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 Portuguese aggressors.
A second-rate journalist from the US tries his luck in El Salvador during the military dictatorship in the 1980s.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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
The Liberation of Auschwitz
This chilling, vitally important documentary was produced to mark the 40th anniversary of the liberation of Auschwitz Concentration Camp. The film contains unedited, previously unavailable film footage of Auschwitz shot by the Soviet military forces between January 27 and February 28, 1945 and includes an interview with Alexander Voronsov, the cameraman who shot the footage. The horrifying images include: survivors; camp visit by Soviet investigation commission; criminal experiments; forced laborers; evacuation of ill and weak prisoners with the aid of Russian and Polish volunteers; aerial photos of the IG Farben Works in Monowitz; and pictures of local people cleaning up the camp under Soviet supervision. - Written by National Center for Jewish Film
The year is 1816. A sprawling villa in Switzerland is the setting for a stormy night of madness. On this night of the "Haunted Summer," five famous friends gather around an ancient skull to conjure up their darkest fears. Poets Lord Byron and Percy Shelley, Shelley's fiancée Mary Godwin, Mary's stepsister Claire Clairemont and Byron's friend John Polidori spend a hallucinogenic evening confronting their fears in a frenzy of shocking lunacy. Horrifying visions invade the castle - realizations of Byron's fear of leeches, Shelley's fear of premature burial, Mary's fear of birthing a stillborn child - all brought forth in a bizarre dreamscape. They share the terrifying fantasies that chase them through the castle that night. The events of that night later inspired Mary Shelley to write the classic "Frankenstein" and Dr. Polidori to pen "The Vampyre," which became the basis for the creation of Dracula..
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.