12 films for an action-packed history lesson

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Epic historical action movies do not always get the attention they deserve and, with the exception of The man from the north and The king’s manwe seem to have reached a dry point when it comes to the genre lately.

We might say “They don’t make them like they used to,” but instead we’ve decided to bring you our 12 best historical action movies, in no particular order, to check out the next time your inner historian is in charge of the movie. remote. We’re not saying these are all goodbut these are movies about historical stuff that we think you should watch (if only to complain with us).

Fun fact before we start: many Australians feature in historical action films. Mel Gibson (Brave heart, The Patriot, Gallipoli, apocalypto) and Russell Crowe (Gladiator, Robin Hood, Master and Commander) to only cite a few. In any event….

The King’s Man (2021)

We could not not to understand The king’s man in this list, after mentioning it in the opening. The synopsis is quite simple: one man must race against time to stop the worst tyrants and criminal masterminds in history from starting a war and wiping out millions of people. This historic action movie has been delayed several times, mainly due to the current COVID-19 situation around the world. But it finally debuted in December 2021, to mixed reviews. And by mixed, I mean one reviewer said this movie: “A totally ridiculous movie that turns historical fact into a stale pretzel and feeds it to an ignorant audience.” Ouch.

300 (2006)

Let’s dismiss another obvious historical action movie. If you haven’t seen yet 300, I have two questions: one, why not? And two: what are you doing while reading this list? In 480 BC, a state of war existed between Persia, led by King Xerxes, and Greece. During the Battle of Thermopylae, Leonidas (Gerard Butler), king of the Greek city-state of Sparta, leads his outnumbered warriors against the massive Persian army. Although certain death awaits the Spartans, their sacrifice inspires all of Greece to unite against their common enemy. Yes, that’s a c+p of the globally accepted synopsis for the movie. There’s not much OC to say about this one: it’s a Zack Snyder movie and honestly, David Denby of The New Yorker puts 300 so simply: “A muscle-magazine fantasy crossed with a video game and an army recruiting film”. It’s like that.

Braveheart (1995)

Brave heart wins the title of most epic action/historical war drama film ever made. Fight me. He set the bar, love him or hate him. In case you’ve been living under a rock since 1995, Brave heart is directed and co-produced by Mel Gibson, who plays Sir William Wallace, a late 13th-century Scottish warrior. The film depicts the life of Wallace leading the Scots in the First War of Scottish Independence against King Edward I of England. Say what you want Brave heart – it grossed $210.4 million worldwide. But he did receive criticism for its many historical deviations.

Revelation (2006)

Mr. Gibson makes another appearance (he is, as we said earlier, in charge of this whole historical action movie). Set in Yucatán, Mexico around the year 1502, Apocalypto follows a young man named Jaguar Paw, a late Mesoamerican hunter, and his fellow tribesmen who are captured by an invading force. After their village is devastated, they are taken on a perilous journey to a Mayan city for human sacrifice at a time when the Mayan civilization is in decline. apocalypto is a 2006 film produced, co-written and directed by Gibson, and similar to The passion of Christ, all dialogue is in a modern approximation of the ancient language of the setting. There is jungle, thrills and history. I haven’t seen this one, so I’m relying on IMDB and Google to paint a picture, but my colleagues feel apocalypto I would feel a lot better if it wasn’t a Gibson movie.

The Last Duel (2021)

Whereas The last duel is a thought-provoking drama film, it still ticks the boxes for story and action. The official synopsis says The last duel is “a cinematic, thought-provoking drama set in the midst of the Hundred Years’ War that explores the pervasive power of men, the fragility of justice, and the strength and courage of a woman willing to stand alone in the service of truth. “. It is based on real events and uncovers long-held assumptions about the last French-sanctioned duel between Jean de Carrouges and Jacques Le Gris, two friends turned bitter rivals. It is directed by Ridley Scott from a screenplay by Nicole Holofcener, Ben Affleck and Matt Damon, based on the 2004 book The Last Duel: A True Story of Trial by Combat in Medieval France by Eric Jager. The film’s content and length make it difficult to watch, but it explores gender dynamics that are sadly still relevant.

Public Enemies (2009)

John Dillinger’s story is one that has always fascinated me. Public enemies is a 2009 film that details the final years of notorious bank robber John Dillinger (Johnny Depp), as he is pursued by the FBI. It’s more on the biographical crime side of historical action, but the movie is worth watching if you haven’t seen it already. It could be a lot harder to portray life in the Depression era (the internet agrees with me on this one), and given that Christian Bale also stars in Public enemiesyou want After of the cast. I do remember thinking when it came out, it was good to see Depp play something different to what we used to see him portray. But now, meh. It’s an interesting grounding feeling for the villain (in a movie, of course). Public enemies is a cat and mouse movie that has action for days.

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

by Ridley Scott kingdom of paradise had all the hallmarks of a great historical action movie. The summary is that Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the 12th century crusades, and there he finds himself as a defender of the city and its people. Our friends at AV Club probably put this best when reviewing kingdom of paradise when it was created. They said it had “a jerky pacing, thin characterization, poorly done romantic subplot, unsatisfactory resolution, and dramatic looseness”. They also said “the battle scenes look spectacular, but with Scott behind the camera, it’s kind of a given, and ultimately, kingdom of paradise doesn’t have much else to do but these battle scenes”. Amen, friends.

Letters from Iwo Jima (2006)

Letters from Iwo Jima is a 2006 Japanese-language war film (still packed with action and historical content, don’t worry), directed and co-produced by Clint Eastwood. Letters from Iwo Jima begins just before the American invasion of a tactically important Japanese island and ends with the American victory. All of this is shown exclusively from the Japanese military perspective, as they dig tunnels, stock up, and prepare to fight the Americans with almost no resources but their own discipline.

Dunkirk (2017)

It shouldn’t take much to sell someone on the idea of ​​a Christopher Nolan war movie. Dunkirk is about what happens after the clash of armies, focusing on a British retreat at the start of World War II, trapped in a battle for time. It’s dark, it’s beautiful, and in 2017 we declared it one of the greatest war movies we’ve ever seen. Dunkirk received a plot of praise since it was released in 2017. I don’t know if you’ll like this, but I honestly think it’s on par with Nolan The black Knight as one of his best films.

Troy (2004)

Boy, do you Troy have all the ingredients of a good action movie based on historical events. Directed by Wolfgang Petersen and written by David Benioff, Troy is (loosely) based on that of Homer Iliad, and it depicts the battle between the ancient kingdoms of Troy and Sparta. If you haven’t seen this one, the synopsis goes like this: While visiting the Spartan king Menelaus (Brendan Gleeson), the Trojan prince Paris (Orlando Bloom) falls in love with Menelaus’ wife, Helen (Diane Kruger). , and brings her back to Troy . Menelaus’ brother, King Agamemnon (Brian Cox), having already defeated all the armies of Greece, uses his brother’s fury as a pretext to declare war on Troy, the last kingdom preventing him from controlling the Aegean Sea. This has been called a “violent, watered-down version of the Iliad», and we tend to agree: Troy is an over-the-top historical action flick, but it’s one of those movies you need to see for your full exploration of the genre.

Returning (2015)

We at Gizmodo Australia tend to love anything Leonardo DiCaprio does, and I suspect that extends to his time in historical action film. Returning, too. Although the movie is… ugh. Look, the camera work is good. While exploring the uncharted wilderness in 1823, pioneer Hugh Glass (DiCaprio) sustains life-threatening injuries from a brutal bear attack. When a member (Tom Hardy) of his hunting party kills his young son (Forrest Goodluck) and leaves him for dead, Glass must use his survival skills to find his way back to civilization. Grief-stricken and fueled by revenge, the legendary fur trapper travels the snowy terrain to find the man who betrayed him.

there will be blood

there will be blood is the story of family, religion, hate, oil and madness, focusing on a turn-of-the-century prospector in the early days of business. It’s not “historic” in the way that the other action movies on our list are, but it’s a good look into the life of Daniel Plainview (Daniel Day-Lewis) as he makes his mark. luck and becomes a self-taught tycoon. But, of course, as his fortune grows, he deviates towards moral bankruptcy. Don’t think the “blood” part of the title is what you get.

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