17+ Best Medieval Movies (List)

Medieval movies capture the medieval period, spanning from the 5th to the 15th century, a fascinating era filled with knights, castles, and epic battles

It has captivated the imaginations of filmmakers, resulting in a variety of movies set in this historical time period.

From tales of chivalry and honor to gritty depictions of war and political intrigue, medieval movies offer a glimpse into a bygone era.

Best Medieval Movies

Here is a list of some of the best medieval movies that transport audiences to a time of knights, kings, and epic battles:

  1. “Braveheart” (1995)
    • Directed by Mel Gibson
    • A Scottish knight leads a rebellion against English rule
  2. “Gladiator” (2000)
    • Directed by Ridley Scott
    • A Roman general seeks justice after being betrayed
  3. “Kingdom of Heaven” (2005)
    • Directed by Ridley Scott
    • A blacksmith defends Jerusalem during the Crusades
  4. “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975)
    • Directed by Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
    • A comedic take on King Arthur’s quest to find the Holy Grail
  5. “The Lord of the Rings Trilogy” (2001-2003)
    • Directed by Peter Jackson
    • An epic tale of the fight against the dark lord Sauron
  6. “A Knight’s Tale” (2001)
    • Directed by Brian Helgeland
    • A squire poses as a knight and competes in jousting tournaments
  7. “The Name of the Rose” (1986)
    • Directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud
    • A Franciscan monk investigates a series of mysterious deaths in a monastery
  8. “Excalibur” (1981)
    • Directed by John Boorman
    • The legend of King Arthur and the knights of the Round Table
  9. “The Lion in Winter” (1968)
    • Directed by Anthony Harvey
    • King Henry II’s family conflicts during Christmas 1183
  10. “The Seventh Seal” (1957)
    • Directed by Ingmar Bergman
    • A knight plays a chess game with Death during the Black Plague
  11. “The Princess Bride” (1987)
    • Directed by Rob Reiner
    • A fairy tale adventure with romance, action, and comedy
  12. “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” (1991)
    • Directed by Kevin Reynolds
    • Robin Hood fights against the Sheriff of Nottingham
  13. “Ladyhawke” (1985)
    • Directed by Richard Donner
    • A young thief teams up with a former knight to break a curse
  14. “The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc” (1999)
    • Directed by Luc Besson
    • The story of Joan of Arc’s life and her fight against the English
  15. “The Pillars of the Earth” (2010)
    • Directed by Sergio Mimica-Gezzan
    • A miniseries about the construction of a cathedral in a fictional English town
  16. “Ivanhoe” (1952)
    • Directed by Richard Thorpe
    • A Saxon knight seeks to regain his honor and rescue his love
  17. “The Last Kingdom” (2015-present)
    • Directed by various
    • A Saxon nobleman is captured and raised by Vikings
  18. “First Knight” (1995)
    • Directed by Jerry Zucker
    • The romantic and chivalrous adventures of Sir Lancelot and King Arthur

These films, set in medieval times, offer a mix of historical drama, epic battles, romance, and even comedy, providing a diverse array of stories from this fascinating historical period.

Below we look at some of the best medieval movies that have enthralled audiences with their captivating storytelling, stunning visuals, and memorable characters.

1. Braveheart (1995)

  • Director: Mel Gibson
  • Starring: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan

Braveheart is a historical epic that tells the story of William Wallace, a Scottish warrior who leads a rebellion against English rule in the late 13th century.

Directed by Mel Gibson, the film is known for its breathtaking battle scenes and emotional performances. It won five Academy Awards, including Best Picture and Best Director.

Braveheart showcases the struggle for freedom and the lengths one man is willing to go to protect his homeland.

The film’s portrayal of medieval warfare, with its brutal and visceral combat sequences, immerses viewers in the chaos and brutality of battle.

Mel Gibson’s performance as William Wallace is powerful and compelling, capturing the character’s determination and unwavering spirit.

2. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

  • Director: Ridley Scott
  • Starring: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson

Set during the Crusades of the 12th century, Kingdom of Heaven follows the journey of Balian, a blacksmith who becomes a knight and finds himself at the center of a conflict between Christians and Muslims.

Directed by Ridley Scott, the film explores themes of religious tolerance, honor, and redemption.

Kingdom of Heaven stands out for its stunning visuals and meticulous attention to detail.

The film’s production design and costumes transport viewers to the medieval world, while its epic battle sequences are both thrilling and realistic.

Orlando Bloom delivers a compelling performance as Balian, showcasing his transformation from an ordinary man to a respected knight.

3. The Lord of the Rings Trilogy (2001-2003)

  • Director: Peter Jackson
  • Starring: Elijah Wood, Ian McKellen, Viggo Mortensen

The Lord of the Rings trilogy, based on J.R.R. Tolkien’s beloved novels, is a fantasy epic set in the fictional world of Middle-earth.

While not strictly a medieval setting, the films draw inspiration from medieval themes and aesthetics, making them a must-watch for fans of the genre.

Peter Jackson’s masterful adaptation brings Tolkien’s richly imagined world to life, with its sprawling landscapes, intricate costumes, and breathtaking battles.

The trilogy explores themes of heroism, friendship, and the struggle against evil, resonating with audiences of all ages.

The performances, particularly by Ian McKellen as the wise wizard Gandalf and Viggo Mortensen as the noble Aragorn, are widely praised.

4. A Knight’s Tale (2001)

  • Director: Brian Helgeland
  • Starring: Heath Ledger, Mark Addy, Rufus Sewell

A Knight’s Tale is a unique medieval movie that blends historical fiction with modern elements.

Set in the 14th century, the film follows the journey of William Thatcher, a peasant who poses as a knight and competes in jousting tournaments.

Directed by Brian Helgeland, the movie combines action, romance, and humor.

What sets A Knight’s Tale apart is its use of contemporary music and anachronistic references, injecting a sense of fun and energy into the medieval setting.

Heath Ledger delivers a charismatic performance as William Thatcher, capturing the character’s determination and charm. The film’s jousting sequences are exhilarating and visually stunning.

5. Excalibur (1981)

  • Director: John Boorman
  • Starring: Nigel Terry, Helen Mirren, Nicholas Clay

Excalibur is a visually striking retelling of the Arthurian legend, focusing on the rise and fall of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table.

Directed by John Boorman, the film combines elements of fantasy, romance, and tragedy to create a captivating medieval epic.

Excalibur is known for its stunning cinematography and evocative imagery, capturing the mystical and otherworldly aspects of the Arthurian legend.

The film’s performances, particularly Nigel Terry as King Arthur and Helen Mirren as Morgana, are praised for their intensity and emotional depth.

Excalibur remains a classic among medieval movies, offering a unique interpretation of a timeless tale.

The Importance of Medieval Movies

Medieval movies serve as a window into the past, allowing viewers to experience the sights and sounds of a time long gone.

They provide a unique blend of history and entertainment, transporting audiences to a world of knights, kings, and queens.

These films not only entertain but also educate, shedding light on the customs, traditions, and challenges faced by people during the medieval period.

Moreover, medieval movies often explore timeless themes such as honor, loyalty, love, and sacrifice.

They showcase the triumphs and tragedies of individuals caught in the midst of historical events, making them relatable to modern audiences.

By looking into the complexities of human nature and the struggles faced by characters in a medieval setting, these movies offer valuable insights into the human condition.

FAQs – Best Medieval Movies

1. What are some other notable medieval movies?

Some other notable medieval movies include:

  • Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
  • King Arthur (2004)
  • The Name of the Rose (1986)
  • Robin Hood (2010)

2. Are there any historically accurate medieval movies?

While many medieval movies take creative liberties for storytelling purposes, some strive for historical accuracy. Examples of historically accurate medieval movies include:

  • The Lion in Winter (1968)
  • Arn: The Knight Templar (2007)
  • Ironclad (2011)
  • Agincourt (2015)

3. Are there any medieval movies based on true stories?

Several medieval movies are based on true stories or historical events. Some examples include:

  • Braveheart (1995) – Based on the life of Scottish warrior William Wallace.
  • Kingdom of Heaven (2005) – Inspired by the events of the Crusades.
  • The Last Samurai (2003) – Set in 19th-century Japan but explores themes similar to medieval movies.

4. What makes a medieval movie stand out?

A standout medieval movie often combines compelling storytelling, immersive visuals, and memorable performances.

Attention to historical detail, realistic battle sequences, and exploration of timeless themes also contribute to the success of a medieval movie.

5. Are there any medieval movies suitable for children?

While many medieval movies contain mature themes and intense battle scenes, some are suitable for children. Examples of family-friendly medieval movies include:

  • Shrek (2001) – A comedic take on fairy tales with medieval elements.
  • The Sword in the Stone (1963) – An animated Disney film set in medieval England.
  • Quest for Camelot (1998) – A musical adventure featuring knights and the legend of King Arthur.

6. Are there any medieval movies with strong female characters?

There are medieval movies that feature strong female characters. Some examples include:

  • Joan of Arc (1999) – Based on the life of the historical figure Joan of Arc.
  • Kingdom of Heaven (2005) – Eva Green’s character, Sibylla, is a complex and influential figure.
  • Ever After (1998) – A retelling of the Cinderella story with a strong-willed protagonist.

7. Are there any comedic medieval movies?

There are comedic medieval movies that offer a lighthearted take on the era.

One notable example is Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975), a satirical comedy that parodies Arthurian legends and medieval tropes.

8. Are there any medieval movies with a focus on romance?

Romance is a common theme in medieval movies. Some films that emphasize romance include:

  • Tristan & Isolde (2006) – A tragic love story set in medieval Britain.
  • A Knight’s Tale (2001) – Blends romance with action and humor.
  • The Princess Bride (1987) – A beloved fantasy film with a medieval setting and a heartwarming love story.

9. Are there any medieval movies with political intrigue?

Medieval movies often delve into political intrigue and power struggles. Some examples include:

  • The Lion in Winter (1968) – Explores the complex relationships and political maneuverings within the royal family of England.
  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991) – Features political intrigue surrounding the usurper Prince John and his rule.
  • Game of Thrones (2011-2019) – While not a movie, this TV series is renowned for its intricate political plotlines set in a medieval-inspired world.

10. Are there any medieval movies with a focus on the Black Death?

Yes, some medieval movies center around the devastating impact of the Black Death.

One notable example is Black Death (2010), which follows a young monk as he investigates rumors of a village untouched by the plague.

11. Are there any medieval movies with a supernatural or fantasy element?

Several medieval movies incorporate supernatural or fantasy elements. Examples include:

  • Excalibur (1981) – Features mystical elements and the legend of King Arthur.
  • The Seventh Seal (1957) – A Swedish film that explores themes of life, death, and the existence of God.
  • Army of Darkness (1992) – A comedic horror film that combines medieval settings with time travel and supernatural creatures.

12. Are there any medieval movies that explore the Crusades?

The Crusades have been a popular subject in medieval movies. In addition to Kingdom of Heaven (2005), other films that explore the Crusades include:

  • Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
  • King Richard and the Crusaders (1954)
  • The Crusades (1935)

13. Are there any medieval movies that focus on the Hundred Years’ War?

Yes, the Hundred Years’ War has been depicted in several medieval movies.

One notable example is Henry V (1989), directed by and starring Kenneth Branagh, which portrays the famous Battle of Agincourt.

14. Are there any medieval movies that explore the legend of King Arthur?

The legend of King Arthur has been a popular subject in medieval movies. In addition to Excalibur (1981), other films that explore the Arthurian legend include:

  • King Arthur (2004)
  • First Knight (1995)
  • Camelot (1967)

15. Are there any medieval movies that focus on the Vikings?

The Viking era has been depicted in several medieval movies. Examples include:

  • The 13th Warrior (1999)
  • Valhalla Rising (2009)
  • Pathfinder (2007)

Summary – Best Medieval Movies

Medieval movies provide a captivating glimpse into a bygone era, combining history, entertainment, and timeless themes.

From the epic battles of Braveheart to the fantastical world of The Lord of the Rings trilogy, these films transport viewers to a world of knights, castles, and chivalry.

Whether exploring historical events or reimagining legends, medieval movies offer valuable insights into the human condition and continue to captivate audiences with their storytelling prowess.


Related Posts