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Top 50 Best Medieval Movies Of All Time

AishwaryaAishwarya-Updated Jan 19, 2022


Medieval Movies

 

What is the first thing that comes to your mind when we mention Medieval times?

 

Do you think about brave and courageous knights, rich and charming princes, fair maidens, damsels in distress, dragons, witches, and wizards?

 

If you are romantic at heart, then you will immediately think of brave knights and warriors fighting with dragons and witches to rescue princesses and helpless maidens from their clutches.

 

Whereas, if you are a millennial or a germaphobe or practical modern person, you will immediately think of plague, incurable diseases, superstitious and ignorant people, oppressive regimes, feudal lords, violent death, and more.

 

Some people say that in those days, life must have been simple with farming, grazing, and minding our own business.

 

However, I beg to differ. Without all the modern comforts, I cannot imagine my life, simple or not.

 

Imagine living without your smartphone, WiFi, room heaters, or air conditioner. Lack of sanitation and plumbing and the biggest of all, NO ELECTRICITY.

 

You can not be blamed for either of your impressions. The dark ages or medieval times were well known for these attributes, and they got exaggerated.

 

As time passed by, some became folklore, fairy tales, and some became horror stories. Either way, our movie world has immortalized these medieval heroes and beauties through cinema and plays.

 

We can see a wide range of movies about noble kings and valiant princes, who fought off foes many times stronger than themself.

 

We also see comedies that have ridiculed the eccentric practices and odd beliefs held sacred during those times.

 

But the best kind of medieval movies that I love the best are those with swashbuckling heroes, sword fights, chases on horseback, and more.

 

This time around, ENTOIN brings you a list of medieval movies that will tickle your fancy with all their bravado, simpering maidens, duel fights, religious puritans, etc.

 

Get ready to watch this list of pictures about the dark ages, and be grateful for modern comforts, modern medicine, and science.

 

 

50. Black Death (2010)

 

Black Death (2010)

 

Black Death is an action horror set during the time of the outbreak of bubonic plague in England.

 

Due to the heavy influence of the church, a group of soldiers is sent to inspect a remote village that has remained plague-free.

 

They suspect the actions of the Devil are keeping the people safe. The original script, written by Dario Poloni, shows that Satan was in the village.

 

The priest sent to guide the soldiers ends up in Hell for his sins. But, the director, Christopher Smith, changed a huge portion of the script.

 

He depicted Hell as just a state of mind that the priest gets stuck into due to guilt.

 

The film received favorable reviews, and one critic wrote that the movie poses some interesting questions about faith and religion.

 

It delivers on its promise of fire and brimstone with its action and horror. It is an enjoyable fare with Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, Carice Van Houten, and more.

 

 

 

49. DragonHeart (1996)

 

DragonHeart (1996)

 

DragonHeart is a fantasy adventure movie about a boy whose life was saved by a dragon’s heart, hoping to make him into a great and benevolent king.

 

The boy, however, proves to be more vicious and evil than his father. This prompts his mentor to become a dragonslayer to avenge the loss of an innocent heart.

 

The film received mixed reviews, although it was a box-office success. The audience loved the engaging drama and the special effects.

 

However, the critics complained that the movie was, in a way, childish. They said it is for kids who believe in dragons, with light-hearted joy and cheerfulness.

 

The film received particular praise for its special effects. The dragon was very believable, and the voice of Sir Sean Connery as the dragon was great.

 

The production team took over 200 photographs to Connery to make the dragon look and feel like him when he speaks.

 

 

 

48. Arn: The Knight Templar (2007)

 

Arn: The Knight Templar (2007)

 

Arn: The Knight Templar is a Swedish movie that chronicles the life of a young man who is sentenced to become a Knight Templar.

 

Arn is the son of the Folkung dynasty, and he grows up in a monastery under the tutelage of a Knight Templar.

 

As he assists his friend, Knut, in his quest for the throne, Arn is accused of premarital relations with his fiance.

 

As a punishment, Arn is sentenced to serve in the Holy Land crusades as a Knight Templar.

 

The film was one of the most costly films from Sweden. Critics were appreciative of the movie and praised the exciting plot and convincing acting.

 

However, they found the role of the Knight Templar was not handled correctly. The Templars were not known as being tolerant towards crusaders from different ethnicities, nor were they forgiving people.

 

 

 

47. Solomon Kane (2009)

 

Solomon Kane (2009)

 

Solomon Kane is a collaboration between British-French-Czech companies, and it is based on a character with the same name from Pulp Magazine.

 

Solomon Kane was created in 1928 by Robert E. Howard for the magazine and was adapted into a film in 2009.

 

Kane was a ruthless mercenary whose life was forfeited to Lucifer after a life of sin.

 

When he returns to England, Kane renounces violence and joins a monastery. The only way for him to earn redemption is if he can save a puritan girl.

 

So, he sets out to become a puritan avenger. This film by MJ Basset received average reviews, and critics felt that the script was a little formulaic.

 

The narrative, however, was overcome with entertaining and exciting gore with a solid performance from Purefoy.

 

The movie won the Audience Jury Award at Fantasporto 2010.

 

 

 

46. The Green Knight (2021)

 

The Green Knight (2021)

 

The Green Knight takes us back to the Arthurian legends with a story about Sir Gawain and the Green Knight.

 

It is a modern retelling of the 14th-century story from the Arthurian legends and the famous knights of the round table.

 

This story is about a particular quest, put forward to King Arthur’s knights to test the best of them all.

 

Arthur’s nephew, Sir Gawain, who is known to be reckless and impulsive, rushes forward to the test.

 

The story establishes all the trials that he goes through to come out as the best in the end.

 

Writing for Vulture, a critic described it as someone who looks outside for external forces to turn us into someone great.

 

She also adds that you can travel everywhere in the world but cannot escape the person you are.

 

The critics loved the movie for its authenticity, but the audiences found it a tad bit slow.

 

 

 

45. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

 

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

 

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is a retelling of the famous story of the discovery of King Arthur from the Arthurian legend.

 

The film is set in a time before the Saxon invasion from the south. The story is steeped in myths of wizards, mages, and warlocks.

 

Uther Pendragon, the King, sets out to kill the evil warlock Mordred with the help of Merlin’s sword.

 

Though he successfully kills Mordred, Uther and his wife also died. They are betrayed by Vortigern, his brother, who covets the throne.

 

Arthur escapes and lives in Londinium with the prostitutes in a brothel. Despite this, Arthur cannot escape his destiny, and when he pulls out the sword from the stone, Vortigern is aware the rightful heir is back for the throne.

 

The critics had mixed reviews of the film. They felt that Arthur was portrayed as a “death metal warrior-king”, a deviation from the legendary wise warrior king who saved Britain.

 

The audiences also did not dig this Arthur, and the film did not do well at the box office.

 

 

44. Flesh+Blood (1985)

 

Flesh+Blood (1985)

 

Flesh+Blood is the fancy style for Flesh and Blood. It is a Paul Verhoeven film based on the plot characters of a Dutch TV show.

 

The film is set in medieval Italy, in the midst of war and plague that already ravaged the land.

 

To seek revenge on a noble lord who has reneged on a payment that was due to them, a group of mercenaries kidnaps the betrothed of the lord’s son.

 

They seek refuge in an old castle and bide time. One of the mercenaries falls in love with the fiance of the lord.

 

Although she reciprocates his love, they have to part ways. The film was a box office failure, yet it became a critical and cult favorite.

 

The director felt the reason for its poor performance could have been because the story was too downbeat and cynical.

 

Yet the performances of Rutger Hauer and Jeniffer Jason-Leigh were memorable.

 

 

43. Tristan + Isolde (2006)

 

Tristan + Isolde (2006)

 

Tristan + Isolde or Tristan & Isolde is the epic romance between the British warrior Tristan and the Irish princess, Isolde.

 

Their story is set in the dark ages when the Roman empire had collapsed, and the Irish, Celts, Angles, Saxons, and all the groups were fighting for Britain.

 

The King of Ireland wants to set his dominion over the British Isles. So, Marke, the Lord of Cromwell, unites all the groups and fights against the King.

 

Unwitting, Tristan, the heir to Marke, falls in love with Isolde, not knowing her identity.

 

As a result, they become pawns in a power struggle. They have to choose between their loyalty to the country or their love.

 

The film was intended to be directed by Ridley Scott. Since he was busy with other movies, Kevin Reynolds took up the project.

 

The critics gave it mixed reviews as some felt the film was not as impactful as the story could have been.

 

The romance was very muted, and the fights bloodless.

 

 

42. Ivanhoe (1952)

 

Ivanhoe (1952)

 

Ivanhoe is an epic historical movie based on the novel Ivanhoe by Sir Walter Scott.

 

The story follows the efforts made by Wilfred of Ivanhoe to save Richard the Lionheart when he gets kidnapped by Leopold of Austria.

 

While returning from the crusades, Richard the Lionheart is kidnapped, and there is an enormous ransom for his return.

 

Although Richard is a Norman king, Wilfred of Ivanhoe rallies all the support he can gather and release him.

 

Ivanhoe, being a Saxon, faces a lot of resistance from all other groups, and still, he manages to save Richard.

 

The film was nominated for Academy Awards for Best Picture, Best Cinematography, Best Music, and more.

 

It was nominated for the Directors Guild Awards and Golden Globes as well. One critic praised the film saying it made Walter Scott and Britain proud.

 

 

41. A Knight's Tale (2001)

 

A Knight's Tale (2001)

 

A Knight’s Tale is a medieval story that revolves around a jousting tournament and the quest of a peasant to participate in a nobleman’s sport.

 

The film, however, became famous for its anachronism. It employs 1970s rock music and pop culture references during the medieval tournament to create an interesting contrast.

 

The tale is supposed to be inspired by Geoffrey Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. In fact, the title is taken from this novel.

 

It is a simple tale of a young squire who takes the place of a nobleman in the jousting tournament when he suddenly expires.

 

The squire makes lasting and valuable friends during his tournament. He meets people like Geoffrey Chaucer, Sir Thomas Colville, or Edward the Black Prince.

 

The film received mixed reviews, but the audiences loved it. Critics felt that once we look past the anachronisms, the movie plot is quite plain and simple.

 

Many of the characters from Chaucer's Canterbury Tales are included in the film.

 

 

40. Outlaw King (2018)

 

Outlaw King (2018)

 

Outlaw King is the story of Robert the Bruce, who rebelled against the English army to become the King of Scotland.

 

The Scots and the English kings have always been at odds with each other, and after years of battle, the old Scottish lords surrendered to King Edward I of England.

 

Although the old accepted English rule, the young Scotsmen were not willing to accede. When William Wallace was quartered, there was an overwhelming public outrage against the English.

 

Using this momentum, Robert the Bruce rebels against the crown and is declared an outlaw.

 

Despite the larger and superior army, the English forces lost to Scotland due to the guerilla warfare of Bruce.

 

Critics felt that the movie was sufficiently accurate in the warfare, gore, and battle scenes, yet they missed many historical facts about Robert the Bruce.

 

The film premiered at Toronto International Film Festival. After this, the director removed twenty minutes worth of scenes, including an eight-minute chase and the encounter between Robert and William Wallace in the forest.

 

 

39. Conan The Barbarian (1982)

 

Conan The Barbarian (1982)

 

Conan The Barbarian is a character from Pulp Magazine with the same name. He was created by Robert E. Howard and adapted into the movie based on the script from Oliver Stone and John Milius.

 

Conan is an orphan who witnesses the destruction of his family and tribe at the hands of Thulsa Doom and his followers.

 

Although he is turned into a slave, Conan retains his need for revenge and builds muscle and strength as he grows.

 

Soon he becomes an unstoppable warrior, and with his best pal Sabotai, he sets out to end the sect of Thulsa Doom.

 

The film received mixed reviews from critics and audiences too. The screenwriting and acting were panned by all quarters, yet the production design and overall presentation appealed to them.

 

Despite the odds, the film was a success and pushed Arnold Schwarzenegger into international stardom.

 

 

38. Heaven and Earth (1990)

 

Heaven and Earth (1990)

 

Heaven and Earth is a Japanese film set in feudal Japan during the battles of Kawanakajima.

 

During the Sengoku period in Japan, the daimyo Kagetora, later known as Uesugi Kenshin, was challenged in a series of conflicts for control over the plains of Kawanakajima.

 

Uesugi Kenshin was the daimyo or warlord of the Uesugi clan and protected his family and lands in the province of Echigo with an iron fist.

 

However, Warlord Takeda Shingen of the Kai province attacked the nearby province of Shinano and triggered an epic battle with Kenshin that lasted for eleven years.

 

This film was the highest-grossing movie in Japan for 1990, and it earned over 5 billion yen in the domestic market itself.

 

The film set a Guinness Book of World record for using more than 800 horses in a single set.

 

The film was nominated for six awards at the Award of the Japanese Academy and won the Best Film at Mainichi Film Concours.

 

 

37. Ladyhawke (1985)

 

Ladyhawke (1985)

 

Ladyhawke is a fantasy adventure set in Medieval Italy under the sway of a corrupt bishop of Aquila.

 

Richard Donner directed the movie based on the story written by Edward Khmara. Gaston is a young thief who was imprisoned by the Bishop of Aquila for stealing.

 

He escapes prison and runs into an odd couple. Etienne of Navarre and his hawk rescue Gaston from the guards and request his help to assassinate the Bishop.

 

Initially, Gaston refuses to help, but he finds out that the hawk is, in fact, Lady Isabeau.

 

Navarre and Isabeau love each other, and in a fit of jealousy, the Bishop curses them to turn into animals.

 

Isabeau is a hawk by day, and Navarre is a wolf by night. Finally, all three set out to reverse the curse.

 

The film was a disappointment at the box office. Critics blamed the unsteady pacing of the narrative for the failure.

 

They, however, loved the romantic fairytale appeal of the film and the swordplay and sorcery too.

 

 

36. Highlander (1986)

 

Highlander (1986)

 

Highlander is a dark fantasy movie made by the British filmmaker Russell Mulcahy. It is based on the story by Gregory Widen.

 

Set in the highlands of Medieval Scotland, the film moves forward to New York in 1985 for its climax.

 

In medieval Scotland, a highlander, Conner Macleod, is killed but resurrects the next day. Thinking that he is a demon, his highland clan banishes him.

 

He meets Ramirez, who enlightens him about his immortality and about other immortals like him.

 

He also teaches Macleod sword fighting and how to kill an immortal. After surviving all these centuries, Macleod is informed about the Gathering.

 

That is where immortals fight to the death for a prize. During these fights, Macleod also meets his arch-nemesis Kurgan who killed Ramirez and raped his wife.

 

You need to watch the film to see who wins and what the prize is.

 

The film is a cheesy, cliched movie about revenge, good and evil. These were the reasons for the critics to complain about the movie.

 

Surprisingly, the audience loved it for these same reasons too.

 

 

35. Brave (2012)

 

Brave (2012)

 

Brave is an animated Pixar film about a medieval Scottish princess who refuses to conform to tradition and yearns to pave her own destiny.

 

The story is written by Brenda Chapman combining Scottish legends of Will o’ Wisps and more.

 

Princess Merida is more comfortable with a bow and arrows. Yet, her mother wishes she were a proper lady.

 

As the time for her marriage nears, the conflict between Merida and her mother increases.

 

In a rash and impulsive decision, Merida uses a witch to put a beastly curse on her mother.

 

Now, she has only three days to save her mother from remaining a bear. Brave was well received by the fans and the critics.

 

They gave positive reviews for the film. They agreed that Brave offers something for fantasy lovers, fairytale fans, and discerning young women about self-reliance and communication.

 

 

34. Pathfinder (1987)

 

Pathfinder (1987)

 

Pathfinder is a Norwegian movie filmed in the Sami language, and it is based on old Sami legends.

 

The story and the direction are by Nils Gaup. The film wanted to be true to the Sami language.

 

So, the music was also recorded by a group that had a specialty in this language.

 

In Finnmark in 1000 AD, a barbaric group of wanderers, known as Tjuds or Tchuds, attacked the village.

 

They kill all the inhabitants very violently. Young Aigin watches in horror as his whole family is killed.

 

He escapes to a nearby settlement for help, but the villagers are afraid that the Tchuds will track the boy and attack them next.

 

The Tchuds catch young Aigin and force him to be the pathfinder to locate the next village, but Aigin plots revenge to slowly kill them all on the way to the new settlement.

 

The film was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign-language film.

 

 

33. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

 

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

 

Kingdom of Heaven is a film about the crusades. The film is set in Jerusalem, in the 12th century.

 

Sultan Ayyubid sultan Saladin and the Christian ruler Baldwin IV are fighting for control over the holy land and for peace in the Kingdom of Heaven.

 

The film chronicles the efforts of Balian of Ibelin, along with the templar knights who fight to defend Jerusalem from the Muslim invaders.

 

Even though they lose sight of the end goal of peace and brotherhood, the leper king Baldwin enforces his will and maintains a brief period of tentative peace and brotherhood between the knights and the Muslim ruler, Saladin.

 

The film has been praised for the performances of its cast. Critics highly praised Edward Norton, Jeremy Irons, Ghassan Massoud, Eva Green, etc., for their stellar performances.

 

Yet critics felt that the film lacked the depth of emotion and faith.

 

 

32. Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (2007)

 

Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (2007)

 

Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan is a Russian film about the early life and rise to power of the great Mongol warlord Genghis Khan.

 

The film was made under the collaboration of Russia, Kazakhstan, and Germany. The film starts with a young Temujin who goes with his father to pick a wife for himself.

 

While returning, his father is killed by his lieutenant, who seizes control of the tribe.

 

Temujin faces adversity and imprisonment on multiple occasions. With his willpower, he overcomes it all and raises an army.

 

He takes control of most of the Mongol tribes to become Genghis Khan. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for best foreign-language film.

 

It was filmed in China in the Mongol autonomous region. Most critics found the land and scenery spellbinding, while the battle scenes were powerful with visceral energy.

 

 

31. El Cid (1961)

 

El Cid (1961)

 

El Cid is an epic historical drama about the life of Don Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar, who was later given the title of El Cid (The Lord).

 

He was the 11th-century Castillian knight who served King Ferdinand I the Great. Don Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar rescues two Muslim emirs during battle and later sets them free after taking an oath to maintain peace with their neighbors.

 

This act of forgiveness angers other noblemen, and they charge him for treason. Although the monarch continues to believe in him, Rodrigo loses the support of his fellow noblemen.

 

Later, after the death of King Ferdinand, the invading Muslim leader Ibn Yusuf has one of the princes killed and pushes the blame onto the other.

 

As a result of this discord, El Cid is banished from Spain, only to be recalled to help save Valencia from the invading Muslim forces.

 

The film was nominated for three Academy Awards for Art Direction, Musical score, and Original Song.

 

Charlton Heston was the only actor that the producers hoped to cast for the role.

 

Heston famously bemoaned that as the film progressed, he aged, but Sophia Loren, who played his wife, remained just as beautiful.

 

 

30. Willow (1988)

 

Willow (1988)

 

Willow is a dark fantasy movie about a quest to stop an evil queen who aims for world domination.

 

The story was conceived by George Lucas, who worked with Bob Dolman to create the script for Willow.

 

He then contacted Ron Howard to direct the film. A prophecy is made that a baby of the ‘tall people’ will bring the downfall of the evil sorceress queen Bevmorda.

 

The baby from the prophecy is rescued from the river. She was set adrift on the river, away from the hounds of the evil queen.

 

This baby lands in the arms of a farmer from the ‘little people's village, and it becomes his quest to help the baby fulfill its destiny.

 

The film was a success at the box office, but the critics were hard on the direction of Ron Howard.

 

They opined that the director paid more attention to special effects, and the pace of the story was slow.

 

Despite the commendable performance from Warwick Davis and the scintillating special effects, the story could not reach its full potential.

 

 

29. Troy (2004)

 

Troy (2004)

 

Troy is based on the epic poem, Iliad, written by Homer. It is about the war between the Greek and the Trojan empires.

 

This medieval romance, war, and betrayal story is part of Greek and Roman mythology. But, the director Wolfgang Petersen and writer, David Benioff, ensured that the mythology aspect was maintained at a minimum.

 

Thereby, the story was dealt with as a simple story of warring kingdoms. Paris, the son of King Priam, falls in love with Helen and abducts her from under the nose of Menelaus, the King of Sparta.

 

This angers him, and he takes the help of his brother King Agamemnon to attack Troy.

 

Since Troy is a strong kingdom with warriors like Hector and Paris, Agamemnon gathers many heroes like Achilles, Ajax, Odysseus, and more to launch the attack.

 

According to Iliad, each hero had a deity, who supported them, so Gods intervened in every fight.

 

But for this movie, the director removed the preternatural angle and presented it as a war between nations.

 

The film was nominated for Best Costumes at the Academy Awards, but the critics felt that the story lacked depth and emotional angle.

 

 

28. The King (2019)

 

The King (2019)

 

The King is a historical drama set in England in the early 15th century. The story is based on the play in Henriad, written by William Shakespeare.

 

The film was produced by Brad Pitt, Joel Edgerton, the co-writer, David Michod, the co-writer and director, and others.

 

The film starts with Henry V of England as a reluctant prince of Wales who visits his father, Henry IV of England.

 

Later, after the death of his brother and father, Henry V became the King of England.

 

He chooses a peaceful path and ignores the provocations from France. Yet, when push comes to shove, Henry V attacks France, and in a brilliant strategic move against the French army, he defeats them in the Battle of Agincourt.

 

France accedes to England, and King Charles Vi gives his daughter’s hand in marriage. Thus making him the sovereign of England and France.

 

The film received favorable reviews, with the critics hailing the strong performances of Timothee Chalamet, Joel Edgerton, and others.

 

The character of Sir John Falstaff was a fictional one, and it was inspired by Sir John Oldcastle, who was a companion of Henry V.

 

 

27. Excalibur (1981)

 

Excalibur (1981)

 

Excalibur is a medieval fantasy movie based on the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

 

The story is co-written, directed, and produced by John Boorman based on the Arthurian classic Le Morte d’Arthur, by Thomas Mallory.

 

The film starts with Merlin helping Uther Pendragon getaway after an affair with the wife of the Duke of Cornwall.

 

He is killed by the associates of Cornwall, and before dying, he stuffs his sword, Excalibur, into the stone.

 

Merlin proclaims that only the son of Uther can take the sword and become the ruler.

 

Later, Arthur pulls out the sword and becomes the king. He gathers brave knights who swear allegiance to him, thus creating the knights of the round table.

 

Trouble soon comes in the form of Morgana le Fay, who is Arthur’s half-sister and the secret affair between Lancelot and Guinevere.

 

The reviews for the film were critical of the characters, although they also praised the visual style and effects used in the film.

 

The film did decent business at the box office, standing as the 18th highest grosser of the year.

 

 

26. Elizabeth (1998)

 

Elizabeth (1998)

 

Elizabeth is a biographical movie about Queen Elizabeth I of England and Ireland. She was famous for being the Virgin Queen and was highly regarded during her reign.

 

The film has many historical inaccuracies that have been called out many times. Elizabeth is the half-sister of Queen Mary, a Catholic queen.

 

After the death of Queen Mary, Elizabeth was brought out of house arrest and made the new protestant queen of England and Ireland.

 

This caused severe tensions among the Catholic and Protestant sections of the court. There were also a few attempts made on her life.

 

Learning quickly that a firm hand was needed, Queen Elizabeth I refused to marry anyone as she was married to England.

 

She decided to keep her own counsel and practiced religious equality. In the film, we see her formative years until her reign stabilizes.

 

The film was nominated for six Academy Awards and won the award for Best Makeup.

 

It also won awards and nominations at the BAFTAs, Golden Globes, SAG award, and more.

 

 

25. Richard III (1955)

 

Richard III (1955)

 

Richard III is from the revered playwright William Shakespeare. An equally revered actor, Laurence Olivier, wrote, directed, and produced the film in 1955 as part of his trilogy that included Henry V, Richard III, and Hamlet.

 

Although, Richard II is the least acclaimed of this trilogy. It was the only movie in this trilogy that did not get an Oscar award.

 

Richard III is the younger brother of King Edward IV of England. Through his military prowess, he has helped Edward solidify his reign and the kingdom.

 

This sows seeds of dissent between the brothers. We see Richard become jealous and greedy for the throne and carefully plot to overthrow the ruler.

 

The film closely follows the play of Richard III. It starts with a nine-minute soliloquy by Olivier.

 

During this take, he accidentally dropped the crown, but instead of cutting the shot, he wove the error into his act to set the mood and tone of the film.

 

 

24. Macbeth (1971)

 

Macbeth (1971)

 

Macbeth is another Shakespearan play that was adapted into a movie. Roman Polanski had suffered a major tragedy, where his wife and unborn child was killed by the Manson family.

 

He used his grief to create this film making it particularly gory and violent. The film follows the tragic story of betrayal and greed for power in the court of the Scottish monarchy during the middle ages.

 

After Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, and Banquo successfully suppresses the Norwegian invasion, he is handsomely rewarded by King Duncan.

 

Based on the prophecy from three witches and spurred by his wife, Macbeth rebels against the sovereign and usurps the throne.

 

The film was a box-office bomb, and many felt that Shakespearan adaptations were not a viable option anymore.

 

The film received mixed reviews due to the excessive violence and nudity in the film.

 

The movie was the first time Playboy Productions made a Shakespearean movie.

 

 

23. The Return of Martin Guerre (1982)

 

The Return of Martin Guerre (1982)

 

The Return of Martin Guerre is a French movie about identity theft during medieval times.

 

The film is based on the case of Martin Guerre, who was a French peasant.

 

It is the earliest recorded case of Identity Theft in France. Martin Guerre had left his hometown, wife, and child to serve in the French army.

 

He was away for many years and finally returned one day. As he was able to accurately recognise his family, friends, and recount childhood stories, everybody believed him despite rumours from neighbouring villages.

 

One day, after an argument with his uncle about an old debt, the case of identity theft was brought before the court.

 

Just when the verdict was to be given in favour of Martin Guerre, the real guy returned and claimed the identity.

 

The film was nominated as the Best Foreign Language film by the US National Board of Review of Motion Pictures.

 

The movie was also remade in Hollywood with Richard Gere and Jodie Foster, set during the American Civil War.

 

 

22. Macbeth (1948)

 

Macbeth (1948)

 

Here is another adaptation of Macbeth that was made in 1948. This is also based on the play with the same name by William Shakespeare.

 

This version was written, directed, and produced by Orson Welles. The story was the same as the play, but this version was plagued by many difficulties.

 

To name a few troubles, there were budget constraints and rerecording of dialogues. The studios only gave Welles $700,000 to make the movie.

 

At the time of release, they pulled it back as the timing coincided with another Shakespearan movie of Hamlet by Laurence Olivier.

 

The studios were also not happy with the Scottish accent used in the movie. However, now the film has garnered rave critical reviews. 

 

 

21. 300 (2006)

 

300 (2006)

 

300 is a movie about a typical David versus Goliath fight, where 300 Spartans stood between 100,000 Persian warriors and Greece.

 

This battle was the famous last stand in history. King Leonides of Sparta is the point of entry for the invading Persian army into Greece.

 

The Persian King, Xerxes, came with a force of over a hundred thousand men, and as a last stand, the Spartans could gather only 300 strong men, along with 700 hundred Thespians and 400 Thebans.

 

The film was a Zack Synder film with stylish imagery, gory battle, and fight sequences.

 

The film highlighted the Spartan motto of returning from a war with your shield or on your shield.

 

This implied that everyone would die fighting but never give up. 300 was the highest-grossing R-rated comic book before the release of Deadpool.

 

 

20. Hamlet (1948)

 

Hamlet (1948)

 

Hamlet is an adaptation of the play with the same name written by William Shakespeare.

 

The film was written, directed, and produced by Laurence Olivier. It was the first British film to receive the Best Picture Academy Award.

 

Prince Hamlet is upset with the marriage of his mother and uncle. They have decided to get married within a month of the death of his father.

 

While mourning, he sees his father’s ghost, who tells him of his uncle, Claudius’, treachery.

 

After seeing that Claudius had poisoned his father and killed him, Prince Hamlet fakes madness.

 

Claudius secretly works along with Laertes to kill Hamlet in a duel and puts a poisoned cup of wine for him.

 

In the end, Hamlet, Laertes, and Claudius are killed in the fight, while his mother drinks the poisoned wine and dies.

 

This version of Hamlet is the first Shakespearan movie with sound and voice. It is also the first non-American film to win Best Picture.

 

Although the film was criticized for not being faithful to the play, it was generally praised by many critics.

 

 

19. Romeo And Juliet (1968)

 

Romeo And Juliet (1968)

 

Romeo and Juliet are one of William Shakespeare's most famous plays. This medieval tragedy is set in the Italian town of Verona between the warring noble families of Montague and Capulet.

 

This version of the play is the most successful production at that time by Franco Zeffirelli.

 

Two of Verona’s top noble families, Montague and Capulet, are feuding with each other while their children, Romeo and Juliet, are falling in love.

 

Despite the stiff opposition from everyone around them, Romeo and Juliet continue to meet and remain devoted.

 

Yet, in a bizarre tale of confusion, they both end up dying, thinking that the other is dead.

 

Laurence Olivier was so impressed with the work of Franco Zeffirelli that he agreed to work in this film, uncredited.

 

He is the narrator and the voice of Antonio Pierfederici. The film won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and Best Costume Design.

 

It also won Golden Globe for Best Lead Actor and Actress.

 

 

18. Warrior's End (2009)

 

Warrior's End (2009)

 

Warrior’s End is a story of bravery and valor in the face of difficulty, set in Medieval times.

 

The film was written and directed by first-time director Bjorn Anderson. The movie was made on a shoestring budget of just $50,000.

 

Prince Andreas of Midea has been sent on a tour of the country with his friends and escorts.

 

While surveying the land, the prince stumbles upon an invading army from the neighboring country of Kilea.

 

He is far from the capital, and he does not have time to wait for the army to reach them.

 

He has to take quick and decisive action if he wants to save his kingdom.

 

The film premiered at Seattle’s True Independent Film Festival and won the Mt. Rainier award.

 

The director had quit his day job at the age of 26 due to his love for filmmaking.

 

He made the movie with a lot of volunteer work from the Seattle Knights troupe.

 

 

17. The Name of the Rose (1986)

 

The Name of the Rose (1986)

 

The Name of the Rose is a murder mystery set in the medieval 14th century in a Benedictine Abbey in Northern Italy.

 

The film is based on a novel with the same name, written by Umberto Eco.

 

The film gives us a peek into the different mindsets and ideologies of the church in that era.

 

William of Baskerville is an intelligent and logical friar in the Franciscan order. He and his apprentice are called upon to look into the death of one of the monks.

 

Since all the monks are immediately suspecting devilry and witchcraft, William thinks it is essential to logically analyse the situation.

 

Despite his efforts to solve the murders, monks continue to die. The chief abbot calls in the inquisitor, who is an old rival of William.

 

This inquisitor does not spend much time investigating, but based on a few incidents, calls it witchcraft and forcibly tortures a few monks to accept responsibility.

 

The film owes most of its success to European viewers as it was not a hit in the US.

 

Many people, including the director, were wary of casting Sir Sean Connery in the role of William as he was at the lowest point of his career.

 

 

16. The Last Duel (2021)

 

The Last Duel (2021)

 

The Last Duel is based on the novel, The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France by Eric Jager.

 

The screenplay was written by Matt Damon, Ben Affleck, and Nicole Holofcener. She was brought in to provide a female perspective to the events.

 

Jean de Carrouges is a knight in the French court of King Charles VI, and he challenges Jacques Le Gris to a duel to save the honour of his wife.

 

She accuses Jacque of rape, and since Jacques enjoys the patronage of his feudal lord Pierre d’Alencon.

 

Jean is left with no choice but to approach King Charles VI. The film has three chapters where we are given a breakdown of sorts.

 

In the first chapter, we get a peek into the relations and the politics in the court.

 

The second chapter depicts the crime and the fight for justice. The final chapter shows us the end result and the sequence of events.

 

The film was the first time Matt Damon and Ben Affleck wrote a script after Good Will Hunting.

 

The film was a box-office bomb despite being a thought-provoking drama. A critic praised the film, saying it critiques systemic misogyny, yet it was not as effective as it could have been with good acting and an excellent script.

 

 

15. Northern Crusades (1972)

 

Northern Crusades (1972)

 

Northern Crusades is a Lithuanian movie about the crusades in medieval times that involved the old Prussians and the Teutonic warriors.

 

It was directed by Marijonas Giedrys back in 1972 The film is a biopic of the most famous crusader from old Prussia, Herkus Mantas.

 

In Latin, his name is pronounced as Henricus Montemin, and in German, he was called Heinrich Monte.

 

He was the most famous leader of the Great Prussian Uprising against the Teutonic knights and the Northern Crusades.

 

He fought to free the Prussian lands from the oppressive Teutonic knights. Although, in the end, he was captured and hanged to death, his conquest helped in regaining some of the lost lands.

 

Herkus Mantas is remembered for the fight for freedom in Lithuanian SSR, and there are streets named after him.

 

As the film was made in 1972, the heavy Soviet influence can be observed.

 

 

14. Becket (1964)

 

Becket (1964)

 

Becket is the tale of medieval times when the church and the monarchy often clashed for power and control over the other.

 

The film is an adaptation of the play Becket or the Honour of God by Jean Anouilh.

 

King Henry II of England was renowned for bringing substantial changes in the relations between the monarchy and the church.

 

He hoped to have better control of the church and appointed his long-time friend, Thomas Becket, as the Archbishop of Canterbury.

 

This move backfired when Thomas Becket developed a wholesome responsibility and relation with the church.

 

He refused to support Henry in his decisions. This conflict led to his assassination in 1170.

 

Later, Henry requested that Becket be raised to sainthood. The film was well-received by the audience and the reviewers.

 

It garnered eleven Academy Award nominations and won the award for Best Adapted Screenplay. About the film, Richard Burton famously claimed that he was better suited to play King Henry II rather than Saint Thomas Becket.

 

 

13. Henry V (1989)

 

Henry V (1989)

 

Henry V is a historical play by William Shakespeare. This medieval drama was adapted into a movie by Kenneth Branagh as he wrote, directed,,,,,, and acted in the movie.

 

Henry V takes up the throne at a young age after the death of his father and brother.

 

Despite his initial intent for peace, he is insulted by the French King Charles VI.

 

This instigates a battle between England and France. Henry V overcame the opposition in his court, low morale in the army and a larger French army to win the battle of Agincourt.

 

After the defeat, King Charles VI offers the hand of his daughter, Katherine, to Henry V along with the rule of England and France.

 

The film received high praise and worldwide critical acclaim. It is considered one of the best adaptations of the Shakespearean play.

 

The film was nominated at the Oscars for Best Director and Best Actor for Kenneth Branagh, and it won the award for Best Costume Design.

 

 

12. The Lion in Winter (1968)

 

The Lion in Winter (1968)

 

The Lion in Winter is another movie about the rule of Henry II of England.

 

This story is about the latter years of Henry II when he has to choose a successor to his throne.

 

It is based on the play with the same name, written by James Goldman. In the winter of 1183, during the Christmas celebrations, Henry II was engulfed by personal and political turmoil regarding the heir to the throne.

 

He had released Eleanor of Aquitaine from house arrest for this Christmas, and her children came with many schemes and plots to pressure Henry II to choose one.

 

The film was very successful, both commercially and critically. The film won three Academy Awards, including for Best Actress.

 

This was the third Academy Award for Katherine Hepburn, who played Eleanor of Aquitaine.

 

 

11. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

 

The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938)

 

The Adventures of Robin Hood is based on the historical character called Robin Hood, who was a vigilante during medieval times in England.

 

The movie stars many iconic actors from the Golden Age of Hollywood, namely Errol Flynn, Olivia De Havilland, Basil Rathborne, Claude Rains, and more.

 

The kingdom of England is in dire times as the Norman King, Richard the Lionheart, is away, fighting the crusades at the holy land.

 

In his absence, his brother, Prince John, has named himself as regent. Prince John and his Norman supporters are oppressing common folk and targeting the Saxons and other clans.

 

During this time, Sir Robin of Locksley rises up and stands in support of the oppressed.

 

When he is banished, he hides in the forests of Sherwood, and with his band of Merrymen, waylays the soldiers and feudal lords.

 

He even helps in gathering support for the return of King Richard and Ivanhoe. The film won many accolades, including three Academy Awards apart from two other nominations.

 

It garnered more praise in later years as well. It was included in the list of Best Films of All Time at #84.

 

It appeared on three top 100 lists of American Film Institute lists.

 

 

10. Kagemusha (1980)

 

Kagemusha (1980)

 

Kagemusha or Shadow warrior is a true story based on the events during the Japanese Sengoku era.

 

The film is written, directed, and produced in collaboration with Akira Kurosawa. The film was short on budget as it neared the end, so George Lucas and Francis Ford Coppola convinced 20th Century Fox to fund the film for international distribution rights.

 

The film starts with Takeda Nobukado rescuing a small-time thief from execution. The thief is brought in front of Takeda Shingen.

 

Soon, he is trained to become the Kagemusha of Shingen. While leading his army to besiege the castle of Tokugawa Ieyasu, Takeda Shingen is assassinated.

 

Only Takeda Nobukado and the top generals of the Takeda clan are aware of the death of Shingen.

 

They immediately install the Kagemusha in his stead and fool both the enemy and the clan members.

 

Although he is successful at first, the troops identify him as an importer and exile the thief, yet out of loyalty to Shingen, he follows the army and fights to his death.

 

The film was nominated for multiple awards, including at the Academy Awards, Golden Globes, BAFTAs and more.

 

It also won awards at the Cannes Film Festival, Cesar Film Awards, David di Donatello Award, BAFTA, Mainichi Film Concours, and more.

 

 

9. Marketa Lazarová (1967)

 

Marketa Lazarová (1967)

 

Marketa Lazarová is a Czech novel written by Vladislav Vančura. The movie is an adaptation of this novel, under the direction of  František Vláčil.

 

It is a medieval story that depicts the conflict between paganism and Christianity in its early days.

 

Kozlik and his clan are followers of pagan religion. They constantly revolt against their sovereign and his administration that aggressively pushes for Christianity to be adopted.

 

During their attacks against the bishop and his convoy, Kozlik’s children end up capturing and falling in love with Christians.

 

The film was considered the best Czech film ever made by critics and audiences. The director, František Vláčil, painstakingly researched the period, their clothing, accents and more.

 

He even had the cast stay in the forest for the two years of filming for authenticity.

 

 

8. Andrei Rublev (1966)

 

Andrei Rublev (1966)

 

Andrei Rublev is a Russian film based on the 15th-century icon painter. The film is directed by Andrei Tarkovsky, and it is a historical biography of the life and times of Andrei Rublev.

 

The film is a realistic portrayal of Russian society, politics, religion, and artistic freedom. The story follows the turbulent period of medieval Russia that witnessed the endless fighting between Princes and invasion from the Tatar people.

 

The film sought to portray Christianity as an axiom of Russian historic identity as per Andrei Tarkovsky.

 

He drew heavily from his own religious experiences while making this film. The film faced a lot of difficulties in getting released in Russia.

 

It was also not allowed to be shown abroad. The heavy censorship during the Brezhnev era sought to repress the film.

 

 

7. The Princess Bride (1987)

 

The Princess Bride (1987)

 

The Princess Bride is a medieval fantasy film that portrays the struggles of two lovers to be together as life keeps them apart at every turn.

 

It is an adaptation of the novel The Princess Bride by William Goldman and directed by Rob Reiner.

 

The story starts with a grandfather narrating a story to his grandson. Buttercup is a farm girl in Florian, who dearly loves Westley, a farmhand.

 

The prince of Florian plans to marry Buttercup and make her his princess bride, but she still loves Wesley, who is presumed dead after the Dread Pirate Roberts attacks his ship.

 

We are shown that Westley is not dead. He has been living with the pirates and planning to return to Florian.

 

As soon as he returns, he is captured by Prince Humperdinck and almost killed. His motley crew of Vizzini, Fezzik, and Inigo Montoya come to his aid as he survives the murder attempt and wins back Buttercup.

 

The film was well-received by critics and became a cult classic. The lead pair of Cary Elwes and Robin Wright were totally smitten during the filming.

 

Due to this, the chemistry appears more realistic. The role of Fezzik was almost given to Arnold Schwarzenegger, but it went to Andre the Giant as per the wishes of the writer.

 

 

6. How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

 

How to Train Your Dragon (2010)

 

How to Train Your Dragon is an animated medieval fantasy adventure based on the children’s book with the same name, written by Cressida Cowell.

 

The film was followed up by two more sequels and was highly successful. The film is set in a mythical Viking settlement of Berk, where they train in hunting dragons.

 

The town chieftain is Stoick and Hiccup is his son. While Stoick wants him to be a brave Viking warrior who fights dragons, Hiccup is an intelligent and gentle boy with a mind for mechanical devices.

 

Inevitably he has a faceoff with a Night Fury dragon in the arena. Although he survives, Hiccup notices that the Night Fury cannot fly due to a problem with its tail wing.

 

He rescues the dragon and creates a mechanical solution for its problem, thereby winning its trust and loyalty.

 

Both of them together change the mindset of the town of Berk forever. The film was a major commercial and critical success.

 

The most famous scene where Toothless, the night fury, hesitates to accept the touch of Hiccup, was an animation glitch.

 

It looked so perfect that they decided to keep it in the movie.

 

 

5. The Seventh Seal (1967)

 

The Seventh Seal (1967)

 

The Seventh Seal is a Swedish medieval drama that is based on the play Wood Painting.

 

It is written and directed by Ingmar Bergman. This psychological drama is considered a classic in world cinema and is often listed among the greatest films of all time.

 

Antonius Block and his squire Jons return from the crusades only to find the country is under the grip of a widespread plague.

 

He is disillusioned about God and cynical about everything. He encounters death who has come to take him.

 

They start a game of chess as they travel across the country, and through this game of chess, the knight seeks answers to questions regarding the existence of God, our purpose of life and death.

 

It is said that Ingmar Bergman was inspired to write the story based on Akira Kurosawa's film.

 

Bergman was a big fan of the famous Japanese filmmaker. In fact, Bergman had a crippling fear of death that he overcame through this film.

 

 

4. Ran (1985)

 

Ran (1985)

 

Ran is a Japanese movie about a medieval warlord who retires to hand down the reins to his children.

 

The film took 10 years to be conceived by Akira Kurosawa and is an adaptation of King Lear.

 

It was his last film adaptation of Shakespeare's plays. Lord Ichimonji is an elderly warlord who decides to retire and splits his fiefdom among his three sons, Taro, Jiro, and Saburo.

 

While the eldest two sons appear to be happy with their father’s decision and support the distribution, the youngest son, Saburo, opposes him.

 

This angers Ichimoji, and he banishes Saburo. Soon, Taro and Jiro show their true colors.

 

They do not keep their promise to peacefully coexist and care for the elderly father.

 

They rebel against the father’s wishes, and in the end, everyone is killed in battle.

 

Kurosawa was 76 years old, and by the time of filming, his eyesight badly deteriorated.

 

He depended on his assistants to guide the shots based on the storyboard that he created over 10 years.

 

His wife had died during the making of the movie, yet Kurusawa only took one day off to mourn her loss before he continued to work.

 

 

3. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

 

Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)

 

Monty Python is a British comedy troupe that specializes in comedy sketches that were telecast in their own show.

 

Between the third and fourth season of the show, the team decided on the script for Monty Python and the Holy Grail with the entire six members of the troupe.

 

What follows is a comedy that is rated one of the best ever. King Arthur, from medieval England, is in search of knights for his round table, and he goes traveling for them.

 

He sets up his round table with Sir Lancelot the Brave, Sir Galahad the Pure, Sir Belvedere the Wise, and Sir Robin the Not so brave as Lancelot along with his squires and minstrels.

 

After the round table is set up and the party is concluded, God appears to them and requests them to go on a quest for the Holy Grail.

 

The ridiculous and funny events that happen next to make up a funny movie. The film was a success but, it received mixed reviews from critics.

 

A critic described the film as a recklessly funny and sometimes comic genius. The band Pink Floyd were such big fans of Monty Python that they would halt recording to watch the show.

 

 

2. Braveheart (1995)

 

Braveheart (1995)

 

Braveheart is a historical epic about the life of William Wallace. It is based on the 15th-century poem by Blind Harry, called The Actes and Deidis of the Illustre and Vallyeant Campion Schir William Wallace.

 

Although the screenplay was fraught with many historical inaccuracies. During the reign of King Edward I, all of England and Scotland was brought under one banner to end years of fighting.

 

The Scottish rebels were not happy to be oppressed under the Englishmen and continued to fight for freedom under the leadership of William Wallace.

 

Wallace took the help of Robert the Bruce and united all the small and big tribes and factions of Scots.

 

He brought them under one banner to fight against King Edward I. The film was nominated for several awards and accolades, including 10 Academy Awards, seven BAFTAs, four Golden Globes and Directors Guild Awards, Saturn Awards and more.

 

It won many of them too.

 

 

1. Seven Samurai (1954)

 

Seven Samurai (1954)

 

Seven Samurai is another masterpiece from Akira Kurosawa. It is a film that is constantly listed among the greatest films ever made.

 

The film is set in Japan’s Sengoku period. The script was written, edited and directed by Akira Kurosawa, and it was one of the most expensive films of that time.

 

It was the second highest-grossing film of the year as well. A village in medieval Japan often faces the threat of bandits.

 

They come as soon as the crop is harvested and get away with all the grains.

 

The village head is desperate and approaches a ronin or a masterless samurai fighter for help to protect the village.

 

This ronin gathers a group of six other ronin like him and sets out to save the village.

 

They teach the villagers to be brave, fight and defend their home with honor. Although the villagers win against the bandits, it comes at a heavy price as the samurais lose their comrades.

 

The film is compared to old Westerns, especially High Noon. Critics have praised the movie as the best work from Kurosawa.

 

It is an epic that has an engaging story, stunning action sequences, memorable characters, and more.

 

This is ENTOIN’s list of the best medieval movies. We made up this list to include romance, drama, comedy, epic biopics, literary works, and more.

 

We hope you enjoyed this list, and please feel free to contact us with any movies that we missed, Thank you!!

 

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