Best History Movies of 1986


The Mission

7.4/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Robert De Niro, Jeremy Irons, Ray McAnally, Aidan Quinn, Liam Neeson, Cherie Lunghi, Ronald Pickup, Chuck Low, Bercelio Moya, Sigifredo Ismare ..
Directed by: Roland Joffé
Release date: 1986-09-29


7.4/10 IMDB

A second-rate journalist from the US tries his luck in El Salvador during the military dictatorship in the 1980s.

Starring: James Woods, Jim Belushi, Michael Murphy, John Savage, Tony Plana, Colby Chester, Cynthia Gibb, Will MacMillan, Valerie Wildman, José Carlos Ruiz ..
Directed by: Oliver Stone
Release date: 1986-04-23


6.5/10 IMDB

A retelling of the life of the celebrated 17th-century painter through his brilliant, nearly blasphemous paintings and his flirtations with the underworld.

Starring: Nigel Terry, Tilda Swinton, Sean Bean, Spencer Leigh, Robbie Coltrane, Michael Gough, Garry Cooper, Dexter Fletcher, Nigel Davenport, Dawn Archibald ..
Directed by: Derek Jarman
Release date: 1986-08-29

Lady Jane

7.1/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Helena Bonham Carter, Cary Elwes, John Wood, Patrick Stewart, Joss Ackland, Michael Hordern, Jane Lapotaire, Ian Hogg, Pip Torrens, Richard Vernon ..
Directed by: Trevor Nunn
Release date: 1986-02-07
Best History Movies of 1986 : Shaka Zulu

Shaka Zulu

7.7/10 IMDB

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.

Release date: 1986-11-24


5.7/10 IMDB

Living in an estate on the shores of Lake Geneva, Lord Byron is visited by Percy and Mary Shelley. Together with Byron's lover Claire Clairmont, and aided by hallucinogenic substances, they devise an evening of ghoulish tales. However, when confronted by horrors, ostensibly of their own creation, it becomes difficult to tell apparition from reality.

Starring: Gabriel Byrne, Julian Sands, Natasha Richardson, Myriam Cyr, Timothy Spall, Alec Mango, Andreas Wisniewski, Dexter Fletcher, Pascal King, Tom Hickey ..
Directed by: Ken Russell
Release date: 1986-11-30
Best History Movies of 1986 : Plácido


6.3/10 IMDB

Gabriel de la Concepcion Valdes (Plácido) is accused of leading a conspiracy against the Spanish colonial government. Preoccupied by the development of Afro-Hispanic artist and craftsmen of the mid 19th century, Plácido was executed after living a short and controversial life.

Directed by: Sergio Giral
Release date: 1986-01-01
Best History Movies of 1986 : Jock of the Bushveld

Jock of the Bushveld

6.8/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Jonathan Rands, Gordon Mulholland, Jocelyn Broderick, Wilson Dunster, Olivier Ngwenya ..
Directed by: Gray Hofmeyr
Release date: 1986-12-05
Best History Movies of 1986 : The Liberation of Auschwitz

The Liberation of Auschwitz

7.4/10 IMDB

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

Directed by: Irmgard von zur Mühlen
Release date: 1986-08-13
Best History Movies of 1986 : Houston: The Legend of Texas

Houston: The Legend of Texas

6.4/10 IMDB

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

Starring: Sam Elliott, Claudia Christian, Devon Ericson, Michael C. Gwynne, Donald Moffat, John Quade, Ned Romero, William Russ, John P. Ryan, James Stephens ..
Directed by: Peter Levin
Release date: 1986-11-22


5.5/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Bryan Brown, Joan Chen, John Stanton, Tim Guinee, Bill Leadbitter, Kyra Sedgwick, Russell Wong, Katy Behean, Janine Turner, Norman Rodway ..
Directed by: Daryl Duke
Release date: 1986-11-07
Best History Movies of 1986 : God's Outlaw

God's Outlaw

6.8/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Bernard Archard, Keith Barron, Terrence Hardiman, Roger Rees, Willoughby Goddard ..
Directed by: Tony Tew
Release date: 1986-01-01
Best History Movies of 1986 : The Inquiry

The Inquiry

6.3/10 IMDB

A Roman agent is sent to Palestine to investigate rumors of the resurrection of an executed criminal.

Starring: Keith Carradine, Harvey Keitel, Phyllis Logan, Angelo Infanti, Lina Sastri, John Forgeham, Luciano Bartoli, Erik Schumann, Georgia Slowe, Franco Fantasia ..
Directed by: Damiano Damiani
Release date: 1986-10-26

Belizaire the Cajun

6.5/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: Armand Assante, Gail Youngs, Michael Schoeffling, Stephen McHattie, Will Patton, Nancy Barrett, Robert Duvall ..
Directed by: Glen Pitre
Release date: 1986-06-13
Best History Movies of 1986 : The Last Emperor

The Last Emperor

5.2/10 IMDB

A 1986 film directed by Li Han-Hsiang. Nominated for Best Film in the 6th annual Hong Kong Film Awards.

Starring: Tony Leung Ka-Fai, Margaret Lee, Lee Din-Hing ..
Directed by: Li Han-Hsiang
Release date: 1986-03-26
Best History Movies of 1986 : The Children of Green Knowe

The Children of Green Knowe

8.6/10 IMDB

A young boy goes to live with his great-grandmother. While she tells him stories of his ancestors, he begins to see the spirits of children who lived in the house during the reign of Charles II.

Directed by: Colin Cant
Release date: 1986-11-26
Best History Movies of 1986 : The Disputation

The Disputation

8.6/10 IMDB

In 1263, King James I of Aragon organizes a debate between representatives of Judaism and Christianity regarding whether or not Jesus was the Messiah.

Starring: Christopher Lee, Toyah Willcox, Bob Peck, Alan Dobie, Bernard Hepton, Helen Lindsay ..
Directed by: Geoffrey Sax
Release date: 1986-12-21
Best History Movies of 1986 : David Macaulay: Cathedral

David Macaulay: Cathedral

7.9/10 IMDB

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.

Starring: David Macaulay, Caroline Berg, Derek Jacobi, Geoffrey Matthews, Brian Blessed, Paul Bacon, Sean Barrett, Peter Pacey, Ellis Jones ..
Directed by: Tim King
Release date: 1986-04-30

George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation

7.7/10 IMDB

The first U.S. president (Barry Bostwick) and his wife (Patty Duke) endure two terms of turmoil from 1789 to 1797.

Starring: Barry Bostwick, Patty Duke, Jeffrey Jones, Richard Bekins, Penny Fuller, Marcia Cross, Guy Paul, Norman Snow, Lise Hilboldt ..
Directed by: William A. Graham
Release date: 1986-09-21
Best History Movies of 1986 : Death of a Soldier

Death of a Soldier

5.7/10 IMDB

Based on a true story, James Coburn portrays a military lawyer assigned to defend a confessed psychotic killer. Set in the context of WWII and the uneasy US-Australian military alliance. The accused killer claims to have killed 3 women in order to possess their voices. Despite the defense lawyer's concerns that the killer is not fit to stand trial, the US military presses forward with the case and its desire to have the killer executed in order to strengthen the shaky alliance.

Starring: James Coburn, Bill Hunter, Reb Brown, Maurie Fields, Max Fairchild, Belinda Davey, Randall Berger, Michael Pate, Jon Sidney, Nell Johnson ..
Directed by: Philippe Mora
Release date: 1986-05-16


6.2/10 IMDB

Drama about how the Statue of Liberty came to be erected in New York Harbor in the early 1880s and the people responsible for its creation.

Starring: Chris Sarandon, Frank Langella, Carrie Fisher, Alan North, LeVar Burton ..
Directed by: Richard C. Sarafian
Release date: 1986-06-22

Mistress Madeleine

5.4/10 IMDB

Part of the Daughters of the Country series, this film, set in the 1850s, unfolds against the backdrop of the Hudson's Bay Company's monopoly of the fur trade. In protest, some Métis engage in trade with the Americans. Madeleine, the Métis common-law wife of a Hudson's Bay Company clerk, is torn between loyalty to her husband and loyalty to her brother, a freetrader. Even more shattering, a change in company policy destroys Madeleine's happy and secure life, forcing her to re-evaluate her identity.

Starring: Mireille Deyglun, Neil Munro, Harry Daniels, Alan Williams, Victor Cowie, Winona Stevenson, Makka Kleist, Kennetch Charlette, Dennell Swampy, Jerry Martin ..
Directed by: Aaron Kim Johnston
Release date: 1986-12-12
Best History Movies of 1986 : The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults

The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults

3.3/10 IMDB

The Mystery of Al Capone's Vaults is a two-hour live American television special that was broadcast in syndication on April 21, 1986, and hosted by Geraldo Rivera. It centered on the live opening of a secret vault in the Lexington Hotel in Chicago once owned by noted crime lord Al Capone.

Starring: Geraldo Rivera, Al Capone, Doug Llewelyn, Patricia J. Porter, Charles Rogers, Louise Rolfe, Robert St. John, Robert Stein, Vern Whaley, Emery Zerick ..
Directed by: Bill Foster
Release date: 1986-04-21

Oscar Wilde: Spendthrift of Genius

0.0/10 IMDB

A portrait of the multi-talented and self-destructive genius that is generously sprinkled with Wilde's infamous bon mots. Includes the only known recording by Wilde of "The Ballad of Reading Gaol."

Starring: Barbara Brennan, Seamus Forde, Alan Stanford ..
Directed by: Seán O'Mórdha
Release date: 1986-06-17
Best History Movies of 1986 : David & Goliath - The Greatest Adventure Stories from the Bible

David & Goliath - The Greatest Adventure Stories from the Bible

0.0/10 IMDB

The kingdom of Israel faces its greatest threat when the rampaging army of the Philistines marches across its borders. In the forefront of the invaders is a giant warrior: Goliath. This towering behemoth issues a challenge to the Israelites - he will meet in single combat with one of them. If Goliath is beaten, the Philistines will be servants of the Israelites, but if Goliath wins, the Israelites will be enslaved. For forty days Goliath repeats this challenge, and still no man steps forth to fight for his country's survival. But one boy does: David. Impressed by this display of courage, Saul entrusts the defense of the kingdom to David, whom he knows only as the shepherd boy who sings psalms to him at court. Armed with nothing more than his sling and his faith in God, David walks out to meet his mighty foe.

Starring: Robby Benson, Herschel Bernardi, Michael Bell, Darleen Carr, Bernard Erhard, Darryl Hickman, Terence McGovern, Rob Paulsen, Michael Rye, William Schallert ..
Directed by: Paul B. Strickland
Release date: 1986-01-01

There Is a Rally

0.0/10 IMDB

A visual interpretation of the massive disarmament rally held in New York City on June 12, 1982. With huge rallies held simultaneously around the world, people gathered together on this day at the height of the Regan-era nuclear standoff with the Soviet Union.

Directed by: Keith Hlady
Release date: 1986-07-17
Best History Movies of 1986 : Herschel and the Music of the Stars

Herschel and the Music of the Stars

0.0/10 IMDB

Film by Percy Adlon.

Starring: Karin Anselm, Rolf Illig, Edgar Selge, Josef Meinrad ..
Directed by: Percy Adlon
Release date: 1986-12-25

The AIDS Show

7.5/10 IMDB

A recording of a play about the intangible impacts AIDS has on a community. This is a moving, beautifully photographed combination of theater and documentary that captures the incredible excitement of live theater and intensifies the power of the play's message.

Directed by: Rob Epstein, Peter Adair
Release date: 1986-07-12
Best History Movies of 1986 : My Friend Liberty

My Friend Liberty

0.0/10 IMDB

Johnny awakens as his teacher talks about liberty, only to find that everything has turned to clay. A giant hand plucks Johnny from his seat. Liberty herself has stepped down from her pedestal to teach a youngster the meaning of liberty.

Directed by: Jimmy Picker
Release date: 1986-06-25

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