RCH's Top 10 History Films of 2018
This was sort of a rough year for history-themed films, especially when compared to 2017. Nevertheless, some of them are worthy of your time and money. So, without further adieu, here are, in order of greatness, 2018’s Top 10 History films:
10. Mary, Queen of Scots. This one just came out, so you can still catch it in theatres. Mary explores the rivalry between the Queen of Scotland (and France) and her cousin, Elizabeth I, Queen of England and Ireland. There are love affairs, and religious themes that are smarty dealt with, but the violence alone is worth the price of admission. There is also beautiful footage of the Scottish highlands, so see it already!
9. Peterloo. If you want violence, intrigue, and a historical backdrop set in the British Empire, this film is for you. The left-wing slant was a bit too much for your correspondent, but if you can set aside the soapboxing, this film will entertain you. It’s based on the infamous Peterloo labor Massacre of 1819. If you want to read more about why labor’s struggles are overrated, check out this old piece at RealClearHistory: “10 Deadliest Riots in U.S. History.”
8. Padmaavat. This film produced violent, heated protests in India and it lives up to its billing. Based on a medieval Muslim emperor who attacked a Hindu kingdom because of the beauty of its queen, Padmaavat has stunning visuals, blood, love, and a heck of a plotline. There are some historical liberties that the filmmakers took, but other than that, its place in RealClearHistory’s Top 10 Films of the Year is well-deserved.
7. The Outlaw King. Frankly, the visuals are the reason you should see this one. It’s about Robert the Bruce and his patriotic outlaws. We all know, though, that commoner William Wallace is Scotland’s true freedom fighter.
6. The Happy Prince. An Oscar Wilde biopic, this film is the most star-studded (Rupert Everett, Colin Firth, Emily Watson) on the list. Filming was done in Germany, France, Belgium, and Italy, so see this film just for the backdrops. If you are at all a fan of Wilde or his era, this film will be the gold standard for a generation. If you don’t give a hoot about Oscar Wilde, you’ll still love the plotline.
5. The Favourite. This critic-pleasing film has already won a slew of awards and is still in theatres! In the early 1700s, Great Britain is at war with France but Queen Anne is uninterested in governing her domain. Two aristocratic women - cousins, no less - compete for the ailing Queen’s attention. It’s as funny as it is engrossing.
4. Return of the Hero. Another comedy, this one revolves around an unscrupulous army officer in Napoleonic Europe. It’s good enough to leave out any and all spoilers. Bring your wife or favorite girlfriend. Oh, and it’s French, so be sure to leave your Anglo-Saxon Protestantism at home!
3. First Man. A biopic about Neil Armstrong? Yes please! Most of you have no doubt watched this one already (if you haven’t, shame on you!). What kind of life did the first man on the moon have? What kinds of factors drove him to become such a man? I came away from this film in utter awe of humanity itself. The future is bright, even if the present is worrisome (and the past a bloody mess).
2. Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran. A geopolitical thriller about India’s nuclear weapons program, Parmanu delivers. Remember when India was at odds with both Pakistan and Pakistan’s dear, close ally, the United States? My how things change. A wonderful thinker-thriller.
1. Operation Finale. Nazis! Elite Israeli intelligence agents! South American hideouts! The inside scoop into capturing Adolf Eichmann in Argentina is the plotline for this year’s No. 1 history film. Go out and find it already! The ending is crazy!
Have a great, film-filled weekend.