Best History Movies of 1986
When a Spanish Jesuit goes into the South American wilderness to build a mission in the hope of converting the Indians of the region, a slave hunter is converted and joins his mission. When Spain sells the colony to Portugal, they are forced to defend all they have built against the Portugese aggressors.
Framed around Queen Victoria's decision on England's political stance towards the Zulu Nation, this mini-series details King Shaka's rise and fall with mythic detail. Prophecy is mixed with recorded fact regarding Shaka's birth, exile, innovations in warfare, assumption of the throne, building of the Zulu Empire, first contact with Europe and the events that lead to his downfall.
Houston: The Legend of Texas
Sam Elliot stars as Sam Houston, the visionary who nearly single-handedly forged the state of Texas into a powerful entity in its own right. Refusing to forget the Alamo (as if anyone could), Houston led the military in Texas' rebellion against Mexico. G.D. Spradlin co-stars as President Andrew Jackson, with Michael Beck appearing as Jim Bowie, James Stephens as Stephen Austin, and Richard Yniguez as Mexican General Santa Anna. Lensed on location in the Lone Star state, this sweeping made-for-TV film originally occupied three hours' screen time on November 22, 1986. Its title at that time was Houston: The Legend of Texas. ~ Hal Erickson, Rovi
Belizaire the Cajun
In 19th-century Louisiana's Cajun country, Belizaire (Armand Assante) is the informal spokesman for his citizens, who don't see eye to eye with local racists who wish to eradicate all Cajuns. Complicating matters is the fact that Belizaire's former flame (Gail Youngs) is now married to his biggest rival (Will Patton), an affluent landowner's son. Before he knows it, Belizaire is caught up in a web of murder, lies and prejudice.
David Macaulay: Cathedral
Author David Macaulay hosts CATHEDRAL, based on his award-winning book. Using a combination of spectacular location sequences and cinema-quality animation, the program surveys France's most famous churches. Travel back to 1214 to explore the design of Notre Dame de Beaulieu, a representative Gothic cathedral. The program tells period tales revealing fascinating stories of life and death, faith and despair, prosperity, and intrigue.
As influential Italian artist Caravaggio dies in exile in 1610, he recalls his short life, from his childhood to his initial artistic failures to his later triumphs as he catches the eye of a sympathetic cardinal to his destructive relationship with a dashing gambler.
The death of King Henry VIII throws his kingdom into chaos because of succession disputes. His weak son Edward, is on his deathbed. Anxious to keep England true to the Reformation, a scheming minister John Dudley marries off his son, Guildford to Lady Jane Grey, whom he places on the throne after Edward dies. At first hostile to each other, Guildford and Jane fall in love. But they cannot withstand the course of power which will lead to their ultimate downfall.
The film begins following the British victory of the first Opium War and the seizure of Hong Kong. Although the island is largely uninhabited and the terrain unfriendly, it has a large port that both the British government and various trading companies believe will be useful for the import of merchandise to be traded on mainland China, a highly lucrative market.
Jock of the Bushveld
In 1886 the 20 years old Percy Fitzpatrick from Kaapstad sets out for the Delagoa bay in Transvaal to dig for gold. On his way he prevents the weakly puppy Jock being drowned and adopts him. But when they finally reach the destination of his journey, there's no gold there anymore. So Percy starts out as a foreman, and henceforth he and Jock live through many exciting adventures involving wild animals and slave drivers.
A dramatized biography of William Tyndale, the 16th Century reformer determined to translate the Bible into English, which illegal act set him at odds with the Catholic Church, Sir Thomas More and King Henry VIII.