The rise and fall of the notorious Roman Emperor Caligula, showing the violent methods that he employs to gain the throne, and the subsequent insanity of his reign – he gives his horse political office and humiliates and executes anyone who even slightly displeases him. He also sleeps with his sister, organises elaborate orgies and embarks on a fruitless invasion of England before meeting an appropriate end.
Czlowiek z zelaza / Man of Iron (1981) Andrzej Wajda, Jerzy Radziwilowicz, Krystyna Janda, Marian Opania, Drama, History
A worker becomes a “man of iron” forged by experience, a son comes to terms with his father, a couple fall in love, a reporter searches for courage, and a nation undergoes historic change. In Warsaw in 1980, the Party sends Winkel, a weak, alcoholic TV hack, to Gdansk to dig up dirt on the shipyard strikers, particularly on Maciek Tomczyk, an articulate worker whose father was killed in the December 1970 protests. Posing as sympathetic, Winkel interviews people who know Tomczyk, including his detained wife, Agnieszka. Their narrations become flashbacks using actual news footage of 1968 and 1970 protests and of the later birth of free unions and Solidarity.
Faraon (1966) Jerzy Kawalerowicz, Jerzy Zelnik, Wieslawa Mazurkiewicz, Barbara Brylska, Drama, Historical
The story, based on actual historic events, concerns an invented ruler Ramses XIII (Jerzy Zelnick) – actually there were 11 Ramses in the archaeological record – plunked into the drama experienced by Ramses XI. While still Crown Prince, handsome, athletically built Ramses yearns to stem the gradual decline of Egypt’s empire and to reform the miserable lives of the huge peasant and labouring classes. Young Ramses’ plans, abiding until his rapidly ailing, aged father Ramses XII’s (Andrej Girtler) death, greatly displease the powerful, numerous sacerdotal caste, particularly its most influential elder, an actual personage – the Sun God Amon-Ra’s high priest Herihor (Pietr Pawlowski), the real, long-term power behind the throne.
Brigham Young (1940) Henry Hathaway, Tyrone Power, Linda Darnell, Dean Jagger, Adventure, Biography, History
The true story of the famous Mormon leader, Brigham Young and his battle to transport his people across the Rocky mountains to settle in Salt Lake City. The plot focuses on two of his people, Jonathan Kent and Zina Webb and the hardships they have to face along the way.
Betrayed (1954) Gottfried Reinhardt, Clark Gable, Lana Turner, Victor Mature, Drama, History, Romance
Carla Van Oven becomes an allied spy for the British intelligence in The Netherlands during WW2, although she is suspected of having cooperated with the Nazis in the past. Colonel Pieter Deventer of Dutch Intelligence agrees that she may train to join a team in the resistance movement, lead by resistance leader The Scarf. The team starts to suffer heavy losses after she has joined them. Is she a traitor?
Sen-hime to Hideyori / Lady Sen and Hideyori (1962) Masahiro Makino, Hibari Misora, Kinnosuke Nakamura, Ken Takakura, Drama, History
An all-star cast led by Hibari Misora and Kinnosuke Nakamura bring this stunning historical drama to life. From the late 1500’s through the founding of the Tokugawa Shogunate many battles were fought as the great warlords vied for power over the nation. Princess Sen, a daughter of Tokugawa Ieyasu, is caught amidst the family feud between the Tokugawa and Toyotomi families. When her father Lord Tokugawa Ieyasu attacks her husband Toyotomi Hideyori’s castle, her life takes a sudden turn for the worse. Will she ever find peace in her life again? One of Hibari Misora’s most memorable performances, a movie you will never forget!
Delusions of Grandeur / La folie des grandeurs (1971) Gérard Oury, Louis de Funès, Yves Montand, Alice Sapritch, Comedy, History
Don Salluste, a petty tyrant in his own home and minister of the King of Spain, falls from grace. Wanting revenge, he tries to compromize the Queen with his valet Blaze, introduced as his cousin. But poor Blaze gets stuck with a rather repulsive duenna, who is madly in love with him and very keen on getting her way. This wild comedy takes off at a dashing pace set by the De Funes, Montand and Sapritch trio.
Taras Bulba (1962) J. Lee Thompson, Tony Curtis, Yul Brynner, Christine Kaufmann, Adventure, Drama, History
A “Romeo and Juliet” story that takes place in the late 16c. Ukraine. Taras has settled into comfortable farm life after years of adventures and swashbuckling with his cossack companions. Though not wealthy, he is able to send his son Andrei away to a Polish school. At this time the Poles are overlords of Ukraine and the origin of the cossacks is struggle of the Ukrainian serfs to free themselves and their land of Polish domination. Toward this end Taras hopes that his son will be educated in the ways of the enemy. Instead, Andrei falls in love with the daughter of a Polish nobleman, setting the stage for a clash between love, family honor, and a struggle for national identity.
Munich (2005) Steven Spielberg, Eric Bana, Daniel Craig, Marie-Josée Croze, Drama, History, Thriller
La passion de Jeanne d’Arc / The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928) Carl Theodor Dreyer, Maria Falconetti, Eugene Silvain, André Berley, Biography, Drama, History
The sufferings of a martyr, Jeanne D’Arc (1412-1431). Jeanne appears in court where Cauchon questions her and d’Estivet spits on her. She predicts her rescue, is taken to her cell, and judges forge evidence against her. In her cell, priests interrogate her and judges deny her the Mass. Threatened first in a torture chamber and then offered communion if she will recant, she refuses. At a cemetery, in front of a crowd, a priest and supporters urge her to recant; she does, and Cauchon announces her sentence. In her cell, she explains her change of mind and receives communion. In the courtyard at Rouen castle, she burns at the stake; the soldiers turn on the protesting crowd.