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About a year ago I posted an attempt to wade through history via 100 films. There were suggestions, tweaks, omissions and additions. There is No Way You Can Get It Right, so here’s the latest attempt. It’s west-skewed by default, because that’s where I know my history, and that’s where I’ve seen my films. I’d love to include more on the history of the Arabian peninsula, the rise of the Indian subcontinent and how Denmark got its Lego, but I’ve just not seen those films. If you have, let me know and the list may yet change again.

If this tickles your fancy, I’ve a wealth of more of this nonsense on my site www.TheMovieTimeline.com, or get a daily tweet of today’s filmic event by following www.twitter.com/MovieTimeline.

For now, here’s the first third or so, from 1-30, from Scrat to the Mayans…

  1. The Tree of Life (2011) – The beginning of time: The universe begins, volcanoes erupt, a dinosaur feels compassion, then is wiped out by an asteroid.
  2. Ice Age (2002) – 100,000BC: A mammoth, a sloth, a saber-toothed squirrel, and two Brontops (odd, since they became extinct four million years previously) try to avoid the oncoming ice age.
  3. Quest For Fire (1981) – 80,000BC: No ‘One Million Years BC’ interaction of humans and dinosaurs here. Homo sapiens and Neanderthals vie for control of fire, with Desmond Morris making sure everyone aped apes.
  4. Land of the Pharaohs (1956) – 2580 BC: Joan Collins builds the Great Pyramid (with help). Can’t say Pharaoh than that.
  5. The Ten Commandments (1956) – 1400 BC: “Let my people go!” Charlton’s athletic.
  6. Troy (2004) – 1200BC: Horsey, horsey, don’t you stop… Beware of Greeks bearing gits.
  7. King Lear (1971) – 800BC: Shakespeare’s earliest-set work sees us among British Celts.
  8. 300 (2007) – 480BC: Controversial, took liberties, but it got people who don’t like history to watch a version of the Battle of Thermopylae.
  9. Spartacus (1960) – 73BC: A version in 1953 said, “I’m Spartacus!” And a 2004 remake also said, “I’m Spartacus!” Then the TV series in 2010 said… you get the idea.
  10. Julius Caesar (1953) – 44BC: He came, he saw, he invented a salad and some dogfood.
  11. Cleopatra (1963) – 48-30BC: The biggest sets, the most extras… what a Carry On.
  12. The Nativity Story (2006) – 2BC: The very first Noel.
  13. Ben-Hur (1959) – 26-35AD: Chariots of ire.
  14. The Passion of the Christ (2004) – 33AD: The Long Good Friday.
  15. The Life of Brian (1979) – 33AD: Because some leaders weren’t Messiahs, they were very naughty boys.
  16. Gladiator (2000) – 180AD: A commotion for Commodus: “Gladiator, you will go on my first whistle…”
  17. Red Cliff (2008) – 208AD: In the Three Kingdoms era, broken China.
  18. King Arthur (2004) – 400AD: Arthur lances, a lot.
  19. Attila (1954) – 406-453AD: Hun, I Shrunk The Army.
  20. Macbeth (1971) – Scotland, 1050: Is this Keith Chegwin as Banquo’s son I see before me?
  21. Mongol (2007) – 1170-1206: The wrath of (Genghis) Khan.
  22. The Lion In Winter (1968) – England, 1183: Henry II, Eleanor of Aquitaine nil.
  23. Kingdom of Heaven (2005) – Jerusalem, 1190: Orlando Bloom’s crusading for a bruising.
  24. The Adventures of Robin Hood (1938) – England, 1190: No dodgy Crowe accents, no dodgy Costner’s bottom, just Errol Flynn in green tights buckling some swash.
  25. Ironclad (2011) – England, 1215: Paul Giamatti can’t get into Rochester Castle, even though he chews all the scenery.
  26. Braveheart (1995) – Britain, 1290s: William Wallace fights for freeedommmm till he’s blue in the face.
  27. The Seventh Seal (1957)­ – Sweden, 1349: Things get plaguey. Knight takes on Death: “We’re gonna have chess on a beach…”
  28. Henry V (1944) – 1415: Henry v the French: “Once more unto the breach…”
  29. Joan of Arc (1948) – France, 1429: During the Hundred Years’ War, there’s a lot at stake.
  30. Apocalypto (2006) – 1502: Mayans choose favourite REM song, either ‘The End of the World as We Know It’ or ‘Losing My Religion’.

31-60 coming soon…