Best History Movies of 1985
Out of Africa
Out of Africa tells the story of the life of Danish author Karen Blixen, who at the beginning of the 20th century moved to Africa to build a new life for herself. The film is based on the autobiographical novel by Karen Blixen from 1937.
Nick is a writer in New York when he gets posted to a bureau in Greece. He has waited 30 years for this. He wants to know why his mother was killed in the civil war years earlier. In a parallel plot line we see Nick as a young boy and his family as they struggle to survive in the occupied Greek hillside. The plot lines converge as Nick's investigations bring him closer to the answers.
The Shooting Party
1913, shortly before the outbreak of WWI. A group of aristocrats gathers at the estate of Sir Randolph Nettleby for a weekend shoot. As the terminal decrepitude of a dying class is reflected in the social interactions and hypocrisy of its members, only world weary Sir Randolph seems to realise that the sun is setting.
Harvest of Despair
Via the New York Times: "...a frankly biased, angry recollection of the great, "man-made" famine of 1932-1933 in which up to seven million people starved to death in the Ukraine. It is the film's thesis that Stalin was directly responsible by his ruthless expropriation of virtually all of the grain harvested in the Ukraine over a two-year period."
Mussolini: The Untold Story
George C. Scott, Lee Grant, Virginia Madsen, Raul Julia, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio and Gabriel Byrne star in this Emmy-nominated program about the rise and fall of Italy's fascist dictator Benito Mussolini. Recounting his life with his wife, children and mistress, this biography (based on the recollections of Mussolini's eldest son, Vittorio) chronicles Il Duce's tyranny as he plunges Italy into the dark days of World War II.
The Beach Boys: An American Band
A biography of the American rock band The Beach Boys, with interviews, concert footage and clips from movies and television shows they appeared in.
Guided by seasoned New Yorkers, political figures, and cultural connoisseurs, "Empire City" examines Manhattan and its surrounding boroughs in order to paint a portrait of the ever-evolving metropolis. Appearing to be both adaptable and stubbornly stagnant, New York is a city of juxtapositions. As our narrator notes, "The city is too big, too diverse, and too complex for anyone to comprehend. New York is many cities interlaced with one another, each in constant independent motion."
Charlie Grant's War
A Canadian artist turned diamond merchant in Vienna, Austria risks his life to smuggle Jews out of the Third Reich.
The Statue of Liberty
For more than 100 years, the Statue of Liberty has been a symbol of hope and refuge for generations of immigrants. In this lyrical, compelling and provocative portrait of the statue, Ken Burns explores both the history of America’s premier symbol and the meaning of liberty itself. Featuring rare archival photographs, paintings and drawings, readings from actual diaries, letters and newspapers of the day, the fascinating story of this universally admired monument is told. In interviews with Americans from all walks of life, including former New York governor Mario Cuomo, the late congresswoman Barbara Jordan and the late writers James Baldwin and Jerzy Kosinski, The Statue of Liberty examines the nature of liberty and the significance of the statue to American life. Nominated for both the Academy Award ® and the Emmy Award ®, The Statue of Liberty received the prestigious CINE Golden Eagle, the Christopher Award and the Blue Ribbon at the American Film Festival.
New York trapper Tom Dobb becomes an unwilling participant in the American Revolution after his son Ned is drafted into the Army by the villainous Sergeant Major Peasy. Tom attempts to find his son, and eventually becomes convinced that he must take a stand and fight for the freedom of the Colonies, alongside the aristocratic rebel Daisy McConnahay. As Tom undergoes his change of heart, the events of the war unfold in large-scale grandeur.
This is a movie about the life of Israel's king David.
Cyrano de Bergerac
As incomparable in swordplay and wordplay as he is, the gallant soldier, philosopher, and poet Cyrano de Bergerac is as timid as a schoolboy before the fair Roxanne. Derek Jacobi delivers an electrifying award-winning portrayal of Rostand's legendary log-nosed swordsman in this highly acclaimed production from the world's premier theatre troupe, The Royal Shakespeare Company. The bold Cyrano boasts he can defeat a hundred men in a swordfight, but because of his grotesque nose lacks the confidence to court the woman he loves. Yet so entranced with Roxanne is Cyrano that he uses the eloquence of his poetry to woo her for a rival.
The Ribald Tales of Canterbury
On their way to Canterbury, a group of noblemen and women play a game to see who can tell the best erotic story.
In 1950, five years after their release from internment, the women return to Singapore for a reunion, unaware of the intrigue that is to involve them in treachery and murder.
Documentary chronicling the government relocation of 10,000 Navajo Indians in Arizona.
Robbery Under Arms
Fourth adaptation and first made for television of the classic Australian bushranger novel "Robbery Under Arms" by Rolf Boldrewood. Made by the South Australian Film Corporation during the mini-series boom of the 1980s and lensed in the Flinders Ranges, it stars Sam Neill as the infamous Captain Starlight.
Mussolini and I
A compelling drama/documentary chronicling the life and death of Il Duce himself, from his days as a terrorist to his alliance with Hitler to the betrayal of his son-in-law and untimely demise.
Burke & Wills
A story based on true events about two explorers on a doomed journey trying to cross Australia on foot in the 19 century.
The Dunera Boys
At the start of WWII the British Government decided to arrest all Germans in the UK no matter how long they had been there. Among those arrested were many Jewish refugees and many who were fully assimilated. This film records the story of a group who were sent to a POW camp in Australia aboard the Dunera.
Diane is a sophisticated trainee on the New York Stock Exchange who is suddenly kidnapped and held captive in a North African desert hideaway by Selim, an Arab mogul.
Three Sovereigns for Sarah
Nineteen people were hanged and one man pressed to death, while hundreds went to jail during the "witch hysteria" of 1692. THREE SOVEREIGNS FOR SARAH offers an accurate portrayal of the Salem witch trials, with real characters and original transcripts woven into the dialogue. The film is a powerful, moving story about three loving sisters accused of witchcraft.
Honour, Profit & Pleasure
British biopic of composer George Frideric Handel
A dramatic look at the inner workings of the Kennedy administration.
The Story of the Kinks
Discover the inside story of the most influential English rock band of the '60s. Inspired by a mix of genres including rhythm and blues, folk and country, their music created a British Invasion around the world. Their third single "You Really Got Me" became an international hit and went straight to the top of the charts in the UK. With seventeen top 20 singles and five top ten albums in the UK, the Kinks had an incredibly successful career spanning over 30 years. Featuring interviews with key members of the group, this is their story.
Part of the Struggle: Art and Politics in the Weimar Republic
Early last century, many German artists like George Grosz, Emil Nolde and Otto Dix became politically involved. This film uses their art and their own words to explore a volatile period in Germany.
Frederick Douglass: An American Life
This director's cut of the William Greaves' documentary short film dramatizes the life and deeds of the noted abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
Six Short Films of Les Blank (1960-1985)
Anthology of six short films, including: Dizzy Gillespie Chicken Real Cigarette Blues God Respects Us When We Work, But Loves Us When We Dance Running Around Like A Chicken With Its Head Cut Off The Sun’s Gonna Shine
Hopi: Songs of the Fourth World
This unconventional ethnographic documentary of the Hopi people, an indigenous people of the North American Southwest, weaves natural photography together with interviews about food and religious practice.