historical movies

The Top 10 Historical Movies and TV Shows History Buffs Love

Historical movies have long captured the attention of audiences both young and old. Few people can’t recall at least one history-based film that ranks among their all-time favorites.

According to box office statistics, the top three most popular movie genres since 1995 are classified as adventure, action, and drama. Consequently, these films also commonly carry a historical theme or setting.

There are several shows and movies that come to mind when considering the most loved historical t.v. and box office hits.

If you’re a history buff looking for some entertainment, you’re in luck.

We’ve chosen the top historical shows and films that should be on your must-see list.

Read on to find out which hits made our list!

Top Historical Movies and Television Shows for History Buffs

Many producers have given us a peephole into the past, allowing us to feel a part of history, although we may not have actually lived during events unfolding on the screen ourselves. Still, watching history take place on the big screen has often conjured up strong emotions from awe-struck viewers.

If you’re a history fan, you’re in luck because we’re sharing a list of hits that every history lover is bound to love below.

1. Hotel Rwanda

During the Rwandan Genocide of 1994, one man showed remarkable courage and unflinching humanity against violent militias. This film tells the story of hotelier Paul Rusesabagina, who hid and protected 1,268 Hutu and Tutsi refugees, during the horrific events unfolding in Rwanda at the time.

It’s impossible to walk away from this historic tale without feeling inspired.

2. Goodfellas

Director Martin Scorcese took on the mob in his 1990 retelling of the nonfiction book, Wiseguy. The talented film director’s efforts went on to win the film six Academy Awards, including Best Supporting Actor, which was given to Pesci for his role.

The mafia hit movie follows the life of a young boy as he grows up in the mob, eventually caving to drugs, money, and crime.

Anyone who’s ever wondered what the mafia is, or once was, will be entranced with the story of Goodfellas.

3. Saving Private Ryan

The amazing Steven Spielberg film drew praise from history buffs. But, it is also favorited by those who had never before taken an interest in wartime stories until watching this heart-wrenching drama, led by Matt Damon’s character, Private Ryan, on-screen.

Following the box office hit, the Smithsonian Channel released a documentary covering the “real” Private Ryan, the youngest of three brothers, who many believe served as the movie’s real-life inspiration. The true story, the narrator notes, is perhaps more devastating than that which played out on film.

During the Normandy Attack, one of the Niland brothers is reported dead, while another is reported missing. The youngest Niland brother is set free to return home but refuses. Instead, just like the film’s Private Ryan, he pleaded with his superiors to stay and fight with his brothers united by the U.S. Army, now fighting beside him.

3. The Color Purple

Based on the Pulitzer Prize novel by Alice Walker, this film, starring Whoopi Goldberg, tells the story of two African-American sisters who grew up at a time when racism was rampant.

While it was nominated for many Oscars, it won not a single award. But, famed movie critic Roger Ebert, repeatedly cast his vote for best actress, through his dissertations, of the moving drama.

The book was also transformed into a Broadway Musical and appeared on television as well.

5. Milk

Sean Penn plays Harvey Milk, the first openly gay politician who was active in the 1970’s. Many believe that Penn’s depiction of Milk’s character was among the star’s best performances ever.

The film follows Milk through his courageous advocacy for public change, as well as through his sometimes stormy and personal love affairs. Harvey Milk’s life is abruptly cut short when he is murdered by a supervisor, as was the case in real-life as well.

6. Ivar the Boneless

The recently popular “Vikings” television series covers the mesmerizing, and somewhat mysterious, history of Ivar the Boneless. Ivar was a Viking leader who invaded England and was known to have a ferocious temper. He was also believed to have a vengeance for his own father.

However, the young leader is fondly remembered through history as swift, agile, and passionate in his pursuits, despite a potential physical affliction which earned him his name.

Many believe that his disability was much like Ehlers Danlos Syndrome, a connective tissue disease that can cause sufferers significant pain and limit their abilities substantially.

Yet if Ivar the Boneless was in fact, suffering a physical limitation, he never let on. The young warrior was renowned for his bravery and military skills.

7. Schindler’s List

Another one of Spielberg’s historical masterpieces, Schindler’s List tells the story of the German businessman, Oskar Schindler, who lived during the Holocaust. The true story is unabashedly heroic, as Schindler saves the lives of over 1,000 Polish-Jewish refugees by employing them for work in his factories.

Originally, the story was told by Australian author, Thomas Keneally, in his book, Schindler’s Ark.

8. Bonnie and Clyde

It’s the 1930’s true-life young love story that has captivated audiences for decades. Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker were shot and killed after a long criminal run that left many dead and others victimized.

Onscreen, the couple was played by Warren Beatty and Faye Dunnaway in a 1967 romantic thriller. Although other onscreen depictions have followed, none have been so critically acclaimed as this classic performance detailing the violent life of crime and passionate love affair of Bonnie and Clyde.

9. Braveheart

Mel Gibson stars in this 1995 historical epic film, which depicted the 13th-century Scottish leader, William Wallace. Although the film contained many historical errors, it was surprisingly well-received and won an Academy Award for Best Picture.

Critics applauded the gory battle scenes, which portrayed Wallace as a fearless and passionate warrior, leading his people to victory against all odds.

10. Lincoln

This 2012 film focuses on the final four months of Abraham Lincoln’s life as one of the most esteemed United States Presidents in history. Specifically, it highlights Lincoln’s efforts to pass the Thirteenth Amendment of the Constitution to abolish slavery in America.

The film was nominated for numerous Academy Awards, and earned over $275 million dollars at the box office. The lead character was played by Daniel Day-Lewis.

Enjoy Learning Which Films Made the “Best-of” Lists in Entertainment News?

If you liked our list of top historical movies, you might be interested in finding out which films made the rest of our lists.

We’ve compiled lists of the best films, games, and more. From celebrity drama to infamous spies, we’ve got a little bit of everything for entertainment groupies of all kinds.

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