’s battle scenes are considered one of the best in cinema history.