Medieval movies and TV shows conjure images of romance, chivalry, and mystique — we recall some of the best shows featuring knighthood, intrigue and sorcery in the Middle Ages
By Lester Wan & Nicole-Marie Ng
On Feb 19, Umberto Eco, the man who brought us the classic historical mystery novel “The Name of the Rose” passed away.
Eco was an acclaimed medievalist, philosopher, semiotician, and novelist. “The Name of the Rose”, his most famous work, combined medieval studies, biblical analysis and literary theory in one thrilling Middle Age murder-mystery.
Not only was the book lauded as a great work, it was made into a 1986 film starring Sean Connery (former James Bond), as the chief investigator, William of Baskerville.
Whether or not you’re a fan of The Name of the Rose or the historical genre, medieval films have entertained and excited audiences for generations. Here are some of the most thrilling or intriguing medieval films and TV shows we remember.
1. Rashomon (1950)
2. Seven Samurai (1954)
In another classic film by Kurosawa, a poor village is besieged by bandits and the villagers attempt to hire s the titular c to defend them.
Seven Samurai inspired the 1960 American Western, The Magnificent Seven (1960). The 2016 remake of the latter is set to be released on Sep 23.
3. El Cid (1961)
El Cid is a powerful film starring Charlton Heston, Academy Award winner for Best Actor in Ben-Hur.
This medieval story revolves around the titular conqueror who fought for both the Spanish Crown and the Moors.
4. Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
5. Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight (1984)
6. “Robin of Sherwood” (1984)
7. Ran (1985)
8. The Name of the Rose (1986)
The acclaimed movie based on Umberto Eco’s literary classic, The Name of the Rose stars Sean Connery as a Franciscan monk and the chief investigator of the mysterious deaths of monks in a Benedictine monastery.
9. Highlander (1986)
A cult ’80s film, Highlander propelled Christopher Lambert to stardom. This work of medieval to modern-day fiction narrates an age-old battle between immortal warriors.
It also has an amazing soundtrack by the rock band Queen.
10. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade (1989)
The third installment of the Indiana Jones franchise, Indiana Jones (Harrison Ford) searches for his father (Sean Connery) who’s been kidnapped by the Nazis.
Together, they hunt for the legendary Holy Grail before the Nazis get their hands on it.
11. Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991)
12. 1492: Conquest of Paradise (1992)
13. Les Visiteurs (The Visitors, 1993)
14. Braveheart (1995)
15. “Merlin” (TV mini-series, 1998)
“Merlin”, the television miniseries, retells the legend of King Arthur from the point of view of Merlin the wizard. It stars Sam Neil, Helena Bonham Carter & Martin Short.
Try to find this gem and look forward to good storytelling and attractive visuals and costumes.
16. Elizabeth (1998)
17. The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)
18. “Joan of Arc” (TV movie, 1999)
19. The 13th Warrior (1999)
20. Black Knight (2001)
21. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
22. Mongol: The rise of Genghis Khan (2007)
Mongol is a Russian semi-historical film about the early life of Temüjin, who later came to be known as Genghis Khan.
The character portrayals were gritty and authentic, making this a good quality joint-production between Russia, Germany and Kazakhstan.
23. Red Cliff / Chi Bi (2008)
An epic tale of heroism and military strategy from the Romance of the Three Kingdoms, Chi Bi or Red Cliff is a production by action-director John Woo.
It starred Tony Leung Chiu Wai and Takeshi Kaneshiro as the legendary military strategists Zhou Yu and Zhuge Liang.
24. Age of Uprising: The Legend of Michael Kolhaas (2013)
25. “Vikings” (2013 to present)