If you’re tired with today’s cinema, with the grayish colors and fast-paced action movies, then let’s take a look back at the time, when Hollywood was in its golden era, producing movies colored in technicolor with beautiful sceneries pleasant to watch. Here are ten epic movies not commonly known, which every movie enthusiast will look at with joy.
1.Intolerance: Love’s Struggle Throughout the Ages (1916)
The first movie on the list is also the oldest one. Dating back to 1916 this is a black and white silent movie. It was directed by D.W. Griffith, a well-known director often referred to as ’The Father of Film’. The movie consists of 4 stories, bound together with the themes of love and intolerance. Each story takes place in a different period.
From ancient Babylon to U.S. in the 1910’s we see how love struggled and how it was suppressed by hate. Even though this movie is still black and white and silent, it is without a doubt one of the first epic movies ever made. It had a budget of about $2.5 million and a single scene (of a Babylonian orgy) cost over 200,000 dollars.
In fact, the movie was so expensive that when it became a flop at the box-office the producing studio had to be put up for sale and D.W. Griffith who financed the film faced financial problems for the rest of his life. But thanks to D.W. Griffith and his visionary film-making we can enjoy this movie even today.
2.Samson and Delilah (1949)
This is a work of Cecil B. Demille, a well-known director of historical and biblical epics. The movie tells a story of Samson, the strongest man on earth, whose strength was within his hair. But because he rejects a woman, who, at first, loves him for his strength (yes, you are right, it was Delilah) his life turns over.
Delilah helps the Philistines when she cuts Samson’s hair, and Samson is imprisoned. Delilah regrets her decision because the evil guards hurt Samson’s eyes and Samson is blinded. Later Samson regains his strength and seeks vengeance and finally understands the feelings Delilah has for him. What is so exceptional about this movie is the cast of the movie.
Samson is played by Victor Mature, who perfectly fits in this role with his muscular body and his suffering expression and Delilah played by Hedy Lamarr, often regarded as the most beautiful women ever to appear in films. Her performance as Delilah, lovelorn at first and later haunted by her evil deeds is all movie fans could ever hope for.
3.Quo Vadis (1951)
‘’Quo Vadis, Domine?’’ ‘’Where are you going, Lord?’’ asked Saint Peter. And later Henryk Sienkiewicz gave this title to his historical novel about Nero’s tyranny and the birth of Christianity. And it was also the title of the movie adaptation which saved MGM from bankruptcy back in 1951.
With the budget of $7 million it surely was expensive at that time. However, Quo Vadis was a great success and made about three times its costs and it is no wonder. The story was flawlessly adapted from the book which won a Nobel prize.
The music from Miklós Rózsa helps to create the unique atmosphere and topped with Peter Ustinov’s brilliant performance as Nero; this movie simply had to be a blockbuster. It is funny that Ustinov was almost not cast because the studio thought he was too young. He replied to them stating that he will soon be older than Nero when he died, and afterward he got the part.
4.The Robe (1953)
Richard Burton. That is the reason this film made it on this list. Richard Burton, who started as a Shakespearian actor in English theaters, is without a doubt one of the biggest stars Hollywood has ever had. The Robe was his third major role in a movie and his first experience with historical movies could not be any better.
He embodies a Roman tribune Marcellus Gallio, whose mind is tormented after he fulfills his order to crucify Jesus Christ himself. At first, he is a true Roman man, loyal to his work and state, but after he comes in touch with the robe Jesus himself wore his whole life changes.
In a small manner at first, but later he aids the Christian rebels and helps them in a fight against the Roman oppression. It is just a pleasure to watch Richard Burton in any movie at any time. His acting skills are beyond compare and his face, intelligent and somehow wounded, always gets right into the spectator’s heart.
5.The Egyptian (1954)
It was in 1945 when Mika Waltari published his anti-war themed masterwork The Egyptian. And it was in 1954 when director Michael Curtiz, known for such pieces as Casablanca or The White Christmas, brought us the movie adaptation. It is obvious that an 800-pages-long novel could not be adapted satisfyingly in a 2-hours long movie.
Nevertheless, the film was, at the cost of $5 million, produced and although it’s artistic qualities may not be of the same level as the qualities of the book, the film has to be mentioned on this list. It is not surprising that the movie was in fact not gainful due to its immense costs and Fox (the producing studio) tried to make some profit by selling many set pieces to Paramount, for the production of the next item on this list, The Ten Commandments.
In the end, there were over 5 million items of clothing and other properties listed in the movies catalog and that surely makes this movie a true epic.
6.The Ten Commandments (1956)
Another film directed by Cecil B. Demille on this list and yet another biblical story. The Ten Commandments is without a doubt a milestone in the history of epic movies. It is the masterwork and also the legacy of one of Hollywood’s defining directors. With at least 14,000 extras and 15,000 animals used in this movie, the epicness was truly a pinnacle of Hollywood cinematography.
Perhaps the best example of Demille’s megalomania is the scene of orgy under Mount Sinai. In this scene, which took over three weeks to film, hundreds of extras were involved. The production costs were over $13 million (the most a film had cost up to that point)but thanks to its popularity the movie soon became a hit and collected over $90 million up to 1979.
Charlton Heston excels in the role of Moses, helping the Jews to flee from the Egyptian oppression and finally settling their affairs with the ten commandments received on Mount Sinai from God himself. And if you are asking, who was brave enough to voice God, when he appeared in the form of a burning bush, it was none other than Charlton Heston.