Netflix is full of a wide range of movies, and that includes movies based on historical events. If you enjoy taking a step into the past and learning more about the world’s history, make sure to check out the fifteen best historical movies on Netflix.
15. Blonde, (2022)
Based on the bestselling novel by Joyce Carol Oates, Blonde dives into the life of one of Hollywood’s most enduring icons, Marilyn Monroe. Starting with her volatile childhood as Norma Jeane through her stardom and subsequent romantic entanglements, Blonde blurs fact and fiction to explore Monroe’s public and private selves.
- IMDb score: 5.5
14. Rustin, (2023)
You’ve probably never heard of Bayard Rustin, but he was a huge part of the civil rights movement. In Rustin, learn about the advisor to Martin Luther King Jr. who dedicated his life to the quest for racial equality, human rights, and worldwide democracy. But because Rustin was an openly gay man, he gets all but erased from the movement he helped build. Explore the world of Bayard Rustin in this film.
- IMDb score: 6.5
13. A Call to Spy, (2019)
Another hidden story emerges in A Call to Spy, a film that takes place at the dawn of World War II. Winston Churchill ordered his new spy agency to train women for covert operations. These female agents will help undermine the Nazi regime in France, and will also leave an unmistakable legacy in their wake.
- IMDb score: 6.7
12. 22 July, (2018)
Our next selection in the best historical movies on Netflix list is 22 July, a date that will be recognized for all those who live in Norway. In the three-part story learn about July 22, 2011, when right-wing terrorist Anders Behring Breivik murdered seventy-seven young people attending a Labour Party Youth Camp outside of Oslo. The film goes over the survivors of the attacks, the political leadership of Norway, and the lawyers involved in the event.
- IMDb score: 6.8
11. Outlaw King, (2018)
Dive back into the past by centuries in the Outlaw King. After being crowned King of Scotland, warrior Robert the Bruce was forced into exile by the occupying English Empire. Now, he must bring together a band of outlaws to reclaim the throne in a “true to historical events” journey.
- IMDb score: 6.9
10. The Forgotten Battle, (2020)
It’s September 1944, and The Allies have captured the port of Antwerp but the Germans still control the Scheldt estuary in The Forgotten Battle. Operation Market Garden was created, hoping to penetrate the German forces through Arnhem in Holland. A glider in the operation is forced to crash land behind enemy lines, and stories unravel that you may have never heard during this WWII film.
- IMDb score: 7.1
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9. Woman in Gold, (2015)
Dive into a piece of micro-history in Woman in Gold, where a woman tries to reclaim part of her family history through many difficult barriers. After Maria Altmann flees Vienna, sixty years pass until she attempts to reclaim family possessions taken by the Nazis. One of these pieces was Gustave Klimt’s “Portrait of Adele Bloch-Bauer I.” With the help of a young lawyer, Maria will embark on a lengthy battle to reclaim her family’s history even when Austria considers it a national treasure.
- IMDb score: 7.3
8. The King, (2019)
If you enjoy the reigns of Kings and old politics, you might want to watch the movie The King. Hal, wayward prince and heir to the English throne must come back to the world he hates after his tyrannical father dies, and is crowned King Henry V. As the young king tries to navigate the palace politics, he must also figure out the pieces that his father left behind, including a relationship with his closest friend and mentor John Falstaff.
- IMDb score: 7.3
7. 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, (2016)
One of the best historical movies on Netflix is 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi, which transports viewers back to September 11, 2012. When Islamic militants attacked the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, they killed both Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens and Foreign Service Officer Sean Smith. A six-man group, part of the Annex Security Team, must fight out the militants with gun fire to rescue the remaining Americans and save the day.
- IMDb score: 7.3
6. Darkest Hour, (2017)
Winston Churchill was a huge part of World War II, and it only makes sense that there would be a movie created about his exploits. In Darkest Hour, the newly appointed British Prime Minister must decide whether to negotiate with Hitler or fight against incredible odds. Set in 1940, Churchill will cement his presence over the next four weeks as one of the most important leaders in world history.
- IMDb score: 7.4
5. The Trial of the Chicago 7, (2020)
Charged by the federal government with conspiracy and more, The Trial of the Chicago 7 is set in 1969, arising from the countercultural protests in Chicago at the 1968 Democratic National Convention. The trial transfixed the nation when it occurred, and sparked a conversation about mayhem intended to undermine the U.S. government.
- IMDb score: 7.7
4. All Quiet on the Western Front, (2022)
Our top four choice in the best historical movies on Netflix list is All Quiet on the Western Front, which follows teenagers Paul Bäumer and his friends Albert and Müller who voluntarily enlist in the German army, riding a wave of patriotism that fades once they encounter the brutality of war. Even though Paul’s preconceptions about the enemies and right vs. wrong crumble, he must continue to fight in order to satisfy the top brass’ desire to end the war on a German offensive.
- IMDb score: 7.8
3. The Imitation Game, (2014)
If you enjoy actor Benedict Cumberbatch, then you will certainly enjoy his performance in The Imitation Game. It’s 1939, and the newly created intelligence agency M16 recruits Cambridge mathematics alumnus Alan Turing so he can crack Nazi codes, including Enigma, which cryptanalysts have previously thought to be unbreakable. He is joined by Joan Clarke to analyze the Enigma messages, building a machine to decipher them and finally does so in 1952. But instead of hailing him as a hero, authorities figure out he is gay and instead send him to prison.
- IMDb score: 8.0
2. Farha, (2021)
Our top two choice for the best historical movie on Netflix is Farha, which is a historical account of the Palestinian Nakba (aka catastrophe). A teenage Palestinian girl named Farha wants to further her education, but when armed troops enter her village amongst others, threatening to kill them unless they leave, she must endure a life of upheaval and uncertainty. This film aims to tell the story of inhumane occupation and how it started, as well as how it is still happening today.
- IMDb score: 8.1
1. Hacksaw Ridge, (2018) / Best Historical Movies on Netflix
Finally, our top choice for the best historical movies on Netflix is Hacksaw Ridge, which explores the true story of Pfc. Desmond T. Doss who won the Congressional Medal of Honor despite refusing to bear arms in WWII on religious grounds. Ostracized by fellow soldiers due to his pacifist stance, he went on to earn respect for his bravery, selflessness, and compassion after risking his life to save seventy-five men in the Battle of Okinawa, all without shooting a single bullet.
- IMDb score: 8.1
Historical movies can highlight certain points in time, but they can also bring to life forgotten heroes. I enjoy movies that give another glimpse into our history, and if you do too, make sure to watch these fifteen best historical movies on Netflix.