Best History Movies of 1981


Lion of the Desert

8.2/10 IMDB

This movie tells the story of Omar Mukhtar, an Arab Muslim rebel who fought against the Italian conquest of Libya in WWII. It gives western viewers a glimpse into this little-known region and chapter of history, and exposes the savage means by which the conquering army attempted to subdue the natives.

Starring: Anthony Quinn, Rod Steiger, Oliver Reed, Irene Papas, Raf Vallone, John Gielgud, Andrew Keir, Gastone Moschin, Stefano Patrizi, Adolfo Lastretti ..
Directed by: Moustapha Akkad
Release date: 1981-04-17


7.4/10 IMDB

As World War I rages, brave and youthful Australians Archy and Frank—both agile runners—become friends and enlist in the Australian and New Zealand Army Corps together. They later find themselves part of the Dardanelles Campaign on the Gallipoli peninsula, a brutal eight-month conflict which pit the British and their allies against the Ottoman Empire and left over 500,000 men dead.

Starring: Mel Gibson, Mark Lee, Bill Kerr, Gerda Nicolson, Harold Hopkins, Bill Hunter, Charles Lathalu Yunipingu, Heath Harris, Ron Graham, Robert Grubb ..
Directed by: Peter Weir
Release date: 1981-08-13


7.3/10 IMDB

An account of the revolutionary years of the legendary American journalist John Reed, who shared his adventurous professional life with his radical commitment to the socialist revolution in Russia, his dream of spreading its principles among the members of the American working class, and his troubled romantic relationship with the writer Louise Bryant.

Starring: Warren Beatty, Diane Keaton, Edward Herrmann, Jack Nicholson, Jerzy Kosi?ski, Paul Sorvino, Maureen Stapleton, Nicolas Coster, M. Emmet Walsh, Ian Wolfe ..
Directed by: Warren Beatty
Release date: 1981-12-25


7.3/10 IMDB

A young black pianist becomes embroiled in the lives of an upper-class white family set among the racial tensions, infidelity, violence, and other nostalgic events in early 1900s New York City.

Starring: James Cagney, Brad Dourif, Moses Gunn, Elizabeth McGovern, Kenneth McMillan, Pat O’Brien, Donald O'Connor, James Olson, Mandy Patinkin, Howard Rollins ..
Directed by: Miloš Forman
Release date: 1981-11-20

Chariots of Fire

7.1/10 IMDB

In the class-obsessed and religiously divided UK of the early 1920s, two determined young runners train for the 1924 Paris Olympics. Eric Liddell, a devout Christian born to Scottish missionaries in China, sees running as part of his worship of God's glory and refuses to train or compete on the Sabbath. Harold Abrahams overcomes anti-Semitism and class bias, but neglects his beloved sweetheart in his single-minded quest.

Starring: Ben Cross, Ian Charleson, Cheryl Campbell, Alice Krige, Nigel Havers, Ian Holm, Nicholas Farrell, Daniel Gerroll, John Gielgud, Lindsay Anderson ..
Directed by: Hugh Hudson
Release date: 1981-05-15
Best History Movies of 1981 : Masada


7.8/10 IMDB

After the destruction of the Second Temple, 900 Jewish zealots hold out against a 5000 man Roman legion on the mountaintop fortress of Masada.

Release date: 1981-04-05

American Pop

7.1/10 IMDB

The history of American popular music runs parallel with the history of a Russian Jewish immigrant family, with each male descendant possessing different musical abilities.

Starring: Ron Thompson, Lisa Jane Persky, Jeffrey Lippa, Frank De Kova, Roz Kelly, Mews Small, Elsa Raven, Vincent Schiavelli, Richard Moll, Lynda Wiesmeier ..
Directed by: Ralph Bakshi
Release date: 1981-02-13
Best History Movies of 1981 : Shogun


7.9/10 IMDB

An English navigator becomes both pawn and player in the deadly political games in feudal Japan.

Starring: Orson Welles, Richard Chamberlain, Toshir? Mifune, Yoko Shimada, Frankie Sakai, Alan Badel ..
Directed by: Jerry London
Release date: 1981-06-17

The Marva Collins Story

7.7/10 IMDB

Cicely Tyson was Emmy-nominated as Outstanding Actress for her portrait of a Chicago schoolteacher whose remarkable achievements with black children labelled "unteachable" were spotlighted in a 1979 "60 Minutes" segment about how she became disillusioned with the traditional school system and decided to work outside of it, transforming her students into young scholars through her unique teaching style.

Starring: Cicely Tyson, Morgan Freeman, Rodrick F. Wimberly, Mashaune Hardy, Brett Bouldin, Samuel Muhammad Jr., Dianne Kirksey, Steven Williams, Frankie Hill, Charlie Brown ..
Directed by: Peter Levin
Release date: 1981-12-01

Zorro, The Gay Blade

6.2/10 IMDB

George Hamilton stars in a dueling dual role as twin sons of the legendary Zorro. Soon after the dashing Don Diego Vega inherits his father's famous sword and costume, a broken ankle prevents the masked avenger from fulfilling his heroic duties. When his flamboyantly fashion-conscious brother assumes the secret identity to continue an ongoing fight for justice, the results are nothing short of hilarious!

Starring: George Hamilton, Lauren Hutton, Brenda Vaccaro, Ron Leibman, Donovan Scott, James Booth, Helen Burns, Clive Revill, Carolyn Seymour, Eduardo Noriega ..
Directed by: Peter Medak
Release date: 1981-07-17
Best History Movies of 1981 : Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge

7.5/10 IMDB

Today it's a symbol of strength and vitality. 135 years ago, it was a source of controversy. This documentary examines the great problems and ingenious solutions that marked the construction of the Brooklyn Bridge. From conception to construction, it traces the bridge's transformation from a spectacular feat of heroic engineering to an honored symbol in American culture.

Starring: David McCullough, Paul Roebling, Julie Harris, Arthur Miller ..
Directed by: Ken Burns
Release date: 1981-11-08
Best History Movies of 1981 : Rise and Fall of Idi Amin

Rise and Fall of Idi Amin

6.0/10 IMDB

The chronicle of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and his tyranic rule from 1971 to his overthrow in 1979.

Starring: Joseph Olita, Thomas Baptiste, Leonard Trolley, Geoffrey Keen, Louis Mahoney, André Maranne, Denis Hills, Tony Sibbald, Norbert Okare, Ka Vundla ..
Directed by: Sharad Patel
Release date: 1981-07-16
Best History Movies of 1981 : Iancu Jianu, Tax Collector

Iancu Jianu, Tax Collector

7.6/10 IMDB

The movie details the struggle of Iancu Jianu as he's torn between joining the struggle of the poor peasants from which he came from and being on the other side of the law working for the rich.

Starring: Adrian Pintea, Mihai Mereu??, Stela Furcovici, M?rioara Sterian, Radu Beligan, Emanoil Petru?, Ion Marinescu, George Constantin, Mihai P?l?descu, Jean Constantin ..
Directed by: Dinu Cocea
Release date: 1981-02-09
Best History Movies of 1981 : Kent State

Kent State

7.2/10 IMDB

Dramatization of the four days of events leading up to the historic tragedy at Kent State University in May 1970, during the confrontation between National Guardsmen and students staging antiwar demonstrations.

Starring: Jane Fleiss, Charley Lang, Talia Balsam, Keith Gordon, Jeff McCracken, Mark Chamberlin, Ann Gillespie, Roxanne Hart, Peter Miner, Michael Higgins ..
Directed by: James Goldstone
Release date: 1981-02-08
Best History Movies of 1981 : Skokie


7.2/10 IMDB

A dramatization of the controversial trial concerning the right for Neo-Nazis to march in the predominantly Jewish community of Skokie, Illinois.

Starring: Brian Dennehy, Eli Wallach, Danny Kaye, Carl Reiner, George Dzundza, Lee Strasberg, Kim Hunter, John Rubinstein, Ed Flanders, Michele Shay ..
Directed by: Herbert Wise
Release date: 1981-11-17

Hudson Taylor

6.9/10 IMDB

The early years of the great missionary Hudson Taylor are portrayed in this drama. The movie details his work in China and the trails he endured. Hudson Taylor is an inpiration to all as a man of true faith in the living God.

Starring: Mike Hickman, Rebecca Baker, Charles Applegate, J. Wesley Baker, Vanessa Baker, Mike Brumbaugh, Laura Crandell, Nathan Davis, Harry Elders, April Hall ..
Directed by: Ken Anderson
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best History Movies of 1981 : Antony & Cleopatra

Antony & Cleopatra

6.5/10 IMDB

Octavius Caesar (later renamed Augustus Caesar, son of the murdered Julius Caesar), Marc Antony, and Lepidus form the triumvirate, the three rulers of the Roman Empire. Antony, though married to Fulvia, spends his time in Egypt, living a life of decadence and conducting an affair with Queen Cleopatra. In Antony's absence, Caesar and Lepidus worry about Pompey's increasing strength.

Starring: Colin Blakely, Jane Lapotaire, Ian Charleson, Esmond Knight, George Innes, Jonathan Adams, John Paul, Darien Angadi, Janet Key, Howard Goorney ..
Directed by: Jonathan Miller
Release date: 1981-05-08


6.6/10 IMDB

The story of James Thornwell, whose accusation that the U.S. Army used mind control drugs on him to force him to confess to stealing secret documents while stationed in Orleans, France, in 1961, led Congress to award him $625,000 in damages nearly 20 years later.

Starring: Glynn Turman, Vincent Gardenia, Craig Wasson, Howard Rollins, Michael Alldredge, Todd Susman, Nicholas Kepros, Julius Harris, Paul Lieber, Edward Bell ..
Directed by: Harry Moses
Release date: 1981-01-28
Best History Movies of 1981 : Daniel Boone

Daniel Boone

7.4/10 IMDB

An animated special that presents highlights of the life of Daniel Boone, the famous American trailblazer -- from his early childhood years in North Carolina, his love affair with Rebecca Bryan, their courtship, marriage and family life, his work in settling the Kentucky region, and his exploits.

Starring: Richard Crenna, John Stephenson, Janet Waldo, Michael Bell, Joan Gerber, William Callaway, Vic Perrin, Michael Rye, Barney Phillips ..
Directed by: Geoff Collins
Release date: 1981-11-27

The Bushido Blade

5.3/10 IMDB

A steel samurai blade that was to be given to the American ambassador by the Emperor of Japan is stolen. American sailors and Japanese samurai are sent to find it.

Starring: Richard Boone, Toshir? Mifune, Mike Starr, Timothy Patrick Murphy, Shin'ichi Chiba, James Earl Jones, Frank Converse, Laura Gemser, Mako, Tetsur? Tamba ..
Directed by: Tsugunobu Kotani
Release date: 1981-06-19
Best History Movies of 1981 : From a Far Country

From a Far Country

5.3/10 IMDB

This heroic story follows the life of Karol Wojtyla, a Polish Roman catholic who ascends the throne of St. Peter as Pope John Paul II. As a young boy, Karol is a bright and talented student. Archbishop Sapieha recognizes the very special, moving qualities Karol possesses and encourages him to consider the priesthood. Although determined to study Polish literature, Karol turns to the church; he is ordained and studies in Italy, France, and Belgium. Torn by fear and repression in post-Stalin Eastern Europe, Karol becomes a poisonous thorn in the communists' side. His deer reverence and commitment return him to Poland as Pope John Paul II.

Starring: Sam Neill, Christopher Cazenove, Cezary Morawski, Lisa Harrow, Daniel Olbrychski, Maja Komorowska, Zbigniew Zapasiewicz, Andrzej ?apicki, Maurice Denham, Malgorzata Zajaczkowska ..
Directed by: Krzysztof Zanussi
Release date: 1981-09-15
Best History Movies of 1981 : The Search for Alexander the Great

The Search for Alexander the Great

7.8/10 IMDB

Friends, contemporaries and even enemies of Alexander the Great gather in a tent to tell his tale through their eyes.

Starring: James Mason, Jane Lapotaire, Robert Stephens, Julian Glover, Nicholas Clay, Ian Charleson, Michael Williams, Michael Byrne, Gabriel Byrne, Barry Stanton ..
Directed by: Peter Sykes
Release date: 1981-05-06
Best History Movies of 1981 : The Adventures of Nellie Bly

The Adventures of Nellie Bly

7.5/10 IMDB

A "Classics Illustrated" account of pioneer female journalist Nellie Bly, who became a legend through her exposes of corruption and inhumane conditions in New York of the 1880s in "The New York World."

Starring: Linda Purl, Gene Barry, Ray Buktenica, J.D. Cannon, John Randolph, Paul Sylvan, Cliff Osmond, Betsy Slade, Elayne Heilveil, Fran Ryan ..
Directed by: Henning Schellerup
Release date: 1981-06-11
Best History Movies of 1981 : South Pacific 1942

South Pacific 1942

7.6/10 IMDB

Follows the crew of a Canadian submarine in World War Two and their fight against the Japanese Imperial Navy.

Starring: Gary Vermeir, Maher Boutros, Terry-David Després, Lynette Louise, Alan MacGillivray, Bill Papps, Jeff Pustil, Richard Rebiere, Dug Rotstein, Lorne Ryan ..
Directed by: Paul Donovan
Release date: 1981-03-01

Crisis at Central High

7.2/10 IMDB

The historic federal-state controversy over the integration of Central High School in Little Rock, Arkansas, as seen through the eyes of Elizabeth Huckaby, one of the teachers and girls' vice principal.

Starring: Joanne Woodward, Charles Durning, William Russ, Henderson Forsythe, Calvin Levels, Tamu Blackwell, Bill Morey, Tony Frank, Irma P. Hall, Robert Ginnaven ..
Directed by: Lamont Johnson
Release date: 1981-02-04
Best History Movies of 1981 : Casey Stengel

Casey Stengel

7.2/10 IMDB

Charles Durning appears as the legendary baseball manager Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel in this one-man show presented before a live studio audience.

Starring: Charles Durning, George C. Scott, William Duell ..
Directed by: Nick Havinga
Release date: 1981-05-06
Best History Movies of 1981 : A Documentary on the Making of 'Gore Vidal's Caligula'

A Documentary on the Making of 'Gore Vidal's Caligula'

6.7/10 IMDB

A Documentary on the Making of 'Gore Vidal's Caligula'

Starring: Gore Vidal, Malcolm McDowell, Helen Mirren, Tinto Brass, Lori Wagner, Jane Hargrave, Bob Guccione, Sylvana Foa, Guidarino Guidi, Dennis F. Redmont ..
Directed by: Giancarlo Lui
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best History Movies of 1981 : Escape From Iran: The Canadian Caper

Escape From Iran: The Canadian Caper

6.6/10 IMDB

A dramatized account of how the staff of the Canadian Embassy helped a group of American diplomats escape from Iran during the Iranian Revolution.

Starring: Gordon Pinsent, Chris Wiggins, Diana Barrington, Robert Joy, James B. Douglas, Julie Khaner, R. H. Thomson, Tisa Chang, Larry Aubrey, Robert Lalonde ..
Directed by: Lamont Johnson
Release date: 1981-05-17
Best History Movies of 1981 : DeLorean


6.4/10 IMDB

In 1973, John DeLorean was most likely going to be the next president of General Motors, when he turned his back on his $650,000 a year job and focused on a grander dream... to build his own car company (the first new American car company since 1925). In 1978, DeLorean built the most advanced auto factory in the world in under 18 months, from the ground up in a small suburb of Belfast, Northern Ireland.

Starring: John Z. DeLorean ..
Directed by: D. A. Pennebaker
Release date: 1981-01-01
Best History Movies of 1981 : Evita Peron

Evita Peron

5.8/10 IMDB

Aspiring actress Eva Duarte rises from a minor celebrity to the wife of a powerful Argentine dictator, but her all consuming fiery rage, ambition, and hatred eventually become her downfall.

Starring: Faye Dunaway, James Farentino, Pedro Armendáriz Jr., Michael Constantine, Katy Jurado, Rita Moreno, José Ferrer, Ferdy Mayne, Robert Viharo, DeVeren Bookwalter ..
Directed by: Marvin J. Chomsky
Release date: 1981-02-23
Best History Movies of 1981 : Dinosaurs: Puzzles from the Past

Dinosaurs: Puzzles from the Past

0.0/10 IMDB

Join two youngsters and their teacher as they discover clues to Dinosaurs: Puzzles from the Past. Putting dinosaurs in perspective is their first task. They follow a time line back from the Age of Man to the era of dinosaurs. Animation introduces a variety of dinosaurs and their environment. Students see fossilized dinosaur bones uncovered by excavators at Dinosaur Provincial Park in Alberta, Canada. They also visit a paleontologist in his lab and see a comparison of bones from two different dinosaurs. At a museum in Ottawa the two youngsters see a full-scale reconstructed tyrannosaur skeleton and identify it as a meat-eater by its feet and teeth.

Starring: Julie Whang, Roger Rosen, Lewis Glenville ..
Directed by: Foster Wiley
Release date: 1981-01-01

Maya: Lords of the Jungle

0.0/10 IMDB

Archaeological work on the Mayan civilization in Central America is revealing new facts about Mayan history, religion, agriculture, social structure, and art.

Release date: 1981-01-01

Some Lost Advertisements

0.0/10 IMDB

A 16mm film dual projection film by ? ? ? assembled and edited from 16mm reels of advertisements produced for Australian television in the early 70s. A cassette audio narration accompanies the dual projection.

Starring: Philip Brophy, Maria Kozic ..
Directed by: Philip Brophy
Release date: 1981-03-11
Best History Movies of 1981 : Pictures


0.0/10 IMDB

Walter Burton's realistic photographs depicting poor treatment of Maori prisoners are rejected by late 19th century government officials. Walter is condemned to making a living from everyday studio work, the frustration of which is apparently quite sufficient to make him a drunk. His brother Alfred is happy to take the photos that the officials want and therefore gets the commissions. Alfred's photos are well received, but when Walter shows his own photos, toughs are sent around to smash up his plates.

Starring: Kevin J. Wilson, Peter Vere-Jones, Helen Moulder, Elizabeth Coulter, Terence Bayler, Matiu Mareikura, Ken Blackburn, John Callen, John Callen, Peter Hayden ..
Directed by: Michael Black
Release date: 1981-10-01

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