The Last Duel, Ridley Scott’s new epic film, evokes memories of some of the best Hollywood epics ever made.
One of Hollywood’s most profitable and high-profile genres is the historical epic, which has traditionally been utilized to showcase new technologies like widescreen and color. Its enormous grandeur, emotive score, and stunning visuals captivate viewers and transport them to historical moments that have shaped the course of human history.
Only a handful of epics, notably Ridley Scott’s most recent film, The Last Duel, can truly claim to be the best of the type.
1. The Last Duel (2021) – See In Theaters On 10/15
With blockbuster films that span a wide range of genres, from science fiction to historical epics, Ridley Scott has established himself as a tremendously talented director. An accusation of rape and the accompanying fight between a knight and his best friend are at the heart of his most recent film, The Last Duel.
A crucial moment in history is depicted, as the duel is the final one sanctioned by the law in France in the movie.
2. The Ten Commandments (1956) – Stream On DirecTV
“The Ten Commandments,” Cecil B. DeMille’s most famous film, is one of only a handful of his works that remain popular over the years.
Despite the fact that special effects have advanced significantly since the debut of this film, the moment in which Moses separates the Red Sea remains awe-inspiring. Moses and Rameses’ passion for the princess Nefretiri is a central theme in this story, as in many other epics (like The Last Duel).
3. Ben-Hur (1959) – Rent On Apple TV
Historical epic films flourished in the 1950s, and several of those films are now considered masterpieces. Even Ben-Hur, which holds the record for the most Oscars, is included in this list.
Before experiencing the Resurrection of Christ, the protagonist is forced into slavery by the Romans. Judah Ben-Hur is played by Charlton Heston, who has become synonymous with the epic genre.
4. Lawrence of Arabia (1962) – Stream On Pluto TV
Despite the epic’s struggles in the 1960s, a few movies of that era, particularly Lawrence of Arabia, were huge successes.
T.E. Lawrence: A Biography is one of those movies that features stunning photography and Peter O’Toole’s portrayal of Lawrence, a man who was driven by his own vision despite his own deep-seated psychological issues and uncertainty about his British national identity.
5. Kingdom of Heaven (2005) – Stream On Starz
“Kingdom of Heaven” is another Ridley Scott epic that takes place during an era of strife, this time the Crusades. Balaan of Ibelin, Orlando Bloom’s character in the film, plays a crucial role in the defense of Jerusalem against the Sultan Saladin.
That a historical epic, the film explores the same kinds of issues about religious conflict as they do in other historical epics, which makes it a product of its time.
6. Dances with Wolves (1990) – Stream On Netflix
Even though the majority of historical epics are set in the distant past, Kevin Costner’s John J. Dunbar in Dances with Wolves is confronted with the reality of his fellow white people’s involvement with Native Americans in post-Civil War America.
It’s an elegiac film that evokes the melancholy that comes with the passing of a way of life. If you’re looking for a good example of the historical epic, it’s hard to beat this one.
7. Braveheart (1995) – Stream On Starz
As one of the best biographical pictures, Braveheart is often referred to as “epic.” William Wallace (played by Mel Gibson) is the protagonist of Braveheart, which centers on his struggle against the English invasion of Scotland.
In line with the era it depicts, it’s a bleak and frequently brutally violent film. Although it isn’t the most historically accurate of historical epics, it nonetheless manages to immerse the viewer in a critical period in Scottish history..
8. Gladiator (2000) – Stream On Netflix
It’s safe to say that Ridley Scott’s Gladiator, which premiered in 2000 and has since become one of the most popular gladiator films, was an incredible feat. One of the most epic movies ever made is Maximus, the narrative of Russell Crowe’s Maximus, a gladiator who eventually fights the emperor himself.
With a gripping tale, intense bloodshed, and a message that one person’s bravery can change the course of history, this epic has it all.
9. Troy (2004) – Stream On HBO Max
It was in the wake of Gladiator’s success that many movies set in antiquity were released, including Troy, a film adaptation of the Trojan War, one of western literature’s most major battles.
Brad Pitt and Eric Bana are excellent as Achilles and Hector, two great heroes whose fates eventually cross on the battlefield outside Troy’s walls. Despite the lack of gods, there is still a lot to admire about this historical epic.
10. Titanic (1997) – Stream On Netflix
For James Cameron, Titanic is an illustration of why he’s one of Hollywood’s best-known directors. To say that this movie is about the sinking of a legendary ship would be an understatement; it’s about the love tale between Jack and Rose.
It became an Oscar powerhouse and presently holds the record for the most Oscars for a film. It’s one of the best historical epics because of its accurate depiction of the title ship and its achingly tragic plot.