From 1095 to 1291, European Christians waged religious wars against the Saracens (Muslims) to retake the Holy Land (Jerusalem). Christianity, Islam, and Judaism all saw this land as being of critical importance. As a result, the way we think about these conflicts has shifted over time. Many films in Europe, the United States, and Egypt have been influenced by and built around them.
We’ve compiled a list of the best crusade films ever made to show all sides of these historical conflicts. Some of the best crusade films are available on Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon Prime.
10. King Richard and The Crusaders (1954)
King Richard the Lionheart is determined to retake Jerusalem from the Saracens. For the purpose of defeating Saladin, he must contend with the betrayal and dissension in his camp. Also, Rex Harrison plays a doctor who saves Richard’s life and remains a mysterious presence throughout the story as an ambiguous figure. The movie is based on Sir Walter Scott’s novel “The Talisman.” David Butler directed the film.
9. Robin and Marian (1976)
As Robin Hood grows older, he makes his way back from the Crusades to see Marian, the woman he loves. Marian, on the other hand, is now a nun and is apprehensive about his return. Robin Hood is played by Sean Connery, and Mariam is played by Audrey Hepburn in this film. This Richard Lester period piece in Technicolor is a one-of-a-kind experience. A different point of view, phenomenal performances and masterful camera work help it stand on its own terms despite repeated plots and influences.
8. The Crusades (1935)
King Richard of England flees to join the Third Crusade after refusing to marry Princess Alice of France. In exchange for food from her father, he marries Princess Berengaria of Navarre. When King Saladin kidnaps Richard’s wife, Richard goes up against him. This epic classic, which starred Lauretta Young, Henry Wilcoxon, and Ian Keith, was one of the first “grand shows” and “superbly managed heroic extravaganzas” in cinema history.
7. Brancaleone at the Crusades (1970)
Brancaleone de Norcia commands a ragtag band of misfits as his own personal army. The character confronts the personification of death after losing all of his warriors in a battle and begs for more time. After saving the life of a royal child, his father in Palestine titles him in his honor. He’s about to wed a stunning princess in exchange for eliminating the moors and keeping the Saracens at bay in Jerusalem. Death, on the other hand, does not go quietly. It honors his final wish to die in a knightly fashion by doing so now. Despite the ominous title, this is an Italian comedy spoofing classic films like Seventh Seal and parodying stereotypical Middle Ages movie scenes. Master of Commedia all’Italiana Mario Monicelli is in charge of the camera.
6. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
Balian is on a mission to seek forgiveness for himself as well as his deceased wife. Balian decides to join the crusade to Jerusalem when a crusader claims to be his father. Soon, he learns about the local politics and emerges as a hero to the citizens and the city as a whole. Despite the fact that it takes place in the 12th century, this film is jam-packed with images from present-day Jerusalem. The film is directed by Ridley Scott, the master, and stars Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, and Jeremy Irons among others.
5. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
Even if you thought Robin Hood was a story for children, after watching this revenge film, you may reconsider your position. Robin of Locksley seeks vengeance on the Sheriff of Nottingham for killing his father. He decides to go to war as an outlaw, so he gathers a band of robbers. Alan Rickman and Kevin Costner star in Kevin Reynolds’ bloody action film. Morgan Freeman also appears. It ended up being one of the year’s most financially successful films.
4. Saladin The Victorious (1963)
Saladin leads a Muslim military campaign and liberates the Holy Land from Christian forces in an Egyptian war epic drama directed by Youssef Chahine. Saladin’s tenacity and bravery allowed him to defeat the European Third Crusade and retake his homeland. Ahmed Mazhar’s outstanding performance flips the script on a typical Hollywood historical epic by presenting the other side of the story.
3. Valhalla Rising (2009)
Mads Mikkelsen stars in this Danish English-language epic war film about a Scandinavian slave who escapes and sails to the Holy Land in search of Crusades, with a young boy he befriends while in prison. Instead, they find themselves in an unfamiliar land, under attack from sinister forces. In this self-evident masterpiece directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, the cinematography is grey, mind-boggling, and cataclysmic, setting the mood.
2. Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade (1989)
In the third Indiana Jones film, we learn about Indiana Jones’ search for his father, who has gone missing while on a quest for the Holy Grail. Visiting Venice’s First Crusade Tomb, escaping the Nazis, and discovering the Holy Grail in Jerusalem all form part of the same journey. He frees and ultimately saves his father’s life. Through a perilous journey full of mishaps and setbacks. One need not worry or be apprehensive before embarking on one of the greatest journeys in cinematic history when names like Steven Spielberg, Harrison Ford, and Sean Connery are associated with a project.
1. The Adventures Of Robinhood (1938)
Robin Hood is a timeless classic swashbuckler film, shot in Technicolor by Warner Bros. and produced by the studio. The film, directed by Michael Curtiz and William Keighley, depicts the life of an Anglo-Saxon knight who, while King Richard is away leading the Third Crusade, fights against injustice and poverty as an outlaw. This film, starring Errol Flynn, Olivia de Heaviland, and Basil Rathbone, has been deemed “culturally, historically, and aesthetically significant” by scholars.