Nothing quite captures the drama, and excitement of life in medieval times quite like a good medieval movie or binge-watching one of the best medieval TV shows. These are the stories of knights, kings, and maidens that have captivated generations of viewers.
From epic historical dramas to feverish adventures, and thrilling tales of war, our list of the 30 best medieval movies ever made will transport you back to a world of mystery and wonder. We ranked these films according to their influence, and popularity, and based on what we think encapsulates best the spirit of the Middle Ages.
Best Medieval Movies Ever Made
- Valhalla Rising (2009)
- The Vikings (1958)
- Richard III (1955)
- Alexander (2004)
- The 13th Warrior (1999)
- Hamlet (1990)
- Medieval (2022)
- King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)
- Mulan: Rise of a Warrior (2009)
- Macbeth (2015)
- A Knight's Tale (2001)
- Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
- Outlaw King (2018)
- Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (2007)
- El Cid (1961)
- The Return of Martin Guerre (1982)
- The Name of the Rose (1986)
- The King (2019)
- Black Death (2010)
- The Northman (2022)
- Ran (1985)
- Monty Python & The Holy Grail (1975)
- Robin Hood (2010)
- The Last Duel (2021)
- Troy (2004)
- Seven Samurai (1954)
- 300 (2006)
- Ben-Hur (1959)
- Braveheart (1995)
- Gladiator (2000)
30. Richard III (1955)
- Cast: Laurence Olivier, Cedric Hardwicke, Nicholas Hannen
- Duration: 2h 41m
Richard III (1955) is one of the most acclaimed adaptations of a William Shakespeare play. It features a brilliant performance from Laurence Olivier in the lead role and an outstanding supporting cast. He brings a captivating and nuanced portrayal of Richard III, the ambitious brother of King Edward IV who maneuvers a meticulously crafted plan to obtain the crown for himself by any means necessary.
The story is further enhanced by Olivier’s adaptation, which captures the feel of the play while often highlighting scenes that make for truly captivating cinema. A classic to this day, Richard III is a must-watch for fans of Shakespearean theater and film alike.
29. Valhalla Rising (2009)
- Cast: Mads Mikkelsen, Maarten Stevenson, Alexander Morton
- Duration: 1h 33m
Valhalla Rising is a stunning cinematic experience that cannot be easily described. The movie revolves around Mads Mikkelsen’s character, “One Eye,” a mute warrior-slave who is freed from captivity and joins a group of crusaders on a journey to the Holy Land and soon finds himself in a strange and mysterious world of mythology.
The film is filled with raw violence, stunning cinematography, a droning soundtrack, and captivating performances from the cast. If you are a fan of raw and gritty medieval movies, this movie is an absolute must-watch.
28. The Vikings (1958)
- Cast: Kirk Douglas, Tony Curtis, Ernest Borgnine
- Duration: 1h 56m
A tale of two brothers, The Vikings (1958) is an action-packed adventure that tells the story of Einar and Eric, two half-brothers who are both vying for the throne of Northumbria in Britain. With Einar being a great warrior and Eric a former slave, they both have different motives for wanting the throne.
With Kirk Douglas and Tony Curtis in the lead roles, this classic movie is filled with gripping action scenes, bold performances, and a captivating storyline that will draw viewers in.
27. Alexander (2004)
- Cast: Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson, Angelina Jolie
- Duration: 2h 55m
Alexander (2004) is a riveting tale of one of the world’s most notable figures. The movie puts forth an interesting and captivating account of the man himself and his conquest of much of the known world. We follow Alexander as he conquers numerous nations, and faces many obstacles and struggles with his men as he tries to fulfill his mission.
Along the way, we are taken on a journey of Alexander’s relationships and life lessons that shape him into the man that would be remembered throughout history. From his rise to power and conquests, this is a movie to watch for any fan of medieval history.
26. The 13th Warrior (1999)
- Cast: Antonio Banderas, Diane Venora, Dennis Storhøi, Omar Sharif
- Duration: 1h 42m
The 13th Warrior is a thrilling historical epic featuring excellent performances from its star-studded cast. At its core, the movie is a story of friendship, loyalty, and courage as Ibn Fadlan (Antonio Banderas) is welcomed into the society of Viking warriors after initially being captured by them, and battles alongside them against an unexpected threat. With a unique blend of action, drama, and history, this movie is a must-see for those who enjoy historical epics and action films.
25. Hamlet (1990)
- Cast: Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates
- Duration: 2h 15m
Hamlet is a classic tragedy about love, power, and deceit. Mel Gibson plays the famous role of Hamlet brilliantly, making him an instantly recognizable figure. With its stunning cinematography, fine performances, and gripping story, this is a movie that will stay with you long after the credits have rolled.
It demonstrates how one man’s tragedy can affect an entire court and shows us why it has endured as one of Shakespeare’s most popular plays. A remarkable film for any fan of Shakespeare and classical cinema.
24. Medieval (2022)
- Cast: Ben Foster, Sophie Lowe, Michael Caine
- Duration: 2h 6m
Medieval is a heart-pounding tale of love, loyalty, and courage set against the backdrop of medieval Europe. Starring Ben Foster as Jan Zizka and Sophie Lowe as Lady Katherine, it promises to be an exciting and thrilling adventure.
Jan soon finds himself in a battle between good and evil, all while trying to save the woman he loves, as well as his country from the corruption and chaos of a crumbling Empire.
23. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)
- Cast: Charlie Hunnam, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Jude Law
- Duration: 2h 6m
King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is an entertaining adaptation of the classic King Arthur legend, with Guy Ritchie’s signature style. With an impressive cast and visually stunning cinematography, King Arthur: Legend of the Sword will keep you riveted right to the very end. Arthur’s quest to reclaim his birthright and save the kingdom from the evil Vortigern makes for a thrilling tale of epic proportions.
22. Mulan: Rise of a Warrior (2009)
- Cast: Wei Zhao, Kun Chen, Jaycee Chan
- Duration: 1h 54m
Mulan: Rise of a Warrior is an interesting take on the classic folk tale, focusing heavily on the war and Mulan’s journey as a leader. While there are plenty of action sequences in this film, the main focus is on Mulan’s character development as she learns to be a strong and courageous leader.
Wei Zhao, Kun Chen, and Jaycee Chan all deliver powerful performances in this movie and viewers will appreciate the film’s exploration of loyalty, bravery, and honor.
21. Macbeth (2015)
- Cast: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jack Madigan
- Duration: 1h 53m
Justin Kurzel’s Macbeth is a visually stunning adaptation of William Shakespeare’s play, but it strips away many of the key elements that drive the tragedy. Despite its brevity and intensity, there is not enough psychological depth to truly sympathize with Macbeth and Lady Macbeth’s actions.
Nevertheless, Kurzel definitely succeeded in capturing the dark and chaotic scenes from the play, and the performances from Michael Fassbender and Marion Cotillard are gripping enough to make it worth a watch.
20. A Knight’s Tale (2001)
- Cast: Heath Ledger, Mark Addy, Rufus Sewell
- Duration: 2h 12m
A Knight’s Tale is an exciting romp through the medieval world, with Heath Ledger in a star-making performance as William. With humor, action, and a captivating story, A Knight’s Tale is a great option for any fan of adventure and medieval romance movies. The film captures the spirit of hope that drives William to overcome seemingly insurmountable odds in his quest for glory.
19. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)
- Cast: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson
- Duration: 2h 24m
Kingdom of Heaven is an inspiring and captivating story about a man, Balian of Ibelin played by Orlando Bloom, who finds himself on the brink of history, shaped by his courage, skill, and devotion, following his father’s path of knighthood to protect the city of Jerusalem. It is a timeless classic that explores the themes of faith, loyalty, and courage during a time of intense warfare between Europe and the East.
18. Outlaw King (2018)
- Cast: Chris Pine, Stephen Dillane, Rebecca Robin
- Duration: 2h 1m
After being declared an outlaw, Robert the Bruce puts his courage and strategic thinking to the test in Outlaw King. Robert the Bruce (Chris Pine) leads a brave army of Scottish warriors to reclaim his throne and country.
Director David Mackenzie brings this epic tale of bravery and cunning to life with a stunning cast, detailed sets, and intense battle scenes, a story takes us through the true events of history, with a powerful message of courage and heroism.
17. Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan (2007)
- Cast: Tadanobu Asano, Amadu Mamadakov, Khulan Chuluun
- Duration: 2h 6m
Mongol: The Rise of Genghis Khan is a historically accurate epic, based on the true story of the Mongolian ruler. It combines adventure and romance with larger-than-life warfare and battle scenes to create an exciting journey through history. With excellent direction and powerful performances from its lead actors, the movie is a must-watch for all those interested in the fascinating story of Genghis Khan and the Mongol Empire.
16. El Cid (1961)
- Cast: Charlton Heston, Sophia Loren, Raf Vallone
- Duration: 3h 2m
In this classic historical drama, the two-time Academy Award winner Charlton Heston plays the role of the legendary Spanish hero, Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar (also known as ElCid), who must put aside his sense of honor to rally Spain and help break away from Moorish rule.
After killing the father of his beloved Jimena (played by Sophia Loren), the two lovers are reunited in marriage and must overcome their differences to help save Spain. With unforgettable action sequences and a stirring soundtrack by Miklos Rozsa, El Cid is a timeless tale of courage, honor, and undying love.
15. The Return of Martin Guerre (1982)
- Cast: Gérard Depardieu, Nathalie Baye, Maurice Barrier
- Duration: 1h 52m
The Return of Martin Guerre is an intriguing drama that follows the return of Martin Guerre to his village in France after being away in the war for almost a decade. His wife, Bertrande, struggles to make sense of the situation as Martin’s personality has completely changed – and she isn’t the only one who starts to doubt the real identity of Martin Guerre.
The movie is a compelling drama filled with mystery and suspense with strong performances from Gérard Depardieu, Nathalie Baye, and Maurice Barrier, which is sure to keep you glued to the screen until the very end.
14. The Name of the Rose (1986)
- Cast: Sean Connery, Christian Slater, Helmut Qualtinger
- Duration: 2h 10m
The Name of the Rose is an epic mystery-thriller starring Sean Connery as the brilliant monk William of Baskerville in 14th-century France. With the help of his novice, William must uncover a sinister conspiracy that threatens all of Christianity and challenge those in power for justice. With intense drama, beautiful cinematography, and thrilling medieval tales, this is a perfect movie for a classic movie night.
13. The King (2019)
- Cast: Tom Glynn-Carney, Gábor Czap, Tom Fisher
- Duration: 2h 20m
The King is a thrilling drama about a reluctant king ascending to the English throne and must navigate politics, chaos, and war. After an unexpected, tragic event, Hal (Timothée Chalamet) finds that he must embrace royal life and face his inner demons to succeed in becoming a wise and just ruler. With a powerful cast, this medieval movie is sure to entertain viewers with its captivating story of a young king on the rise.
12. Black Death (2010)
- Cast: Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Carice van Houten
- Duration: 1h 42m
Black Death is a gripping drama that follows a courageous young monk on a journey to uncover the truth about the plague and those who seek to use it to their own end. It offers an interesting look at the superstitions of people during the Middle Ages. The film is intense and thrilling and showcases some wonderful performances by its leads Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, and Carice van Houten.
11. The Northman (2022)
- Cast: Alexander Skarsgård, Nicole Kidman, Claes Bang
- Duration: 2h 17m
The Northman is a Viking epic that follows the legend of Amleth with stunning visuals and outstanding performances. Director Robert Eggers takes risks in his storytelling and delivers an intense climax filled with consequences of rage and forces of destiny, by exploring the traditions and rituals of Viking culture, and the struggles of a young Viking prince. Truly one of the best medieval movies that it’s not to be missed!
10. Ran (1985)
- Cast: Tatsuya Nakadai, Akira Terao, Jinpachi Nezu
- Duration: 2h 42m
Ran is an epic drama that brings to light the struggles of loyalty and betrayal. After his initial decision to divide his kingdom among his sons leads to civil war, Hidetora (Tatsuya Nakadai) must rely on the banished son Saburo (Daisuke Ryû) to restore peace.
The fantastic fight scenes and mesmerizing music composed by Toru Takemitsu make it one of the best medieval films ever directed by acclaimed director Akira Kurosawa.
9. Monty Python & The Holy Grail (1975)
- Cast: Graham Chapman, John Cleese, Eric Idle
- Duration: 1h 31m
Monty Python & The Holy Grail is a hilarious take on the classic tale of knights and their quest for the Holy Grail. While it’s often silly and slapstick, there are serious moments as well that add a level of depth to the story.
The movie’s unique blend of comedy and adventure with its story that takes us in the Middle Ages, and a memorable cast of characters make it one of the most beloved classic medieval comedy movies of all time.
8. Robin Hood (2010)
- Cast: Russell Crowe, Cate Blanchett, Matthew Macfadyen
- Duration: 2h 20m
Robin Hood is an iconic figure in history that has been immortalized in this movie adaptation. Starring Russell Crowe and Cate Blanchett, Robin Hood (2010) is an action-packed adventure that follows the legendary archer on his mission to save Nottingham from corruption.
With courage and cunning, he assembles a band of outlaws to take on the oppressive Sheriff of Nottingham and restore honor and justice to England. An exciting journey awaits viewers as they follow Robin Hood on his quest for freedom in this classic tale of good versus evil.
7. The Last Duel (2021)
- Cast: Matt Damon, Adam Driver, Jodie Comer
- Duration: 2h 32m
The Last Duel is a gripping and emotionally charged story of justice, courage, and the strength of one woman determined to stand up for what’s right, no matter the cost, a captivating drama that will keep viewers on the edge of their seats until the very end.
Director Ridley Scott masterfully brings this riveting story to life with breathtaking visuals, outstanding performances from stars Matt Damon, Adam Driver, and Jodie Comer, and a stirring soundtrack for a truly unforgettable medieval experience.
6. Troy (2004)
- Cast: Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Orlando Bloom
- Duration: 2h 43m
Troy (2004) is an epic war drama directed by Wolfgang Petersen. Based on the classic tale, follows the journey of the Greeks led by Agamemnon and the mighty Achilles as they sail to Troy to reclaim Helen from Paris. The movie has strong performances from Brad Pitt and Orlando Bloom and showcases their struggles with fate, one of my all-time favorite movies, an intense adventure that captivates you until the end.
5. Seven Samurai (1954)
- Cast: Toshirô Mifune, Takashi Shimura, Keiko Tsushima
- Duration: 3h 27m
Seven Samurai is an iconic film that follows the journey of a group of samurai who battle against bandits to protect a small village. Through the characters of Kambei, Kyuzo, and Kikuchiyo, we are able to observe the heroic and noble qualities of the samurai as they risk their lives to protect the people of this small village. A classic film that has inspired many remakes and sequels, Seven Samurai is a timeless masterpiece of cinema.
4. 300 (2006)
- Cast: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham
- Duration: 1h 57m
The movie 300 is a retelling of the Battle of Thermopylae in which 300 Spartans led by King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) valiantly fought against King Xerxes and his massive Persian army. The movie serves as a reminder of the heroism and sacrifice of those who fought in this famous battle, which has become an inspiring symbol of courage in the face of overwhelming odds.
3. Ben-Hur (1959)
- Cast: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd
- Duration: 3h 32m
One of the best movies like Gladiator, and the greatest all-time medieval classic, Ben-Hur is an epic tale of adventure, revenge, and redemption. Judah Ben-Hur’s journey to reclaim his honor and seek revenge against Messala is an unforgettable story that has captivated audiences for decades.
Featuring thrilling chariot races and incredible performances from Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, and Stephen Boyd, a long running time and sweeping scope, make a powerful cinematic experience, excellent for a Sunday evening movie night.
2. Braveheart (1995)
- Cast: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan
- Duration: 2h 58m
Braveheart is an epic movie released in 1995 that chronicles the story of William Wallace, a Scottish rebel who leads an uprising against the tyrannical Edward the Longshanks. Directed and starred by Mel Gibson, the film follows Wallace from his days as a young boy to his fight for freedom and Scotland.
Along the way, he gains allies, including Robert the Bruce, and has many victories. Awarded 5 Oscars, including Best Picture and Best Director, the movie Braveheart is considered to be one of the greatest medieval films of all time.
1. Gladiator (2000)
- Cast: Russell Crowe, Joaquin Phoenix, Connie Nielsen
- Duration: 2h 35m
Gladiator is an iconic classic film about a Roman general’s quest for revenge. In this epic story of courage, loyalty, and destiny, Maximus (Russell Crowe) is a powerful general who is betrayed by his own emperor and forced into the gladiator arenas to fight for his life.
Personally, I loved every minute of this movie, reseen it at least 6 times, and will continue to do so. I highly recommend it to anyone who hasn’t seen it! With 5 Oscars and over 1.5 million votes on IMBd, it is undoubtedly one of the greatest medieval films ever made.