Monday Mix-ins: Movies Set in Ancient Times
September 4th, 2017
Happy Labor Day!
Here’s a short video on the history of Labor Day.
There’s no school today or tomorrow, so for this abbreviated week we thought we’d repeat what we did last year on Labor Day for Monday Mix-ins: gather a list of full-length movies that are set in, or relate to (sometimes loosely) our history time period, which in this case is Ancient times. This list is a resource you can use all year long, whenever you’re looking for a family movie that will enrich what we are studying in history. Bookmark this post and come back to it throughout the year!
The following list is lengthy, but certainly not all-inclusive. We’ve listed ratings when available, and grouped them somewhat by age/rating, but please use your own parental discretion when deciding which movies are appropriate for your family. Most of the links are to Amazon, where you can purchase the dvd or digital versions, sometimes rent, or in some cases stream the movie for free. You can also look for these titles at the library, on your favorite streaming website, or other format of your choice.
Movies that should be good for all audiences:
The Croods (2013, PG) – Animated. After their cave is destroyed, a caveman family must trek through an unfamiliar fantastical world with the help of an inventive boy.
Ice Age (2002, PG) – Animated. When a group of prehistoric animals band together to save a human baby, the misfit herd becomes the only hope for the future in this delightful computer-animated treat. (There are several movies in this series.)
Mr. Peabody & Sherman (2014, PG) – Animated. The time-travelling adventures of an advanced canine and his adopted son, as they endeavor to fix a time rift they created.
Joseph King of Dreams (1999, NR) – Animated. Joseph, his father's favorite son, is sold into slavery by his jealous half-brothers. After years of struggle, Joseph rises to be the Pharaoh's trusted adviser when his gift for interpreting dreams pays dividends.
The Prince of Egypt (1998, PG) – An Egyptian prince learns of his identity as a Hebrew and his destiny to become the chosen deliverer of his people.
Hercules (1997, G) – Animated. The son of the Greek Gods Zeus and Hera is stripped of his immortality as an infant and must become a true hero in order to reclaim it.
The 10 Commandments (1956, G) – The life of Moses (Charlton Heston), once favoured in the Pharaoh's (Yul Brynner) household, who turned his back on a privileged life to lead his people to freedom.
Alexander the Great (1965, NR) – The life and military conquests of Alexander III of Macedon, commonly known as Alexander the Great.
Helen of Troy (1956, NR and limited info on content) – Thrilling historical saga of the immortal love story of Helen and Paris - a romance that rocked the ancient world and started the Trojan War.
The Trojan Women (1971, NR) – The women of Troy face enslavement after the fall of their city.
Ulysses (1953, NR) – An adaptation of Homer's grand epic The Odyssey. After victory in the Trojan War, the hero Ulysses embarks on a ten-year journey back to his kingdom.
Jason and the Argonauts (1963, G) – The classic fantasy tale of the fearless sailor who must find the Golden Fleece before he can claimhis throne.
Ben-Hur (1959, G) – The classic version. A member of the Jewish nobility living in Jerusalem, Judah Ben-Hur (Charlton Heston) lives a religious life and peacefully opposes the tyrannical occupation of Judea by Rome. Based on the novel by Lew Wallace.
A remake was made in 2016 (Rated PG-13) which you can find here (also listed below).
Julius Caesar (1953, NR) – During the era of the Roman empire, Brutus and Cassius lead a conspiracy to kill Caesar, only to fall to Mark Antony.
Quo Vadis (1951, NR) – The powerful story of a Roman soldier whose romance with a beautiful woman puts him at deadly odds with Emperor Nero.
The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964, NR) – The death of Marcus Aurelius leads to a succession crisis, in which the deceased emperor's son, Commodus, demonstrates that he is unwilling to let anything undermine his claim to the Roman Empire. (188 mins.)
The Hobbit (1977, NR) – An animated version of J.R.R. Tolkein's classic about the magical world of Middle Earth and the adventures of lovable Bilbo Baggins.
Although this (and The Lord of the Rings) are set in a fictional/fantasy ancient time, they loosely fit into our time period this year. Plus they are based on such amazing classic books!
Movies for older kids and adults:
Noah (2004, PG-13) – A man is chosen by his world's creator to undertake a momentous mission before an apocalyptic flood cleanses the world.
Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014, PG-13) – The defiant leader Moses rises up against the Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses, setting 600,000 slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.
The Mummy (1999, PG-13) – Deep in the Egyptian desert, a handful of people searching for a long-lost treasure have just unearthed a 3,000 year old legacy of terror.
Stargate (1994, PG-13) – An interstellar teleportation device, found in Egypt, leads to a planet with humans resembling ancient Egyptians who worship the god Ra.
Clash of the Titans (1981, PG) – Perseus battles the deadly Medusa in order to save a beautiful princess from the monstrous Calibos.
A remake was made in 2010 (rated PG-13) which you can find here.
Hercules (2014, PG-13) – Fourteen hundred years ago, a tormented soul walked the earth that was neither man nor god. Hercules was the powerful son of god king Zeus, for this he received nothing but suffering his entire life. After twelve arduous labors and the loss of his family, this dark, world-weary soul turned his back on the gods finding his only solace in bloody battle.
Percy Jackson & The Olympians: The Lightning Thief (2010, PG) – First in this series based on the books by Rick Riordan, a young boy discovers he's the descendant of a Greek god and sets out on an adventure to settle an on-going battle between the gods.
The Odyssey (1997, PG-13) – A two-part movie/series. The greatest epic of the ancient world, Homer's engaging tale recounts the journey of Odysseus, king of Ithaca & mastermind of the Greek victory in the Trojan War. Surviving ten years of challenges sent by the angry gods, he makes his way home to his kingdom, loyal wife & son with something more valuable than the spoils of war: wisdom.
Cleopatra (1963, G but has some older content) – Queen Cleopatra of Egypt experiences both triumph and tragedy as she attempts to resist the imperial ambitions of Rome.
Ben-Hur (2016, PG-13) – The remake of the classic film, BEN-HUR is the story of Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother Messala. Separated from his family and the woman he loves, Judah is forced into slavery. After years at sea, Judah returns to seek revenge.
Spartacus (1960, PG-13) – The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.
The Eagle (2011, PG-13) – In Roman-ruled Britain, a young Roman soldier endeavors to honor his father's memory by finding his lost legion's golden emblem.
The Hobbit trilogy (2012-2014, PG-13) – A reluctant hobbit, Bilbo Baggins, sets out to the Lonely Mountain with a spirited group of dwarves to reclaim their mountain home, and the gold within it from the dragon Smaug.
The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-2003, PG-13) – A meek Hobbit from the Shire and eight companions set out on a journey to destroy the powerful One Ring and save Middle Earth from the Dark Lord Sauron.
Movies for this time period that are rated R, so while not necessarily for kids, parents might enjoy them:
Troy (2004, R) – In ancient Greece, the passion of two of history's most legendary lovers, Paris Prince of Troy and Helen Queen of Sparta, ignites a war that will devastate a civilization.
Alexander (2004, R) – The epic story of Alexander the Great, the King of Macedonia, who over an eight year period managed to conquer 90% of the known world of his time by age 25.
Gladiator (2000, R) – When a Roman general is betrayed and his family murdered by an emperor's corrupt son, he comes to Rome as a gladiator to seek revenge.
Centurion (2010, R) – Roman soldiers are trapped behind enemy lines after a brutal ambush decimates their legion. They must fight their way to freedom while hunted by a relentless warrior princess out for Roman blood.
If you know of any other excellent movies that are Ancient history-themed, please leave a comment to let us all know about them!
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