Best History Movies of 1996


Michael Collins


Michael Collins plays a crucial role in the establishment of the Irish Free State in the 1920s, but becomes vilified by those hoping to create a completely independent Irish republic.

Starring: Liam Neeson, Aidan Quinn, Stephen Rea, Alan Rickman, Julia Roberts
Directed by: Neil Jordan
Release date: 1996-10-25



The brief life of Jean Michel Basquiat, a world renowned New York street artist struggling with fame, drugs and his identity.

Starring: Jeffrey Wright, David Bowie, Dennis Hopper, Gary Oldman, Benicio del Toro
Directed by: Julian Schnabel
Release date: 1996-08-09

The Crucible

The Crucible
Based upon the play "The Crucible" by Arthur Miller (who wrote the screen adaptation), the Salem witch trials in 1692 plunge the Massachusetts Bay colony into chaos.
Starring: Daniel Day-Lewis, Winona Ryder, Paul Scofield, Joan Allen, Bruce Davison
Directed by: Nicholas Hytner
Release date: 1996-11-27



The hit musical based on the life of Evita Duarte, a B-movie Argentinian actress who eventually became the wife of Argentinian president and dictator Juan Perón, and the most beloved and hated woman in Argentina.

Starring: Madonna, Antonio Banderas, Jonathan Pryce, Jimmy Nail, Victoria Sus
Directed by: Alan Parker
Release date: 1996-12-14

Sharpe's Siege

Sharpe's Siege
Sharpe, with his new commanding officer, is sent to capture a castle when news comes of locals who will rise against Bonaparte. However, he is somewhat distracted by thoughts of his wife whom he was forced to leave while stricken with fever.
Starring: Sean Bean, Daragh O'Malley, Abigail Cruttenden, James Laurenson, Féodor Atkine
Directed by: Tom Clegg
Release date: 1996-05-08

The Celluloid Closet


This documentary highlights the historical contexts that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals have occupied in cinema history, and shows the evolution of the entertainment industry's role in shaping perceptions of LGBT figures. The issues addressed include secrecy – which initially defined homosexuality – as well as the demonization of the homosexual community with the advent of AIDS, and finally the shift toward acceptance and positivity in the modern era.

Starring: Lily Tomlin, Tony Curtis, Susan Sarandon, Gore Vidal, Whoopi Goldberg
Directed by: Rob Epstein, Jeffrey Friedman
Release date: 1996-01-30

Some Mother's Son


Based on the true story of the 1981 hunger strike in a British prison, in which IRA prisoner Bobby Sands led a protest against the treatment of IRA prisoners as criminals rather than as prisoners of war. The film focuses on the mothers of two of the strikers, and their struggle to save the lives of their sons.

Starring: Helen Mirren, Fionnula Flanagan, Aidan Gillen, David O'Hara, John Lynch
Directed by: Terry George
Release date: 1996-12-25

Mother Night


An American spy behind the lines during WWII serves as a Nazi propagandist, a role he cannot escape in his future life as he can never reveal his real role in the war.

Starring: Nick Nolte, Sheryl Lee, Alan Arkin, Kirsten Dunst, Bernard Behrens
Directed by: Keith Gordon
Release date: 1996-11-01

Ghosts of Mississippi


Ghosts of Mississippi is a drama covering the final trial of the assassin, Bryon De La Beckwith, of the 60s civil rights leader Medgar Evers. It begins with the murder and the events surrounding the two initial trials which both ended in a hung jury. The movie then covers District Attorney, Bobby DeLaughters transformation and alliance with Myrlie Evers, wife of Medgar Evers, of the, as he becomes more involved with bringing Beckwith to trial for the third time 30 years later. Some of the characters are played by the actual participants in this story.

Starring: Alec Baldwin, Whoopi Goldberg, James Woods, Virginia Madsen, Craig T. Nelson
Directed by: Rob Reiner
Release date: 1996-12-20

Kama Sutra - A Tale of Love

Kama Sutra - A Tale of Love
Tara and Maya are two inseparable friends in India. Their tastes, habits, and hobbies are the same. Years later, the two have matured, but have maintained their friendship. Tara gets married to the local prince, Raj Singh, who soon succeeds the throne as the sole heir. After the marriage, Raj gets bored of Tara and starts seeking another female to satisfy his sexual needs. He notices Maya and is instantly attracted to her. He has her included as one of his courtesans, and is intimate with her. Watch what happens when Tara finds out and the extent she will go to keep her marriage intact.
Starring: Indira Varma, Sarita Choudhury, Ramon Tikaram, Naveen Andrews, Rekha
Directed by: Mira Nair
Release date: 1996-09-11

Catherine the Great

Catherine the Great
Trapped in a loveless arranged marriage to the immature future Czar, a young German Princess proves a skillful political infighter and rises to become Catherine the Great.
Starring: Catherine Zeta-Jones, Paul McGann, Ian Richardson, Brian Blessed, Christoph Waltz
Directed by: Marvin J. Chomsky, John Goldsmith
Release date: 1996-04-27

Norma Jean & Marilyn


This film follows Norma Jean from her simple, ambitious youth to her sex star pinnacle and back down. She moves from lover to lover in order to further her career. She finds fame but never happiness, only knowing seduction but not love.

Starring: Ashley Judd, Mira Sorvino, Josh Charles, Ron Rifkin, David Dukes
Directed by: Tim Fywell
Release date: 1996-05-18

One Survivor Remembers

One Survivor Remembers
Coproduced by the U.S.Holocaust Memorial Museum Research Institute,this Academy Award-winning documentary relates the harrowing story of Gerda Weissmann Klein and her journey of survival and remembering both before and after the war.
Starring: Gerda Weissmann Klein, Kurt Klein, Peter Thomas
Directed by: Kary Antholis
Release date: 1996-06-19



A documentary that chronicles the life of South African leader Nelson Mandela. Mandela is probably best known for his 27 years of imprisonment, and for bringing an end to apartheid. But this film also sheds light on the little-known early period of Mandela's life.

Starring: Nelson Mandela, Winnie Mandela, F.W. de Klerk, Eugene Terre'Blanche
Directed by: Angus Gibson
Release date: 1996-10-11

The Man Who Captured Eichmann

The Man Who Captured Eichmann
Set in 1960, the story follows the efforts of the Mossad, the Israeli Secret Service, to find former SS Colonel Adolf Eichmann, who ran from Germany to Argentina and took the name Ricardo Clement. He was wanted for the murders of both Europeans and Jews during the Holocaust. Learning of Eichmann's living in Argentina, the Mossad sends a team to capture him, led by agent Peter Malkin. The standing order: bring Eichmann back alive to Israel for trial.
Starring: Robert Duvall, Arliss Howard, Jeffrey Tambor, Jack Laufer, Nicolas Surovy
Directed by: William A. Graham
Release date: 1996-11-08

Unabomber: The True Story


The real story behind the hunt for Theodore J. Kaczynski, later known as the Unabomber, a terrorist who sent several bombs through the mail, alarming authorities and society. The movie follows a postal inspector who tracks down the suspect; a obstinate detective; and Kaczynski's brother, who suspected of Ted after the publishing of his manifesto explaining the reasons for the bombings.

Starring: Dean Stockwell, Robert Hays, Tobin Bell
Directed by: Jon Purdy
Release date: 1996-09-11

The Hindenburg

The Hindenburg
The history of lighter than air transportation culminating in the Hindenburg explosion which gets thoroughly covered and analyzed.
Starring: Rip Torn
Release date: 1996-09-24

Dido and Aeneas

Dido and Aeneas
Maria Ewing, as Dido, heads an outstanding cast of young British singers in a film adaptation of Henry Purcell’s much-loved tragic opera. With spectacular sets, this intense tale of heroism, passion, betrayal and ultimate tragedy is played out against a backdrop of fiery rituals, evil spells and pageantry.
Starring: Maria Ewing, Karl Daymond, Sally Burgess, Patricia Rozario, Mary Plazas
Directed by: Peter Maniura
Release date: 1996-11-18

Marquis de Sade


Based on the true story of the notorious Marquis de Sade. In 18th century Paris, an innocent beauty's search for her missing sister leads her into the deadly sensuous realm of the infamous Marquis de Sade. Imprisoned for his sordid crimes, the Marquis likewise has the beauty morally trapped... for she must help him complete his banned book of lust, or never learn the fate of her sister. It becomes a test of wills and wit, as the Marquis attempts to convert her to his deviously sexual philosophy. When the Marquis escapes his prison, she must follow him to his remote chateau of sin to finally discover her sister's fate, and to face her own.

Starring: Nick Mancuso, Janet Gunn, John Rhys-Davies, Charlotte Nielsen, Irina Malysheva
Directed by: Gwyneth Gibby
Release date: 1996-01-01

The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful

The Good, The Bad, and the Beautiful
A documentary reflecting on women in film and the entertainment industry through the ages led and hosted by some of its most beloved female icons.
Starring: Laura San Giacomo, Kathy Bates, Nora Ephron, Rosie O'Donnell, Natasha Richardson
Release date: 1996-03-17

Also check Best history movies of 1995.

Check out our top containing the Best History Movies of 1996. This top was obtained with our unique algorithm ordered by our unique ranking system.