Top 10 Underrated Historical Films You Need to Watch

Want to watch a history flick but you’re struggling to think of some that are genuinely captivating and thrilling to watch? Well, we’ve got you covered with this list historical flicks you may have missed!

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Your New Binge-Movie List

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

Idealistic Jefferson Smith finds himself appointed to the U.S. Senate, and while there, he takes a stand against corruption. The film encapsulates the fight for honesty in politics and the belief in the individual’s power to make a change.

Mr. Smith Goes to Washington is not just an entertaining film; it’s a commentary on the American political system. The narrative encourages viewers to maintain their ideals and to participate actively and knowledgeably in the democratic process.

The Iron Lady (2011)

The film offers a portrayal of Margaret Thatcher’s life, focusing both on her tenure as British Prime Minister and her life after leaving office. It provides a look into the personal and political struggles she faced, from her rise as a grocer’s daughter to becoming the leader of the Conservative Party and eventually the UK’s Prime Minister.

Framed through the lens of an elderly Thatcher reflecting on her life, the film intersperses these memories with scenes of her dealing with her husband’s death and her own aging and declining health.

13 Hours (2016)

The film focuses on six members of a security team—former military operators working as contractors for the CIA—who fought to defend the American diplomatic compound in Benghazi after waves of attacks by Islamic militants.

These attacks resulted in the death of the U.S. Ambassador to Libya, J. Christopher Stevens, and three other Americans. The story offers a ground-level view of the events, emphasizing the heroism, camaraderie, and challenges faced by the security team.

American Sniper (2014)

The film chronicles the life of Chris Kyle, who became one of the deadliest marksmen in U.S. military history with 160 officially confirmed kills out of 255 probable kills. The narrative covers his four tours in Iraq, his struggles with the horrors of war, and the challenges he faced in balancing his duty to his country and his responsibilities to his family.

After returning home, Kyle struggles with PTSD and the difficulty of leaving the war behind. Tragically, after finding a new purpose in helping fellow veterans, he is killed by a veteran he was trying to help.

Chappaquiddick (2017)

The film recounts the events of the night of July 18, 1969, when Senator Ted Kennedy drove his car off a bridge on Chappaquiddick Island in Massachusetts, resulting in the death of Mary Jo Kopechne, a 28-year-old campaign strategist who was a passenger in the car.

Instead of immediately reporting the accident, Kennedy waited ten hours to notify the police. The movie explores the subsequent political cover-up and the damage control orchestrated by Kennedy’s advisors, as well as Kennedy’s own moral dilemmas and the impact of the incident on his political career.

The Conspirator (2010)

The narrative focuses on Mary Surratt, the only female conspirator charged in the assassination plot to kill President Lincoln. Surratt owned the boarding house where John Wilkes Booth and others met and planned the assassination.

The film follows the trial of Surratt, as she is represented by reluctant defense attorney Frederick Aiken, a Union war hero. Throughout the trial, questions about Surratt’s guilt, the fairness of her trial, and the overarching tension between civil rights and national security are explored.

Black Hawk Down (2001)

The U.S. military launched a mission, Operation Restore Hope, to capture a powerful Somali warlord’s top lieutenants in Mogadishu. What was intended to be a quick and straightforward mission quickly went awry when two UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters were shot down by Somali militia.

The film focuses on the intense combat and rescue mission that ensued, where U.S. Army Rangers and Delta Force operators faced overwhelming odds against heavily armed Somali fighters. By the end of the mission, 18 American soldiers were killed, and over 70 were wounded.

J. Edgar (2011)

Spanning several decades, the film explores famed FBI Director J. Edgar Hoover’s rise to power, his formation and leadership of the FBI, his relationship with his close associate Clyde Tolson, and his interactions with various U.S. presidents.

The narrative touches upon Hoover’s obsession with maintaining public order, his often secretive and unorthodox methods, and his efforts to shape the FBI into a premier crime-fighting agency. While delving into the professional aspects of his life, the film also explores the complexities of Hoover’s personal life, including rumors about his sexuality.

Death of a Nation (2018)

The documentary covers various historical events and figures, including the American Civil War, the Reconstruction era, the rise of the Nazi Party in Germany, and more contemporary political developments in the U.S.

Throughout, creator Dinesh D’Souza aims to challenge the mainstream understanding of these events, often taking contrarian views.

Zero Dark Thirty (2012)

The film primarily follows Maya (played by Jessica Chastain), a fictional CIA intelligence analyst, as she becomes increasingly determined to locate infamous terrorist Osama bin Laden.

The narrative covers various efforts by the U.S. intelligence community, including the controversial use of torture for information, various leads, dead ends, and breakthroughs, and the raid on bin Laden’s compound in Abbottabad, Pakistan.

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Get Ready to Settle in for a Marathon

From biopics to documentaries, these films transport us into the very heart of significant moments and figures in history. Whether you’re looking for a thrilling drama or a thought-provoking documentary, this list has got you covered.

So, pop some popcorn, dim the lights, and dive into history like never before!

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