Think about the most epic film that you have ever seen. By ‘epic’ we don’t mean the word that you use to describe everything and anything that is ‘extremely good’. We mean epic, in its truest and most original form.
Stories with historical significance, enormous budget, mind-blowing effects, overwhelming sets and costumes—just some of the terms that truly define an ‘epic’ film.
Though defining a film as epic is subjective, there are certain films that have created extremely high standards for the world of cinema and can be deemed worthy of all the awards. We bring to you 12 of the best Hollywood epics that are definitely worth your time.
1. The Last Emperor
This one takes us through the life of the Last Emperor of China, Pu-Yi, in flashbacks. He was three years old when he first sat down on the Dragon Throne. After being captured by the Red Army as a war criminal in 1950, Pu-Yi recalls his childhood from prison. He remembers his luxurious lifestyle during his youth but in the end, the world as he knew became lop-sided and he is left to live as just another peasant worker in the People’s Republic. This is truly a larger than life film.
2. The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003)
The trilogy includes three action fantasy epic films. The story of the three films is set in Middle-earth, a fictional world and follows the young Hobbit Frodo Baggins as he and the Fellowship embark on a journey to destroy the One Ring, one of the most powerful artifacts ever created and save Middle Earth from the Dark Lord Sauron. The films have been critically acclaimed and won 17 out of 30 total Academy Award nominations.
Starring Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom among others, Troy portrays the battle between the ancient kingdoms of Troy and Sparta. While visiting Sparta, Trojan prince Paris falls for King Menelaus’ wife, Helen and takes her back to Troy. Menelaus’ brother, King Agamemnon uses his brother’s fury as a pretext to declare war against Troy.
The drama follows the eighteen tumultuous years that led to the founding of the Roman Empire. Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, pretends to be in love with two influential men to save the Egyptian empire from destruction.
Fun fact: This film, which captures the one of the most famous and gloriously powerful love triangles, almost bankrupted 20th Century-Fox.
Directed by Stanley Kubrick, the story revolves around the rebellious Thracian Spartacus, who is born and raised a slave, is sold to Gladiator trainer Batiatus. After being trained to kill for the arena, Spartacus turns on his owners and leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic, with the other slaves. This thrilling adventure roars with excitement.
Braveheart tells the story of a Scottish hero named William Wallace. When he was a young boy, Wallace’s father and brother were killed trying to free Scotland. But when he loses his lady love, Wallace begins his long quest to make Scotland free once and for all by rallying a group of amateur Scottish warriors against the English monarch and Edward I. This multiple Oscar winner is a cinematic master-piece.
A state of war exists between Persia and Greece in 480 B.C. At the Battle of Thermopylae, Leonidas (Gerard Butler), king of the Greek city state of Sparta decides to send its finest warriors against the massive Persian army. The battle which is a suicide mission is meant to be a sacrifice that can manage to inspire all of Greece to unite against their common enemy. This visually stunning movie will take your breath away!
8. Schindler’s List
This Steven Spielberg film is based on a true story. Oskar Schindler, a greedy businessman tried to make his during World War II by exploiting Jewish labour. But when World War II progresses and Schindler realizes the ill fate of Jews, his heart switch from profit to sympathy and he is able to save over 1100 Jews from Holocaust. Groundbreaking and heartbreaking at the same time.
9. The Ten Commandments
Hebrew Moses is set adrift on the River Nile by his mother and his sister. Rescued by the daughter of Pharaoh, he starts to believe he is an Egyptian prince. Moses later discovers his Hebrew heritage and dedicates himself to liberating his people from captivity and manages to lead them out of Egypt and across the Red Sea.
Gladiator tells the story of a powerful Roman general, Maximus. Loved by the people and the aging Emperor, Marcus Aurelius, Maximus is chosen to be his heir leaving the Emperor’s son, Commodus raging. Maximus who is ordered to be put to death along with his family, manages to escape his would-be killers and comes back to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.
‘Dunkirk’ is set during the World War II and tells a story from 3 different perspectives, about the evacuation of Allied troops from the French city of Dunkirk before Nazi forces took hold.
This thriller directed by Christopher Nolan was rising on a lot of expectations and ‘Dunkirk’ definitely met all of them.
The Maya civilization is facing its decline and the rulers insist that the only way to save it is to build more temples and offer human sacrifices to please the Gods. Jaguar Paw, a young man is chosen as the human sacrifice, while he hides his pregnant wife and his son. However, an eclipse spares his life for some time and later he has to fight to save himself and his family.