10 Best Medieval War Films

If your in the mood for a little sword and sorcery, but can't figure out what movie to rent or download, check out the 10 best medieval war films. From Shakespearian dramas to elf-filled epics, the medieval war film genre has something for anyone who loves a good mass combat scene. As always, any list is a little subjective, but you'll be hard pressed to find better medieval war films than the ones in this list.

  1. "Braveheart". The greatest medieval war movie of all time, and one of the best movies period. Directed and starring Mel Gibson, "Braveheart" is the slightly fictionalized story of Scottish freedom fighter, William Wallace.
  2. "Conan the Barbarian". Conan was the part that launched the career of Arnold Schwartzenegger. The movie is a dark epic classic, was partially written by Oliver Stone, and also stars James Earl Jones as one of the scariest villains in movie history.
  3. "The 13th Warrior". "The 13th Warrior" is a retelling of the story of "Beowulf", from the point of view of an Arab. The story was based on “The Eaters of the Dead,” a novel by Michael Crichton.
  4. "El Cid". "El Cid" takes its place among the greatest medieval war movies based on the strength of Charlton Heston in the title role, and the amazing direction by Anthony Mann. The story is about the life of El Cid, a Spanish hero who helped unite Spain in the 1200s.
  5. "Kingdom of Heaven". "Kingdom of Heaven" is director Ridley Scott’s look at the Crusades. In a list of the ten best medieval war movies, you would expect some great battle scenes, and this movie won’t disappoint in that department.
  6. "Excalibur". Despite the cultural impact of the Legend of King Arthur, very few good movies based on it have been made. The exception is "Excalibur", a 1981 movie starring Nigel Terry and Helen Mirren. The movie loosely follows the legend form when Arthur takes up Excalibur, until his death.
  7. "Henry V". Shakespeare aficionado Kenneth Brannagh directs this epic version of the Shakespeare play of the same name. The movie follows a young King Henry as he attack the French. Because that’s what English Kings do best. The movie may seem like it’s all powerful speeches and battle scenes, but is that really a bad thing?
  8. "Richard III" (1955). This is another Shakespeare film in the list of best medieval war movies, this one directed by and starring the great Sir Laurence Olivier. The movie tells the story of The War of the Roses, and specifically Richard’s desire for his brother’s throne.
  9. "Robin Hood – Prince of Thieves". This version of the "Robin Hood" story, starring Kevin Costner, has Robin as a Crusader who has to escape his captors to make it back to England, where the Sheriff of Nottingham has destroyed his life. Robin flees to the forest where he rounds up his Merry Men to wage war on the Sheriff. There are some flaws and slow moments to the film, but any qualifying movie with Alan Rickman in it gets an automatic pass into the top ten.
  10. "The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc". This retelling of the story of Joan of Arc may be a bit overly dramatic and preachy in places, but it includes some of the best medieval battle scenes ever put to film.
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