Best Medieval Movies
3) The Return of Martin Guerre - A true story told with a real bit of medieval psychology.
4) The Warlord - This forgotten Chuck Heston classic gets 11th Cent. British castle life (and haircuts) right, even if lords weren't really entitled to first sex with churlish women.
5) Flesh and Blood - The mean, brutish, and short lives of peasant bandits encapulated.
6) Robin and Marion - As real as the Robin Hood legend can get on film. Nice feel for the cloistered life of women in religious orders (a medieval Jew does appear in the film for about 20 seconds).
7) Name of the Rose - Takes us inside both monasticism and the medieval world of ideas. (Kabbalah gets a mention).
8) Mongol - This Mongolian-made film is by far the most accurate portrayal of the world-conqueror and takes us out of Europe for a different perspective on the Middle Ages.
9) Ran - Kurosawa reworks King Lear into the end of Japanese medieval period. Stunning. The themes of dynastic failure and betrayal also give a more realistic perspective on the myth of Samurai chivalry and loyalty.
10) - Beowulf and Grendal - (not the CGI abomination) Gerald Butler does the Saga hero a more realistic turn than he did the Spartan king. The scene of tall nordic warriors trotting into action on diminutive shaggy ponies is visually laugh-out-loud, but utterly authentic.
Not great, but entertaining enough I have to mention them:
A) The 13th Warrior - OK, so a cannibalistic Neanderthal bear-cult in the 10th Century is only slightly more plausible than a lake fiend and a dragon, but this version of Beowulf reconceived as a medieval platoon action reported by an outsider/journalist has some worthy features, especially the under appreciated role of cultural transfer between medieval societies (Greek-speaking Vikings with eclectic collections of armor, for example).
B) Braveheart - Anachronisms (Too early for tartans, too late for wode) and errors (Where's the bridge at the Battle of Sterling Bridge? And I bet William Wallace owned a comb) abound, but the truly outdoor nature of medieval life, the size, movements, and dismemberment of armies, the overlapping loyalties created by clan, class, and feudal oaths...all ring true.I'll get back on topic next entry.