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!
"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
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)
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
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
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.