11 Historical War Movies Like 'Gladiator' Everyone Should Watch

Updated on March 7, 2019
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Rahul is a movie addict who can never get enough of good films. His all time favorites are Inception, 12 Angry Men, and Scarface.

What Movies Are Like Gladiator?

Gladiator is simple yet beautiful at the same time. It's a story of betrayal, honor, and revenge. When a Roman general's family is murdered by his corrupt king, he vows to get his revenge one day. He comes back to Rome as a Gladiator, winning people's heart with his brutal and stylish fighting.

Everything from the poetic script to fascinating acting is an example of how war movies should be made. If you loved it, it’s only fitting to look for some more movies like Gladiator. Let’s take a look.

Movies Similar To Gladiator

  1. Spartacus
  2. Braveheart
  3. The 13th Warrior
  4. The Last Samurai
  5. Titus
  6. Pompeii
  7. Rob Roy
  8. The Eagle
  9. 300
  10. Centurian
  11. King Arthur

1. Spartacus (1960)

The plot revolves around a slave who leads a revolution against the Roman elite. Things, however, don't go as planned for our dogged hero as he finds himself cornered on all fronts.

Spartacus was pretty lucky to make it to the big screen. With ego clashes all around, things were not looking good for this movie. But it all worked out in the end.

Even though it was made back in 1960, it’s still pretty amazing. It's a timeless movie that'll keep you on the edge of your seat. If you’re looking for some good movies like Gladiator, Spartacus should be right up your alley. While you’re at it, you should also give Spartacus, the TV show, a shot. It’s pretty epic.

2. Braveheart

The plot revolves around an idyllic couple. When the bride is murdered by an English soldier, William leads a revolution against the king in an attempt to avenge the execution.

Braveheart is as perfect as they come. Most people say The Shawshank Redemption or The Godfather is the best film ever made. Braveheart, however, remains my personal favorite. You need to watch this movie and decide for yourself. The story might be three hours long, but it hooks you right from the beginning.

Simply put, it's gorgeous! From slow-motion battle scenes to the costumes, there’s a lot to feast your eyes upon. I will go as far as to say that it’s one of the top 10 movies ever made.

3. The 13th Warrior

Based on the novel Eaters of the Dead by Michael Crichton, The 13th Warrior is the story of a man who falls for the wrong woman and gets sent by the Sultan to a land far away on a diplomatic mission. Things take a different turn when he stops at a Viking village to restock some supplies.

While it has every ingredient for a fascinating war movie—breathtaking scenery, incredible cinematography, and a gripping storyline—the wry sense of humor remains its main draw. The dialogue is executed with perfect timing. Due credit should be given to the camera work as well.

With a talented ensemble cast and a splendid script, The 13th Warrior cements its place as a must-watch movie like Gladiator.

4. The Last Samurai

When a US soldier is sent to destroy the last remnants of the Samurai culture, he ends up getting captured by the enemy. Slowly but surely, he starts embracing their culture. Eventually, he starts fighting for their cause, knowing full well that they don't stand a chance against a huge United States' army.

Being a big-budget movie with Tom Cruise in the lead, I was skeptical at first. Most of his movies revolve around typical Hollywood-style action sequences where he saves the day with his superhero-like performances. This movie, however, takes a different route, and it's all the better for it.

It’s disappointing to see that The Last Samurai doesn’t get the credit it deserves for its spellbinding script and authentic performances. Cruise shines in portraying a drunken soldier still living his past memories, breathing life into his character with such intensity and passion.

If you're looking for a movie like Gladiator, The Last Samurai should be your best bet.

5. Titus

Based upon a screenplay Shakespeare wrote pretty early in his career, the story revolves around the downfall of a vicious Roman General. He returns to Rome after winning a war, only to turn his own city into a battleground.

It's said that the original screenplay is filled with potholes. Despite all its downsides, the adaption is pretty good. Why? For starters, the script has been slightly changed. They’ve done a commendable job with bringing the best parts of the story into the light. It starts off slow but gets going in the latter half. Be patient and enjoy the ride.

6. Pompeii

When a slave turned gladiator’s true love is betrothed to a Roman senator against her will, he turns the whole game upside down in a race against time to save her.

The plot is far from original. We’ve all watched too many movies with evil Romans versus poor gladiators. The way everything pans out here, however, will keep you hooked till the end. If you’re a fan of costumes, sceneries, and huge sets, you’ll to love what Pompeii has to offer.

I get why this movie has gotten a mediocre user rating on IMDB and Metacritic. Apparently, the historical inaccuracy didn't go down well with history buffs.

The fact is, they weren’t aiming to be historically accurate. Those fixated upon its lack of accuracy are missing the point - it's supposed to be a flashy movie with a precise blend of facts and fiction. And for the most part, it does the job well.

7. Rob Roy

This movie takes place in the 1700s, chronicling the life of Rob Roy and his family. When they're wronged by a Nobleman and his family, he is forced to live a Robin Hood-style life. Will he take his revenge?

There is a reason this flick is compared with Braveheart a lot. While a lot of people agree that the latter is a better movie, Rob Roy topples Braveheart when it comes to maintaining authenticity. From the moment it begins to the moment credits roll, you’re going to have lots of fun. A perfectly balanced cast and an impressive mix of humor help Rob Roy stand out from others.

Due credit must be given to some amazing camera work as well. Swordfights are filmed expertly, which helps with immersion. The background music also plays a huge role, making for a tense, nail-biting experience.

8. The Eagle

The plot takes place in 140 AD, revolving around a Roman soldier on a quest to find out more about the mysterious disappearance of an entire region. Standing in his way are savage tribes living in uncharted highlands. As expected, things don't go as smoothly as he had planned.

If you're looking for something that stays true to history, The Eagle won't disappoint you. There are some parts that might get a rise out of you, but it stays classy and accurate for the most part.

9. 300

If you’re looking for a simple movie with one jaw-dropping fighting scene after another, 300 should be your best bet. From the slow-mo fights to extreme gore, it's a gorehounds' paradise.

The plot is pretty simple and straightforward, so much so that you can sum it up in a sentence. It’s confined to battle scenes with not much else going on. Love it or hate it, there’s no denying that it’s a fun ride. Give this nail-biting thriller a shot, if you haven't already.

10. Centurian

The plot revolves around a group of Roman Soldiers stranded behind the enemy lines. With no other option, they decide to give it all in hopes of eluding their inevitable fate.

Despite being one of the most violent movies ever, there is a sense of serenity in the midst of chaos, thanks to a solid plot and authentic performances. If you can stomach some gruesome fighting scenes, you will like what it has to offer. While it’s more gory and graphic than your usual war movie, a gripping storyline keeps the whole affair from falling into the gore-porn niche.

11. King Arthur

Tons of movies have been made revolving around the life of King Arthur, but they focus on the mystical elements for the most part. You've never been told the true story that inspired all the allegorical tales in the first place. The story takes place during the time when the Roman empire was losing its grip, resulting in skirmishes for power all over the world. It's up to Arthur to set the world in order - a mammoth task but not entirely impossible.

A meager 6.3 out of 10 on IMDB might make it look like an okayish movie, but it doesn't do justice to the impeccable quality of this pic. King Arthur has it all - epic battles, heroic characters, mesmerizing background music, and most importantly, a fascinating script. This Antoine Fuqua directed feature might not be as big as Gladiator in terms of scale, but it certainly pulls no punches.

Did I miss out on any other good movies like Gladiator? Let me know in the comments section.

Questions & Answers

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      • charity mtisi profile image

        charity mtisi 

        3 weeks ago from Johannesburg

        I have seen Gladiator and always wished it had had a happy ending, I have also seen "Braveheart" ,i couldn't watch the part where he is killed, again I had hoped for a happy ending. I have seen The last samurai, King Arthur. All very good to watch but no happy ending.

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