The five essential movies made about The Crusades all show great respect. insight knowledge of its subject matter. There have been few films made about the Crusades, but the best include a film dating back all the way to the 1930’s, a Kevin Costner action adventure from the 1990’s, and a director’s cut of a more recent film directed by Ridley Scott. Here are the five best movies about the Crusades, starting with the oldest.
- “The Crusades” (1935). Cecil B. DeMille, who would go on to make such famous epics as “The Ten Commandments” and “The Greatest Show on Earth,” directed this picture, and “the film credits Harold Lamb as one of the scriptwriters.” It stars Loretta Young as Berengaria, Princess of Navarre, and Henry Wilcoxon as Richard, King of England. The film was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Cinematography and looks amazing for such an old-time movie.
- “King Richard and the Crusaders” (1954). This film has an all-star cast including Rex Harrison as Emir Hderim Sultan Saladin and Virginia Mayo as Lady Edith Plantagenet. The film is about Richard I, “byname Richard the Lion-Hearted.” Based on the novel “The Talisman” by Sir Walter Scott, the David Butler-directed film is gloriously exciting and entertaining.
- “Saladin” (1963). Also known as “Saladin and the Great Crusades,” as well as “El Naser Salah el Dine,” this Egyptian film from the 1960’s is a must-see foreign film that shows Salah al-Din as “a ruler of the kingdoms surrounding the Latin state of Jerusalem.” The film was directed by Youssef Chahine and stars Ahmed Mazhar as Saladin.
- “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” (1991). This acclaimed blockbuster from 1991, starring such heavyweights as Kevin Costner, Morgan Freeman, and Alan Rickman, tells the story of Robin Hood coming to England and fighting against the tyranny of the Sheriff of Nottingham “to avenge his father’s death.” Kevin Reynolds, who would go on to direct the equally thrilling old-school epic “The Count of Monte Cristo,” keeps things moving at a brisk pace and allows for dynamic action scenes, as well as plenty of romance, throughout the engaging film.
- “Kingdom of Heaven: Director’s Cut” (2005). The terrific film released in May 2005 to movie theatres nationwide was only a part of the great vision director Ridley Scott had for this incredible story. The director’s cut, released on DVD in 2007, presents Scott’s epic the way it was meant to be seen. Orlando Bloom stars as Balian de Ibelin, as he travels to Jerusalem during the Crusades to find himself the ultimate defender of his city and people. While some director’s cut only change a few brief moments in the film, this immensely different cut is a completely different film. It is “radically altered from the financially unsuccessful version that unspooled in theatres in the summer of 2005,” and is in every way a better movie.