Table of contents:

15 historical action movies that will take your breath away
15 historical action movies that will take your breath away

"Gladiator", "Iron Knight", "Robin Hood" and other films, where the atmosphere of the past is combined with excellent action.

15 historical action movies that will take your breath away
15 historical action movies that will take your breath away

1. Exodus: Kings and Gods

  • UK, Spain, USA, 2014.
  • Fantasy, action, adventure, drama, history.
  • Duration: 150 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 0.
Historical Action: "Exodus: Gods and Kings"
Historical Action: "Exodus: Gods and Kings"

Moses, the half-brother of the Egyptian prince Ramses, is unaware of his Jewish origins. But one of the slaves opens his eyes to the fact that he is also a son of Israel. Information about this reaches the ears of Ramses, who by that time ascended the throne. Moses is driven into the wilderness, where God begins to communicate with him. After that, the hero returns to free his native people and take them to the Promised Land.

In Gladiator (2000) and Kingdom of Heaven (2005), which will be discussed below, Ridley Scott proved that he is great at historical canvases with bloody battles and epic proportions. But "Exodus: Kings and Gods" came out controversial in all respects. Especially bad things are with the elaboration of the characters, and even the performance of Christian Bale did not save the day. But on the other hand, the special effects and the scale of filming here are truly impressive.

2. The Iron Knight

  • UK, Switzerland, USA, Germany, 2010.
  • Action, adventure, drama, melodrama, history.
  • Duration: 121 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 1.

1215 year. The cruel English king John Landless, refusing to ratify the Magna Carta, plunges the country into civil war. The monarch hires a whole army of pagan Danes and begins to take away the castles belonging to the rebellious barons.

This outrages many, including Baron William d'Albini and Templar Thomas Marshal. They rush to the strategically important Rochester Castle to protect it from John's army at all costs. After all, defeat will mean the victory of the absolute monarchy.

The Iron Knight managed to stand out from a series of similar projects thanks to the brutal spectacular scenes and the charisma of excellent British actors. But the sequel, staged by the same director, but for less money, is not worth watching: he not only failed to repeat the success of the original, but sometimes looks like an absurd comedy.

3. Pearl Harbor

  • USA, 2001.
  • Action, war drama, melodrama, history.
  • Duration: 183 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 2.

During World War II, American pilot Rafe is declared dead. The pilot's beloved Evelyn finds solace in the arms of his best friend Danny. But Rafe survived and now wants to sort out the relationship with the one whom he considered almost a brother. Meanwhile, Japanese aircraft are attacking Pearl Harbor.

The creators took as a basis the real story of two pilots. True, one of them strongly scolded the picture for the fact that in it the biography of his comrade in arms was turned upside down. But on the other hand, director Michael Bay showed his traditional love for colossal destruction, torn editing, battle scenes and numerous pursuits.

4. Robin Hood

  • USA, UK, 2010.
  • Action, adventure, drama, history.
  • Duration: 148 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 6.
Historical Action: "Robin Hood"
Historical Action: "Robin Hood"

Robin Longstride is a shooter in the army of Richard the Lionheart. After the death of the king, he decides to start a new peaceful life away from strife. But it turns out that the hero has to pretend to be the deceased Robin Locksley and go to Nottingham to confront the cruel Prince John, who took the throne, and save England from a bloody civil war.

Ridley Scott made perhaps the most unusual Robin Hood film. The tape is dedicated not so much to the legendary robber as to the court intrigues of medieval England. Moreover, they tried to fit the hero of folk ballads into the canvas of real historical events, and the very atmosphere of the era was recreated incredibly meticulously.

5. Midway

  • USA, China, Canada, Hong Kong, 2019.
  • Action, war drama, history, biography.
  • Duration: 138 minutes.
  • IMDb: 6, 7.

The beginning of the Second World War. The US remains neutral, but the Japanese suddenly attack Pearl Harbor. Intelligence officer Edwin T. Layton had warned about this outcome long ago, but then no one listened to him. This time, he claims that the Japanese will strike the next blow at the Midway base. And this battle is destined to turn the tide of the war.

The famous Battle of Midway Atoll has been featured on screens more than once. But the master of blockbusters Roland Emmerich created, perhaps, the most ambitious canvas about this event. True, in terms of drama, the film came out a little superficial.

But this disadvantage is compensated for by the excellent staging of the battles. And top-notch actors, including Patrick Wilson, Woody Harrelson and Luke Evans, will surely delight the eye of the viewer.

6. Kingdom of Heaven

  • USA, Spain, 2005.
  • Action, adventure, war drama, history.
  • Duration: 145 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 2.

After the death of his wife, the young French blacksmith Balian joins the crusader detachment, since nothing else keeps him in his homeland. For courage and courage during the journey, the hero is knighted. He ends up in Jerusalem, where he meets Princess Sibylla and falls in love with her. The girl responds to him in return, but too late: the Muslims under the leadership of Saladin are already attacking the city.

Following the success of Gladiator, the producers wanted Ridley Scott to direct another historical adventure movie. But the director himself swung at the epic about the real war between the Kingdom of Jerusalem and the Muslim Ayyubid dynasty.

Due to conflicts between the studio and the director, a cut-down picture was released - and failed on all fronts. But the director's cut, released in 2006, was much more popular with both viewers and critics.

7. Troy

  • USA, Malta, UK, 2004.
  • Action, adventure, war drama, history.
  • Duration: 163 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 3.

Priam, king of Troy, manages to conclude a long-awaited alliance with the Spartan king Menelaus. But after the celebration, it turns out that the Trojan prince Paris stole Elena - the ruler's beautiful wife. In response, the king's brother Agamemnon gathers a huge army and besieges Troy.

Based on Homer's poem The Iliad, the film tells the story of the legendary Trojan War. It is curious that there are no gods among the characters in the picture, who played a very important role in the original. Moreover, the director Wolfgang Petersen initially wanted to remove not only them, but also Elena from the plot. But thanks to the studio's efforts, the heroine still remained in the frame.

8. Cannons of Navarone Island

  • Great Britain, USA, 1961.
  • Action, adventure, war drama, history.
  • Duration: 119 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 5.
Historical Action: "The Cannons of Navarone"
Historical Action: "The Cannons of Navarone"

During World War II, the Germans set up radar-guided cannons on the island of Navaron in the Aegean Sea so that no one could pass through the strait. A small detachment of marines is assigned to neutralize the guns.

The film became a real event in the early 1960s and had a tremendous impact on the genre of war cinema. References to her can even be seen in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon a Time in Hollywood.

9. Rage

  • USA, China, UK, 2014.
  • Action, war drama, history.
  • Duration: 134 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 6.

April 1945. The Second World War is drawing to a close, but German soldiers are still struggling desperately. The crew of the tank with the call sign "Rage" is losing the radio operator. Instead of an experienced fighter, they are sent to replace them with a rookie Norman Ellison, who is sick of one type of blood. But now the guy has to go through all the horrors of battles.

David Eyre's film was not very successful as a war drama. But Rage is perfect if you want to watch an extremely hardcore military action game with excellent acting.

10.300 Spartans

  • USA, Canada, Bulgaria, Australia, 2007.
  • Action, adventure, fantasy, drama, history.
  • Duration: 117 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 6.
Historical Action: "300 Spartans"
Historical Action: "300 Spartans"

300 brave Spartans, led by their king Leonidas, decide to repulse the army of many thousands of the Persian ruler Xerxes. They understand that they will surely lose, but they are not going to give up.

Zack Snyder's film perfectly captures the atmosphere of the original Frank Miller comic. The director transferred some scenes into the picture without any changes. After the release of "Spartans" scolded for historical inaccuracy, but in this case, finding fault with inconsistencies is simply stupid. After all, the authors deliberately went into myth-making: for example, in the plot, in addition to people, there are various fantastic creatures that could not exist in reality.

11. The Dirty Dozen

  • Great Britain, USA, 1967.
  • Action, adventure, war drama, history.
  • Duration: 150 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 7.
Action Historical: The Dirty Dozen
Action Historical: The Dirty Dozen

Major Reisman is assigned a dangerous mission. Under his leadership, 12 soldiers sentenced to death must carry out a daring plan behind Nazi lines - to blow up the headquarters in a castle in France.

Director Robert Aldrich became famous as a multi-genre master. He addressed the theme of war several times in the films Attack (1956), Ten Seconds to Hell (1959) and Hills of Anger (1959). And in "The Dirty Dozen" all the same motive of the doom of heroes on the battlefield is traced, and the soldier's way of life is also very accurately recreated.

12. The last samurai

  • USA, New Zealand, Japan, 2003.
  • Action, adventure, drama, history.
  • Duration: 154 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 7.

In the late 19th century, Nathan Allgren, a retired captain from the United States, enters the service of the Japanese emperor to help him modernize the army. Only now the stubborn recruits do not agree to be trained in modern martial arts.

Meanwhile, Olgren is ordered to oppose the detachment of the noble rebel Katsumoto, although his soldiers are clearly not ready for battle. As a result, the captain is captured by the rebel. But gradually a real friendship is struck between them.

The film perfectly reflects the turning point in Japanese history, when active modernization began in the country in the second half of the 19th century. And Tom Cruise showed himself excellently in it: the actor for two whole years before filming studied the use of the samurai sword and the Japanese language.

13. Dunkirk

  • UK, Netherlands, France, USA, 2017.
  • Action, war drama, history.
  • Duration: 106 minutes.
  • IMDb: 7, 8.

During World War II, about three hundred thousand French and British soldiers are trapped on a beach near the city of Dunkirk. German troops can attack at any moment, and large ships are not suitable for evacuation, as they turn out to be excellent targets. In the end, the British command decides to take out their military on small civilian ships, on which the Germans are sorry to waste shells.

The action of Christopher Nolan's film about the famous Dunkirk operation takes place as if in three dimensions - on land, at sea and in the air. Thanks to this, the director managed to perfectly convey the entire horror of the war.

14. Brave heart

  • USA, 1995.
  • Action, adventure, war drama, biography, history.
  • Duration: 178 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 3.

The action takes place in 13th century Scotland. The English ruler Edward Long-Legs seeks to inherit the crown of Scotland. The struggle for the throne takes a new turn when the rebellion is led by a simple peasant, William Wallace. Driven by vengeance, he rallies the oppressed people of the country, eager to regain their independence.

Director and starring Mel Gibson takes a creative approach to the story of the real William Wallace. Despite a huge number of historical blunders, the picture became a triumphant Oscar in 1996, having received as many as five statuettes.

15. Gladiator

  • USA, UK, Malta, Morocco, 2000.
  • Action, adventure, drama, history.
  • Duration: 155 minutes.
  • IMDb: 8, 5.
Historical Action: "Gladiator"
Historical Action: "Gladiator"

180th year of our era. The noble General Maximus hopes to retire, returning to his wife and son. But the betrayal of the new emperor Commodus deprives him of his family and name. Miraculously survived, the hero is sold into slavery. Now he has to apply all his military experience and all his courage to restore justice.

Ridley Scott, like no one else, knows how to create a full-fledged large-scale world on the screen and immerse the viewer there. The biggest success was the participation of Russell Crowe, who revealed the image of Maximus in a very multifaceted way. As a result, "Gladiator" turned out to be such a vivid cinematic statement that he took the "Oscar" as the best film.