ByLivingston Wade Oden, writer at Creators.co
Filmmaker here! Follow me on Twitter @livingstonoden
Livingston Wade Oden

Since Ben-Hur is being released, why don't we take a look at my choices of the five best epic films of all time!

5. Gladiator

Russell Crowe in Gladiator.
Russell Crowe in Gladiator.

"My name is Maximus Decimus Meridius..." You know the rest! Gladiator brought the sword and sandal epic back to the forefront of cinema, paving the way for films like Troy and 300. Russell Crowe won the Best Actor Oscar for his role in this tale of vengeance, not to mention the film's Oscar for Best Picture. Ridley Scott was in rare form, telling the story of a man stripped of his ranking in the Roman army, his family murdered, and turned a slave to only climb back to glory as a Gladiator.

4. Dances With Wolves

Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves
Kevin Costner in Dances With Wolves

Dances With Wolves, the first film directed by Kevin Costner, was the movie that made Orion Pictures push the release of The Silence of the Lambs by a year due to them not wanting the films competing in the Oscars. This Oscar winning film tells the story of a Civil War soldier who's stationed on the border of Lakota territory where he learns of the Natives way of life. The wide shots of the west and it's untouched surroundings are captured beautifully, and only adds to the story of a man's journey to a new future with a people he once considered savage.

3. Ben-Hur (1959)

Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur
Charlton Heston in Ben-Hur

The first film to win eleven Oscars, Ben-Hur is one of the first big epics in cinema's history. The chariot race alone was something never before seen by audiences, with it's big set pieces and grand scope it was impossible not to be amazed by how big this film was. Charlton Heston had a presence like no other on screen at the time, and his appearance as Ben-Hur only added to the grand spectacle of this film. If I were you I would see this film before seeing the remake this weekend. As good as the remake might possibly be, it will never touch the classic made sixty years before it.

2. Lord Of The Rings: The Return Of The King

Viggo Mortensen in The Return of the King
Viggo Mortensen in The Return of the King

The last film to be nominated for eleven awards and win them all, The Return of the King is the last film in the Lord of the Rings series. As good as the other two Lord of the Rings films are, this one had the biggest battles, the grandest scope, and an ending that lasted longer than most films. In the modern day this movie stands above the rest as what an epic film should be. The Return of the King had everything from it's massive action scenes to the small moments of love between characters like Sam and Frodo or Aragorn and Arwen.

1. The Ten Commandments

Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments
Charlton Heston in The Ten Commandments

The second film on this list starring Charlton Heston, and the first film to not be an Oscar winner for best Picture, The Ten Commandments is the best epic of all time. The story of Moses, one of the oldest stories in the world, is an epic tale all on it's own in the Bible but is brought to life in all it's glory by Cecil B. DeMille. Everything in this film, from the massive buildings and statues to the effects were cutting edge at the time and still hold up for the most part today. The commanding presence of Heston as Moses, the beautiful cinematography and direction is why this film is still an annual event on television every Easter and a must see for anyone looking for the grandest epic of all.

What do you think of this list? Did I miss an epic film that you think should be on here over the ones I have as my top 5? Let me know by commenting below.