Honor roll: History films

Each of these History films has received at least one award nomination. They are ranked by honors received.

Film:Lincoln (2012)

Lincoln

Steven Spielberg

Steven Spielberg directs Daniel Day-Lewis in Lincoln, a revealing drama that focuses on the 16th President’s tumultuous final months in office.

In a nation divided by war and the strong winds of change, Lincoln pursues a course of action designed to end the war, unite the country and abolish slavery. With the moral courage and fierce determination to succeed, his choices during this critical moment will change the fate of generations to come.

Film:Frost/Nixon

Frost/Nixon

Ron Howard

Oscar-winning director Ron Howard brings to the screen writer Peter Morgan’s (The Queen, The Last King of Scotland) electrifying battle between Richard Nixon, the disgraced president with a legacy to save, and David Frost, a jet-setting television personality with a name to make, in the untold story of the historic encounter that changed both: Frost/Nixon. Reprising their roles from Morgan’s stageplay are Frank Langella, who won a Tony for his portrayal of Nixon, and Michael Sheen, who fully inhabited the part of Frost onstage in London and New York.

For three years after being forced from office, Nixon remained silent. But in summer 1977, the steely, cunning former commander-in-chief agreed to sit for one all-inclusive interview to confront the questions of his time in office and the Watergate scandal that ended his presidency. Nixon surprised everyone in selecting Frost as his televised confessor, intending to easily outfox…[more]

Film:Good Night, and Good Luck

Good Night, and Good Luck

George Clooney

“Good Night, And, Good Luck.” takes place during the early days of broadcast journalism in 1950’s America. It chronicles the real-life conflict between television newsman Edward R. Murrow and Senator Joseph McCarthy and the House Un-American Activities Committee. With a desire to report the facts and enlighten the public, Murrow, and his dedicated staff—headed by his producer Fred Friendly and Joe Wershba in the CBS newsroom—defy corporate and sponsorship pressures to examine the lies and scaremongering tactics perpetrated by McCarthy during his communist ‘witch-hunts’. A very public feud develops when the Senator responds by accusing the anchor of being a communist. In this climate of fear and reprisal, the CBS crew carries on and their tenacity will prove historic and monumental.

Film:Elizabeth

Elizabeth

Shekhar Kapur

One of the big Elizabethan-era films of 1998, Shekhar Kapur’s Elizabeth serves up a brimming goblet of religious tension, political conspiracy, sex, violence, and war. England in 1554 is in financial and religious turmoil as the ailing Queen “Bloody” Mary attempts to restore Catholicism as the national faith. She has no heir, and her greatest fear—that her Protestant half-sister Elizabeth will assume the throne after her death—is realized. Still, the late Queen Mary has her loyalists. The newly crowned Elizabeth finds herself knee-deep in dethroning…

Film:The Right Stuff

The Right Stuff

Philip Kaufman

Philip Kaufman’s intimate epic about the Mercury astronauts (based on Tom Wolfe’s book) was one of the most ambitious and spectacularly exciting movies of the 1980s. It surprised almost everybody by not becoming a smash hit. By all rights, the film should have been every bit the success that Apollo 13 would later become; The Right Stuff is not only just as thrilling, but it is also a bigger and better movie. Combining history (both established and revisionist), grand mythmaking (and myth puncturing), adventure, melodrama, behind-the-scenes…

Film:Kagemusha

Kagemusha: (The Shadow Warrior)

Akira Kurosawa

In his late color masterpiece Kagemusha (The Shadow Warrior) director Akira Kurosawa returned to the samurai film and to a primary theme of his celebrated career—the play between illusion and reality. Sumptuously reconstructing the splendor of feudal Japan and pageantry of war, Kurosawa creates a soaring historical epic that is also a somber meditation on the nature of power. The Criterion Collection is proud to present Kagemusha for the first time in its full-length version.

Film:The Impossible (2012)

The Impossible

Juan Antonio Bayona

Based on a true story, The Impossible is the unforgettable account of a family caught, with tens of thousands of strangers, in the mayhem of one of the worst natural catastrophes of our time. But the true-life terror is tempered by the unexpected displays of compassion, courage and simple kindness that Maria and her family encounter during the darkest hours of their lives. Both epic and intimate, devastating and uplifting, The Impossible is a journey to the core of the human heart.

Film:Robin Hood (2010)

Robin Hood

Ridley Scott

Academy Award winner Russell Crowe and visionary Director Ridley Scott (Gladiator) reunite for the untold story of the man behind the legend.

Robin Hood chronicles the life of an expert archer, previously interested only in self-preservation, from his service in King Richard’s army against the French. Upon Richard’s death, Robin travels to Nottingham, a town suffering from the corruption of a despotic sheriff and crippling taxation, where he falls for the spirited widow Lady Marion, a woman skeptical of the identity and motivations of this crusader from the forest. Hoping to earn the hand of Maid Marion and salvage the village, Robin assembles a gang whose lethal mercenary skills are matched only by its appetite for life. Together, they begin preying on the indulgent upper class to correct injustices under the sheriff.
Film:The Most Dangerous Man in America

The Most Dangerous Man in America: Daniel Ellsberg and the Pentagon Papers

Judith Ehrlich, Rick Goldsmith

The Most Dangerous Man in America tells the story of Daniel Ellsberg, a high-level Pentagon official and Vietnam War strategist, who in 1971 concluded that the war is based on decades of lies and leaks 7,000 pages of top secret documents to The New York Times, making headlines around the world. A riveting story of how this one man’s profound change of heart created a landmark struggle involving America’s newspapers, its president and Supreme Court. With Daniel Ellsberg, Patricia Ellsberg, Tony Russo, Howard Zinn, Hedrick Smith, John Dean, and, from the secret White House tapes, Richard Nixon and Henry Kissinger, who called Ellsberg “the most dangerous man in America.”

Film:Letters from Iwo Jima

Letters from Iwo Jima

Clint Eastwood

Sixty-one years ago, US and Japanese armies met on Iwo Jima. Decades later, several hundred letters are unearthed from that stark island’s soil. The letters give faces and voices to the men who fought there, as well as the extraordinary general who led them.

The Japanese soldiers are sent to Iwo Jima knowing that in all probability they will not come back. Among them are Saigo (Kazunari Ninomiya), a baker who wants only to live to see the face of his newborn daughter; Baron Nishi (Tsuyoshi Ihara), an Olympic equestrian champion known around the world for his skill and his honor; Shimizu (Ryo Kase), a young former military policeman whose idealism has not yet been tested by war; and Lieutenant Ito (Shidou Nakamura), a strict military man who would rather accept suicide than surrender. …[more]

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