Top Ten Family Movie Night Movies Set in Ancient and Medieval TimesHillary Moore
Like many families, we often have a Friday family movie night, complete with homemade pizza or tacos. Since I’m a typical homeschool mom, I get giddy when the movie selection coincides with our history studies. Here is a list of my top ten recommendations for movies to complement your study of ancient and medieval history, for example the history from Volumes I and II of The Mystery of History. These are listed in chronological order with the time period indicated in brackets.
As with any media, please use your own judgement to determine if the film is appropriate for your family. This post is not an official endorsement from Bright Ideas Press of any of the listed movies.
10 Family Movies Set in Ancient and Medieval Times
The Ten Commandments (1956)
[14th -12th century BC]
Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner star in this classic story from the book of Exodus.
[mid 700s BC]
Based on Homer’s Iliad with Brian Cox as Agamemnon, Brad Pitt as Achilles, and Eric Bana as Hector, this movie portrays the 10 year war as a much shorter series of skirmishes.
Chow Yun-fat plays the title role in this biographical look at the life of Confucius.
[1st century BC]
Kirk Douglas in the title role about a slave revolt as the Roman Empire replaces the Roman Republic.
Ben Hur (1959)
[time of Christ]
Charlton Heston plays a Palestinian Jew battling the Roman Empire when he encounters Jesus and is changed.
Red Cliff (2008)
Be sure to watch the longer, 288 minute version. Cao Cao, leader of the imperial army during the end of the Han dynasty, is trying to defeat two southern lords, Liu Bei and Sun Quan. The battle is thought to be the largest naval battle in history.
Attilla the Hun (2001)
Gerard Butler as Attilla the Hun in this biography of one of the most-feared enemies of the Roman Empire.
13th Warrior (1999)
[retelling of Beowulf, 8th to 11th century]
Antonio Banderas plays an exiled Arab who travels with Norsemen who are returning home with their leader, Buliwyf, to defend their kingdom against an ancient evil that is not named.
[Genghis Khan 1161-1227]
A look at the life of Genghis Khan, Temujin. Beginning with his childhood, he is portrayed not as a monster but as a visionary leader. It is a much different story than what is traditionally told.
Mel Gibson plays the part of William Wallace, hero to Scotland. This movie takes many liberties in portraying the events of the first war of Scottish Independence. As is common when the events span decades, the movie makes the time from his return as an adult until his death seem to be several months rather than years.