One Night with the King
Xerxes finds a new bride while he prepares for war with the Greeks
This movie ultimately derives from the Biblical text in the Song of Esther.
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The Nativity Story
The Birth of Jesus
This film looks at the society and politics surrounding the birth of Christ.
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Constantine and the Cross
Constantine Wins the Battle of Milvian Bridge to Assume Control of the Roman Empire
Constantine took control from co-Augustus Maxentius after having a vision of a Cross in the sky. Constantine a year later issued the Edict of Milan granting tolerance of Christianity. In 325 he convened the Council of Nicaea, which sought to provide a unified Christian doctrine.
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Alfred the Great
Alfred Defends his Realm against the Danes
This documentary explains how the Anglo-Saxon king battles invaders from across the North Sea to maintain control over his land. His victory enabled him to reinvigorate London.
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Murder of Thomas Becket, Archbishop of Canterbury
This film, the first of two starring Peter O'Toole as Henry II, dramatizes Church/State conflict in Europe. It also shows the ongoing struggle between Normans and Saxons a century after the conquest.
Related link: BBC British history page on the assassination of Beckett
Lion in Winter
Henry II's family fights bitterly for his succession
The second Henry II role played by Peter O'Toole. The historic characters of Richard and John, who play prominent roles in Robin Hood tales, are developed in this film.
The Adventures of Robin Hood
King Richard I returns to England after captivity in Europe
This 1938 classic of the Robin Hood legend continues the Angevin dynasty of Henry II. John, youngest son of Henry, nearly usurps the English throne while Richard is away on Crusade and then a captive of the Holy Roman Emperor. The plot of the movie moves towards the return of Richard to power and the reestablishment of justice.
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William Wallace defeats the British at the Battle of Sterling Bridge
This film depicts the fight for Scottish independence from England's Edward I (Longshanks), a Plantagenet king who was the great-grandson of Henry II. Robert the Bruce also figures in this movie as a politically ambivalent character. Wallace was captured and executed in 1305.
Battle of Agincourt
Kenneth Branagh uses cinematic realism to highlight Shakespeare's theatrical interpretation of British pluck overcoming long odds to beat chivalric strategies and arrogance.
Joan of Arc Fights to Liberate France
The motivating actions of a peasant girl who claimed revelations from saints help the French lift the siege of Orlean's in 1429 during the Hundred Year's War. This siege was part of the power struggle in France that had accelerated with Henry V's victory at Agincourt.
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Anne of a Thousand Days
Anne Boleyn Plays Her Pivotal Role in British History
Henry VIII has his second wife beheaded in his search for a male heir to his throne. Ironically, their daughter Elizabeth would grow to take the throne.
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King Henry VIII's Life, Loves and Legends Leave their Mark on England and the Western World
This four-season TV series dramatizes the reign of Henry VIII, the most flamboyant ruler of the Tudor dynasty. The on-screen romances that delight and bedevil Henry suggest how the motivations and lustfulness of an energetic king could change history. The plot twists, although full of artistic license, show how the intrigue of real life often can overshadow fiction.
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Great-Granddaughter of Henry VII Caught in a Political Web
Sitting on the throne for less than two weeks, Lady Jane Grey falls victim to the political machinations that put her in power in a failed attempt to block the Catholic Mary from ruling England.
Elizabeth I ascends to the throne and meets challenges
The movie examines the uncertainties of Elizabeth's ascension and her early years as queen.
After Years of Uncertainty, Elizabeth Ascends to the Throne
Following the early life of Elizabeth, daughter of Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, this film reflects a steadfastness in young Elizabeth and court treachery and, in the film, her own affection for a powerful man toss her back and forth in both politics and love. With Jean Simmons as Elizabeth, Charles Laughton as Henry VIII, Deborah Kerr as Catherine Parr and Stewart Grainger as Tom Seymour, the film is a model example of good acting and screen presence from the era of Technicolor spectacles in the 1940's and 1950's. The film was released in 1953, the coronation year of Queen Elizabeth II.
Queen Elizabeth I is courted by the Earl of Leicester
This account of the Virgin Queen's love life features Helen Mirren who won an Oscar in 2007 for her role in The Queen, a biopic about Queen Elizabeth II.
The Virgin Queen
Queen Elizabeth I ascends to the crown
Sir Walter Raleigh charms his way into Queen Elizabeth's favor, only to incur her wrath when he woos and weds one of her ladies in waiting. Bette Davis returns to the role of QE I with all the fire and power she portrayed in The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex.
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The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex
The Execution of the Earl of Essex ends his relation with Queen Elizabeth
Bette Davis and Errol Flynn portray the historical figures at the top of English nobility. Their equally strong wills attract them to each other, but in the end dooms the ambitious Earl.
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The Queen of Sweden Works Through the Challenges of Rule
Greta Garbo portrays the Swedish sovereign weighing personal concerns against the good of her country and continent.
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The Scarlet Empress
Catherine the Great Takes Control of Russia
A young German princess is married into the Russian Imperial family, only to beguile the court and military officers and become the great empress of Russia. Marlene Dietrich, under the direction of Josef von Sternberg, conquers the screen like Catherine conquered her court.
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The Madness of King George
Bizarre Royal Behavior Creates a Regency Crisis in Britain
As George III descends into insanity the court is in dispute over how to treat the illness and how to govern the country.
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French Queen's Life Up to the Revolution
Marie Antoinette (1744-1793) lives a privileged if complicated life in the opulence of the French court as poverty and discontent in society lead to revolution.
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The Young Victoria
Victoria Weds Albert
After a courtship full of court intrigue, Queen Victoria settles into her happy marriage with her cousin Prince Albert. A highly detailed look at the transitional period in a young woman's life and how it was also a transition in history.
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Queen Victoria Rules with Help of Scotsman
Queen Victoria grows close to a Scottish servant in her court after the death of her husband Prince Albert. The relationship, while of personal importance to the Queen, becomes a matter of concern for others around her.
Rasputin and the Empress
Mystic Casts Spell Over Russian Czarina
The Barrymore family, John, Ethel and Lionel, portray the mystic who exerted great influence over the Czarina of Russia in the last days of the Russian Empire.
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The King's Speech
King George VI Overcomes His Stuttering to Deliver Important Speeches
The personal challenges of a speech impediment as well as Royal and world politics do not stand in the way of a king's duties.
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