Best History Movies of 2013
12 Years a Slave
In the pre-Civil War United States, Solomon Northup, a free black man from upstate New York, is abducted and sold into slavery. Facing cruelty as well as unexpected kindnesses Solomon struggles not only to stay alive, but to retain his dignity. In the twelfth year of his unforgettable odyssey, Solomon’s chance meeting with a Canadian abolitionist will forever alter his life.
Dallas Buyers Club
Loosely based on the true-life tale of Ron Woodroof, a drug-taking, women-loving, homophobic man who in 1986 was diagnosed with HIV/AIDS and given thirty days to live.
Saving Mr. Banks
Author P.L. Travers looks back on her childhood while reluctantly meeting with Walt Disney, who seeks to adapt her Mary Poppins books for the big screen.
Four Navy SEALs on a covert mission to neutralize a high-level Taliban operative must make an impossible moral decision in the mountains of Afghanistan that leads them into an enemy ambush. As they confront unthinkable odds, the SEALs must find reserves of strength and resilience to fight to the finish.
England, 1021. Rob Cole, a boy born in a miserable mining town, swears to become a physician and vanquish disease and death. His harsh path of many years, a quest for knowledge besieged by countless challenges and sacrifices, leads him to the remote Isfahan, in Persia, where he meets Ibn Sina, the greatest healer of his time.
The Railway Man
A victim from World War II's "Death Railway" sets out to find those responsible for his torture. A true story.
Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom
A chronicle of Nelson Mandela's life journey from his childhood in a rural village through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected president of South Africa.
The story of Steve Jobs' ascension from college dropout into one of the most revered creative entrepreneurs of the 20th century.
November 22nd, 1963 was a day that changed the world forever — when young American President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in Dallas, Texas. This film follows, almost in real time, a handful of individuals forced to make split-second decisions after an event that would change their lives and forever alter the world’s landscape.
A Field in England
During the Civil War in 17th-Century England, a small group of deserters flee from a raging battle through an overgrown field. They are captured by an alchemist, who forces the group to aid him in his search to find a hidden treasure that he believes is buried in the field. Crossing a vast mushroom circle, which provides their first meal, the group quickly descend into a chaos of arguments, fighting and paranoia, and, as it becomes clear that the treasure might be something other than gold, they slowly become victim to the terrifying energies trapped inside the field.
Crystal Lake Memories: The Complete History of Friday the 13th
Taking inspiration from Peter M. Bracke's definitive book of the same name, this seven-hour documentary dives into the making of all twelve Friday the 13th films, with all-new interviews from the cast and the crew.
Good Ol' Freda
The story of Freda Kelly, a shy Liverpudlian teenager asked to work for a young local band hoping to make it big: The Beatles. Their loyal secretary from beginning to end, Freda tells her tales for the first time in 50 years.
In a tiny Alabama town with the curious name of Muscle Shoals, something miraculous sprang from the mud of the Tennessee River. A group of unassuming, yet incredibly talented, locals came together and spawned some of the greatest music of all time: “Mustang Sally,” “I Never Loved a Man,” “Wild Horses,” and many more. During the most incendiary periods of racial hostility, white folks and black folks came together to create music that would last for generations and gave birth to the incomparable “Muscle Shoals sound.”
Legendary Nights: The Tale of Gatti-Ward
The brutal trilogy of light-welterweight fights between Arturo 'Thunder' Gatti and 'Irish' Mickey Ward is the focus of this documentary.
The Invisible Woman
In 1857, at the height of his fame and fortune, novelist and social critic Charles Dickens meets and falls in love with teenage stage actress Nelly Ternan. As she becomes the focus of his heart and mind, as well as his muse, painful secrecy is the price both must pay.
Adolf Hitler: The Greatest Story Never Told
A revisionist biography of Adolf Hitler and history of the Second World War, detailing the origins and rise of Hitler and Nazi Germany.
When the space shuttle Challenger blew up in 1986, it was the most shocking event in the history of American spaceflight. The deaths of seven astronauts, including the first teacher in space Christa McAuliffe, were watched live on television by millions of viewers. But what was more shocking was that the cause of the disaster might never be uncovered. The Challenger is the story of how Richard Feynman, one of America's most famous scientists, helped to discover the cause of a tragedy that stunned America.
A Terrible Beauty
A Terrible Beauty is the story of the men and women of the Easter Rising in Dublin in 1916, Irish and British, caught up in a conflict many did not understand and of the innocent men and boys, executed because of what transpired in The Battle of Mount Street Bridge. The British soldiers were the last of the Great War volunteers, who joined up together to fight the Germans. They knew that there was a strong chance they would die in France, but to die in Dublin would never have crossed their minds. The Irish Volunteers were weekend warriors many of whom had no idea they were about to take part in large scale battles on the streets of Dublin.
Donner Party: The Musical
Snowbound and desperate, some of the Donner Party died of starvation. Some of them did not. They all sang.
HENRY FORD paints a fascinating portrait of a farm boy who rose from obscurity to become the most influential American innovator of the 20th century.
League of Denial: The NFL’s Concussion Crisis
Drawing on the book of the same name, League of Denial crafts a searing two-hour indictment of the National Football League’s decades-long concealment of the link between football related head injuries and brain disorders.
France’s Bordeaux region has long commanded respect for its coveted wine, but shifts in the global marketplace mean that a new, voracious consumer base in China is buying up this finite product. Bordeaux both struggles with and courts the spike in demand, sending prices skyrocketing. Narrated by Russell Crowe, Red Obsession is a fascinating look at our changing international economy and how an obsession in Shanghai affects the most illustrious vineyards in France.
Autopsy on a Dream
In 1968, John Weiley shot 'Autopsy on a Dream' - a film about the Sydney Opera House detailing its construction process and the politics of Jorn Utzon's dismissal. Weiley's film was controversial; it was screened once and then he was told it had been destroyed. Forty five years later a copy was discovered in the BBC vaults by an ABC producer looking for archive footage of the Opera House. Weiley was contacted and told about a film that had no sound track. Weiley was overjoyed; for years he had kept the original sound. So began the painstaking process of restoring this record of a unique moment in Australian culture to its former glory, complete with updated voice-over from the original narrator, Bob Ellis. It is set in context by a 30 minute prologue entitled 'The Dream of Perfection'. Made by the same filmmaker, John Weiley, forty-five years on, 'Dream of Perfection' tells the story of the 1968 film - from commission to destruction, to surprise resurrection.
JFK: A President Betrayed
Narrated by Academy Award winner Morgan Freeman, "JFK: A President Betrayed" uncovers new evidence that reveals how JFK embarked on secret back channel peace efforts with Nikita Khrushchev and Fidel Castro and was determined to get out of Vietnam despite intense opposition inside his own government.
Royal Shakespeare Company - Richard II
A monarch ordained by God to lead his people. But he is also a man of very human weakness. A man whose vanity threatens to divide the great houses of England and drag his people into a dynastic civil war that will last 100 years.
The Genius of Marie Curie: The Woman Who Lit up the World
Over 80 years after her death, Marie Curie remains by far the best-known female scientist. In her lifetime, she became that rare thing - a celebrity scientist, attracting the attention of the news cameras and tabloid gossip. This multi-layered film reveals the real Marie Curie, an extraordinary woman who fell in love three times, had to survive the pain of loss, and the public humiliation of a doomed love affair. It is a riveting portrait of a tenacious mother and scientist, who opened the door on a whole new realm of physics, which she discovered and named - radioactivity.
The artist behind the sensation of a $10 million, 22-city tour, and the international media storm that ensued.
Why We Ride
The passion of the riders and the soul of their machines. WINNER - Best Documentary -Motorcycle Film Festival 2013 -- An inspiring adventure into the world of motorcycling, told by the famous racers, passionate riders and everyday families who live each day to the fullest on their two-wheeled machines.
Tales from the Royal Bedchamber
Lucy Worsley gets into bed with our past monarchs to uncover the Tales from the Royal Bedchamber. She reveals that our obsession with royal bedrooms, births and succession is nothing new. In fact, the rise and fall of their magnificent beds reflects the changing fortunes of the monarchy itself.
The portrait of a city: ancient yet constantly remaking itself. A poem in images: stillness, patterns, urban motion. And in words: a tofu seller, a homeless woman, a Buddhist priest, contemplating nature, the metabolism of their city, mortality. And 20,000 crows, unruly avatars of the natural world, sardonically observing it all.
Schooled: The Price of College Sports
Schooled: The Price of College Sports is a comprehensive look at the business, history and culture of big-time college football and basketball in America. It is an adaptation of “The Cartel” by Pulitzer Prize Winning civil rights scholar Taylor Branch, and his October 2011 article in The Atlantic, “The Shame of College Sports.” Schooled presents a hard-hitting examination of the NCAA’s treatment of its athletes and amateurism in collegiate athletics; weaving interviews, archival and verité footage to tell a story of how college sports became a billion dollar industry built on the backs of athletes who are deprived of numerous rights.
Once Upon a Time...
In 1913, designer Coco Chanel opens her first boutique in the French city of Deauville.
On January 21, 1975, in a village in the north of Portugal, a child writes to his parents who are in Angola to tell them how sad Portugal is. On July 13, 2011, in Milan, an old man remembers his first love. On May 6, 2012, in Paris, a man tells his baby daughter that he will never be a real father. During a wedding ceremony on September 3, 1977 in Leipzig, the bride battles against a Wagner opera that she can’t get out of her head. But where and when have these four poor devils begun searching for redemption?
Jimi Hendrix: Hear My Train a Comin'
An account of the short life of genius musician Jimi Hendrix (1942-70), probably the most talented and influential guitarist of the twentieth century: his humble beginnings in Seattle, his time in New York, his rise to fame in swinging London… Live fast, love hard, die young.
The Wee Man
The true life story of the rise to power of Glasgow gangster Paul Ferris.
Volare - La grande storia di Domenico Modugno
A movie about Domenico Modugno, famous singer.
Savannah is the true story of Ward Allen, a romantic and bombastic character who rejects his plantation heritage for the freedom of life on a river. Ward navigates the change of early 20th century America on the wrong side of the law and society, his long-time friend, a freed slave named Christmas Moultrie, at his side. Master of Shakespeare, and the shotgun that provides Savannah's markets with fowl, Ward fights for his rights as a hunter. His charisma and eloquent rhetoric win the heart of a society woman who defies her father to marry him. An elderly Moultrie tells the story of life on the river with his friend to a little boy, who passes the legendary Ward Allen down to the next generation.
All the President's Men Revisited
The Watergate case was the original game changer of America politics. How has Watergate changed the Presidency? What effect has the scandal had on our political leaders? And has hope and optimism forever been replaced in our national dialogue by doubt and cynicism? In 1973, Watergate's most pivotal year, reporters Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein doggedly investigated the scandal exposing the long, twisted trail of cover-ups and lies.
Going Attractions: The Definitive Story of the American Drive-in Movie
Once a vibrant part of American culture, drive-ins reached their peak in the late 1950s with almost 5,000 dotting the nation. Although drive-ins are experiencing a resurgence, today less than 400 remain. In a nation that loves cars and movies, why haven't they survived? April Wright's lovingly made documentary--filled with archival images of hundreds of open and closed drive-in theaters and interviews with theater owners and cinema luminaries such as Roger Corman--attempts to answer that question.
Churchill's First World War
Drama-documentary about Winston Churchill's extraordinary experiences during the Great War, with intimate letters to his wife Clementine allowing the story to be told largely in his own words. Just 39 and at the peak of his powers running the Royal Navy, Churchill in 1914 dreamt of Napoleonic glory, but suffered a catastrophic fall into disgrace and humiliation over the Dardanelles disaster. The film follows his road to redemption, beginning in the trenches of Flanders in 1916, revealing how he became the 'godfather' of the tank and his forgotten contribution to final victory in 1918 as Minister of Munitions. Dark political intrigue, a passionate love story and remarkable military adventures on land, sea and air combine to show how the Churchill of 1940 was shaped and forged by his experience of the First World War.
Lumiere's First Picture Shows
An overview of the works of French film pioneers Louis and Auguste Lumière from 1895 to 1897.
ZIPPER: Coney Island's Last Wild Ride
A story about greed, politics and the land grab of the century, ZIPPER chronicles the battle over an American cultural icon. Small-time ride operator, Eddie Miranda, proudly operates a carnival contraption called the Zipper in the heart of Coney Island's gritty amusement district. When his rented lot is snatched up by a real estate mogul, Eddie and his ride become casualties of a power struggle between the developer and the City of New York over the future of the world-famous destination. Be it an affront to history or simply the path of progress, the spirit of Coney Island is at stake. In an increasingly corporate landscape, where authenticity is often sacrificed for economic growth, the Zipper may be just the beginning of what is lost.
Hammer of the Gods
Action epic sees a passionate young man transform into a brutal warrior as he travels the unforgiving landscape in search of his long lost brother Hakan The Ferrocious, whose people are relying on him to restore order to their kingdom.
The documentary exposes the ways in which America's foreign policy agenda in the Middle East drives the U.S. media's portrayals of Arabs and Muslims. The film lays bare the truths behind taboo subjects that are conspicuously avoided, or merely treated as sound bites, by the mainstream American media: "Why do they hate us?" "Why do we hate them?" What were the events that led to the 9/11 attacks? What are the politics behind the U.S.-Israeli relationship? Why is there a robust debate about these subjects in Europe, the Arab World and in Israel itself, but not in the U.S.? Valentino's Ghost provides a fresh inquiry which challenges the media's daily barrage of rhetoric and misinformation about our complex and vital relationship with this part of the world
Golden Gate Girls
The film traces the life and times of Esther Eng, a San Francisco native known as Hong Kong’s first “directress.” She directed 10 Cantonese talkies.
The Great Martian War 1913–1917
Documentary-drama recounting the Martian War of 1913–1917. Europe was on tenterhooks in the 2nd decade of the 20th century, everyone was expecting a Great War between the major European powers. But then, in 1913, something crashed into the forests of SW Germany. Troops were sent to investigate but were wiped out. Martian fighting machines began making their way across Western Europe and the countries of Europe combined forces to resist them. With aspects taken from ‘The War of the Worlds’ by H.G. Wells and from WWI itself, this dramatisation presents a documentary style look at events as they unfolded and the effect they had of our world today. Lots of references to real events including the mass attacks and defeats as men were thrown against machines on the Western front, the Christmas truce and the Angel of Mons, America's isolationism and late entry into the conflict, the worldwide Spanish flu epidemic that killed more people than the war, and many other things.
Ask This of Rikyu
Sen no Rikyu (Ebizo Ichikawa) is the son of a fish shop owner. Sen no Rikyu then studies tea and eventually becomes one of the primary influences upon the Japanese tea ceremony. With his elegant esthetics, Sen no Rikyu is favored by the most powerful man in Japan Toyotomi Hideyoshi (Nao Omori) and becomes one of his closest advisors. Due to conflicts, Toyotomi Hideyoshi then orders Sen no Rikyu to commit seppuku (suicide). Director Mitsutoshi Tanaka's adaptation of Kenichi Yamamoto's award-winning novel of the same name received the Best Artistic Contribution Award at the 37th Montréal World Film Festival, the Best Director Award at the 2014 Osaka Cinema Festival, the 30th Fumiko Yamaji Cultural Award and the 37th Japan Academy Film Prize in nine categories, including Best Art Direction, Excellent Film and Excellent Actor.
In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey
In Search of Blind Joe Death: The Saga of John Fahey is a documentary film about the legendary American guitarist, composer and provocateur John Fahey, 1939-2001. Fahey is often considered the godfather of 'American primitive guitar'. This cinematic exploration features Pete Townshend, Chris Funk of The Decemberists and Joey Burns of Calexico. These stellar musicians, along with Fahey associates and friends such as the famous 'Dr. Demento', radio broadcaster Barry Hansen, explore the legacy of this profoundly influential artist. The film was recorded in the Washington D.C. area where John Fahey was born, along the Mississippi Delta from Memphis to New Orleans, in Los Angeles, Toronto, Austin, New York and in Oregon where Fahey spent his last two decades.
Isaac Newton: The Last Magician
Isaac Newton - brilliant rational mathematician or master of the occult? This innovative biography reveals Newton as both a hermit and a tyrant, a heretic and an alchemist. Magical images mix with actors and experts to bring alive Britain's greatest scientific genius in his own words.
During the 1940s, Nevil Shute had a steady job as an engineer in the British military but in his spare time, he wrote novels that were being well-received. Once the war was over, Shute choose to move to Australia and focus on writing, soon becoming an internationally acclaimed novelist. His novel On The Beach, particularly hit a chord with the international community, depicting the impact of global nuclear destruction. This documentary studies Shute's career and the adaptation of his most famous novel into a feature film in Melbourne, as his predictions of a post-Hiroshima world seem to be foreboding in their accuracy.