Best History Movies of 2014
The Imitation Game
Based on the real life story of legendary cryptanalyst Alan Turing, the film portrays the nail-biting race against time by Turing and his brilliant team of code-breakers at Britain's top-secret Government Code and Cypher School at Bletchley Park, during the darkest days of World War II.
"Selma," as in Alabama, the place where segregation in the South was at its worst, leading to a march that ended in violence, forcing a famous statement by President Lyndon B. Johnson that ultimately led to the signing of the Voting Rights Act.
The Look of Silence
A family that survives the genocide in Indonesia confronts the men who killed one of their brothers.
Testament of Youth
Testament of Youth is a powerful story of love, war and remembrance, based on the First World War memoir by Vera Brittain, which has become the classic testimony of that war from a woman’s point of view. A searing journey from youthful hopes and dreams to the edge of despair and back again, it’s a film about young love, the futility of war and how to make sense of the darkest times.
An Honest Liar
An Honest Liar tells the incredible story of the world-famous magician, escape artist, and world-renowned enemy of deception, James 'The Amazing' Randi. The film brings to life Randi's intricate investigations that publicly exposed psychics, faith healers, and con-artists with quasi-religious fervor. A master deceiver who came out of the closet at the age of 81, Randi created fictional characters, fake psychics, and even turned his partner of 25 years, Jose Alvarez, into a sham guru names Carlos.
The Monuments Men
Based on the true story of the greatest treasure hunt in history, The Monuments Men is an action drama focusing on seven over-the-hill, out-of-shape museum directors, artists, architects, curators, and art historians who went to the front lines of WWII to rescue the world’s artistic masterpieces from Nazi thieves and return them to their rightful owners. With the art hidden behind enemy lines, how could these guys hope to succeed?
Downton Abbey: A Moorland Holiday
Autumn of 1924. It's grouse shooting season and Rose's father-in-law invites the Crawley family to a shooting party in Northumberland.
Eccentric British painter J.M.W. Turner lives his last 25 years with gusto and secretly becomes involved with a seaside landlady, while his faithful housekeeper bears an unrequited love for him.
The Weight of Chains 2
'The Weight of Chains 2' is a documentary film largely dealing with the effects of the Washington Consensus economic doctrine on the newly established former Yugoslav republics, but also with neoliberalism as an economic concept. Through interviews with Noam Chomsky, Oliver Stone and many others, the author, Serbian-Canadian Boris Malagurski, attempts to analyze why so many people in the Balkans are disappointed with the systems imposed after the fall of socialism and how capitalism could be improved. Looking at the examples of Ecuador and Iceland, the film tries to uncover alternatives to the prevailing orthodoxies of Western economic dictates and help developing nations find their own way to shape their economies and their countries.
A documentary highlighting the Soviet Union's legendary and enigmatic hockey training culture and world-dominating team through the eyes of the team's Captain Slava Fetisov, following his shift from hockey star and celebrated national hero to political enemy.
In 79 A.D., Milo, a slave turned gladiator, finds himself in a race against time to save his true love Cassia, the beautiful daughter of a wealthy merchant who has been unwillingly betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius erupts in a torrent of blazing lava, Milo must fight his way out of the arena in order to save his beloved as the once magnificent Pompeii crumbles around him.
Billy Elliot: The Musical Live
In County Durham, England, 1984, a talented young dancer, Billy Elliot, stumbles out of the boxing ring and onto the ballet floor. He faces many trials and triumphs as he strives to conquer his family’s set ways, inner conflict, and standing on his toes in a musical that questions masculinity, gender norms and conformity.
Jimmy Gralton returns from New York and reopens his beloved community hall, only to meet opposition from the local parish.
The Barkley Marathons: The Race That Eats Its Young
In its first 25 years only 10 people have finished The Barkley Marathons. Based on a historic prison escape, this cult like race tempts people from around the world to test their limits of physical and mental endurance in this documentary that contemplates the value of pain.
Matt Shepard Is a Friend of Mine
An intimate portrait of Matthew Shepard, the gay young man murdered in one of the most notorious hate crimes in U.S. history. Framed through a personal lens, it's the story of loss, love, and courage in the face of unspeakable tragedy.
Kya Dilli Kya Lahore
In 1948, a cross-fire erupts at an isolated stretch of Indo-Pak border, leaving only two soldiers alive. One is an Indian soldier of Pakistani origin while the other happens to be a Pakistani soldier of Indian origin. An ironic story of pride and survival begins when - in an attempt to evade danger, they bump into each other. And amidst continuous exchange of bullets, altercations and murkier situations, it evolves into a journey of human connection with an unforeseeable end.
How to Change the World
In 1971, a group of friends sail into a nuclear test zone, and their protest captures the world's imagination. Using never before seen archive that brings their extraordinary world to life, How To Change The World is the story of the pioneers who founded Greenpeace and defined the modern green movement.
Follow the man behind the magic as he finds fame, engages in espionage, battles spiritualists and encounters the greatest names of the era, from U.S. presidents to Sir Arthur Conan Doyle and Grigori Rasputin.
The Rise and Rise of Bitcoin
A documentary about the development and spread of the virtual currency called Bitcoin.
Video Games: The Movie
From executive producer Zach Braff and director Jeremy Snead, "Video Games: The Movie" is an epic feature length documentary chronicling the meteoric rise of video games from nerd niche to multi-billion dollar industry. Narrated by Sean Astin and featuring in-depth interviews with the godfathers who started it all, the icons of game design, and the geek gurus who are leading us into the future, "Video Games: The Movie" is a celebration of gaming from Atari to Xbox and an eye-opening look at what lies ahead.
United States of Secrets (Part One): The Program
Last year Edward Snowden downloaded tens of thousands of top-secret documents from a highly secure government computer network. The revelations that followed touched off a fierce debate over the massive surveillance operations conducted by the National Security Agency. Through exclusive interviews with intelligence insiders, cabinet officials, and government whistle-blowers, the film reveals how the U.S. government came to monitor the communications of millions of Americans and to collect billions of records on ordinary people around the world.
The Galapagos Affair: Satan Came to Eden
Darwin meets Hitchcock in this documentary. Directors Dan Geller and Dayna Goldfine have created a parable about the search for paradise, set in the brutal yet alluring landscape of the Galapagos Islands, which interweaves an unsolved 1930s murder mystery with stories of present day Galapagos pioneers. A gripping tale of idealistic dreams gone awry, featuring voice-over performances by Cate Blanchett, Diane Kruger, and Gustaf Skarsgard.
The Hornet's Nest
Armed only with their cameras, Peabody and Emmy Award-winning conflict Journalist Mike Boettcher, and his son, Carlos, provide unprecedented access into the longest war in U.S. history.
A Prayer for Rain
Thirty years on from the 1984 Union Carbide plant malfunction, the consequences of which are tragically ongoing, A Prayer for Rain is the powerful and moving story of the Bhopal tragedy, one of the great corporate and environmental scandals of the last half-century. It dramatises the dependence of the local community on the chemical plant that will eventually cause catastrophe, and the series of oversights that led to an event that stands as a benchmark for corporate irresponsibility in the developing world.
PQ17: An Arctic Convoy Disaster
Jeremy Clarkson tells the dramatic story of the Arctic convoys of the Second World War, from Russia to the freezing Arctic Ocean.
On the outskirts of the Civil War, a boy is sent north by a bounty hunter gang to retrieve a wanted man.
Castles in the Sky
England, while the storm clouds of Nazism menace Germany. Robert Watson Watt and a team of eccentric and brilliant meteorologists struggle to turn the mere idea of radar into a functional reality.
The Better Angels
At an isolated log cabin in the harsh wilderness of Indiana circa 1817, the rhythms of love, tragedy, and the daily hardships of life on the developing frontier shaped one of our nation’s greatest heroes: Abraham Lincoln. Abe is a thoughtful and quiet boy who spends his days at the side of his beloved mother while learning to work the land from his stern father. When illness takes his mother, Abe's new guardian angel comes in the form of his new stepmother, who sees the potential in the boy and pushes for his further education.
The Poisoner's Handbook
In 1918, when New York City hired its first scientifically trained medical examiner Charles Norris. Over the course of a decade and a half, Norris and his extraordinarily driven and talented chief toxicologist, Alexander Gettler, would turn forensic chemistry into a formidable science, sending many a murderer to the electric chair and setting the standards that the rest of the country would ultimately adopt.
Walking with the Enemy
Regent Horthy is the leader of Hungary and a German ally, but his favorable standing with Hitler changes as the war comes to an end. Forced to cede Hungary’s power or else witness the execution of his son, Regent Horthy gives up control of his country to the Nazis, who quickly move Hungarians to ghettos and death camps, with no hope in sight. But the despair changes when a young man named Elek emerges. Separated from his family during the relocations and aided by the woman he loves , Elek defies the enemy by becoming one of them. In a race against time, disguised as a Nazi Officer he embarks on a mission to save his family and thousands of his countrymen.
The story of how a secret agent training school established in Canada during World War Two - and the training manual created specifically for it - laid the foundations for modern espionage in North America and gave birth to the CIA.
Daniel Bryan: Journey to WrestleMania 30
A WWE Network documentary chronicling Daniel Bryan's journey to WrestleMania XXX.
Century of Enslavement: The History of the Federal Reserve
What is the Federal Reserve system? How did it come into existence? Is it part of the federal government? How does it create money? Why is the public kept in the dark about these important matters? In this feature-length documentary film, The Corbett Report explores these important question and pulls back the curtain on America’s central bank.
In 1915 a man survives the Armenian genocide in the Ottoman Empire, but loses his family, speech and faith. One night he learns that his twin daughters may be alive, and goes on a quest to find them.
The history of barbed wire, whose use dates back to the first settlers of the Wild West, always driven by their reckless and ruthless spirit of conquest and selfish ambition to leave their mark on wild lands; of its relationship with politics and mercantilism; of the perversion of the millenary relationship between men and animals; of the evolution of surveillance techniques. Fences and borders: the tragic tale of the enclosure of the world.
D-Day: Normandy 1944
June 6, 1944: The largest Allied operation of World War II began in Normandy, France. Yet, few know in detail exactly why and how, from the end of 1943 through August 1944, this region became the most important location in the world. Blending multiple cinematographic techniques, including animation, CGI and stunning live-action images, “D-Day: Normandy 1944” brings this monumental event to the world’s largest screens for the first time ever. Audiences of all ages, including new generations, will discover from a new perspective how this landing changed the world. Exploring history, military strategy, science, technology and human values, the film will educate and appeal to all. Narrated by Tom Brokaw, “D-Day: Normandy 1944” pays tribute to those who gave their lives for our freedom… A duty of memory, a duty of gratitude.
Faberge: A Life of Its Own
This feature-doc tells the epic story of the Faberge name, from Imperial Russia until the present-day, spanning one hundred and fifty years of turbulent history, romance, artistic development and commercial exploitation. From the bejewel led Easter eggs of the Romanov Tsarinas to the 1970s allure of 'Brut by Faberge' aftershave, and from the Russian revolution to today's high-fashion glitz in New York and London, the film explores a multi-faceted world that began with one man: the prodigiously talented Peter Carl Faberge, Court Jeweler of St Petersburg. Shot at locations across Russia, Europe and USA (including the collection of Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II), the film features interview contributions from the world's foremost Faberge authorities, as well as personal reminiscences from Faberge family members.
Delving into our collective nightmares, this horror-documentary investigates the origins of our most terrifying urban legends and the true stories that may have inspired them.
Remembering The Fallen
A french veteran of World War II remembers a particular day.
Secrets of Underground London
On the surface, London is a buzzing, modern metropolis--but underneath lies a secret, hidden world. Secrets of Underground London uncovers 2000 years of subterranean history: a world of ancient caves and perfectly preserved Roman remains; mysterious rivers and gruesome plague pits; impenetrable vaults and top-secret bunkers.
The Winding Stream
The story of the American music dynasty, the Carters and Cashes, and their decades-long influence on popular music.
Escape From a Nazi Death Camp
From PBS - The secret Nazi death camp at Sobibor was created solely for the mass extermination of Jews. But on the 14th of October 1943, the inmates fought back, in the biggest and most successful prison outbreak of the Second World War. Told through the firsthand accounts of four survivors--Toivi Blatt, Phillip Bialowitz, Selma Engel-Wijnberg, and former Russian POW Semjon Rozenfeld--and using dramatic reenactments, Escape From a Nazi Death Camp recounts the true horror of life at Sobibor, and the desperation, determination, and courage of its prisoners. Of the 600 inmates present on the day of the escape, 300 escaped into the forest surrounding Sobibor. Of that 300, many were shot, turned in, murdered, or captured by Nazis. Around 50 survived the war and of that 50, only a handful are still alive. Now in their 80s and 90s, this is their last chance to reveal, in their own words, the true story of the day they escaped certain death to freedom.
Tales from the Royal Wardrobe
Today, few people's clothes attract as much attention as the royal family, but this is not a modern-day paparazzi-inspired obsession. Historian Dr. Lucy Worsley, Chief Curator at Historic Royal Palaces, reveals that it has always been this way. Exploring the royal wardrobes of our kings and queens over the last four hundred years, Lucy shows this isn't just a public fascination, but an important and powerful message from the monarchs. From Elizabeth I to the present Queen Elizabeth II, Lucy explains how the royal wardrobe's significance goes far beyond the cut and color of the clothing. Royal fashion is, and has always been, regarded as a very personal statement to reflect their power over the reign. Most kings and queens have carefully choreographed every aspect of their wardrobe; for those who have not, there have sometimes been calamitous consequences. As much today as in the past, royal fashion is as much about politics as it is about elegant attire.
Underwater Dreams, narrated by Michael Peña, is an epic story of how the sons of undocumented Mexican immigrants learned how to build underwater robots. And go up against MIT in the process.
Set Fire to the Stars
An aspiring poet in 1950s New York has his ordered world shaken when he embarks on a week-long retreat to save his hell raising hero, Dylan Thomas.
National Theatre Live: Medea
Medea is a wife and a mother. For the sake of her husband, Jason, she’s left her home and borne two sons in exile. But when he abandons his family for a new life, Medea faces banishment and separation from her children. Cornered, she begs for one day’s grace. It’s time enough. She exacts an appalling revenge and destroys everything she holds dear.
The Other Man: F.W. de Klerk and the End of Apartheid
F.W. de Klerk was the last President of apartheid-era South Africa. In less than 4 years he went from being Mandela's jailor to his deputy president. Together they changed history for the better and may have prevented a civil war, yet little is known about de Klerk. Through his probing lens, Rossier explores the fascinating political journey and legacy of this complicated figure.
1964 was the year the Beatles came to America, Cassius Clay became Muhammad Ali, and three civil rights workers were murdered in Mississippi. It was the year when Berkeley students rose up in protest, African Americans fought back against injustice in Harlem, and Barry Goldwater’s conservative revolution took over the Republican Party. In myriad ways, 1964 was the year when Americans faced choices: between the liberalism of Lyndon Johnson or Barry Goldwater’s grassroots conservatism, between support for the civil rights movement or opposition to it, between an embrace of the emerging counterculture or a defense of traditional values.
Forty years before WikiLeaks and the NSA scandal, there was Media, Pennsylvania. In 1971, eight activists plotted an intricate break-in to the local FBI offices to leak stolen documents and expose the illegal surveillance of ordinary Americans in an era of anti-war activism. In this riveting heist story, the perpetrators reveal themselves for the first time, reflecting on their actions and raising broader questions surrounding security leaks in activism today.
Anders Østergaard’s film is an investigative look at the year the Berlin Wall fell, documenting the events that took place in Hungary as a prelude to the dramatic changes in November 1989. The director recreates the events and leads the audiences deep into the politicians’ secret meeting rooms by using a mix of interviews, archive material and reconstructed scenes and dialogues.