Top 10 Medieval Movies

Script written by Max Lett. Strap on your shield and unsheathe your broadsword. In this video, WatchMojo.com counts down our picks for the top 10 medieval movies. Keeping in mind that the Medieval period occurred between the 5th and 15th centuries, the following list stays true to that timeframe and includes only films with Low Fantasy elements – meaning it takes place in real locations and doesn’t involve Orcs or other such creatures. Special thanks to our users jkellis, emrumsch, Demetrius Smith, Andrew A. Dennison, aldqbigsquare and MassOreoKiller for submitting the idea on our Suggestions Page at WatchMojo.comsuggest
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Script written by Max Lett.

Top 10 Medieval Movies


Strap on your shield and unsheathe your broadsword. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 medieval movies.

Keeping in mind that the Medieval period occurred between the 5th and 15th centuries, the following list stays true to that timeframe and includes only films with Low Fantasy elements – meaning it takes place in real locations and doesn’t involve Orcs or other such creatures.

#10: “Kingdom of Heaven” (2005)

Orlando Bloom proves he’s not just another pretty face in this medieval epic. This great period piece depicts the time of the Crusades and tells the story of a French blacksmith who must rise up against all odds and lead an army to defend against invading legions. Director Ridley Scott was congratulated for his relatively balanced portrayal of sparring Christians and Muslims in Jerusalem in this sword-and-sandal film.

#9: “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” (1991)

It’s simple: steal from the rich, give to the poor. And this adaptation plays very little with its source material and instead portrays the eponymous gentleman thief in his straightforward battle with the Sherriff of Nottingham, skillfully played by the villainous Alan Rickman. While some slam the film for its missteps, it’s undeniably full of the spirit of adventure that the original story is famous for.

#8: “First Knight” (1995)

King Arthur, his Knights of the Round Table and his violent fight against an evil adversary are brought to life with spectacular battle sequences, quiet emotional moments and star power galore. Both a tale of love and of the sword, this film recreates the love triangle between the legendary king, his bride Guinevere and his knight Lancelot. A story of sacrifice for the greater good, “First Knight” succeeds in bringing viewers into this medieval world.

#7: “Excalibur” (1981)

Considered by many enthusiasts to be the definitive King Arthur movie, “Excalibur” touches on all the important events in the legendary ruler’s life – from the removal of the sword from the stone, to the heartbreaking betrayal by his most trusted knight. Interestingly, director John Boorman had originally set out to make a live-action interpretation of the Lord of the Rings but could not acquire the rights – and you can feel the Tolkien-esque style in this Medieval tale.

#6: “The Name of the Rose” (1986)

Sean Connery takes on the Holmesian role of William of Baskerville, a 14th century monk/sleuth who must solve a series of murders involving a mysterious book. The film is an original hybrid of medieval religious lore and good old fashion murder mystery, but it also features an effective restaging of the time period that truly gives us the feeling of being in Medieval Times.

#5: “The Lion in Winter” (1968)

In this critically revered film, the medieval era is represented as a weather-beaten place, complete with dirt floors and layers-upon-layers of clothing to guard against the titular winter. In a misguided attempt to reunite his family, King Henry II invites them all to a Christmas supper in order to choose a successor to his throne. The plan goes haywire when everyone invited begins double-crossing everyone else, but it makes for an interesting watch!

#4: “Braveheart” (1995)

Before his now infamous brushes with controversy, Mel Gibson brought us this enduring classic. An epic retelling of the obscure life of William Wallace, the film garnered an impressive five Academy Awards. No stranger to graphic violence or ambitious action sequences, Gibson injects the film with satisfying battle scenes in a convincing medieval setting. It’s also got one heck of a line…

#3: “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” (1975)

Still lovingly memorized and quoted by fans the world-over, this Monty Python period adventure remains one of the best comedies of all time. Though initially intended as a string of vaguely related sketches, it turned into a full-length story about King Arthur and his knights when the group realized they had enough material for a full script. And, while it may not be painstakingly accurate in its representation of the era, it’s still hilarious.

#2: “Seven Samurai” (1954)

The quintessential tale of chivalry and heroism, this is perhaps Akira Kurosawa’s finest contribution to cinema. The final script was reportedly written over an intensive 45-day period, during which the director and his two co-writers took no calls or visitors. Infamous for his attention to detail and meticulousness in creating this world of ancient Japanese culture and traditions, Kurosawa is said to have created a complete family tree for the villagers in the movie.

Before we unveil our top pick, here are a few honorable mentions:
- “Tristan and Isolde” (2006)
- “A Knight’s Tale” (2001)
- “The Sword in the Stone” (1963)

#1: “The Seventh Seal” (1957)

Inspired by the period films of Akira Kurosawa, director Ingmar Bergman carefully recreates Europe in the Middle Ages in this period piece. The result is a cinematic masterpiece that contrasts the struggle against death with the grim reality of life, and it was reportedly one of Bergman’s favorite films. In it, crusading knight Antonius Block is locked in an epic game of chess with Death himself. That’s never a good idea!

Do you agree with our list? What’s your favorite medieval movie? For more epic Top 10s published daily, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com.
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