10 Best Movies About Historical Figures

Here are ten of the best movies about historical figures. There are countless people who do and don’t receive the attention they deserve, especially in Hollywood. There are many movies about the general Hannibal, but none of the young general Scipio Africanus who defeated him and ended his career with an even greater military record. Still, Hollywood has done justice to some.

  1. "Elizabeth" (1998) As far as movies about historical figures go, it’s impossible not to mention these. Elizabeth was one of the greatest monarchs in history and proved that a woman can rule alone. Several movies have been made about her life, but those with Cate Blanchett and Helen Mirren are must-sees.
  2. "The Young Victoria" (2009) She was the longest reigning monarch in British history, and this movie about her first years in power is simple, historically accurate (more than most movies), and still engaging.
  3. "Lawrence of Arabia" (1962) A life of triumph and tragedy at once make this movie about this enigmatic historical figure captivating. It brilliantly portrays a larger-than-life man who died practically unknown among his people. The best movie ever made about his life to date, it stands apart from anything made today.
  4. "Bright Star" (2009) The live, love, and death of poet John Keats is one of the best movies about an historical figure. He wasn’t popular or famous during his life, but he is now recognized as one of the greatest poets who ever lived. Though his life was tragically cut short, Keats left the world with some of the greatest poetry ever written and a gravestone inscribed, “Here lies one whose name was writ in water”.
  5. "Joan of Arc" (1948) Though it’s not as historically accurate as more current movies about her life, this movie about  Joan of Arc still stands apart because of the amazing performance by Ingrid Bergman. Not many nineteen year olds are willing to burn at the stake for their country, but Joan rose above her own situation to save France.
  6. "A Woman Called Moses" (1978) Granted, it’s a made for television movie about a historical figure, but it’s still a movie, and it’s still good. Harriet Tubman made thirteen missions, rescued over seventy slaves, suffered from seizures and headaches she took as messages from God, and never once lost one of her passengers.
  7. "Cleopatra" (1963) Though we now know Cleopatra was nowhere near as good-looking as Elizabeth Taylor, the movie about the historical figure of the last pharaoh of Egypt is still a great watch. With an all-star cast and beautiful sets and costumes it remains one of the best movies ever made about Cleopatra.
  8. "Schindler’s List" (1993) The story of one of the many unsung heroes of WWII, this movie about the historical figure Oskar Schindler is considered by some to be Spielberg’s greatest work. Oskar Schindler saved the lives of over a thousand Jews, and while that doesn’t seem like many compared to the total of those lost, it is an epic achievement for the time and situation.
  9. "The Diary of Anne Frank" (1959) A tragic story and possibly one of the most moving in history. It is a tearful reminder of what happened and the simple courage it takes sometimes just to live. This movie about the young girl who hid in the walls until betrayed is brutally honest, much like the girl herself.
  10. "Patton" (1970) Considered one of the greatest soldiers to ever live, this film depicts with ease and confidence the life of one of the greatest commanders to ever serve. This film takes place during WWII, possibly the most controversial part of Patton’s life, and shows how this historical figure changed the world.
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