10 Must-Watch Movies For History Lovers

I’ve heard people say they don’t see the point in learning history. What use does it have to learn about things that already happened?. It might seem like that but history can be a wonderful teacher if we let it. Through historical events, we can see the mistakes we’ve made as a society in the past. Being aware of our mistakes could avoid repeating them. 

It may not seem like that’s the case. It might seem like the world keeps going downhill and there’s no solution. To that I say, revisit the past.

We forget how much evolution we’ve made as a society.

There has been quite a bit of progress in human rights for everyone. As well as technology and science. Not to say we don’t have a long way to go still, because we do. But we shouldn’t forget how far we’ve come. 

Learning the history of the world is a way to be aware of what we’ve done wrong and not do it again. If we were all more aware of our history, we would probably be even more advanced. 

Yet, it’s also a way to remember what we’ve done right. How society has come together. It could serve as a ray of hope. Hope that we’ll continue to evolve for the better. As a motivation to give our grain of salt to make our world as evolved & fair as possible. 

What better way to learn about our history than through film? To the people that say history is “boring”, I kind of get it. The way we’re usually taught history in school is very focused on memorizing dates. When the focus should be on understanding the events and how they affected the world.

If you want to learn more about history. Doing it by watching movies is a great way. There are movies on most historical events, if not all. You’ll have fun while learning. 

So, if you’re interested in learning more about the history of the world. We have a few movie recommendations for you to get started. These movies are a mix of different periods and countries’ histories.


1. The Pianist (2002)

This movie follows a young polish Jewish professional pianist during the Nazi invasion. He’s fighting to stay alive and hidden in Warsaw. You follow him on his journey throughout World War II. It’s a well-done film and a very emotional one. Be ready to shed some tears while learning about history.

2. 1917 (2019)

Going backward in time, live through World War I with “1917”. It takes you on the journey of 2 British soldiers on a presumably unachievable mission. They’re asked to go through enemy territory to deliver a message. 

If they fail to comply, thousands of fellow soldiers could die. Including one of the soldier’s brothers. So, the stakes are high. 

It’s a beautiful-looking history movie. Definitely a must-watch.

3. Gandhi (1982)

As you can guess, the movie follows the life of Mahatma Gandhi. This is a biographical drama. It details the most significant parts of Gandhi’s life. Leading up to him becoming a leader of the Indian fight to be free from the British empire. 

4. The Imitation Game (2014)

It follows the life of genius mathematician, Alan Turing. Focusing on his work during World War II. When he worked to solve the nazi enigma code. The story touches on his experience as a gay man at the time as well. 

His work was important to help beat the Germans and to the state of technology today. He should be more recognized for his contributions. This movie serves as an honor to him.

5. 12 Years A Slave (2013)

This movie tells the story of Solomon Northup. Solomon was a free black man from New York who gets kidnapped and sold into slavery. The story begins in 1841, before the civil war, and spans throughout 12 years. 

It details his experience as a slave in the south. It’s a raw depiction of racism at the time. It’s brutal with many difficult-to-watch scenes. But, it feels so brutal because it’s real.

6. Mary Queen Of Scots (2018)

Mary Stuart (Queen of Scots) is a widow by 18 years old. She married the king of France at 16, becoming queen of two of the most powerful countries. When her husband dies, she’s pressured to get remarried. But, she decides to return to her native Scotland to reclaim her throne. 

At the time, England and Scotland fell under the rule of Elizabeth I, Mary’s cousin. 

The movie focuses on Mary’s attempt to overthrow her. It tells the true story of two powerful queens in search of power in a man’s world. One that is pressuring both of them to get married.

7. Suffragette (2015)

This film is about the suffragette movement. The movement to grant women equality & the right to vote in England. It tells it through the eyes of a British working wife and mother, Maud Watts. 

With a cast full of incredible actresses like Meryl Streep, Carey Mulligan, and Helena Boham Carter. It’s a must-watch. Especially if you’re interested in learning more about feminism. Which is an important topic for us all to learn about.

8. The Trial Of The Chicago 7 (2020)

 In 1969, after the uprisings at the 1968 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.  Seven people were charged with conspiracy. With presumably enticing the riots. 

The movie takes you through the trial and everything that led the accused men there. It shines a light on racial injustice in the justice system and other issues.

9. Spotlight (2015)

It tells the true story of an investigative journalism unit in a Boston newspaper. This group uncovers the thousands of sexual child abuse cases by Roman Catholic priests. The movie tells the process of discovery and what comes after it. 

10. The Big Short (2015)

The big short deals with the 2007-2008 financial crisis as its historical event. It focuses on the years leading up to the crisis. They do that by following a few finance professionals who discover and profit off of it 

It’s a drama with a hint of comedy. It explains financial terms in everyday words. You’ll also see some celebrity cameos explaining these terms.


If you think about it, history is a form of storytelling. It has characters, a plot, and scenery like a book or movie would. If we learn it as if we were being told the plot of a movie, it will be easier. 

Movies have specific characters they focus on. Learning about history through the eyes of someone that lived it, whose life was affected by it, is better. It makes it easier to empathize with what happened. It feels more personal.

That being said, if you want to use movies as a way to learn. You need to make sure the ones you watch are historically accurate. They’re movies, after all, so the story might be more dramatized. That’s okay. But it’s good to do research beforehand to make sure what you watch is as accurate as possible. 

Lucky for you, that’s what we’re here for. We’ll be giving you more historical movie recommendations in the future. In the meantime, we hope you watch & enjoy these. And, that you come out of them with a wider understanding of the world.

Which historical movies would YOU recommend others to watch?

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