Name "epic" movies for me

Having just watched Sparticus in my new big widescreen TV, my friends and I thought it would be a good idea to increase my epic film collection. You know – casts of thousands, panoramic vistas, huge battles, etc.

We came up with a fairly small list of titles, and I’d like to have more choices. So far we’ve identified:

*Apocalypse Now
Ben Hur
A Bridge Too Far
Lawrence of Arabia
The Longest Day
Saving Private Ryan
The Ten Commandments
Von Ryan’s Express

There must be more. Please help out.

May I suggest:

Bridge on the River Kwai
Dr. Zhivago
It’s a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World
2001: A Space Odyssey
The Big Country

Ooh, now there’s a great start! Thanks.

Depends what your definition of an “epic” is, but I can recommend some silents:

The Big Parade (1925)
Ben-Hur (1926)
Intolerance (1916)
The Ten Commandments (1923)
Hearts of the World (1918)

All of them easily findable at (better) video stores

The Seven Samurai

The one that popped into my head as soon as I saw the thread title:

Gone With the Wind

I’d also recommend Gandhi

Eve, mentioning silents made me think of Eisenstein.

I’ve seen The Battleship Potemkin. Isn’t there another one about a Middle Ages war with Germany (or Prussia, or whatever the hell Germany was back then)?

Oddly, as you were responding to my thread, I was responding to yours.

I’m suprised that nobody has mentioned

*Godfather * Trilogy

Tora Tora Tora!

The Lord of the Rings

I thought of the Godfathers, since I have them. But they’re not quite what I’m looking for. They are more sociological rather than cinematic epics. Obviously they are also beautifully shot, but shot more intimately and in closeup than what I’m after.

Would “The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly” count?

Fiddler on the Roof

Aleksandr Nevsky.

The Star Wars series, although you may want to wait for the DVDs of the originals.


Are you limited to theatrical movies? There are a few “cast of thousands” TV films:

WAR AND REMEMBRANCE (it’s sequel; the two together cost more than 100 million 1980s )
BAND OF BROTHERS (probably the best WW2 cinematic effort I’ve ever seen and one that would work great on the “little big screen”, which reminds me-



Das Boot is one of my all-time favorites… the Director’s Cut DVD has a full hour of extra footage!

A bit on the lighter side, O Brother Where Art Thou is another winner.

I’m surprised no one’s mentioned The Patriot.

From the 1950’s

Strategic Air Command
Battle of the River Plate
The Searchers
War and Peace
North by Northwest
One-Eyed Jacks

although not all epics look great due to Paramount’s VistaVision process.

Epic, to me, implies a cast of thousands, some combination of war and adventure, and length. Fiddler on the Roof? Straight out. Shaving Ryan’s Privates? Not after the first 25 minutes, after which it becomes an entirely conventional one-of-every-ethnicity small group film. (Coincidentally, those first 25 minutes are the only ones worth watching; Spielberg has lousy taste in writing.)

Come to think of it, I haven’t seen a number of epics because the writing comes with such bad notices - Titanic and Pearl Harbor come to mind. In so many cases it seems the enormous, lovingly produced visuals are supposed to distract you from the horrendous dialogue.

My only addition that I’ve actually seen:

Ran, by Kurosawa, with some of the most beautifully intense battle scenes ever filmed.

Actually, the problem with bad, sentimentalized writing in epics seems pretty common: