Movies To Inspire
The following hand-picked movies titles are selected to inspire ancient and medieval wargaming. Are titles are in DVD format unless otherwise indicated. If you have favorate titles that you'd like to see added, drop me a note at IamFanaticus@gmail.com.
Braveheart (1995). (also in VHS) -- Mel Gibson as William Wallace fights for a Free Scotland against the evil Edward "Longshanks" and his feudal English.
Gladiator (April 2000). (also in VHS) -- Russell Crowe as Maximus, the Roman general who became a gladiator.
Spartacus (1960) (Criterion Edition)(also available in DVD and VHS editions) -- Historical epic featuring Kirk Douglas as Spartacus leading an army of escaped gladiators and slaves as they strive to escape Rome. The movie that established director Stanley Kubrick.
Henry V (1989) (also 1946 version) -- Kenneth Branagh (1989) or Sir Laurence Olivier (1946) depicting the English monarch leading his "Band of Brothers" through sanguinary campaigns in France.
El Cid (1961) (also VHS) -- Charlton Heston as the warlord Rodrigo Díaz de Vivar, a champion of the reconquista who helped drive the Moors from Spain, with Sophia Loren as his love interest.
Fall of the Roman Empire (1964) (also VHS) -- Shades of Gladiator! Livius (Stephen Boyd), the loyal soldier and symbolic son of the aging emperor (Alec Guinness) finds himself at odds with Commodus (Christopher Plummer), the corrupt heir to the throne. Also features Sophia Loren, James Mason, Mel Farrar, Omar Shariff and a host of other stars. Great battle scenes including a depiction of a Roman "decimation" punishment culminate in a climatic duel.
The War Lord (1965) (also VHS) -- Charlton Heston as a Norman warlord beseiged in his stone tower by the local Frisians after exercising his "First Night" option with a local bride.
Ben Hur (1959) (also VHS) -- Charlton Heston as Judah Ben-Hur, Jewish noble and friend of Imperial Rome who was condemned as a rebel by a jealous rival, and escaped the slave galleys to exact his revenge in a chariot race.
Cleopatra (1963) (VHS) -- Rex Harrison as Julius Caesar, Richard Burton as Marc Anthony and Elizabeth Taylor as Queen Cleopatra in the famous Hollywood extravaganza.
The Long Ships (1964) (VHS)-- Richard Widmark as the Viking Rolf and crew raid Moorish Spain (with Sidney Poitier as Emir) in search of a fabled golden bell. Watch the Emir's guards "ride the iron stallion" to illustrate their loyalty.
Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1965) (also VHS) -- King Arthur and his knights of the Round Table seek the Holy Grail in this Python farce.
The Emperor and the Assassin (1999) (also VHS) -- Mike Monaco: "Chinese historical epic of the Qin dynasty with good battle scenes, including chariots, and duels."
Rashomon (1951) (also VHS) -- A medieval Japanese merchant and his wife are ambushed by a famous bandit; Akira Kurosawa tells the story through the eyes of the bandit, the wife, the dead man, and a lowly peasant.
Seven Samurai (1954) (also VHS) -- Akira Kurosawa's B&W masterpiece and inspiration for the "Manificent Seven." Lead by Toshiro Mifune, seven samurai agree to defend a Japanese village from local bandits.
Throne of Blood (1961) (VHS) -- Akira Kurosawa directs. In Kurasawa's "MacBeth", Toshiro Mifune plays Washizu, the samurai who betrays his master in exchange for the prestige of nobility.
Hidden Fortress (1964) (also VHS) -- Akira Kurosawa directs. Princess with treasure is escorted by samurai general Toshiro Mifune and two bumbling famers through hazards to safety in the hidden fortress. Cited by George Lucas as the inspiration for Star Wars.
Kagemusha (1980) (VHS) -- Akira Kurosawa directs. Mortally wounded, Lord Shingen of the Takeda Clan selects a "Shadow Warrior" or double to take his place. The double, a petty thief, plays the role of a great Warlord and suffers a noble fate when the clan is overwhelmed in a devastating battle.
Ran (1985) (also VHS) -- Akira Kurosawa's version of Shakespeare's tragic King Lear, in which the warlord Nakadai sees his domain destroyed by conflict between his sons. Outstanding mass combat scenes.
Four Samurai Classics. DVD box set of four classic Akira Kurosawa movies (Seven Samurai, Hidden Fortress, Yojimbo, and Sanjuro) featuring his collaboration with the actor Toshiro Mifune.
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