The American Film Institute has defined an epic film as “a genre of large scale films set in a cinematic interpretation of the past”. The Epic films can have stories which are part of any genre but due to their grandeur and their majestic scales, they occupy a space of their own.
Here are ten of the really good ones:
1. Lawrence of Arabia – 1962
Directed by David Lean and starring Peter O’Toole in his finest role, this film is believed to be the best epic ever made. Phenomenal cinematography and the expanse of the Sahara desert just added to the grandeur of this film. Many consider it to be one of the most influential films ever made.
2. Ben Hur – 1959
Winner of eleven Academy awards, this film directed by William Wyler, has been a great box-office success. It brought the biblical time period into the homes of the cinemagoers, and Charlton Heston went on to be the best epic film actor of all times!
3. Schindler’s List – 1993
Steven Spielberg’s epic about the Holocaust won innumerable awards and was judged to be a milestone in the genre of war and epic films. The story of a German businessman who saves countless Jewish lives, it is believed to be Spielberg’s finest film till now.
4. Gone with the Wind – 1939
Many consider this to be the best epic film ever made. Set in the time period of the American Civil War, it had extraordinary performances by Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh. A Hollywood blockbuster, it is an unforgettable film, and an epic of grand proportions.
5. Spartacus - 1960
Some great performances by Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier and Charles Laughton, raised this Stanley Kubrick above the ordinary. As time has passed it has grown in artistic value, and has been appreciated for its cinematic achievements.