Home Entertainment 20 Best Historical Movies of All Time, Ranked !

20 Best Historical Movies of All Time, Ranked !

Best History Movies

Movie times change, and people’s tastes differ, but these shouldn’t be the deciding factors when picking out a historical movie to watch. Instead, look at our ranking of The Top 20 Best Historical Movies. Each film on the list has been evaluated by a professional critic and ranked for your convenience. Feel free to use this list as a reference point when looking for an interesting historical movie to watch with friends.

These Best Historical Movies of All Time list is ranked number 20 to ranked number 1 of the best historical movies. This list includes various eras or periods of movie genres such as Action & Adventure, Documentary, Drama & Classics, Horror and Mystery, and Suspense. Although the best movies about history all depend on your taste, we are pretty sure that our selective movies are best suited for each person and his/her generation. 

Which is the best Historical movie of all time streaming on Amazon Prime Video?

The 2019 Romance/Drama movie, Portrait of a lady on Fire (2019) is the Best Historical movie that streams on Amazon Prime with 98% Rotten Tomatoes ratings.

Is there any good Historical movie available on Netflix?

Schindler’s List (1993) is the best Historical movie on Netflix, with 98% Rotten Tomatoes ratings.

So, let’s round up to this list below, which gives you a ranking of the top 20 best history movies of all time!

20. The Favourite (2018)

Rotten Tomatoes:93%
Currently available on:iTunes, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video
IMDb Rating:7.5
Genre:Biography, Comedy, Drama
Cast:Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, Rachel Weisz
Director:Yorgos Lanthimos

One of our favorite best historical movies on this list is none other than The Favourite of 2018. This movie tells the story of the two women with a dramatic comedy about the Queen’s affection. This movie is set in England in the 18th century and features Abigail (Emma Stone) and Lady Sarah (Black Widow star – Rachel Weisz) over Queen’s affection (The Crown cast – Olivia Colman). A new Yorgos Lanthimos with Olivia Colman, Emma Stone, and Rachel Weisz makes a magnificent and funny comedy of the 18th-century royal intrigue.

19. Hidden Figures (2016)

Rotten Tomatoes:93%
Currently available on:Disney Plus Hotstar, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video
IMDb Rating:7.8
Genre:History, Drama
Cast:Taraji P. Henson, Janelle Monae, Octavia Spencer
Director:Theodore Melfi

Hidden Figures of 2016 is our next best history movie, which describes three Black mathematicians working at NASA of the 1960s. Based loosely on the nonfiction book of Margot Lee Shetterly, “Hidden Figures” focuses on three Black women who must overcome barriers during their work on NASA in the 1960s. Despite its contribution to the agency, the 2016 cinema has largely been overlooked and pays homage to the Space Race’s unsung heroes. Despite being historical, it is one of the best science fiction movies.

18. Dunkirk (2017)

Rotten Tomatoes:92%
Currently available on:Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, Disney Plus Hotstar
IMDb Rating:7.8
Genre:War, History, Drama
Cast:Fionn Whitehead, Mark Rylance, Barry Keoghan
Director:Christopher Nolan

Moving on to our next war history movie, Dunkirk of 2017, created under the direction of Christopher Nolan. During the evacuation of Dunkirk World War II, Dunkirk followed thousands of British and Allied soldiers. However, instead of talking to the story of a fictional persona, the film relies heavily on music and cinematography. As a result, this movie has an elaborate and impressive visual and sound effect. No doubt, this is a great war movie and a rare example of the well-spent Hollywood blockbuster.

17. Glory (1989)

Rotten Tomatoes:93%
Currently available on:Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes
IMDb Rating:7.8
Genre:Edward Zwick
Cast:Matthew Broderick, Cary Elwes, Denzel Washington
Director:Edward Zwick

Glory (1989) is a movie about the first Black Regiment of the Union Army during the Civil War. This movie is about history based on the heroic men of the 54th Massachusetts Infantry Regiment led by Colonel Robert Gould Shaw following the First Black volunteer regiment during the Civil War (Matthew Broderick). The film, which won the Academy Award, follows such Black soldiers. They were often mistreated and risked their lives courageously to fight against the slavery of their fellow Union Army soldiers.

16. Carol (2015)

Rotten Tomatoes:94%
Currently available on:Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, ITunes
IMDb Rating:7.2
Genre:Gay & Lesbian, Romance, Drama
Cast:Cate Blanchett, Sarah Paulson (American Crime Story), Rooney Mara
Director:Todd Haynes

Carol is a beautiful story about prohibited love in Manhattan in the 1950s. Despite being one of the best historical movies of all time, it is full of ultimate romance. It took place in the 1950s in New York City. The movie tells the story of (Rooney Mara) who immediately transfixed her when she found Carol (Cate Blanchett). Both women form a close link, leading to romance. This is a movie where feelings go deeply and lead to some tragic end.

15. An Education (2009)

Rotten Tomatoes:93%
Currently available on:Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, iTunes
IMDb Rating:7.3
Cast:Carey Mulligan, Alfred Molina, Peter Sarsgaard
Director:Lone Scherfig

Our next movie, about the history film, An Education of 2009, describes the loss of innocence of a young girl in London in the 1960s. Jenny (Carey Mulligan) is a budding school girl who gets caught up in David’s feet (Peter Sarsgaard). Established in London in the 1960s, Jenny joined David (a man twice his age) around Paris. However, she has to deal with the consequences of her decisions when she learns a shocking secret concerning her love interest. The film provides both disassociated lovers with unsentimental education, and the collateral damage is not denied.

14. Little Women (1994)

Rotten Tomatoes:92%
Currently available on:Vudu, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, Netflix
IMDb Rating:7.3
Cast:Susan Sarandon, Kirsten Dunst, Winona Ryder
Director:Gillian Armstrong

Little Women of 1994 is one of the best historical movies of the ’90s. The film has a star cast that instills new life in the classic novel of Louisa May Alcott. This story accompanies the four March sisters in the aftermath of the Civil War based on the novel by Louisa May Alcott. Jo March (Ronan) is the movie’s focus. A writer who shares the stories of his sisters at a time when everyday life for women was hardly at the forefront of readers’ minds. This adjustment is true to its historical roots but still relies on new energy.

13. The King’s Speech (2010)

Rotten Tomatoes:94%
Currently available on:Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max, Netflix
IMDb Rating:8.0
Genre:History, Drama
Cast:Colin Firth, Helena Bonham Carter, Geoffrey Rush
Director:Tom Hooper

The King’s Speech of 2000 is a compelling insight into the work of King George VI in overcoming a discourse. As Prince Albert (Firth) gets ready to take the throne as the King of England in 1936, he works with his speech therapist to overcome his impediment (Geoffrey Rush). Who knows how close historical facts are to this. Filmmakers seem to be the Logue family as their principal source. It doesn’t matter because something about this feels too appreciated, like this movie’s characters and storyline.

12. 12 Years a Slave (2013)

Rotten Tomatoes:95%
Currently available on:Netflix, Hulu, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video
IMDb Rating:8.1
Genre:History, Drama, Biography
Cast:Chiwetel Ejiofor, Michael Fassbender, Michael Kenneth Williams
Director:Steve McQueen

This film is based on a journal of 1853 written by a free man abducted and sold to slavery. This best history movie on Netflix tells the story of Solomon Northup, who is a free African-American. Brown and Hamilton promise him a fortnightly job. However, after arriving in Washington DC, he realizes that he has been sold into slavery. In 2013, the film won three Academy Awards after its release, based on Northup’s 1853 memoir. 

11. The Pianist (2002)

Rotten Tomatoes:95%
Currently available on:Netflix, Amazon Prime Video
IMDb Rating:8.5
Genre:Drama, History, War
Cast:Adrien Brody, Frank Finlay, Thomas Kretschmann
Director:Roman Polanski

The Pianist (2002) is a historical Holocaust movie directed by Roman Polanski and co-written with Ronald Harwood. It was based on the autobiography of the same name by Polish-Jewish pianist Wladyslaw Szpilman. This movie tells the epic story of survival and the indomitable spirit. It portrays World War II with grim immediacy, but it is not a movie that will leave you depressed. The film is visually stunning and features great music. The love story that unfolds between the hero and a young woman provides hope and beauty amid suffering.

10. Argo (2012)

Rotten Tomatoes:96%
Currently available on:Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, HBO Max
IMDb Rating:7.7
Genre:History, Mystery & Thriller, Drama
Cast:Ben Affleck, John Goodman, Bryan Cranston
Director:Ben Affleck

Moving on to our next best history movie of all time, Argo (2012). This movie tells the story of Tony Mendez (Ben Affleck), the CIA operative, who claims to be a Hollywood filmmaker who watches a movie in Iran to sneak US diplomats captured in 1979 to safety. The film, also directed by Affleck, is based closely on the actual rescue mission of the CIA in 2012. In the end, the thrill of “Argo” shows the illusion of films on the world’s political stage that found such an implausible application, where life and death took place.

9. Raise the Red Lantern (1991)

Rotten Tomatoes:96%
Currently available on:Amazon Prime Video
IMDb Rating:8.1
Cast:Gong Li, Jingwu Ma, Saifei He
Director:Yimou Zhang

Our next best history movie of all time is Raise the Red Lantern of 1991. This movie tells the story of Songlian. In China, at the beginning of the twentieth era, a learned woman named Songlian (Gong Li) was forced to marry in a rich family after her dad died as a fourth wife. She is beginning to recognize the dynamics of the house on her own and the strict rules that belong to her new reality. The Red Lantern is as visually impressive as it is dramatically effective to build up in Su Tong’s novel “wives and concubines.”

8. The Irishman (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes:95%
Currently available on:Netflix
IMDb Rating:7.8
Genre:Crime, Drama
Cast:Robert De Niro, Joe Pesci, Al Pacino,
Director:Martin Scorsese

The Irishman is a film directed by Martin Scorsese for three and a half years. This one of the most iconic movies about history tells the story of a veteran from the Second World War, Frank Sheeran (Robert De Niro), who recalls his memories from the 1950s to the 1970s as part of a mob and hitman. This movie is an old age celebration, a mourning board of exquisitely photographed scenes, iconic performances, and tender nodes that make the audience nostalgic rather than keyed.

7. Apollo 13 (1995)

Rotten Tomatoes:96%
Currently available on:Vudu, ITunes, Amazon Prime Video
IMDb Rating:7.6
Genre:History, Drama
Cast:Tom Hanks, Kevin Bacon, Bill Paxton
Director:Ron Howard

Our next best historical movie of all time is Apollo 13 of 1995. No doubt, Despite being the best movie about history, it is an exceptional scientific movie. This 1995 film of Ron Howard captures both the excitement and the excitement that led to the 1970 mission of Apollo 13. When the three astronauts realize there was an onboard explosion, they are forced to forget their moon dreams and plan to return to their homes. The real story of the film is fictional and full of many thrillers.

6. Schindler’s List (1993)

Rotten Tomatoes:98%
Currently available on:Netflix, Vudu, Amazon Prime Video
IMDb Rating:8.9
Genre:History, Drama
Cast:Liam Neeson, Ben Kingsley, Ralph Fiennes
Director:Steven Spielberg

Schindler’s List of 1993 is another best movie about the history and a completely disastrous story. This movie tells the story of a member of the Nazi party in Germany who, during the Holocaust, saved the lives of 1,200 Jews. Oskar Schindler (Liam Neeson) is a Nazi party member in “Schindler’s List” that employed Jews in its factory during the Second Weltkrieg. As the war worsens, it is moral to save more than a thousand Jews from being sent to Holocaust concentration camps.

5. Brooklyn (2015)

Rotten Tomatoes:97%
Currently available on:Vudu, iTunes, Amazon Prime Video
IMDb Rating:7.5
Genre:Drama, Romance
Cast:Saoirse Ronan (Ammonite), Domhnall Gleeson, Emory Cohen
Director:John Crowley

The movie in 2015 is a solo journey from Ireland to New York City in the 1950s following a young Irish immigrant named Eilis Lacey (Ronan). She starts to find her foot in Brooklyn and sparkles even an Italian romance (Emory Cohen). Last but not least, Eilis is caught in Ireland between her new life in the USA and her family. This is one of the most iconic history movies and the most beguiling love story of that year.

4. Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Rotten Tomatoes:97%
Currently available on:iTunes, Netflix, Amazon Prime Video
IMDb Rating:7.7
Genre:Drama, Romance
Cast:Emma Thompson, James Fleet, Kate Winslet
Director:Ang Lee

Our next best movie about history is Sense and Sensibility of 1995. This historical movie follows the Dashwood sisters after the deaths of their rich father, Tom Wilkinson, based on Jane Austen’s book of the same name. His fortune goes to his eldest son, so women have no choice but to search for self-confident weddings. Sense and sensitivity used updated versions of heroes at the beginning of the 19th century to sell emerging male ideals into the late 20th century.

3. Portrait of a Lady on Fire (2019)

Rotten Tomatoes:98%
Currently available on:Hulu, Amazon Prime Vide
IMDb Rating:8.1
Genre:Drama, Romance
Cast:Noemie Merlant, Luana Bajrami, Adele Haenel
Director:Céline Sciamma

One of the recent movies that stood out on this list of best historical movies of all time is Portrait of a Lady On Fire of 2019 In the 18th century of France; it is a beautiful film that gives an overview of two women’s relations. In the 1700s, after being commissioned for the painting of a wedding portrait, a young aristocrat, Heloise (Adele Haenel), arrives on the island of Bretagne along with a painter named Noemie Marant. Marianne claims to be simply conniving with Heloise to take a walk, study the characteristics of her subject and paint her in secret.

2. Selma (2014)

Rotten Tomatoes:99%
Currently available on:Netflix, Vudu, ITunes, Amazon Prime Video
IMDb Rating:7.5
Genre:Biography, Drama, History
Cast:David Oyelowo, Oprah Winfrey, Carmen Ejogo
Director:Ava DuVernay

During the civil rights movement, Selma followed the 1965 marches from Selma to Montgomery. This is one of the most inspiring historical movies depicting the tale of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (David Oyelowo) on the vote rights campaign. This 2014 historical drama of director Ava DuVernay highlights the sacrifice and painful work of the people for equality, making Selma 55 years after the Voting Rights Law a timely, essential watch-maker.

1. A Room With a View (1985)

Rotten Tomatoes:100%
Currently available on:Vudu, Amazon Prime Video, ITunes, HBO Max
IMDb Rating:7.3
Cast:Maggie Smith, Denholm Elliott, Helena Bonham Carter
Director:James Ivory

So, our leading historical movie of all time is A Room With A View of 1985. This movie is based on an E.M. Forster novel and will take you to the romantic Florence Hillsides. It tells Forster’s story, who visits Italy with her cousin and follows a young English woman named Lucy Honeychurch (Helena Bonham Carter). Lucy meets George Emerson (Julian Sands) at her hotel in Florence and forms a romantic relationship. She finally returns to the UK and becomes a rich supporter (Day-Lewis) who forces her to decide between George and him. Despite being one of the good historical movies, this is the ultimate romantic drama that you will surely enjoy. (especially if you are an adult).


So, we have relinquished the end of our list of best historical movies of all time, and we hope you attain this list helpfully. When choosing a historical movie to watch, we all have different criteria based on our personal preferences. Of course, when we want to watch a period piece or historical-based movie, the storyline is our main priority. Still, the costumes, scenery, and coloring of such historical movies can also improve our knowledge of that era! 

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