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25+ Fantastic Pre-Modern War Movies That Take Place a Long Time Ago

Updated July 7, 2019 5.3k votes 551 voters 20.3k views34 items

Pre-modern war movies feature epic battles and hand-to-hand combat to create some of the bloodiest wars ever caught on film. The top ancient war movies feature classic heroes motivating the masses to fight against oppression. This is a list of historical war movies featuring everything from The Last of the Mohicans to 300 to The Last Samurai.

What historical war films will you find on this list? You might vote Braveheart to the top of the pack. Directed by and starring Mel Gibson, this hit film's unforgettable battle scenes helped it to take home five Academy Awards. Gladiator is another fantastic ancient war movie about one man's quest for justice. Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus featured Kirk Douglas in the title role of a slave rising up against his Roman masters. Other good movies featured on this roundup of the best pre-modern war films include Willow, First Knight, and Kingdom of Heaven.

Do you have a favorite historical war film? Give the best movies a thumbs up and get in on the conversation in the comments section.

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  • 1
    Gladiator
    217
    70

    Gladiator

    Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix

    Released2000

    Directed byRidley Scott

    Gladiator is a 2000 American-British epic historical drama film directed by Ridley Scott,... more on Wikipedia

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  • 2
    The Last of the Mohicans
    197
    61

    The Last of the Mohicans

    Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe

    Released1992

    Directed byMichael Mann

    The Last of the Mohicans is a 1992 historical epic film set in 1757 and produced by Morgan... more on Wikipedia

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  • 3
    Braveheart
    211
    82

    Braveheart

    Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau

    Released1995

    Directed byMel Gibson

    Braveheart is a 1995 epic historical medieval war drama film directed by and starring Mel... more on Wikipedia
  • 4
    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World
    162
    57

    Released2003

    Directed byPeter Weir

    Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World is a 2003 epic historical drama film... more on Wikipedia
  • 5
    Kingdom of Heaven
    172
    76

    Kingdom of Heaven

    Eva Green, Liam Neeson

    Released2005

    Directed byRidley Scott

    Kingdom of Heaven is a 2005 epic historical drama directed and produced by Ridley Scott and... more on Wikipedia
  • 6
    Spartacus
    138
    58

    Spartacus

    Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier

    Released1960

    Directed byStanley Kubrick

    Spartacus is a 1960 American epic historical drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick. The... more on Wikipedia

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  • 7
    300
    175
    88

    300

    Gerard Butler, Michael Fassbender

    Released2006

    Directed byZack Snyder

    300 is a 2006 American fantasy war film based on the 1998 comic series of the same name by... more on Wikipedia
  • 8
    Troy
    130
    55

    Troy

    Brad Pitt, Eric Bana

    Released2004

    Directed byWolfgang Petersen

    Troy is a 2004 epic period war film directed by Wolfgang Petersen, loosely based on Homer's... more on Wikipedia
  • 9
    Apocalypto
    141
    69

    Apocalypto

    Raoul Trujillo, Gerardo Taracena

    Released2006

    Directed byMel Gibson

    Apocalypto is a 2006 American epic adventure film directed and produced by Mel Gibson. It was... more on Wikipedia

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  • 10
    The Eagle
    117
    59

    The Eagle

    Channing Tatum, Donald Sutherland

    Released2011

    Directed byKevin Macdonald

    The Eagle is a 2011 historical adventure film set in Roman Britain directed by Kevin... more on Wikipedia

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  • 11
    King Arthur
    122
    69

    King Arthur

    Keira Knightley, Clive Owen

    Released2004

    Directed byAntoine Fuqua

    King Arthur is a 2004 action adventure film directed by Antoine Fuqua and written by David... more on Wikipedia
  • 12
    Centurion
    110
    59

    Centurion

    Michael Fassbender, Olga Kurylenko

    Released2010

    Directed byNeil Marshall

    Centurion is a 2010 British historical action film directed by Neil Marshall, loosely based on... more on Wikipedia

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  • 13
    The 13th Warrior
    122
    71

    The 13th Warrior

    Omar Sharif, Antonio Banderas

    Released1999

    Directed byJohn McTiernan, Michael Crichton

    The 13th Warrior is a 1999 American historical fiction action film based on the novel and is a... more on Wikipedia

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  • 14
    The Last Samurai
    138
    86

    The Last Samurai

    Tom Cruise, Billy Connolly

    Released2003

    Directed byEdward Zwick

    The Last Samurai is a 2003 American epic film directed and co-produced by Edward Zwick, who... more on Wikipedia
  • 15
    Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves
    115
    74

    Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves

    Morgan Freeman, Sean Connery

    Released1991

    Directed byKevin Reynolds

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  • 16
    Robin Hood
    105
    65

    Robin Hood

    Cate Blanchett, Russell Crowe

    Released2010

    Directed byRidley Scott

    Robin Hood is a 2010 action film written by Brian Helgeland and directed by Ridley Scott.... more on Wikipedia
  • 17
    Rob Roy
    94
    62

    Rob Roy

    Liam Neeson, Jessica Lange

    Released1995

    Directed byMichael Caton-Jones

    Rob Roy is a 1995 adventure film directed by Michael Caton-Jones. Liam Neeson stars as Rob Roy... more on Wikipedia

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  • 18
    A Knight's Tale
    109
    83

    A Knight's Tale

    Heath Ledger, Paul Bettany

    Released2001

    Directed byBrian Helgeland

    A Knight's Tale is a 2001 medieval adventure comedy-drama film written, produced, and directed... more on Wikipedia

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  • 19
    The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc
    77
    53

    The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc

    Milla Jovovich, Dustin Hoffman

    Released1999

    Directed byLuc Besson

    The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc is a 1999 French historical drama film directed by Luc... more on Wikipedia

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  • 20
    Beowulf
    67
    56

    Beowulf

    Angelina Jolie, Anthony Hopkins

    Released2007

    Directed byRobert Zemeckis

    Beowulf is a 2007 American motion capture computer-animated fantasy film directed by Robert... more on Wikipedia
  • 21
    The Last Legion
    64
    56

    The Last Legion

    Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Ben Kingsley

    Released2007

    Directed byDoug Lefler

    The Last Legion is a 2007 film directed by Doug Lefler. Produced by Dino De Laurentiis and... more on Wikipedia
  • 22
    Henry V
    58
    49

    Henry V

    Christian Bale, Emma Thompson

    Released1989

    Directed byKenneth Branagh

    Henry V is a 1989 British drama film adapted for the screen and directed by Kenneth Branagh,... more on Wikipedia
  • 23
    Immortals
    65
    62

    Immortals

    Mickey Rourke, Freida Pinto

    Released2011

    Directed byTarsem Singh

    Immortals is a 2011 3D mythology fantasy film directed by Tarsem Singh and starring Henry... more on Wikipedia

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  • 24
    Alexander
    71
    78

    Alexander

    Angelina Jolie, Val Kilmer

    Released2004

    Directed byOliver Stone, Wilhelm Sasnal, Anka Sasnal

    Alexander is a 2004 action adventure biography film written by Oliver Stone, Christopher Kyle... more on Wikipedia
  • 25
    Pathfinder
    57
    61

    Pathfinder

    Moon Bloodgood, Karl Urban

    Released2007

    Directed byMarcus Nispel

    Pathfinder is a 2007 American epic action film directed by Marcus Nispel, distributed by 20th... more on Wikipedia