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How useful can we PAMers be if we don't give you any good movie recommendations? Starting today, each week we will give you a list of anywhere from one to several movie recommendations based on a current release. Sometimes it's as simple as telling you about other films from the same director, other times these might not be movies you've even heard of before. Consider us a more personable version of your Netflix recommendation generator.
This week we're focusing on Robin Hood, so we've got lots of Ridley Scott and historical action epics on hand for you to check out our add to your queue.
Kingdom of Heaven - The Director’s Cut
Ridley Scott’s first foray into the Middle Ages with his take on the Crusades. Kingdom of Heaven tells how Balian of Ibelin (Orlando Bloom), from humble origins in rural France, became the defender of Jerusalem for the Christian kingdom. Fox stupidly cut the film and marketed it as a simple action-adventure film; Kingdom of Heaven failed because of it. The Director’s Cut shows a more complex picture with good and bad guys in both the Christian and Muslims camps. Scott aimed to show a more balanced picture in a three-hour epic. There were also good bloody action scenes for the duration of the film.
Gladiator was the first collaboration between Scott and Russell Crowe. The rest is history. The pair gave the swords-and-sandals genre a great big dose of realism, violence, and testosterone. Scott set out to show a film with themes involving Roman politics, the idea of legacy and the violent world of the Roman Empire.
There are great action scenes, with one of the best opening battles in a film, excellent performances from Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix and great direction from Scott, getting the setting and the tone just right. Scott set out to show in-depth character development and not just a simple tale of good versus evil.
Even before the legend of Robin Hood there was Spartacus; the gladiator who led a massive slave rebellion against the Roman Empire in their heartland. Spartacus is one of the best sword-and-scandals epics from the '50s and '60s.
Directed by the great Stanley Kubrick, Spartacus is a fictional take on the legend, with Kirk Douglas playing the famous warrior. There are excellent battle and fight scenes in the film, some of the best in the era, but it was the more emotional scenes that gives Spartacus its edge and power over its contemporaries.
Spartacus provided some of the most important moments in Hollywood history: it ended the back-list system, where writers, actors and directors could be barred from work because of their political beliefs, ending the relationship between Douglas and Kubrick and it was Kubrick’s last Hollywood film after becoming disillusioned with bigwigs out West. Every film he made after Spartacus was produced and filmed in Britain (though Barry Lyndon was filmed in Ireland and Germany as well as England).
If Robin Hood wasn't historically accurate enough for you, then watch Downfall. Made in Germany, this is a powerful film about the last days of World War II in Europe and how the Nazi regime fell.