Best History Movies of 1981
Lion of the Desert
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.
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.
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.
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.
Chariots of Fire
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.
After the destruction of the Second Temple, 900 Jewish zealots hold out against a 5000 man Roman legion on the mountaintop fortress of Masada.
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.
An English navigator becomes both pawn and player in the deadly political games in feudal Japan.
The Marva Collins Story
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.
Zorro, The Gay Blade
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!
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.
Rise and Fall of Idi Amin
The chronicle of Ugandan dictator Idi Amin and his tyranic rule from 1971 to his overthrow in 1979.
Iancu Jianu, Tax Collector
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.
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.
A dramatization of the controversial trial concerning the right for Neo-Nazis to march in the predominantly Jewish community of Skokie, Illinois.
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.
Antony & Cleopatra
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.
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.
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.
The Bushido Blade
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.
From a Far Country
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.
The Search for Alexander the Great
Friends, contemporaries and even enemies of Alexander the Great gather in a tent to tell his tale through their eyes.
The Adventures of Nellie Bly
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."
South Pacific 1942
Follows the crew of a Canadian submarine in World War Two and their fight against the Japanese Imperial Navy.
Crisis at Central High
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.
Charles Durning appears as the legendary baseball manager Charles Dillon "Casey" Stengel in this one-man show presented before a live studio audience.
A Documentary on the Making of 'Gore Vidal's Caligula'
A Documentary on the Making of 'Gore Vidal's Caligula'
Escape From Iran: The Canadian Caper
A dramatized account of how the staff of the Canadian Embassy helped a group of American diplomats escape from Iran during the Iranian Revolution.
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.
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.
Dinosaurs: Puzzles from the Past
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.
Maya: Lords of the Jungle
Archaeological work on the Mayan civilization in Central America is revealing new facts about Mayan history, religion, agriculture, social structure, and art.
Some Lost Advertisements
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.
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.