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Napoleon: 7 must-watch films about historical figures

Ridley Scott’s biographical drama on Napoleon, documenting the French leader’s rise to power and legacy, is set to release on November 22nd 2023

Napoleon: 7 must-watch films about historical figures

List hai toh hit hai

Last Updated: 06.45 PM, Nov 20, 2023


Ridley Scott’s biographical drama on Napoleon, documenting the French leader’s rise to power and legacy, is set to release on November 22nd. The epic historical retelling features Joaquin Phoenix as Napoleon’s ruthless ascent to power and his turbulent relationship with his wife Joséphine, played by Vanessa Kirby. Napoleon premiered at Salle Pleyel in Paris on November 14 to a largely positive reception and most lauded the character study of one of the world’s great military leaders.So, for today’s episode of List hai toh hit hai, here are seven dramas based on historical figures that you can stream for a historical marathon!


Gandhi (Jio Cinema)

This epic biopic on Mahatma Gandhi focuses on the prominent landmarks in the leader’s life and his significant contributions to India’s freedom struggle. As the frontrunner of the non-violent resistance against British colonialism, the film covers various decisive moments from Gandhi’s life, including the segregation he experienced in South Africa, his faith in multiple religions to finally, his assassination in 1948, a year after India gained independence. Ben Kingsley plays the titular character in this compelling true-life story  written by John Briley and directed by Richard Attenborough. The film is a recipient of numerous accolades including the 55th Academy Award for Best Picture, Best Director, and Best Actor.

Lincoln (Sony LIV)

Secondly, we have Lincoln- a highly focused biographical drama documenting legendary American President Abraham Lincoln’s final four months in office as he attempts to eradicate the roots of slavery in the United States by implementing the 13th Amendment. The film is written by Tony Kushner and directed by Steven Spielberg, and stars Daniel Day-Lewis in the lead role as the president himself. The film secured accolades for both Spielberg and Day-Lewis at the Golden Globe Awards in 2012. The film is a loose adaptation of Doris Kearns Goodwin’s 2005 biography of the same name.

Schindler’s List (Amazon Prime Video)

Set against the backdrop of the Second World War, Schindler’s List is noted as ‘one of the greatest films ever made’ not only for its historical significance but also tone, acting atmosphere, score, cinematography, and most notably, Steven Spielberg’s direction. The film follows Oskar Schindler, a German industrialist who was credited with protecting more than a thousand mostly Polish–Jewish refugees from Germany by employing them in his factory. The entire film’s monochrome tone speaks to its timelessness, alongside the performances by Liam Neeson who plays Schindler, Ralph Fiennes who is seen as SS officer Amon Göth, and Ben Kingsley who slips into the role of Schindler's Jewish accountant Itzhak Stern. The compelling drama can be streamed on Amazon Prime Video.

The Legend of Bhagat Singh (Amazon Prime)

This Hindi period drama follows the life of Indian revolutionary Bhagat Singh – from his formative years to when he witnessed the Jallianwala Bagh massacre, to the day he was executed for his participation in the freedom struggle against the British. With Ajay Devgan in the lead playing Singh, the film was written and directed by Rajkumar Santoshi. Technical aspects of the film such as the direction, story, screenplay, and the performances of actors such as Devgan and Sushant Singh received due credit. History buffs can watch The Legend of Bhagat Singh on Amazon Prime Video.

First Man (Amazon Prime Video)
This biographical drama follows astronaut Neil Armstrong and the American space program Apollo 11 as it prepares for its moon landing mission in 1969. Originally to be helmed by Clint Eastwood, the film was passed onto Damien Chazelle who received much critical acclaim for his direction. The film was also lauded for its musical score and the moon landing sequence in the film were depicted with significant visual flourish. Ryan Gosling portrays the first man on the moon, Neil Armstrong alongside Claire Foy, Jason Clarke, Kyle Chandler, Corey Stoll, Christopher Abbott, and Ciarán Hinds in this film. First Man received numerous accolades and it is a film that’s capable of lifting your spirit. It is available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

Rang Rasiya (ZEE5)

A bilingual Hindi-English drama with an unconventional, erotic take on the 19th-century Indian painter Raja Ravi Varma is the sixth film on our list for its fascination fictionalisation of the artist and the era he brought to life. Although Varma’s artwork was considered to be conservative and hardly much is known about the revered artist, director Ketan Mehta’s depiction is flush with colour, drama and sensuality. Rang Rasiya stars Randeep Hooda playing the title character along with Nandana Sen as his love interest. Although the film never got an official release as it struggled to get a nod from the CBFC, Rang Rasiya was screened at The Times BFI London Film Festival. The film can be streamed on Zee 5.

Alexander (Hungama Play)

Our final pick is the epic historical drama Alexander directed by Oliver Stone with Colin Farrell in the lead playing the ancient Macedonian general and King Alexander the Great. The film is lauded for its historical accuracy with many critics hailing it for its accurate portrayal of the leader. Alexander is based on the 1973 book Alexander the Great by the University of Oxford historian Robin Lane Fox. The film is available to stream on Hungama Play.

Well that's all for this episode of List hai toh hit hai, until the next one its your host Nikhil signing out.

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Written by Vajra Zayara

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