As a young boy. When I first watched Braveheart on TV. It seemed to be one of the best medieval movies.
I was so impressed and dazzled by how good was the acting, the story, and everything else I knew about the movie.
I didn’t know it was a medieval movie, nor was it one of the best medieval movies. What I knew was that I loved it and was ready to watch it every time it came up.
For months, I was living in the Middle Ages making wooden swords, and shields and role-playing with my friends, siblings, and shooting from the bow I made.
The movie had literally transferred me to the Middle Ages.
The best medieval movies in this piece take you from one place to another. While quite figuratively transferring you back to the Middle Ages, just like Braveheart did with my youth.
You don’t have to always watch sci-fi or cyberpunk movies to have that option of traveling far out into what gives you some sense of escape. The best medieval movies here let you not just escape but come back a different person.
Braveheart inspires you and aspires you to be free. While Princess Bride shows you the struggles of true love. Monty Python and The Little Hours cracks you up with some of the finest jokes you will remember for ages. And The King, Macbeth show you that it never was easy to be the King.
However, top medieval movies list all entertain you with some of the best, cinematography, and acting, dialogues, production, and customs, with all the small, and tiny bits of details they paid attention to, in bringing that period to life. All except, perhaps the Monty Python, they didn’t have the budget for all that
Laeten us’r fulfaran (310 words)
Medieval Movies: Braveheart
Director: Mel Gibson
Writers: Randall Wallace
Stars: James Robinson, Sean Lawlor, Sandy Nelson
For the first movie of the article. I picked a movie that has us travel across the ocean into the British isles, namely the land of fairytales — Scotland.
Mel Gibson’s finest work Braveheart was written by Randall Wallace, meanwhile directed and acted by himself. Other stars include people like James Robinson, Sean Lawlor, Sandy Nelson.
This isn’t just one of the best medieval movies, but one of the best I have ever seen. I know the movie captures the hearts of many people bravely and globally and its fans exist everywhere. You could be one of them, thus might have seen the movie already.
Even if you have, it’s a movie worth watching again, for a few reasons:
A Great story with clear character motivation, and a backstory that make your heart rush with every ounce of blood to root for him.
The great score/music that makes you jump off the ground in excitement for every murder he commits. (even though it’s kinda wrong) because you understand his situation and love him already to death.
The greatest villain whose actions inspire and imbue deep hatred in your guts you are ready to punch him through the window.
Emotionality and the romance in the movie infused with rhythmic music of the fiddles, hornpipes, flute, banjos, and all the jigs and reels, marches. And whatever is Celtic brings that world back in reality even if only in our fantasy.
I could go on and on about the fantastic time, quite literally I have experienced watching one of the best medieval films.
Although the movie has been spoiled to death. I’d still recommend one more watch for the parts I mention and more. For it is one of the great medieval movies
Medieval Warfare Movies: Ran
Director: Akira Kurosawa
Writers: Akira Kurosawa, Hideo Oguni, Masato Ide
Stars: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu
Now let us travel across the globe again to the other part of the ocean to Japan to review another one of the best medieval movies. However, we won’t feel like we traveled far enough as this movie has a similar style taken from where we just were.
The final masterpiece of Akira Kurosawa’s Ran is the ultimate medieval war movie. Ran was directed by Akira Kurosawa, and written by himself and Hideo Oguni, Masato Ide. The stars are Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu.
Shakespearean style blended with Japanese legends tells a universal story of humanity and our nature albeit portraying the negatives like greed, spite, vengeance, madness.
The name of the movie translates as chaos. It explains fundamentally what happens in it, which could be the perfect name for a movie. However, to really enjoy, this translation is far from enough.
Ran requires a deeper look and profound examination to understand its intricate political ambiance and the important dialogue that takes place.
Except the acting which requires no deeper look neither examination for it delivers not just the emotion of the character but the inner psychic condition straight into yours.
What I love the most, apart from the great costume designs and gigantic action scenes with no CGI, is how they tell a personal story of an empire’s father-son relationship that decides the fate and the future of its nation.
Of course, this isn’t a foreign concept to anyone that kings and lords did have control over the populace they ruled. Ran does a cinematic level of storytelling to bring that to life.
Now let us take a respite and enjoy a bit of comedy in the fantasy lands of King Arthur. Where we need no travel except within the imagination.
Best Knight Movies: Monty Python and The Holy Grail
Director: Terry Gilliam, Terry Jones
Writers: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle
Stars: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle
Directors Terry Gilliam, and Terry Jones, perhaps knowingly or not, made one of the best medieval movies that depict the life of Medieval times with a comedic tone in Monty Python and the Holy Grail.
The writers: Graham Chapman, John Cheese, Eric Idle definitely put their mark on the world of British comedy through that very tone, while at the same time putting on great performances.
There probably has never been a better parody movie that despite its fractured story-line and cheap budget gives you as much laugh as this one.
Of the scenes I simply adore is when they hold the coconut in their hands and pretend like they are riding horses. While just trotting with their bipedal human feet.
It just proves how far the filmmakers were ready to go to give us those laughs. Even if it meant at the cost of their own resources, literally.
The lines are funny as heck that you remember the jokes for months or for years to come. In fact, you will be telling the jokes to anyone else you know because you enjoyed it so much.
However, if you have already watched the movie for which the chances are high. I dare you to remember your favorite and leave it in the comments.
Although they are loosely connected sketches. Each scene is full of hilarious moments and jokes that you can watch independently and enjoy.
It probably was the beginning of millennial gag culture and internet memes way back in 1975. It’s an example of funny medieval movies should be.
We now might be leaving the magical land of the King Author. But we are stepping into another mythical world, into the Kingdom of King Florin, where you have to fight for your true love.
Great Medieval Movies: The Princess Bride
Director: Rob Reiner
Writers: William Goldman, William Goldman
Stars: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon
While a cult classic, The Princess Bride is a storytelling movie nested within another story. It is directed by Rob Reiner and written by Wiliam Goldman, who also wrote the book it is based on. The cast includes Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Chris Sarandon.
Postmodern classical fairytale of a man who has to overcome various obstacles to be reunited with his true love.
I haven’t read the book. But if I did, I would probably think this is the only movie on the whole planet that adapts the aspects of the book into the movie seamlessly and perfectly.
The reason for my thinking is the fact that the story and the character-building are elaborately delightful, intricately meaningful.
Besides, world-building is achieved within a few minutes. When the grandpa starts to tell the story to his sick grandson. There comes a moment where he comments if it is a kissing scene.
While it is comedic relief, what it really does is to tell you that you are also an observer of what is happening in that fairytale.
It didn’t need about 20 other big-budget movies to achieve that. But just the human ingenuity, you would only see in the best medieval movies.
Part of it could be the natural shooting locations with no CGI and stuff but more of it is definitely the talent and the creativity of the filmmakers.
The problem with traveling to all those magical lands is that you never want to leave. It was hard to leave Monty Python and The Holy Grail because of its excellence and now it’s even harder now that we have the taste of what true love feels like.
But move on, we must but we keep the spirit of love in our minds with the next movie.
Top Medieval Movies: Return of the Martin Guerre
Director: Daniel Vigne
Writers: Jean-Claude Carrière, Janet Lewis, Daniel Vigne
Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Nathalie Baye, Maurice Barrier
One of the best medieval movies Return of the Martin Guerre was directed by Daniel Vigne and written by Jean-Claude Carriere, Janet Lewis, Daniel Vigne himself as well. The stars include Gerard Depardieu, Nathalie Baye, Maurice Barrier.
The plot of a movie is such that a man goes to fight in a war without letting anyone know about it.
When his family starts to assume his death at the war he suddenly appears, but he is a changed man. His wife and fellow villagers start to doubt that he is who he says he is.
Obviously acting in all of the best medieval movies listed here is perfect. If this word really could depict how they are.
However here it gets even better than perfect. It is congruent with the idea that this is a movie about acting and acting does stand up to it.
When you read the synopsis of the movie, you may think how the heck the wife can’t figure out if this is her own husband, or not: an intrigue on a level of the best medieval films.
However, when you watch the movie, you kind of understand it. Plus those times were different than it is now. This could be the reason you are looking for the best medieval movies.
This probably is one of the movies medieval films that depict medieval life at its best. Meaning that it just doesn’t shy away from showing how it really used to be and does a great job with all the costumes and the worldbuilding and stuff.
Good Medieval Movies: The Physician
Director: Philipp Stölzl
Writers: Noah Gordon, Jan Berger, Philipp Stölzl
Stars: Tom Payne, Stellan Skarsgård, Olivier Martinez
Talking about world-building and doing a great job with acting. Philip Stolzl’s The Physician has it all but more. Writers Noah Gordon, Jan Berger, and himself wrote some of the most memorable lines while actors like Tom Payne, Stellan Skarsgard, Olivier Martinez gave incredible performances.
In the 11th century, destitute and desperate to learn medicine, an orphan boy travels across the world to Persia to become an apprentice under the guidance of one of the most important figures in the world known to us as Avecenna. (Ibn Sina)
Apart from being one of the best medieval movies. The Physician has quite a bit of adventure thus, could be one of the best adventure movies easily.
But the aspects that describe a medieval movie outweigh that adventure side, but it’s still a nice addition. Plus, it keeps the audience entertained.
It is also a good movie if you want to learn about the most important figure in modern medicine and known as the father of medicine Avicenna. Of course, the focus of the movie is his apprentice and his love affair. By the way, which I think was unnecessary to add.
I mean, it is a love affair of the 21st century with that much nudity and openness in regards to human desire. And I am sure Mulsim world wasn’t like that back then, heck it still is not to my knowledge.
But you can understand the nudity is like a must-include part in most Hollywood movies. But perhaps without it, they could reach farther and wider audiences like kids and make more money.
Now let us move away from Persia back to England again to the time when Henry the 5th was anointed the king of England.
Medieval Movies: The King
Director: David Michôd
Writers: David Michôd, Joel Edgerton
Stars: Tom Glynn-Carney, Gábor Czap, Tom Fisher
The writer, director David Michod’s The King has a complete star cast with people like Timothe Charlamet, Robert Pattinson, Lily-Rose Depp, Sean Harris, and more.
After the death of his tyrannical father, Henry the 5th is now the King of England. However, he doesn’t want to follow in his fathers’ footsteps. This becomes more difficult due to his lack of experience and the influence of his court.
This isn’t one of the best Middle Ages movies, but it definitely packs a heavy punch. Its impressive cinematography and tone-dim environment give you the precise feel of the theme.
Although it may seem a bit slow burn at times. Its clever dialogue and incredible acting keep you in for the ride. If you dare to stay till the end, it knocks you down with its final twist.
I like how our main character is developed. In fact, it makes you want to learn more about the side characters so much that sometimes you end up wishing it was even longer.
The palace politics is one of the aspects that joust your mind like a medieval knight. In the beginning, you see this young prince with a good heart and care for his people. But slowly changing into what he would hate to be — ‘a wrathful king’.
He may be the king but he feels merely like a jester in his own court. It is another one of the aspects that makes this movie one of the best medieval movies.
For the next movie, we don’t have to travel far from Medieval England. But aesthetically this movie hypnotizes you and puts you in an absolutely different world, the world Shakespeare created.
Best Medieval Movies: Macbeth
Director: Justin Kurzel
Writers: Todd Louiso, Jacob Koskoff, Michael Lesslie
Stars: Jack Madigan, Frank Madigan, Michael Fassbender
Macbeth was directed by Justin Kurzel. Written by Todd Louiso, Jacob Koskoff, Michael Lesslie based on the novel of, you know, Shakespeare. The stars include Jack Madigan, Frank Madganm Michael Fassbender.
Macbeth receives a prophecy that he will one day become the King of Scotland. He rushes to become one by killing the current King. But he is consumed by guilt and emotional struggle when the same witches who delivered him the prophecy, say the rival family will also rule someday.
In this movie, it is not really what the witches say, although it does play a huge role in the plot of the movie. It is more about the emotional struggle and the guilt of Macbeth and the consequences of his unwieldy ambitions.
Due to incredible acting from the characters, this aspect is delivered expressly right into your heart. Plus the cinematography in the movie is worth all the praise. It is one of the movies that stick to the idea that every scene is a painting and it truly shows here.
However, the true question of the movie is: if it is Macbeth and his ambition that destroyed him. Or the admissions of the witches or the society, perhaps his love, his wife who pushed him for it.
This is the one question that haunts him and the audience after you leave the theater or the screen you streamed it.
It is truly one of the best medieval movies. Its visual storytelling and the dialogue and poetic plot are what make it unique and different from any other medieval films featured here.
We have been to the courts of England and Scotland. Let us step out and see what else was happening during the Middle Ages.
Best Middle Ages Movies: Black Death
Director: Christopher Smith
Writers: Dario Poloni, Christopher Smith
Stars: Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, John Lynch
You guessed it. The Black Death is what else was happening during the Middle Ages. And this also happens to be the name of this movie directed by Christopher Smith. Written by Dario Poloni and himself, with the cast of Sean Bean, Eddie Redmayne, John Lynch.
Set during the time of bubonic plague when it reached England. By the way, the mise-en-scene and the medieval atmosphere are near-damn perfect. Which makes it one of the best medieval movies technically. Back to the synopsis. So, a boy is sent to discover the reason behind the village’s resistance to the plague.
Black Death is a horror/thriller movie with mystery aspects that develops at its own pace. However, brashly showing blood and violence, it is not a movie for whom “go medieval” is a foreign term.
The religious debate it puts forward seems unnecessary for me. But objectively speaking it’s a fitting theme to the plot of the movie. And is very well presented.
What makes it truly the best medieval movie is Sean Bean. When watching the trailer, and finding out Sean Bean was playing in it. I already was in for the ride, the whole time expecting how he was going to die in this movie.
I won’t spoil it though if you want to find out for yourself.
The acting is overall great. There is no one part when it feels off, or out of the vibe of the movie. What makes it better and unsettling laden with suspense and mystery to a degree is its atmosphere and how much attention was put into the production.
After watching a bit of horror and thriller my doctor always recommends watching a comedy.
Best medieval comedy movies: The Little Hours
Director: Jeff Baena
Writers: Giovanni Boccaccio, Jeff Baena
Stars: Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Kate Micucci
So, this movie is the one that I almost died laughing at. It is not just one of the best medieval movies, but one of the funniest too. Directed by Jeff Baena and written by him and Giovanni Boccacio, The Little Hours features stars like Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Kate Micucci.
A young servant flees punishment pretends to be mute to be accepted in a Middle Ages Italian convent, with horny and hedonistic nuns.
For some, it is a one-joke comedy, while for others it’s a sex farce. But for everyone, it is funny as heck. The medieval setting of the movie and its overall plot is taken by the Ten of Decameron tales.
It is uncertain if the movie does fair to the tales but it certainly does it to the audience.
Its Monty Python-y aspects are obvious but with so much improvisation allowed, It has far more influence from the actors themselves.
This is a movie one needs to watch with an open-mind disregarding all the technical details of character development and deep storylines. After all, as they say in the poster. It is trash, pure trash movie whose sole purpose is to squeeze out tad bits of laughs here and there.
If you like comedy movies, check out the best comedy movies of 2020 with some of the best movies of that forsaken year.
Just like Braveheart shaped my childhood and understanding of movies, be it the best medieval movies or any other movie for that sake. Movies in our world play a big role in our lives to relax, to escape, to feel, and many other things each specific to the individual.
Top medieval movies list from this piece each capable of doing it all and arouse the chills and shivers of enjoyment from watching, and impressions afterward.
Whether you watched them before or not, makes no difference for each worth watching more than once. It’s for the jokes with Monty Python, it’s the poetic cinematography with Macbeth while it is the aspiration with Braveheart.
Check out the lists category for more movie lists like the best sports movies or the best horror movies that will scare the crap out of you.