Historical movies depict real-life events from the past, which requires intensive internet research. They often focus on famous figures such as monarchs and soldiers, and accurate details are necessary. These films also are usually epic in scope.

Filmmakers have to recreate the past by creating realistic sets and costumes. This makes the genre one of the most expensive to produce. However, they have a broad audience and frequently make good box office returns. Several historical films will help researchers get a better grasp of what life was like decades and even centuries ago.

Lawrence of Arabia

This film follows the career of British Lieutenant T.E. Lawrence during the First World War. Most movies which depict this conflict focus on the European theatre of war. However, Lawrence Of Arabia is set in the Arabian desert. Lawrence unites several nations to take on the Ottoman Empire. He slowly grows to appreciate the Arabic way of living. This leads to him getting too involved with his allies, almost committing treason in the process.


Braveheart is the ideal film to watch to understand what life was like for medieval Scottish peasants. However, there are several inaccuracies concerning the timeline of events. The main character is William Wallace, a real figure who led a rebellion against the English. The film shows him reluctantly becoming a military leader and engaging in bloody battles. The visceral nature of the fighting scenes helps to explain the hardships soldiers faced during this period.


Much like Braveheart, the opening of Gladiator involves a realistic historical battle. Later, the action switches to a Roman gladiatorial colosseum. A disgraced general is enslaved and forced to fight to the death in front of cheering crowds. Despite representing the overall environment in a reliable way, the story is far from historically accurate. The rivalry between General Maximus and Emperor Commodus is entirely fictional. However, the sinister characterisation of Commodus is fair, considering what historians know about him.

Gone with the Wind

The American Civil War split the country in two. This film looks at the impact which this conflict had on a wealthy southern family. The main character is Scarlett, a young woman who does not take the social issues around her seriously. However, she ends up struggling for survival when the war forces her to leave home and fend for herself. This is one of the best films depicting the vast scale of casualties during the war.

Saving Private Ryan

There have been a large number of movies set during World War Two. Saving Private Ryan stands out as one of the most realistic examples. It takes an unflinching look at the bloody warfare which was waged during the invasion of Normandy. The main story is a fictional one. A group of US soldiers embark on a mission to locate a Private. Despite not being true, the scenes of fighting are strikingly similar to what happened in real life.

Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World

The Napoleonic War was a mostly naval engagement. This film follows a British captain who is tasked with fighting a dangerous French ship. Life on board an 18th-century vessel is shown in vivid detail. Interestingly, there is a clear class divide in place. The officers live in relative luxury compared to the hard-working crew.