1776

  • Directors: Peter H Hunt
  • Producers: Jack L Warner
  • Writers: Peter Stone
  • Genres: Drama, Family, History, Musical
  • Actors: William Daniels, Howard Da Silva

The film focuses on the representatives of the thirteen original colonies who participated in the Second Continental Congress. 1776 depicts the three months of deliberation (and, oftentimes, acrimonious debate) that led up to the signing of one of the most important documents in the history of the United States, the Declaration of Independence.

Mutiny on the Bounty

  • Directors: Frank Lloyd
  • Producers: Irving Thalberg
  • Writers: Novel, Charles Nordhoff, James Norman Hall, Screenplay, Talbot Jennings, Jules Furthman, Carey Wilson
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, History
  • Actors: Charles Laughton, Clark Gable, Franchot Tone, Movita, Mamo

The movie chronicles the real-life mutiny aboard the Bounty led by Fletcher Christian (Clark Gable) against the ship’s captain, William Bligh (Charles Laughton). Like the novel, it portrays Captain Bligh as an abusive villain whose cruelty towards the crew and most of the officers leads Christian to mutiny. When Bligh is cast on to a lifeboat with others that want to join him, Ensign Byam (Franchot Tone) tries to stop the mutiny, but fails. Byam and Christian, friends at the beginning of the movie are now not even speaking to each other. Christian leads the Bounty to [Tahiti] where the remaining crew live for many years. But Bligh has made it back to England and takes a ship to Tahiti. Byam sees the ship and decides to return to England while Christian with next to the whole crew sail with the natives and find another island to live on. When Byam goes on the ship (unaware Bligh is captain of the ship) is taken captive, for Bligh believes he had something to do with the mutiny.

Back in England Byam is tried and he is found guilty. Byam then tells of the cruelty in the ship. Christian has found an island that he can not land on. So he plans on ramming the Bounty into the island and then burning the Bounty. He lands on the island with the crew and burns the Bounty. Back in England Byam is found not guilty and is able to serve under Bligh again.

The Last King of Scotland

  • Directors: Kevin Macdonald
  • Producers:
  • Writers: Novel, Giles Foden, Screenplay, Peter Morgan, Jeremy Brock
  • Genres: Biography, Drama, History, Thriller
  • Actors: Forest Whitaker, James McAvoy, Kerry Washington, Simon McBurney, Gillian Anderson

The film opens in Scotland in 1970 as Nicholas Garrigan (James McAvoy) graduates from medical school. Faced with the dull prospect of joining his bourgeois father in the family’s village practice, he decides instead to seek adventure abroad by taking up a position in a Ugandan missionary clinic run by Dr. David Merrit (Adam Kotz) and his wife Sarah (Gillian Anderson). Garrigan quickly becomes attracted to Sarah; she enjoys his attentions, but refuses to engage in an extramarital affair with him. This reveals that one of Garrigan’s character flaws is his attraction to married women; this will become significant later in the film.

Coinciding with Garrigan’s arrival in Uganda, General Idi Amin (Forest Whitaker) is concluding a successful coup d’état to overthrow incumbent president Milton Obote. The two men meet at the scene of a minor car accident, where Garrigan treats Amin’s injured hand. Amin who admires Scotland for its long resilience under English rule, is delighted to discover the doctor’s nationality. Garrigan is impressed by Amin’s charisma, affability, and by his vision of an egalitarian golden age for Uganda. Their friendship is cemented when Amin exchanges his military shirt for Garrigan’s “Scotland” T-shirt. Some days later, Amin invites Garrigan to become his personal physician and to take charge of modernising the country’s health care system. Garrigan accepts, leaves the clinic, and moves to Kampala.

Forty-eight hours later, Israeli forces stormed Entebbe and liberated all but one of the hostages. International public opinion turned against Amin for good. When he was finally overthrown in 1979, jubilant crowds poured onto the streets. His regime had killed more than 300,000 Ugandans and expelled tens of thousands of Asians who had made Uganda their home for years. Amin died in exile in Saudi Arabia on 16 August 2003. Nobody knows if that was the date he dreamed about.

Hollywoodland

  • Directors: Allen Coulter
  • Producers: Glenn Williamson
  • Writers: Paul Bernbaum
  • Genres: Biography, Crime, Drama, History, Mystery, Thriller
  • Actors: Adrien Brody, Diane Lane, Ben Affleck, Bob Hoskins, Molly Parker, Robin Tunney, Caroline Dhavernas

The movie begins in Beverly Hills on June 16, 1959, at the home of TV star George Reeves with a police investigation underway and Reeves’ lifeless body on his bed. The police rule the death a suicide. The focus of the film then shifts to Louis Simo, a private investigator more interested in generating an income than in devotion to his clients. A man named Chester Sinclair is paying Simo to spy on his wife under the impression that she is cheating on him. Simo simply accepts his money and takes pictures outside of a building where she goes to from time to time. On a visit to see his son, Simo reacts to the boy’s lackluster demeanor and asks his ex-wife Laurie what is wrong. She tells him it’s because the actor who plays Superman has shot himself. Simo learns from a former colleague on the police force that the Reeves suicide has aspects that the cops don’t want to touch. Simo, sensing the potential for making a name for himself, begins investigating the case and notes several apparent conflicts with the official version of Reeves’ death. Simultaneously Simo bickers with Laurie over his failures as a father, particularly now when his son seems so troubled.

The story of Reeves’ quest for fame and success and Simo’s realization of how that quest is paralleled in his own existence causes the detective to reevaluate his life. Simo watches another home movie, this one of himself and Laurie and their son in happier days. The film ends with Simo coming to Laurie’s house wearing a suit and tie, and greeting his son hopefully.

The New World

  • Directors: Terrence Malick
  • Producers: Sarah Green, Terrence Malick
  • Writers: Terrence Malick
  • Genres: Adventure, Biography, Drama, History, Romance
  • Actors: Colin Farrell, Q Orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale

The film begins with a young Native American woman offering a prayer to Mother Earth. While never referred to by name, she is understood to be Pocahontas. The woman and others from her tribe witness the arrival of three ships. It is Virginia, the year 1607, and the ships are part of the Jamestown Expedition, sent by English royal charter to found a colony in the “New World.” Aboard one of the ships we see a man, later identified as Captain John Smith, below decks, in chains. While initially sentenced to death by hanging for his mutinous remarks, once ashore, Smith is pardoned by Captain Christopher Newport, the leader of the expedition.

While the prospects for the settlement are initially bright, disease, poor discipline, supply shortages, and tensions with the local Native Americans (who Newport calls “the naturals” rather than “the savages” used by Radcliffe in the 1995 Disney film) place the expedition in jeopardy. Smith is given the opportunity to restore his reputation by taking a small group of men up river to seek trade while Newport returns to England for supplies. While on this mission, Smith is captured by a group of Native Americans and brought before their chief. After being questioned, the captain is nearly executed but is spared when one of the chief’s daughters (the same young woman from the beginning of the film) throws herself across his body, saving his life.

Embracing her husband, Pocahontas and Rolfe make arrangements to return to Virginia. However, on the outward passage, she falls ill and suddenly dies. The film ends with images of Pocahontas and her young son playing in the gardens of their English estate as Rolfe, in a voice over, reads a letter, addressed to their son about his deceased mother. In the film’s closing moments, Pocahontas says “Mother, now I know where you live”, having found peace through her strength to grow past her wounds, the film ends with images of nature.

Samson and Delilah

  • Directors: Cecil B DeMille
  • Producers: Cecil B DeMille
  • Writers: Fredric M Frank, Vladimir Jabotinsky, Harold Lamb, Jesse Lasky Jr
  • Genres: Drama, History, Romance
  • Actors:

Samson, a Hebrew placed under Nazirite vows from birth by his mother, is engaged to a Philistine woman named Semadar. During a fight at their wedding feast, Semadar is killed and Samson becomes a hunted man. Shortly after the death of Semedar, the Saran of Gaza (Sanders) imposes heavy taxes on the Dannites, with the purpose of having Samson betrayed by his own people. Saran’s plan works and frustrated Dannites hand over Samson to the Philistines. News of his capture reaches Saran and Delilah, Semadar’s sister, and they are pleased to hear that the mighty Samson was captured.

Samson is taken by the high priest Ahur (Wilcoxon) and a regiment of Philistine troops. En route back to Gaza, Ahtur decides to taunt Samson. Ahtur stops his march in a valley. Here Samson prays to God, asking for strength against the Philistines. Then the wind starts blowing and thunder crashes. Samson then rips apart his chains and ropes and begins to combat the Philistines. At first he fights in hand-to-hand combat, killing a few Philistines and even toppling Ahtur’s war chariot, breaking Ahthur’s arm in the act. Samson then takes the jawbone of an ass and starts killing more and more Philistines. The sheer power of Samson and his strikes with the jawbone destroy the helmets of the Philistines, crushing their skulls. In the end the Philistine force is destroyed.

However, before he does, he says these final words: “My eyes have seen thy glory, oh Lord. Now let me die with my enemies.” Samson topples the second pillar. Immediately the colossal statue of Dagon, which was supported by those two pillars, begins falling. Seeing their impending doom, many decide to run. Then the whole support of the statue of Dagon crumbles and the statue comes crashing down, falling on the upper levels on the temple, where some were situated. Saran decides not to run despite the warnings of his subjects; he just lifts his wine and says “Delilah” as the statue falls on him. Portions of the crumbling temple begin to fall, crushing many. Some die as they jump from the upper levels to avoid the statue. In the end the temple lies in rubble. Among the rubble lie hundreds of dead Philistines, including Saran and Ahtur. Samson lies among these, having completed his mission.

Holocaust

  • Directors: Marvin J Chomsky
  • Producers: Robert Berger
  • Writers: Gerald Green
  • Genres: Drama, History, Romance, War
  • Actors: Tom Bell, Joseph Bottoms, Tovah Feldshuh, Marius Goring, Rosemary Harris, Tony Haygarth, Ian Holm, Lee Montague, Michael Moriarty, Deborah Norton, George Rose, Robert Stephens, Meryl Streep, Sam Wanamaker, David Warner, Fritz Weaver, James Woods

Holocaust tells the story of the Holocaust from the perspective of the Weiss family of German Jews, and from the point of view of a rising member of the SS, who gradually becomes a merciless, bloodthirsty war criminal. Holocaust highlighted numerous important events which occurred up to and during World War II, such as Kristallnacht, the creation of Jewish ghettos and later, the use of gas chambers. The series ultimately attempted to portray the atrocity of this genocide to viewers.

Agora

  • Directors:
  • Producers: Fernando Bovaira
  • Writers: Mateo Gil
  • Genres: Adventure, Drama, History, Romance
  • Actors: Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella

Tells the story of astronomer-philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria (Weisz) and her relationship with her slave Davus (Minghella), who is torn between his love for his mistress and the possibility of gaining his freedom by joining the rising tide of Christianity.[6]

The Count of Monte Cristo

  • Directors: Kevin Reynolds
  • Producers: Gary Barber, Roger Birbaum, Jonathan Glickman
  • Writers: Jay Wolpert
  • Genres: Action, Adventure, Drama, History, Romance, Thriller
  • Actors: James Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Dagmara Dominczyk, Richard Harris

Edmond Dantès (James Caviezel) and his friend Fernand Mondego (Guy Pearce), officers of a French trading ship, head to Elba seeking medical attention for their captain. Dantès and Mondego are chased by British Dragoons who believe they are spies for the exiled Napoleon Bonaparte (Alex Norton). The Emperor arrives and declares they are not his agents, and asks Dantes to give a letter to a friend in France. When the captain dies that night, they are sent on their way.

At Marseilles, Dantès is reprimanded by the ship’s first mate, Danglars (Albie Woodington) for disobeying orders. However, the shipping company’s boss, Morrell (Patrick Godfrey), commends Dantès’ bravery, promoting him over Danglars. Mondego intercepts Dantès’ fiancée Mercédès (Dagmara Dominczyk) and unsuccessfully tries to seduce her. When he hears of Dantès’ promotion, Mondego realizes that Dantès will be able to marry Mercedes sooner than expected.

Mondego gets drunk and tells Danglars about the letter Napoleon gave Dantès. Danglars has Dantès charged with treason and sent to magistrate, J.F. Villefort (James Frain). Villefort is sure of Dantès’ innocence, but discovers the addressee is Villefort’s father, Clarion, a Bonapartist. Villefort denounced his father, improving his relations with the government. Villefort burns the letter and fools Dantès into submitting to arrest, then sends him to an island prison, Château d’If. Dantès escapes and goes to Mondego for help, but Mondego turns on him and wounds him so he cannot escape. Dantès is re-arrested and returned to Château d’If.

Three months later, Dantès returns to Château d’If to pay homage to the priest and promises him that he has given up on revenge and will live a better life. He then leaves the island with Mercédès, Albert, and Jacopo.

Kagemusha

  • Directors: Akira Kurosawa, Ishiro Honda
  • Producers: Francis Ford Coppola, Akira Kurosawa, George Lucas, Tomoyuki Tanaka
  • Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Masato Ide
  • Genres: Drama, History, War
  • Actors: Tatsuya Nakadai

The film opens with a shot of what appears to be three identical Shingens. One really is Shingen, the second is his brother, Nobukado. The third man is a thief whom Nobukado accidentally came across and spared from crucifixion, believing the thief’s uncanny resemblance to Shingen would prove useful. Shingen agrees that he would prove useful as a double and they decide to use the thief as a kagemusha.

Shingen’s army has besieged a castle of Tokugawa Ieyasu. When Shingen visits the battlefield to hear a mysterious nightly flute player, he is shot by a sniper. Mortally wounded, he orders his generals to keep his death a secret for three years. Shingen later dies while being carried over a mountain pass, with only a small group of witnesses.

Nobukado presents the thief to the generals and contrives a plan to have this kagemusha impersonate Shingen full-time. At first, even the thief is unaware of Shingen’s death, until he tries to break into a huge jar, believing it to contain treasure, and instead finds Shingen’s preserved corpse. After this act, the generals decide they cannot trust the thief and set him free.

The Takeda leaders secretly dump the jar with Shingen’s corpse into Lake Suwa. Spies working for Tokugawa and his ally, Oda Nobunaga witness the disposal of the jar, and suspect that Shingen has died and go to report the death. The thief, however, overhearing the spies, goes to offer his services hoping to be of some use to Shingen in death. The Takeda clan preserves the cover-up by saying they were making an offering of sake to the god of the lake.

In full control of the Takeda army, Katsuyori leads an ill-advised attack against Oda Nobunaga, who controls Kyoto, resulting in the Battle of Nagashino. Wave after wave of cavalry and infantry are cut down by volleys of matchlock fire, effectively wiping out the Takeda. During this scene, much of the battle is offscreen. Although the charge of the Takeda army and the volley of fire from Nobunaga’s soldiers is seen, the actual death of the Takeda men is not shown until the battle is over and the viewer sees a vast scene of carnage as more time is given to the aftermath. (In reality, the clan continued under Katsuyori’s leadership for years after the battle). The kagemusha, who has followed the Takeda army, witnesses the slaughter. In a final show of loyalty, he takes up a lance and makes a futile charge against Oda’s fortifications, ultimately dying for the Takeda clan. The final image is of the kagemusha’s bullet-riddled body being washed away down a river, next to the flag of the Takeda clan.