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Ancient Movies: Best and the Worst

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  • Ancient Movies: Best and the Worst

    No I don't mean old movies, I mean movies that take place before or during Rome's collapse. My picks:

    For the Best

    1. Cleopatra - Awesome visuals, great dialogue, and it has a galley fight.

    2. Fall of the Roman Empire - Featuring Alec Guiness and Christopher Plummer no less. Watch it and see if you aren't reminded of a certain Ridley Scott movie.

    3. The Ten Commandments - Yes, I'm a sucker for cool visuals. And this movie doesn't fail to impress. Charlton Heston and Yul Brynner (et cet-er-a et ce-ter-a et ce-ter-a) work well for their parts.

    4. Spartacus

    5. Ben Hur - Props for galley fight and chariot race.

    Some might be offended by the lack of appearance for 300 Spartans but I didn't find the movie to be awesome. Good, yes. But lacking in the wide open visuals and in depth storylines of the previous epics it kind of fell short. But it was a good movie so I'll give it runner up status.

    For the Worst

    1. Constantine and the Cross - I hate to see one of my favorite historical characters portrayed in such a low budget movie. Instead of getting something of Cleopatra quality it's more along of lines of Duel of the Champions a movie that was bad, but not well known - so it doesn't make the list.

    2. 300 - This will definitely make some people mad, but 300 was cheesy. The battle scenes were awesome, which is good because the characters were so horribly overdone they became comical and impossible to take seriously. The overdoing of Xerxes makes Mila Jovovich's high strung portrayal of Joan of Arc look like Ben Stein on sedatives by comparison.

    3. Alexander - You saw this one coming. Alexander had such potential and Oliver Stone should be cast out of society for botching the film like he did.

    4. Sampson & Delilah - Another movie of potential that failed to impress. Like Oliver Stone, they pushed too much romance into what should have been more action based.
    A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

  • #2
    And the "Last Days of Pompeii" is no where on your list???? One of my old time late night favorites!
    Now it's ten years later but he still keeps up the fight
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    • #3
      Originally posted by panzermacher View Post
      And the "Last Days of Pompeii" is no where on your list???? One of my old time late night favorites!
      I've heard of that movie but have yet to find it (took me long enough to find Fall of the Roman Empire). If I ever come across a copy I'll be sure to give it a view.
      A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

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      • #4
        Troy was not even cheesy. It was Velveeta

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        • #5
          Originally posted by Miss.Saigon View Post
          Troy was not even cheesy. It was Velveeta
          Hey, I actually liked Troy! I would say it is about as historically accurate as 300 but it was fun to watch and the characters weren't so overdone.

          He he, real Bronze Age civiliazations didn't build temples on the seashore but built them within the city walls, for the very reason demonstrated by Brad Pitt's sack the temple scene.
          A new life awaits you in the off world colonies; the chance to begin again in a golden land of opportunity and adventure!

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          • #6
            Originally posted by pirateship1982 View Post
            Hey, I actually liked Troy! I would say it is about as historically accurate as 300 but it was fun to watch and the characters weren't so overdone..
            At least in 300 there were a Bunch of six pack abs to look at.

            Helen of Troy was supposed to be the most beautiful woman in the world. Well, I think they could have found a better Helen. And in the Mediterrnian she would not have been blond. But more than this, Helen could have had any man she wanted. Paris in the movie was a wimp and a loser. How could she have run off with him? His brother Hector was so much more the man. Defintely unlikely any woman would have started a war over sissy boy

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            • #7
              Originally posted by pirateship1982 View Post

              2. 300 - This will definitely make some people mad, but 300 was cheesy. The battle scenes were awesome, which is good because the characters were so horribly overdone they became comical and impossible to take seriously. The overdoing of Xerxes makes Mila Jovovich's high strung portrayal of Joan of Arc look like Ben Stein on sedatives by comparison.
              I haven't even seen it yet, I'm not a fan of Zach Snyder (and I'll go directly to hating his existence when he butchers The Watchmen), but I thought I'd point out you know.. it was off a comic book.
              “To discriminate against a thoroughly upright citizen because he belongs to some particular church, or because, like Abraham Lincoln, he has not avowed his allegiance to any church, is an outrage against that liberty of conscience which is one of the foundations of American life.”

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              • #8
                I would add some of my old favorites:

                The Robe with Richard Burtion and Victor mature.

                Quo Vadis with Robert Taylor, Deborah Kerr and Peter Ustinov.

                Julius Caeser with Marlon Brando and James Mason. Brando was a bit out of his league, but Mason and Gielgud were great. (I just love Shakespeare).

                A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum with Zero Mostel and Phil Silvers.

                I, Claudius with Derek Jacobi, John Hurt (a great Caligula) and future starship captain Patrick Stewart.

                And never forget the stirring classic Roman Legion-Hare!

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                • #9
                  I have to say that Spartacus stands above all others. Some film snobs look down on Kubrik fans. I'm just a film fan and I watch foreign movies - I draw the line at eating fancy foods and hating anything normal people watch. This is a classic like all his others though, and it has more flavor for the period than the others.

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                  • #10
                    I was never really a fan of the sword and sandal flicks. Most of them were far too cheesy ... until Gladiator! Loved that movie. And 300 too.

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                    • #11
                      Oh yeah, I also have to include The Emperor and the Assassin. Really I was prepared for another boring dancing show with silk wearing over-actors run up bamboo trees while fighting a hundred guys with one hand. It was nothing like it! The best historical movie about China I've ever seen. It actually gets the details right or at least believable. No overbeautified main characters here, but the characters are wearing rough spun regalia that looks like an ancient country at war. Also they fight with spears and arrows, not with metal fans and superswords that can cut through anything. There is no virtuous hero, but a mad tyrant who also happens to be fanatically courageous.
                      Great movie and I can't recommend it enough.....especially when compared so something like Hero.

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                      • #12
                        Hehe. Although I'm Chinese myself, I am never a fan of the Chinese sword-fighting/kung-fu genre. Too much exaggeration. I prefer the triad movies. In my books, Infernal Affairs is 100 times better than that low-quality remake/rip-off "Departed".

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                        • #13
                          Recently saw The Curse of the Golden Flowers. An epic film about the balance of power between the Emperor and the Queen and his three sons. Chow Yun Fat plays a despicable despot who is slowly poisoning his queen and pitting his sons against each other. As every plot unfolds, he is always one step ahead. Some hokey swordplay, but the sets are gorgeous and the story engrossing. Some of the battle scenes rival TLOR for raw numbers, but I don't think they are SFX. Maybe extras are cheap?

                          Check out the trailer Here





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                          • #14
                            It's filmed in China. Therefore, extras are cheaper than special effects!

                            Watched the movie. Terrible! It's a movie made for the western market. I never heard the local audience being so noisy before, chortling with derisive laughter frequently. Really, it's all style with no substance.

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by Ogukuo72 View Post
                              Hehe. Although I'm Chinese myself, I am never a fan of the Chinese sword-fighting/kung-fu genre. Too much exaggeration. I prefer the triad movies. In my books, Infernal Affairs is 100 times better than that low-quality remake/rip-off "Departed".
                              I don't like them either. It's actually refreshing to hear this. I think Chinese history is as interesting as anything of Greece or Rome, but the movies always appear so silly with everyone flying. Emperor and the Assassin departed from this totally. It was the kind of movie I would like to make or see more of - east and west, we are both hurting for enthusiastic realism (not 'Star Wars' and not political trash) in historical movies.
                              Asian crime movies are a little harder to get into though. To me, strangely enough, it's more foreign than an ancient setting, where at least an ordinary guy could know to run or fistfight, and not get whacked without a chance.

                              The Curse of the Golden Flowers.
                              Kind of neat costumes (they're either infantry armor or diving suits) but I have to agree; this movie bored the heck out of me and just seemed to continue the 'dance-fight' trend.
                              Last edited by Swampwolf; 17 Jul 07, 23:55.

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