An accurate movie set in the Middle Ages?

I am deep into studying for the CLEP history test, and refusing a number of leisure time activities on the grounds of needing to study. I finally agreed to watch a movie on Thursday, provided it covered a period I’m studying and was historically accurate. Also something on DVD that Blockbuster would be likely to have. :wink: Kingdom of Heaven was a good example, but I’ve seen it. I’m shooting for the Middle Ages, but would also accept Greece, Rome, the Byzantine Empire, the Renaissance,and early modern Europe (up to 1648.) That’s pretty broad, but it HAS to be historically accurate.

El Cid or The Lion in Winter, for older ones.

The Name of the Rose or Elizabeth, for newer ones.

NOT Excalibur.

historically accurate how exactly?

Customes? Setting? Story?

You’re unlikely to get too much historical accuracy from hollywood, they tend to be more interested in telling you a story.


No, really. Ok it includes a mythical beast, and Michael Palin, but is suprisingly acurate in it’s setting and tone…and probably, in it’s number of excrement jokes (what do you think they joked about in the Middle Ages?)
Actualy I think The Name of the Rose would be quite good and I would recomend it but someone else has so I won’t, so there :stuck_out_tongue: .

My excellent Roman History professor showed his classes “Life of Brian”, claiming that it is actually very historically accurate in its overall portrayal of life in an outpost of the Roman Empire in the early first century A.D.

I was also going to say Jabberwocky. It’s probably one of the most accurate movies ever made about how the middle ages actually looked.

All the ones I was going to suggest have already been mentioned: Jabberwocky, the Name of the Rose. They seem to me to be reasonably accurate, although who really knows?

It’s one of my prefered movies, but I don’t think you can’t really tell it’s “historically accurate”.

A specific pet peeve of mine : the “bad guy” in the movie, Bernardo Gui, is a real historical character, and for having had some interest in him at some point, I can tell you he didn’t die while fleeing from a burning monastery. The fact that they used him in such a fictionnal way somehow irritated me.

Whoops! I didn’t realize I was disclosing a plot element to someone who asked about a movie he could watch. Would it be possible for a moderator to add a spoiler box to my previous post?

Not really a movie, and heck, I don’t even know if they’re available on VHS or DVD, but how about the Brother Cadfael mysteries? Does anyone else consider them to be accurate?

I would add however that some issues discussed/mentionned in the movie are quite accurate, as far as I can tell. I’m thinking for instance about the issue all the clerics are coming to the abbey to discuss. When you hear it for the first time in the movie it sounds completely outstandish, while it was actually a very seriously taken theological point at the time, for reasons that of course are not explained in the movie (both because it would not make for a very dramatic movie to explain it, and I assume because presented this way, it makes the clerics appear foolish).
Anyway, it’s once again one of my preffered movies so I’m going to recommend it in all cases…

By the way, though I doubt it’s easily available in the USA, I just thought about “The return of Martin Guerre” which is based on a true story well backed by the trials documents (an american remake was set during the Civil war, with, AFAIK, a happier end).

Just to add that I thought about “the return of Martin Guerre” because I read comments lauding the historical accuracy of the movie (regarding costumes, buildings, customs, etc…). Though I personnally couldn’t tell personnally…

I believe it was Henry II (played by Peter O’Toole in Lion in the Winter who gave an estate to a minstrel to reward him for his composition “A Ding, a Whistle, and a Fart.” The actual melody is lost, however.

Good one! Very evokative of Medival village life, and of Medival legal structures the villagers lived under, and probably as accurate as you can get about both as it was, as noted, based on well established trial documents. Interesting story too. And yes, I think it would be available here.

And as I’m put in mine of men returning from the Crusades, how about “Robin and Marian”? I wouldn’t use the term “realistic” with any other Robin Hood story (mytho-poetically true, perhaps) but R &M had a lot of touches that rang true as far as what those characters’ fates would be in the actual Middle Ages.

Oh, please tell me the lyrics are still available :slight_smile: .

The Navigator NZ film

Ingmar Bergman films Seventh Seal etc.

The Internet Medieval Sourcebook has a comprehensive list of films spanning the period. The comments on accuracy are patchy, but do derive from those with a knowledge of the subject. They also have a list of best films by accuracy, selected by the site’s founder.

Most of these movies are really too late for “the Middle Ages”. **The Return of Martin Guerre[/B[, mentioned a couple of times above, is the first one I thought of.

Try Pier Paolo Pasolini’s The Canterbury Tales and The Decameron.

Of the most accurate films listed, the only one I’ve seen is The Mission. It’s a little late for the time frame you were interested in (it’s set in the 1700s), but it is a fantastic film.

In a similar vein and near the upper limit of your time frame, I would highly recommend Black Robe, which is about a Jesuit priest traveling to a mission in Quebec in the 1600s. Colleagues of mine who know a lot about the Native American groups of the region were greatly impressed by the level of accuracy in describing the cultures of the tribes mentioned and their relationship to the French. Like The Mission, this is not a light-hearted film, but well worth seeing.