My Top 5 Historical Films

I’m a right bugger to watch historical films with – I can’t help but point out the inaccuracies! It’s not something I actively try to do, it just seems to happen! I once interrupted a viewing of the film Anonymous to point out to my husband that they had used the wrong Royal Coat of Arms in a certain scene. I have even been known to question the presence of certain flowers and breeds of sheep during a particular historical period!

Nevertheless, there are some historical films which are classics in my eyes, and which I cant help but coming back to time and time again.

  1. Casablanca – undeniably a cinematic classic, and one of my top five films of all time. Set in Casablanca (funnily enough!) during WWII, it focuses on an American expatriate who must choose between his love for a woman and helping her husband, a leader in the resistance, escape to continue his fight against the Nazis. Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Berman star in this masterpiece that always manages to make me cry.
  2. Midnight in Paris – I feel this Woody Allen film is very underappreciated, even though it was nominated for the Best Picture Oscar the year it was released. The film is initially set in present day Paris but Owen Wilson’s character discovers how to travel back to the 1920s and in the process meets F Scott Fitzgerald, Picasso and a whole other load of cultural icons besides. You need to be on the ball with this film to keep up with the sheer amount of references made to key historical figures of the time!
  3. Shakespeare in Love – I love this film – even though it’s extremely loose when it comes to historical accuracy, and the two lovers do not end up together in the end. The enigma that was William Shakespeare has always fascinated me, and this feel good film is a rom-com take on a man we still know very little about. And it features Dame Judi Dench, and she’s a bloody legend – full stop.
  4. Elizabeth – many, many films have been made about Elizabeth I and her life, but I have always loved Cate Blanchett’s portrayal of the famous monarch. Blanchett is an amazing actress and I think she captured Elizabeth’s tempestuous nature, chronic indecisiveness and brilliant intelligence perfectly in both films. She is supported by a more than able cast and brilliant costume and set design.
  5. Pride and Prejudice – Now, I know this is going to be controversial but I way prefer the 2005 version of Pride and Prejudice starring Keira Knightly and Matthew McFayden. The last scene where Darcey emerges from the atmospheric early morning mist to tell Lizzie he loves her is EVERYTHING! Plus, I just love films set in the Georgian and Regency period because of all those men’s breeches!

If you have any recommendations for historical films please feel free to send them my way in the comments below – I always love finding new films to watch.


  1. An Historian says

    Finally, someone else who prefers the 2005 P & P!! The music and the cinematography are what clinch it for me- Joe Wright did such a fantastic job shooting it, that the scenery is really the main character for me. And the mostly piano based score is just amazing, still one of my favourites.

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