Outlaw King (2018)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

After the death of Braveheart’s William Wallace, came Robert the Bruce. This film is based on the true story of the 14th century Scottish hero. It’s an entertaining but imperfect action / biopic. Any flaws are made up for with the battle sequence at the end. Outlaw King manages to touch on the good parts of historical war films like Mel Gibson made, without spoiling things with their Hollywood cheese. This was directed by the man behind the excellent Hell or High Water, which also starred Chris Pine. He does a damn good job in the lead role too.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Bloody Sunday (2002)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

On January 30, 1972 British troops opened fire on a civil rights protest in Ireland. This is a well-made dramatization of the events. From what I have read, it is historically accurate, minus a few minor errors. Bloody Sunday is just as grim and violent as you would imagine, but important viewing for everyone.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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A Field in England (2013)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

As you may know, I am a huge fan of director Ben Wheatley (High-Rise, Rebecca, and Free Fire have all been recommended here). This is one of his most bizarre films, and I thoroughly enjoyed it. It’s a dark psychedelic experience set in 1648. Think Altered States meets a period Hammer Horror film. It is slower paced than some of than director’s other work, but you will not be bored. This is truly original filmmaking that is not to be missed. Also, if you happen to have The Criterion Channel, I highly recommend you check out Wheatley’s Kill List.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray (out of print).

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Hotel Mumbai (2018)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

This is a surprisingly well-constructed dramatization of the 2008 terror attacks. It does not pull any punches, so be prepared for a lot of graphic violence. The bloodshed is balanced with mostly-believable human stories. Hotel Mumbai manages to shine some light on a story that I didn’t know nearly enough about before watching.

Available on Blu-ray from Universal.

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Goya’s Ghosts (2006)

Streaming on Amazon Prime | imdb | trailer

Most people missed that the director behind One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest made a very good historical drama revolving around “the father of modern art” Francisco Goya. It stars Stellan Skarsgård, Natalie Portman, Javier Bardem, and Randy “Cannibal Father Knows Best” Quaid. As I often say, it isn’t perfect. However Goya’s Ghosts is a solid choice if you’re looking for a movie off the beaten path.

Blu-ray available from Samuel Goldwyn Films.

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The King (2019)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

Here’s a damn good historical drama based on Henry V. It’s got all the top quality elements in place: production design, cinematography, soundtrack, and performers. The film also features knights in full armor doing battle in graphic detail. I don’t recall anything else I’ve seen using period accurate (to my layman’s eye) outfits in combat like this. The movie is a bit on the long side, but don’t let that deter you. I didn’t fast forward even once.

Not available on Blu-ray.

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Defiance (2008)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

Here’s a solid big budget history-based war film about three Jewish brothers that were resistance fighters in WW2. This has a good blend of drama and action. I was a bit torn on recommending Defiance as it’s a borderline blockbuster. What the hell, I liked it.

Available on Blu-ray from Paramount.

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The Photographer of Mauthausen (2018)

Streaming on Netflix | imdb | trailer

This movie revolves around World War 2 Spanish prisoners in the Mauthausen concentration camp. Here’s another history-based drama that tells an interesting story I was totally unfamiliar with. The lead actor is Mario Casas from The Invisible Guest, who does a fine job. As you will imagine, this film is very dark. It is also, at times, brutally graphic. There are moments that feel a bit cheesy, but overall it’s an effective movie that I fully recommend.

Not available on domestic Blu-ray.

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Cold Case Hammarskjöld (2019)

Streaming on Hulu | imdb | trailer

A Danish comedian looks into a conspiracy theory behind the mysterious 1961 death of the Secretary-General of the United Nations. The film starts out with a Spinal Tap feel and ends with some very real and disturbing discoveries. Highly recommended.

Not available on Blu-ray.

If you are a fan of Anomalous Cinema please consider supporting the site over on Patreon. You’ll get exclusive content every week, and help in the creation of a book version very similar to what you see here.