Historical Films in their Chronological Context

A guide to better understand western history and historical movies

Note: It is a work-in-progress. I will add movies as they are out (and when I watch them). Please make suggestions for me to watch and add movies in the comments below.

Note also that the dates for the periods (themselves partly subjective and conceptual constructs) are to give some markers based on major events, but do not correspond to any abrupt change.


One often appreciates content when it makes a deeper sense, when it rings the bells of other knowledge and experiences stored in semantic or episodic memory. This is especially the case with historical material (whether realistic or fictionalized). History being very complex and convoluted, it is often hard to get the “bigger picture” of the full historical context. Thus, I decided, mostly to help my own understanding, to list here historical movies (mostly about western history) in the chronological order of the content they depict, so that the timeline and connections are clearer.

Middle-Ages (476 - 1453)

Starts with the Fall of Rome until the Fall of Constantinople.

Early Middle Ages (476 - 1000)

Starts with the Fall of Rome until the 1000 (convenience date).

High Middle Ages (1000 - 1357)

Starts from 1000 until the Black Plague.

Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

Kingdom of Heaven
  • When: during the Crusades of the 12th century and the reign of the leper King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (1161 – 1185).
  • Where: France and Jerusalem.
  • What: Battle of Hattin (1187).
  • Who: King Baldwin IV of Jerusalem (1161 – 1185), Saladin (1137 – 1193), Sibylla, Queen of Jerusalem (1160 – 1190).

Braveheart (1995)

Braveheart
  • When: during the reign Edward I “Longshanks” of England (1239 – 1307).
  • Where: Scotland.
  • What: First War of Scottish Independence (1296 - 1328).
  • Who: William Wallace (1270 - 1305), Robert the Bruce (1274 – 1329).

Outlaw King (2018)

outlaw king
  • When: 1304-1307, soon after the death of William Wallace (1270 - 1305), during the reign Edward I “Longshanks” of England (1239 – 1307).
  • Where: Scotland.
  • What: First War of Scottish Independence (1296 - 1328).
  • Who: Robert the Bruce (1274 – 1329), Edward I “Longshanks” of England (1239 – 1307), Edward II of England (1284 – 1327)

Late Middle Ages (1347 - 1453)

Starts with the Black Plague until the Fall of Constantinople and the Hundred Years’ War.

A Knight’s Tale (2001)

A Knight's Tale
  • When: Few years after the Black Plague (which finished around 1351), during the reign of King Edward III of England (1327 – 1377).
  • Where: England and France.
  • What: Is mentioned the Battle of Poitiers (1356), a major English victory in the Hundred Years’ War.
  • Who: Edward “the Black Prince” (1330 – 1376), son and heir of King Edward III of England (1327 – 1377), and the heir to the English throne, who died before his father and so his son, Richard II (1367 - 1400), succeeded to the throne instead until his deposition and take-over by Henry IV in 1399.

The King (2019)

the King
  • When: End of the reign of Henry IV of England (1367 - 1413), reign of Henry V of England (1386 – 1422) and Charles VI “le fol” of France (1368 – 1422).
  • Where: England and France.
  • What: Battle of Agincourt (1415).
  • Who: Henry IV of England (1367 - 1413), Henry V of England (1386 – 1422), Charles VI “le fol” of France (1368 – 1422)

The Messenger: The Story of Joan of Arc (1999)

the King
  • When: Coronation of the Dauphin Charles VII of France (1403 – 1461) and Henry VI of England (1421 – 1471), the disputed King of France from 1422 to 1453.
  • Where: France.
  • What: Life and death of Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431), the Siege of Orléans (1429).
  • Who: Joan of Arc (1412 – 1431), Charles VII of France (1403 – 1461)

Renaissance (1453 - 1715)

Starts with the Fall of Constantinople and the Hundred Years’ War until the death of Louis XIV of France.

The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

The Other Boleyn Girl
  • When: during the reign of Henry VIII of England (1491 – 1547).
  • Where: England.
  • What: Life and death of Anne Boleyn (1501 – 1536), second wife of Henry VIII after Catherine of Aragon (1485 – 1536) and mother of Elizabeth I of England (1533 – 1603).
  • Who: Henry VIII of England (1491 – 1547), Anne Boleyn (1501 – 1536), Mary Boleyn (1500 – 1543)

Mary Queen of Scots (2018)

Mary queen of scots
  • When: during the reign of Elizabeth I of England (1533 – 1603), daughter of Anne Boleyn.
  • Where: England.
  • What: Life of Mary, Queen of Scots (1542 – 1587), daughter of James V of Scotland and Margaret Tudor (daughter of Henry VII and sister of Henry VIII).
  • Who: Elizabeth I of England (1533 – 1603), Mary, Queen of Scots (1542 – 1587)

Elizabeth (1998)

Elizabeth
  • When: during the reign of Elizabeth I of England (1533 – 1603), daughter of Anne Boleyn.
  • Where: England.
  • What: Death of Mary, Queen of Scots (1587), defeat of the Spanish Armada (1588)
  • Who: Elizabeth I of England (1533 – 1603), Mary, Queen of Scots (1542 – 1587), Philip II of Spain (1527 –1598)

Enlightment (1715 - 1789)

Starts with the death of Louis XIV of France until the beginning of the French revolution.


Thanks for reading! Please leave any suggestions below 🤗

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