Historical Dramas - Ancient Times

by SiddoVicio | created - 24 Jul 2015 | updated - 1 week ago | Public

A list of historical drama films and television series, from prehistorical times to the 1st century BC. The list follows a chronological order based on the historical setting. For the most part, these are films and television series that I've seen and evaluated. In those cases where the setting remains uncertain, I tried to approximate it as much as possible based on the clues provided by the plot and also on my personal historical knowledge. Some of the dates provided may be subject to future corrections, especially for those films that I've yet to see or for those I haven't watched in a long time. This list is also based on personal assessments. For this reason, I've not included those films and television series that do not reflect my valuation standards.

To experience this list as I do, you've to select the "Detailed view" option and sort it using "List order".

A full comparative list is available at the page "List of historical dramas in chronological order year by year" on the Fandom wiki of "A World of Straw Bales". Enjoy.

Andres Contos aka Siddo Vicio

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1. Voyage of Time: Life's Journey (2016)

PG-13 | 90 min | Documentary, Drama

68 Metascore

An exploration into our planetary past and a search for humanity's place in the future. With narration by Cate Blanchett.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Jamal Cavil, Maisha Diatta, Yagazie Emezi

Votes: 4,418


Setting: Planck Epoch, Recombination Era, Cosmic Dark Age, Galaxy Epoch (Cosmological Epochs); Precambrian, Phanerozoic (GTS); Far Future (Geological & Cosmological)

2. Quest for Fire (1981)

R | 100 min | Adventure, Drama, History

79 Metascore

This story takes place in prehistoric time when three tribesmen search for a new fire source.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud | Stars: Everett McGill, Ron Perlman, Nicholas Kadi, Rae Dawn Chong

Votes: 21,005 | Gross: $20.96M

80.000 BC (aka "Quest for Fire")

Setting: Middle Paleolithic Eurasia

3. The Clan of the Cave Bear (1986)

R | 98 min | Adventure, Drama, Fantasy

34 Metascore

A young Cro-Magnon woman is raised by Neanderthals.

Director: Michael Chapman | Stars: Daryl Hannah, Pamela Reed, James Remar, Thomas G. Waites

Votes: 6,120 | Gross: $1.95M

26.000 BC

Setting: Upper Paleolithic Europe

4. Alpha (II) (2018)

PG-13 | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

63 Metascore

In the prehistoric past, a young man struggles to return home after being separated from his tribe during a buffalo hunt. He finds a similarly lost wolf companion and starts a friendship that would change humanity.

Director: Albert Hughes | Stars: Kodi Smit-McPhee, Jóhannes Haukur Jóhannesson, Marcin Kowalczyk, Jens Hultén

Votes: 56,698 | Gross: $35.85M

20.000 BC

Setting: Upper Paleolithic Europe

5. Iceman (2017)

Not Rated | 96 min | Adventure, Drama

52 Metascore

The Ötztal Alps, more than 5300 years ago. A Neolithic clan has settled near a creek. It is their leader Kelab's responsibility to be the keeper of the group's holy shrine Tineka. While Kelab is hunting, the settlement is attacked.

Director: Felix Randau | Stars: Jürgen Vogel, André Hennicke, Susanne Wuest, Sabin Tambrea

Votes: 1,703 | Gross: $0.00M

3300 BC (aka "Iceman")

Setting: Chalcolithic Europe

6. The Scorpion King (2002)

PG-13 | 92 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

45 Metascore

A desert warrior rises up against the evil army that is destroying his homeland. He captures the enemy's key sorcerer, takes her deep into the desert and prepares for a final showdown.

Director: Chuck Russell | Stars: Dwayne Johnson, Steven Brand, Michael Clarke Duncan, Kelly Hu

Votes: 131,785 | Gross: $91.05M

3000 BC

Setting: Protodynastic Period of Egypt

7. Land of the Pharaohs (1955)

Approved | 106 min | Adventure, Drama, History

A captured architect designs an ingenious plan to ensure the impregnability of the tomb of a self-absorbed Pharaoh, obsessed with the security of his next life.

Director: Howard Hawks | Stars: Jack Hawkins, Joan Collins, Dewey Martin, Alexis Minotis

Votes: 3,703 | Gross: $1.50M

2570 BC

Setting: Old Kingdom of Egypt; Fourth Dynasty; reign of Pharaoh Khufu

8. Abraham (1993)

175 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

The Old Testament story of Abraham and the trials he endures. Commanded by God to lead his family to the promised land of Canaan with the promise that if he does so, his descendants will ... See full summary »

Stars: Richard Harris, Barbara Hershey, Maximilian Schell, Andrea Prodan

Votes: 1,433

2000 BC

Setting: Middle Bronze Age; Isin-Larsa period of Mesopotamia (possibly); Patriarchal Age (Bible mythology)

9. Joseph (1995)

185 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

The Biblical story of Joseph, who was sold to slavery by his brothers who were jealous of his prophetic abilities to analyze dreams and of his being their father's favorite.

Stars: Ben Kingsley, Paul Mercurio, Martin Landau, Lesley Ann Warren

Votes: 2,779

1900 BC

Setting: Middle Kingdom of Egypt; Twelfth Dynasty; Patriarchal Age (Bible mythology)

10. Atlantis: End of a World, Birth of a Legend (2011 TV Movie)

88 min | Action, Drama

Tells the story of the greatest natural disaster of the ancient world, an event that experts believe inspired the legend of Atlantis.

Director: Tony Mitchell | Stars: Stephanie Leonidas, Reece Ritchie, Langley Kirkwood, Isadora Verwey

Votes: 1,023

1628 BC

Setting: Aegean Bronze Age; Minoan civilization; Neopalatial Period; Thera Eruption Event

11. Minotaur (2006)

R | 93 min | Action, Adventure, Fantasy

Long ago in the Iron Age, a shadow loomed over a lonely village. For generations, the village youths were stolen from their families and delivered as sacrifice to a mythical beast - the ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan English | Stars: Tom Hardy, Michelle Van Der Water, Tony Todd, Lex Shrapnel

Votes: 4,448

1500 BC

Setting: Aegean Bronze Age; Minoan civilization; Postpalatial Period; Heroic Age (Greek mythology)

12. Queen of the Nile (1961)

97 min | Drama, History

Chronicles the rise and fall of the woman who eventually became known as Queen Nefertiti.

Director: Fernando Cerchio | Stars: Jeanne Crain, Vincent Price, Edmund Purdom, Amedeo Nazzari

Votes: 322

1353-1332 BC

Setting: New Kingdom of Egypt; Eighteeenth Dynasty; Amarna Period

13. The Egyptian (1954)

Approved | 139 min | Biography, Drama, History

In ancient Egypt, a poor orphan becomes a genial physician and is eventually appointed at the Pharaoh's court where he witnesses palace intrigues and learns dangerous royal secrets.

Director: Michael Curtiz | Stars: Jean Simmons, Victor Mature, Gene Tierney, Michael Wilding

Votes: 3,633

1353-1332 BC

Setting: New Kingdom of Egypt; Eighteeenth Dynasty; Amarna Period

14. Tut (2015)

88 min | Biography, Drama, History

A mini-series concentrating on the youngest Pharaoh to rule Ancient Egypt.

Stars: Ben Kingsley, Avan Jogia, Sibylla Deen, Alexander Siddig

Votes: 8,006

1332-1322 BC

Setting: New Kingdom of Egypt; Eighteeenth Dynasty; Amarna Period

15. Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

PG-13 | 150 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

52 Metascore

The defiant leader Moses rises up against Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II, setting six hundred thousand slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, Sigourney Weaver

Votes: 161,106 | Gross: $65.01M

1279-1270 BC

Setting: New Kingdom of Egypt; Nineteenth Dynasty; Exodus, Israelites founding myth (Bible mythology)

16. Troy (2004)

R | 163 min | Drama, History

56 Metascore

An adaptation of Homer's great epic, the film follows the assault on Troy by the united Greek forces and chronicles the fates of the men involved.

Director: Wolfgang Petersen | Stars: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom, Julian Glover

Votes: 494,983 | Gross: $133.38M

1184 BC

Setting: Late Bronze Age; Mycenaean Greece; Collapse of Bronze Age cultures; Trojan Epic Cycle (Greek mythology)

17. Romulus (2020– )

Drama, History

The story of Romulus and his twin brother Remus, in eighth century B.C. as seen through the eyes of three people marked by death, loneliness and violence.

Stars: Andrea Arcangeli, Demetra Avincola, Francesco Di Napoli, Marianna Fontana

Votes: 1,491

794 BC

Setting: Iron Age; Classical Era; Villanovan culture; Founding of Rome (Roman mythology)

Season 1 Episodes 1-10: 794 BC

18. The First King (2019)

TV-MA | 123 min | Drama, History

Romulus and Remus, two shepherds and loyal brothers, end up taking part to a journey that will lead one of them to be the founder of the greatest nation ever seen. However, the fate of the chosen one will pass from killing his own brother.

Director: Matteo Rovere | Stars: Alessandro Borghi, Alessio Lapice, Fabrizio Rongione, Massimiliano Rossi

Votes: 4,805

753 BC

Setting: Iron Age; Classical Era; Villanovan culture; Founding of Rome (Roman mythology)

19. The Legend of Tomiris (2019)

TV-14 | 156 min | Action, Drama, History

This is the story of the life of the great queen of of the steppe - legendary Tomiris. She is destined to become a skillful warrior, survive the loss of close people and unite the Scythian/Saka tribes under her authority.

Director: Akan Satayev | Stars: Almira Tursyn, Adil Akhmetov, Erkebulan Dairov, Berik Aytzhanov

Votes: 35,627

530 BC

20. Confucius (2010)

TV-MA | 125 min | Biography, Drama, History

The life story of the highly-influential Chinese philosopher, Confucius.

Director: Mei Hu | Stars: Chow Yun-Fat, Xun Zhou, Jianbin Chen, Quan Ren

Votes: 3,620

500-479 BC (aka "Confucius")

Setting: Eastern Zhou Era; Spring and Autumn Period

21. The 300 Spartans (1962)

Approved | 114 min | Adventure, Drama, History

A small Army of Greeks spearheaded by three hundred Spartans do battle with the whole invading Persian Army.

Director: Rudolph Maté | Stars: Richard Egan, Ralph Richardson, Diane Baker, Barry Coe

Votes: 6,662

480 BC

Setting: Iron Age; Archaic Greece; Second Persian Invasion

22. 300: Rise of an Empire (2014)

R | 102 min | Action, Drama

48 Metascore

Greek general Themistokles of Athens leads the naval charge against invading Persian forces led by mortal-turned-god Xerxes and Artemisia, vengeful commander of the Persian navy.

Director: Noam Murro | Stars: Sullivan Stapleton, Eva Green, Lena Headey, Hans Matheson

Votes: 283,711 | Gross: $106.58M

480 BC

Setting: Iron Age; Archaic Greece; Second Persian Invasion

23. 300 (2006)

R | 117 min | Action, Drama

52 Metascore

King Leonidas of Sparta and a force of 300 men fight the Persians at Thermopylae in 480 B.C.

Director: Zack Snyder | Stars: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham, Dominic West

Votes: 742,192 | Gross: $210.61M

480-479 BC

Setting: Iron Age; Archaic Greece; Second Persian Invasion

24. Le banquet (1989 TV Movie)

78 min | Drama

At house of Agathon get together many intellectuals and philosophers, including Socrates, to discuss the theme of love and sex: each of them intervenes to support its argument dialogical rules, within the context symposial.

Director: Marco Ferreri | Stars: Lucas Belvaux, Jean Benguigui, Marc Berman, Christian Berthelot

Votes: 73

404 BC

25. Socrates (1971 TV Movie)

120 min | Biography, History

A false accusation leads the philosopher Socrates to trial and condemnation in 4th century BC Athens.

Director: Roberto Rossellini | Stars: Jean Sylvère, Anne Caprile, Giuseppe Mannajuolo, Ricardo Palacios

Votes: 734

404-399 BC

Setting: Iron Age; Classical Greece; Peloponnesian War; Spartan Hegemony

26. Battle of the Warriors (2006)

R | 133 min | Action, Drama, War

Story centers on a battle during China's Warring States Period, a series of civil wars, which spanned from the 5th to the 3rd century B.C. Based on a popular Japanese manga, which was in turn based a Japanese novel inspired by Warring States history in China.

Director: Chi Leung 'Jacob' Cheung | Stars: Andy Lau, Sung-Ki Ahn, Zhiwen Wang, Bingbing Fan

Votes: 3,979

370 BC (aka "A Battle of Wits")

Setting: Warring States Period

27. Alexander (2004)

R | 175 min | Action, Biography, Drama

39 Metascore

Alexander, the King of Macedonia and one of the greatest army leaders in the history of warfare, conquers much of the known world.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson, Angelina Jolie

Votes: 163,869 | Gross: $34.30M

351-285 BC

Setting: Iron Age; Classical Greece; Rise of Macedon; Hellenistic Period

28. Hero (2002)

PG-13 | 120 min | Action, Adventure, History

85 Metascore

A defense officer, Nameless, was summoned by the King of Qin regarding his success of terminating three warriors.

Director: Yimou Zhang | Stars: Jet Li, Tony Chiu-Wai Leung, Maggie Cheung, Ziyi Zhang

Votes: 175,140 | Gross: $53.71M

227 BC (aka "Hero")

Setting: Warring States Period

29. Little Big Soldier (2010)

PG-13 | 96 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

An old soldier kidnaps a young General of an enemy state and takes him on a long journey to collect the reward.

Director: Sheng Ding | Stars: Jackie Chan, Leehom Wang, Sung-jun Yoo, Peng Lin

Votes: 14,668

227 BC (aka "Little Big Soldier")

Setting: Warring States Period

30. Hannibal (2006 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 89 min | Action, Biography, Drama

It is 200 years before the birth of Christ and Rome is the new superpower of the ancient world. She believes she is invincible - but one man is destined to change that. He is a man bound by... See full summary »

Director: Edward Bazalgette | Stars: Alexander Siddig, Emilio Doorgasingh, Bashar Rahal, Mido Hamada

Votes: 1,558

219-202 BC

Setting: Classical Era; Roman Republic; Rise of Rome; Second Punic War

31. White Vengeance (2011)

Not Rated | 135 min | Action, Drama, History

White Vengeance tells the story of two brothers contending for supremacy during the fall of the Qin Dynasty, which ruled Imperial China from 221 to 206 BC. As rebels rose, the nation fell ... See full summary »

Director: Daniel Lee | Stars: Shaofeng Feng, Leon Lai, Hanyu Zhang, Anthony Chau-Sang Wong

Votes: 1,743

210-183 BC (aka "White Vengeance")

Setting: Imperial China; Qin Dynasty; Chu-Han Contention; Han Dynasty

32. The Last Supper (2012)

Not Rated | 120 min | Action, History

The story of two warring generals (Liu Bang and Xiang Yu) fighting for control of China at the end of the Qin Dynasty.

Director: Chuan Lu | Stars: Ye Liu, Daniel Wu, Chen Chang, Lan Qin

Votes: 730

209-195 BC (aka "The Last Supper")

Setting: Imperial China; Qin Dynasty; Chu-Han Contention; Han Dynasty

33. Ancient Rome: The Rise and Fall of an Empire (2006)
Episode: Revolution (2006)

Not Rated | 59 min | Documentary, Drama, History

132 BC tells the story of how a Roman politician nearly brought down the foundations of the Roman republic.

Director: Christopher Spencer | Stars: James D'Arcy, Greg Hicks, David Hinton, Geraldine James

Votes: 122

154-133 BC

Setting: Classical Era; Roman Republic; Third Punic War; Gracchus Reforms

34. Spartacus: Gods of the Arena (2011)

TV-MA | 331 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

In the time before the arrival of Spartacus, the House of Batiatus faces many challenges from competitors, and within its own household.

Stars: John Hannah, Manu Bennett, Peter Mensah, Dustin Clare

Votes: 128,583

79 BC

Setting: Classical Era; Roman Republic

35. Spartacus (2010–2013)

TV-MA | 55 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

The life of Spartacus, the gladiator who lead a rebellion against the Romans. From his time as an ally of the Romans, to his betrayal and becoming a gladiator, to the rebellion he leads and its ultimate outcome.

Stars: Andy Whitfield, Lucy Lawless, Manu Bennett, Daniel Feuerriegel

Votes: 225,886

75-71 BC

Setting: Classical Era; Roman Republic; Crisis of the Roman Republic; Third Servile War; First Triumvirate

Season 1 Episode 1: 75-74 BC Episodes 2-7: 74 B C Episode 8: 74-73 BC Episodes 9-13: 73 BC

Season 2 Episodes 1-10: 73 BC

Season 3 Episodes 1-7: 72 BC Episode 8: 72-71 BC Episodes 9-10: 71 BC

36. Rome (2005–2007)

TV-MA | 52 min | Action, Drama, History

A down-to-earth account of the lives of both illustrious and ordinary Romans set in the last days of the Roman Republic.

Stars: Kevin McKidd, Ray Stevenson, Polly Walker, Kerry Condon

Votes: 157,132

52-29 BC

Setting: Classical Era; Roman Republic; Gallic Wars; Crisis of the Roman Republic; Caesar's Civil War; Second Triumvirate; Final War of the Roman Republic

Season 1 Episode 1: 52 BC Episode 2: 50-49 BC Episodes 3-5: 49 BC Episodes 6-7: 48 BC Episode 8: 48-47 BC Episode 9: 46 BC Episode 10: 45 BC Episode 11: 45-44 BC Episode 12: 44 BC

Season 2 Episode 1: 44 BC Episodes 2-5: 43 BC Episode 6: 42 BC Episode 7: 41 BC Episode 8: 39 BC Episode 9: 32 BC Episode 10: 31-29 BC

37. Domina (2021– )

Drama, History | Post-production

The life and rise of Livia Drusilla, the powerful wife of the Roman emperor Augustus Caesar.

Stars: Liam Cunningham, Roland Litrico, Nadia Parkes, Isabella Rossellini

upcoming miniseries

38. I, Claudius (1976)

Not Rated | 669 min | Biography, Drama, History

The history of the Roman Empire as experienced by one of its rulers.

Stars: Derek Jacobi, John Hurt, Siân Phillips, Brian Blessed

Votes: 15,946

24 BC-AD 54

Setting: Classical Era; Roman Empire; Principate; Pax Romana; Julio-Claudian Dynasty

Episode 1: 24-8 BC

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