Why watch 18 Unmissable Netflix Historical Movies on Netflix? First of all, because they are quality films, regardless of the fact that they are based on real historical events. Second, because there’s a good chance you’ll discover things you didn’t know about in human history, more recent or older.
1. The Lion in Winter / Leul în iarnă (1968)
The Lion in Winter, cu Katharine Hepburn, Peter O’Toole, a very, very young Anthony Hopkins and an even younger Timothy Dalton, it’s a classic from a time when filmmaking wasn’t such a democratic process. Not everyone could make a movie, because, of course, it was filmed on film, which was incredibly expensive… Sometimes, when we see some movies today, we get nostalgic for that time. Especially when you (re)see a film like The Lion in Winter: what a picture, what interpretations – Katharine Hepburn even won the Oscar for this role, what dialogues! Almost every line is an aphorism or, as they say today, “food for thought”
A historical drama, The Lion in Winter is set around Christmas 1183, focusing on the family relationships and political intrigue between King Henry II, his wife Eleanor of Aquitaine, their three sons and the King of France. The wiser we see him from life, the less it seems to us to be about politics and more about love mixed with other less pleasant feelings between the members of any family.
2. All Quiet on the Western Front / Nimic nou pe frontul de vest (2022)
Unul dintre cele mai dure filme istorice Netflix and Netflix’s strongest contender at the Oscars this year with 9 nominations, including Best Picture. It’s an anti-war film adapted from the famous novel of the same name, signed by Erich Maria Remarque, with Daniel Bruhl in the lead role. The story follows a soldier as he experiences the horrors of the First World War.
It’s a drama with impressive images and cinematography of 10. The only minus is the graphic image of the war, we could understand the message of the film perfectly and without so much blood, dismembered corpses and thrown through the trees.
3. The Dig / Situl (2021)
The Dig e mai mult rather than a historical film, it is a film about the beauty and mystery of archaeology. So expect to see a movie that gives a very appealing aura to digging for artifacts hidden underground for millennia. The Dig manages to make archeology a very engaging and inspiring activity. And the story of the film is as real as can be. The discovery of the widow who owns the land with the amateur archaeologist from Sutton Hoo has changed our understanding of the Middle Ages, being described by the British Museum as truly “spectacular”.
4. Worth / Cu ce preț? (2021)
Un film istoric Netflix cu Michael Keaton in the heavy, poignant title role about the families of the victims of the September 2001 terrorist attack on the Twin Towers. Worth is about finding a satisfactory compromise, making choices you can live with later, and how important it is to really listen to the other person.
5. The Trial of the Chicago 7 / Procesul celor șapte din Chicago (2020)
Like The Dig, The trial of the Chicago 7 is part of the historical Netflix original films, that is, it “runs” exclusively on Netflix. The story of the film is part of the larger countercultural movement of young people in the USA against the war in Vietnam. Like The Dig, The trial of the Chicago 7 is part of the Netflix original historical films, that is, it “runs” exclusively on Netflix. The film’s story is part of the larger countercultural movement of US youth against the Vietnam War.
It’s a legal and historical drama with an exceptional cast: Sacha Baron Cohen, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Michael Keaton, Eddie Redmayne, Frank Langella and Yahya Abdul-Mateen (Aquaman). Yes, quite a lot of men, but that’s because the film follows the story of seven anti-Vietnam War protesters in 1968.
The script was written in 2007 and was supposed to be directed by Steven Spielberg, but due to a writers’ strike, the plan fell through. And bad luck didn’t leave him completely, because in 2020, when it was supposed to be released in theaters by Paramount, the pandemic came. But since one person’s bad luck is another’s good fortune, Netflix has bought the distribution rights, so we can see it on Netflix starting October 16th. It was well received by critics and from the trailer it looks like it promises to be a great experience. In 18 Unmissable Netflix Historical Movies : It’s One Of the best.
6. 6 Days (2017)
terrorism that you can also find on Netflix is also a historical film, because it follows a real story from the history of Great Britain that then influenced counter-terrorism policies around the world for decades.
6 Days is inspired by a true story, the 1980 hostage-taking of the Iranian Embassy in London. Several Arabs force their way into the Embassy and demand the release of other Arabs held in Iran. The film does not brag, as many productions do, when it comes to the intelligence and skills of the police and anti-terrorist teams, which makes it enjoyable to watch and more authentic to the classic films of this genre, but it also reduces its tension.
If you want to see the series of events that defined how terrorist attacks were approached by the world’s states for decades after the 1980 hostage-taking, 6 Days is a must-see.
7. The King (2019): 18 Unmissable Netflix Historical Movies
Henry V’s ascension as king after his father’s death is not a hot topic for everyone. But the character is embodied by Timothée Chalamet :). And the attempts to cope with new duties in politics and war are interesting. Especially since at the same time he has to reconcile his rather pacifist beliefs, but also his partying habits and manage the relationships from the previous period.
The word “king” conjures up the image of a responsible, mature, usually elderly man wearing a crown. The idea of casting a lovely boy like Chalamet seems surprising, to put it mildly. In reality, this is the 15th century, when people didn’t live very long (Henry V died when he was 35), and the fact that kings and queens were often, um, just children, was quite common.
The King, directed by David Michôd (Animal Kingdom), instead of treating the monarch as an iconic presence, acknowledges that royalty itself was sometimes more of a fraud. Someone had to wear those jewels and costumes and pretend to be the all-powerful ruler of a nation. In fact, they were just ordinary people, to whom nothing human was unknown. And this is the psychological substratum of the story.
For fans of historical battles it is worth mentioning that the war scenes are comparable to those in Braveheart.
8. Lawrence of Arabia / Lawrence al Arabiei (1962) – Netflix
Unul dintre cele mai bune filme biopics ever made, the classic Lawrence of Arabia, was recently included on Netflix in a mastered version. We can tell you that the picture is exceptional and worth seeing and re-watching, at least in pieces if you don’t have time for everything, every time you are stuck for ideas on what else to watch on Netflix.
The acting, from Peter O’Toole to Antony Quinn and Omar Shariff, is top 10, as is the dialogue, scenery and costumes – the set design, in general. The film problematizes the violence of war and tells the story of the friendship between an educated Englishman in the British Army and the Arabs who revolt against the Ottoman Empire during the First World War.
9. Fury: Heroes Anonymous (2014): 18 Unmissable Netflix Historical Movies
Brad Pitt was so successful in Inglourious Basterds that he returned to the big screen in a historical drama set at the end of World War II. Pitt plays an American sergeant who leads his tank crew called Fury on a suicide mission against the Nazis.
Fury is a film about the last decisions that led to the victory of the Allies at the end of the Second World War. This time, the battle is seen through the eyes of Sergeant Wardaddy (Brad Pitt).
In addition to Brad Pitt, director David Ayer (Sabotage, S.W.A.T., The Fast and the Furious) is counting on the interpretation of actors Shia LaBeuf (Nymphomanic), Logan Lerman (Noah, The Number 23), Jon Bernthal (The Wolf of Wall Street), Scott Eastwood (Flags of Our Fathers) and Michael Pena (American Hustle).
In April 1945, before the decisive battle, Sergeant Wardaddy must lead his five soldiers through the traps of the front to penetrate beyond the Nazi enemy line. Although they will feel that they are outnumbered, and hunger and bullets become more and more threatening, they will do their best to reach the end of the confrontation. In 18 Unmissable Netflix Historical Movies : It’s One Of the best.
10. Narvik (2022) – Netflix historical drama
A historical war drama, Narvik tells the story of the Norwegians’ battle in a small port, sea access to Swedish iron ore, coveted by both the Germans and the British. Between the two camps, Norwegians – self-declared neutrals – are caught in the middle, just like ordinary people in Narvik. The film skillfully tells both the story of this sequence in the war, the first in which Hitler suffered a defeat, but also the story of a family fighting for survival in a dangerous and uncertain environment. In 18 Unmissable Netflix Historical Movies : It’s One Of the best.
11. Zero Dark Thirty (2012) – A war thriller
After winning the Oscar in 2010 for The Hurt Locker, the first female director in history to receive this award – Kathryn Bigelow is back with Zero Dark Thirty. He did not abandon the historical theme and the representation of violence this time either and deals with the story of the killing of the most wanted terrorist in the world, Osama Bin Laden, the leader of Al-Qaeda.
Although the first impulse when you hear the subject is to avoid it, Zero Dark Thirty is a historical film in a different way than you would expect: in the way it flows, in the way the violence is filmed “in all its glory” without moralizing accents, but also without Hollywood effects and montages.
Interestingly, for the making of this film, Bigelow and the American journalist Mark Boal, the co-writer of the film, had access to classified official documents about the pursuit of the Al Quaeda lead. Also, they even had some of the soldiers involved in the mission as consultants. Watch the Zero Dark Thirty trailer. You can watch it on Netflix.
12. Deepwater Horizon (2016)
Deepwater Horizon chronicles the events of a once-in-a-lifetime disaster. This is about one of the biggest ecological catastrophes: the explosion of an oil rig that led to the biggest oil pollution in history. The giant British Petroleum’s platform in the Gulf of Mexico ends up blowing up due to human errors in the chain.
The main characters, who work on the platform, Mike (Mark Wahlberg) and Jimmy (Kurt Russell), try to save what they can and minimize the effects of the disaster. The visuals and tension of the film will haunt you long after you finish watching Deepwater Horizon.
Deservedly well received by critics, Deepwater Horizon has already fallen into the shadows despite being released relatively recently in 2016. Unfortunately, this is the common fate of many good historical films.
13. 1917: Hope and Death (2019) – New on Netflix starting February 1, 2021
I don’t know if you’re like us, but we generally shy away from war movies. Too much human drama… But we saw 1917 and we’re glad we did. It’s the kind of movie that completely absorbs you into the story, especially since we’re dealing here with a race against time through enemy lines. But more than that, 1917, despite being about war, is also about what we hold most deeply as humans, about camaraderie, loyalty, kindness.
Considered one of the best films of 2019, the war drama 1917: Hope and Death received no less than 10 Oscar nominations. Two British soldiers must deliver an order in record time and across enemy lines to cancel a failed attack that would have killed 1,600 soldiers.
The film is directed by Sam Mendes (known for American Beauty) and is based on true events. Specifically on the war memories of Sam Mendes’ paternal grandfather This is how the stories of grandparents can leave imprints in the memory of grandchildren and turn years later into films inspired by real events.
14. Operation Finale (2018)
Operation Finale is a Netflix historical drama with elements of a spy action movie. The action takes place after the end of the Second World War, when Israel’s spy agency, the Mossad, does everything possible to capture Adolf Eichmann, the man behind the Holocaust, in Argentina. The implementation of the capture plan will keep you glued to your seat, providing quality entertainment. But more than that, it’s a drama film about Jews who risk becoming murderers themselves in an attempt to catch the old mass murderer, while the latter seems like a downright innocent man. It’s not a cinematic masterpiece, but it’s a good movie. Very well made and very well acted by Oscar Isaac, Ben Kingsley and Melanie Laurent.
If you haven’t seen it yet, the production of The Edge of War picked up on the Netflix grid is worth seeing. The film, unfortunately, is more current than ever, after the start of the war near us.
Munich: The Edge of War is primarily a film about the moral dilemmas that war would raise in each of us. How best to deal with this trauma, how far or not we can go with moral compromises to “save” our skin. It is, at the same time, a film about how you negotiate with an autocrat adored by his own people. In this case it is about the Second World War and the negotiations between Hitler and the British Prime Minister Neville Chamberlain, interpreted as nothing but exemplary by Jeremy Irons. In 18 Unmissable Netflix Historical Movies : It’s One Of the best.
16. The Irishman (2019)
It’s a 2019 Netflix historical film directed and produced by none other than Martin Scorsese. Like many other films in the top 20 historical Netflix productions, this one is also based on a non-fiction book – I heard you paint houses by Charles Brandt. Why is the book called I Heard You Whitewash Houses? Because that was the code in the Mafia when you were a hit man. The expression refers to the fact that at the moment of the murder the blood of the victim stains the walls of the house… The book is written by a former prosecutor and investigator who says that the Mafia killer Frank Sheeran confessed to him regarding the murder of the leader of one of the most powerful syndicates in the States, Jimmy Hoffa.
Following the thread of the story, The Irishman follows the activity of Frank Sheeran and how he ends up working for the Mafia in the 50s, then becomes Jimmy Hoffa’s bodyguard, only to be ordered by the Mafia to execute him in 1975. Despite the very close relationship with Hoffa, Frank Sheeran carries out the action… The film is interesting, played by first-rate actors, from Robert De Niro who plays the title role, to Al Pacino and many, many others. The only sin of the film is its length… Scorsese is not in a hurry at all, maybe because he thought that on Netflix we have enough time to enjoy The Irishman.
And on a personal level, he had his share of tragedies. Her husband Pierre died in 1906 after his skull was crushed under a horse-drawn cart, and Marie was left a widow with two daughters. The prevailing attitude towards Curie among the French was also unfavorable: born in Warsaw, they suspected her of being Jewish and thus justified their discriminatory attitude.
The director (also of 2007’s Persepolis) says of this biopic that “we want to make sense of this brilliant woman who refused to live in the shadow of a man – she knew she was smarter than her husband and she said it. We want to know more about this woman who oscillates between arrogant eccentricity and full-blown depression, who refuses to be reduced to motherhood, while taking great care of her own daughters, ultimately wanting to always use her mind.”
17. The two popes / Cei doi papi – the best biographical film of 2019
Both TV giants HBO and Netflix have produced good series and movies centered on the Vatican. If HBO chose a more unusual and poetic approach with The Young Pope and The New Pope, Netflix chose a more classic path. But the result is no less worth watching. It’s a movie about two old ladies, Pope Benedict and Pope Francis. Everyone has very different ideas about what it means to live a worthy life, lived according to the Christian virtues. Benedict is very conservative, Francis is very human and jumpy. Despite the differences in vision, the two end up being friends.
It’s a Netflix original biographical historical film that leans more towards biographical drama, but will hook you even if you’re not interested in Catholicism. Because beyond the two figures, the film talks about the choices that each of us makes in life and the moral charge that each option has. You’ll like it because it’s a humanist film and super funny in places. In addition, the acting of the two actors in the main roles is exceptional. Anthony Hopkins gives one of his best roles in the last 20 years.
Of course, you can always watch it on Netflix. Two other 2019 movies to watch on Netflix that are also in the drama category are Marriage Story (see above) and The Irishman. The Two Popes is one of the best Netflix movies, so don’t miss it, even if it seems at first glance that you have nothing to share with two popes. In 18 Unmissable Netflix Historical Movies : It’s One Of the best.
We said let’s not take ourselves too seriously and include a cool historical Netflix movie on the list, about the Holy Grail. If you’re in the mood for jokes where anything goes, then we recommend Monty Python and The Holy Grail.
You guessed it, it’s a parody of the legend of King Arthur and the quest for the Holy Grail. Get ready for off-the-cuff jokes that British comedy troupe Monty Python excel at. If you like it, continue with the other Monty Python movies, Life of Brian and The Meaning of Life. In 18 Unmissable Netflix Historical Movies : It’s One Of the best.
These are 18 of our favorite historical Netflix movies. What did we miss?
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