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10 Movies About Romans For Fans Of Historical Films

Movies about Romans

The history of the Roman Empire, its rise and fall, has been of interest to historians and readers for centuries. Cinema has been no exception. From taking inspiration from classical plays by Shakespeare to ultra-high-budget productions, here are a few excellent (not necessarily accurate) movies about Romans that will grip your imagination; check them out. 

List of Movies About Romans

  1. Gladiator
  2. Centurion
  3. Agora
  4. The Last Legion 
  5. Spartacus
  6. Titus 
  7. Ben-Hur
  8. Life of Brian
  9. Cleopatra
  10. Julius Caeser

1. Gladiator (2000)

Gladiator is an epic drama masterpiece set in Ancient Rome Empire. The story follows a high-ranking Roman soldier (Russell) who is forced into slavery while his family is murdered. Hence, he seeks revenge on the cruel Emperor Commodus (Joaquin Phoenix). The performances are terrific. Russell even wrote many of his iconic dialogues.

The movie was so well executed and popular upon its release that it became a blockbuster, earning $460 million and winning 5 Academy Awards. Gladiator is known for spawning a spike in the interest of the Ancient Roman Empire, referred to as the ‘Gladiator Effect’. Though Gladiator is now recognized for its cliches and parodies, it is truly one of the most iconic movies about Romans you can watch!

2. Centurion (2010)

Centurion is an action-packed war film following a Roman centurion and a man who is a son of a legendary gladiator as they lead a group of soldiers on a charge of a disputed camp to rescue a captured general. While the film is quite violent and gory, it presents a brutally riveting story. Micheal Fassbender is quite brilliant in his role.

The movie isn’t very historically accurate, but it is spectacular. Centurion, as a great tale, will make you wonder how primitive life was in the ancient days of Rome. The battle techniques from that period are plausible enough. The movie is a truly grand adventure; watch it if you’re in search of movies about Romans.

3. Agora (2009)

Agora is a biopic that stars Rachel Weisz as Hypatia, a philosopher, mathematician, and astronomer in the late 4th century of Roman Egypt. She investigates the faults of the geocentric Ptolemaic system and the heliocentric model that contests it. Being surrounded by religious turmoil and social unrest, Hypatia finds it difficult to save the knowledge of classical antiquity from being destroyed.

Amidst the increasing influence of Christianity on the Roman Empire, Greek philosopher and teacher Hypatia found herself targeted for favouring science over faith. If you are looking for a well-written movie about the Romans, check out Agora.

4. The Last Legion (2007)

After being betrayed by his allies, Roman emperor Romulus escaped to Britain and took up the daunting task of searching for a legion of supporters. This may not be the most historically accurate or perfect story, but The Last Legion is surely underrated.

Before the coronation of Romulus Ausgustulus in 475 AD as the Emporer, A Druid called Amborious becomes the tutor of the young Romulus Augustulus. Ambrosius is a member of a secret brotherhood that protects the sword of Julius Caesar. If you have seen Game of Thrones, you will see many of the actors from the series in this film about Romans as well.

5. Spartacus (1960)

The epic historical drama film directed by Stanley Kubrick Spartacus is based on the 1951 novel ‘Spartacus’ by Howard Fast. Considered by many to be a masterpiece, this film was highly influential upon release. This is a real-life story of a slave revolt that the Thracian Gladiator Spartacus led in 73 BC. 

Spartacus is a moving and compelling story of epic proportions. Surely a great film. Yes, the film is dated now, with no CGI, and it gets a bit corny in parts, but it packs a lot of incredible sequences. Spartacus existed in a brilliant era of classics where such films as this Lawrence of Arabia, Dr Zhivago and The Great Race. Your watchlist for movies about Romans is incomplete without Spartacus.

6. Titus (1999)

Titus is an adaptation of William Shakespeare’s revenge tragedy called Titus Andronicus, which is about the downfall of a Roman general, the first theatrically-released feature film adaptation of the play.

This is an epic revenge tragedy of brutal savagery based in Roman times. Titus, the general, returns to Rome victorious and decides to sacrifice the son of his enemy, the Goths, to appease the Roman dead. This one is by far the most interesting, well-produced, and heart-capturing film. The grim nature of the text is captured superbly by the director. Hopkins shines as usual. In fact, this is an excellently cast rendition of Titus to consider if you like watching movies about Romans. 

7. Ben-Hur (1959)

The film Ben-Hur follows a story of a hero named Judah Ben-Hur. He is a Jewish nobleman– falsely accused and convicted of an attempted assassination of the Roman governor of Judaea and consequently enslaved by the Romans. Judah Ben-Hur, a nobleman, is sentenced to years of slavery after being accused by his adopted brother, Messala of treason. However, he returns to seek revenge by competing with him in a race. 

Ben-Hur is truly an epic movie that is an exciting, violent, and heartfelt film with intense moments. The film is an all-rounder in showcasing human sentiments. The dialogue is concise and very well written. The mixture of myth and drama is perfect. Ben-Hur is a classic movie that has stood against the test of time and is perhaps one of the greatest films about Romans. Check it out.

8. Life of Brian (1979)

Monty Python’s Life of Brian, also known as Life of Brian, follows A young man, Brian, born on the same night as Jesus. He becomes intrigued by a young rebel, Judith. To try and impress her, he joins the independence movement against the Romans. However, in an attempt to hide from the Romans, he relays some of the teachings he heard from Jesus, which ends up spurring a crowd to believe he is the Messiah. While trying to get rid of his followers and reunite with Judith, he embarks on several misadventures.

The film has a lot of funny references, though I suppose some religious people would not find this movie funny. Irrelevant, brilliantly observed and finely crafted with a significant twist of madness and surrealism – by far Python’s crew’s best work. If you want to see light-hearted movies about the Roman Empire, I recommend you to watch this comedy film. 

9. Cleopatra (1963)

Cleopatra, the queen of Egypt, becomes the mistress of Julius Ceaser of Rome in order to save her kingdom. However, when Ceaser is assassinated, she becomes Mark Antony’s ally and lover. The story follows the struggles of Cleopatra, the young queen of Egypt, and the resistance to the imperial ambitions of Rome.

Quite a spectacle, It undoubtedly has slow, ponderous scenes, but overall the film is magnificent. The sets, photography, score and acting are excellent, even if the script has a few ridiculous and uninspiring moments. The scene depicting the arrival of Cleopatra in Tarsus is absolutely breathtaking, and both Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton put in epic performances. One of the greatest films about the Roman era.

10. Julius Caeser (1953)

I’m sure you might have heard about Julius Caesar. This epic classic is a definitive adaptation of Shakespeare’s play. Julius Caesar returns to Rome after defeating Pompey– the Great. His successful conquests make him rise to the status of a dictator amongst the high-ranking Romans, and hence they conspire to kill him.

Deemed as the best film version of Julius Caesar! This is a quick blitz through Julius Caesar’s tragedy. Here, Julius Caesar– the political treachery plotted out by Brutus and Cassius is played brilliantly by James Mason and John Gielgud, respectively. Movies about Romans like Julius Caesar will rouse the spirit and entertain all Shakespeare fans.

Honourable Mentions 

Here are a few movies about the Romans that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless:

  1. Pompeii (2014)
  2. The Fall of the Roman Empire (1964)
  3. Asterix and Obelix: Mansion of the Gods (2014)

When Lost aired over a decade ago, its successful narrative created a pop culture impact and changed the landscape of television. If you are a fan and want to watch shows like Lost then you can have a look at this list we made just for you.

Lost

The hugely successful television series Lost aired in 2004. The premise, as we know, deals with a group of people surviving a commercial passenger plane crash on a remote island. The show masterfully explores supernatural and sci-fi elements on this mysterious south Pacific island. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KTu8iDynwNc

The use of cliffhangers at the end of each episode of Lost kept the viewers on the edge of their seats, desperately craving for the next episode to come. Even though it's a large ensemble cast, most of the characters receive a justifiable personal arch. Lost was inspired by the movie Castaway and became one of the most expensive pilots to be shot at the time! Lost continues to be appreciated for its originality in storytelling and dynamic character arcs. 

List of TV Shows Like Lost

  1. The Leftovers
  2. Manifest
  3. Lost Room
  4. Twin Peaks
  5. The Prisoners
  6. Battlestar Galactica
  7. The New People
  8. Flight 29 Down
  9. Fringe
  10. Alcatraz
  11. Under the Dome
  12. Dark

1. The Leftovers (2014)

IMDB ratings: 8.3/10

Cast: Carrie Coon, Justin Theroux, Amy Brenneman and Margaret Qualley

Creator: Damon Lindelof and Tom Perrotta

The director of Lost, Damon Lindel also created a supernatural drama series called The Leftovers. The show begins 3 years after an unexplainable global event called ‘Sudden Departure’  where almost 2 per cent of the population, nearly 140 million people, disappear. The Leftovers isn't about WHY people are gone, it's about how the ones who remain dealt with their loss, people often try to comfort themselves with dreams, angels, gods, or even death.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FLT3YUALJno&t=8s

The Leftovers will leave you with so many questions but beyond words, you have to feel it and savour its unanswered questions to find peace. The Leftovers is an incredible television series that starts incredibly well but loses its way by the series's end. I have to say though, Carrie Coon has brilliant moments in the end. The Leftovers is so weird, fragmented and nonsensical at times that it reminds me of Lost. If you are looking for shows like Lost, I recommend that you give The Leftovers a try.

2. Manifest  (2018) 

IMDB ratings: 7.1/10

Cast: Melissa Roxburgh, Josh Dallas and J.R. Ramirez 

Creator: Jeff Rake


The Manifest is a supernatural drama show about a bunch of people who discover that they lost 5 years of their lives when they landed in New York after their aeroplane faced severe turbulence. All the people on the plane were presumed to be dead. Now, these people have to find a way to adjust themselves to a new life around their loved ones. Mild spoiler! They learn their loved ones and the rest of society is not as they left it.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I1hNAIzkQWY

I found that the show’s premise was very intriguing and the actors give a very convincing performance. The narrative details of the show, however, in my opinion, are a bit sloppy and inconsistent. The writers surely have room for improvement but their concept is incredibly thrilling. Every episode of Manifest keeps you on your toes. Manifest has completed 3 seasons up until now and continues to be on air. Manifest is a pretty good choice if you want to watch TV shows like Lost.

3. Lost Room (2006)

IMDB ratings: 8.1/10

Cast: Peter Krause, Julianna Margulies and Peter Jacobson

Creator: Christopher Leone, Laura Harkcom

This lesser-known show The Lost Room is an American Sci-fi television miniseries which only had 3 episodes of 90 mins each and no follow-up seasons. The show was based on a very unique idea where the room in question (known as the ‘Lost Room’) and the objects in the said room had supernatural powers. This strange room is set in a 1960s motel along the iconic U.S. Route 66. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DfWrECLnFYU

One day the protagonist (Peter Krause) Joe Miller’s daughter disappears inside the room. Joe, with the help of objects present in the room, tries to find his daughter Anna (Elle Fanning). The story of Lost Room was intensely engaging. I found the direction and the actor’s performances to be absolutely brilliant. It baffles me that the creators did not return to make another short season within the same concept. If you have been searching for TV series like Lost then I can assure you that Lost Room will be worth a watch.

4. Twins Peaks (1990) 

IMDB ratings: 8.8/10

Cast: Kyle MacLachlan, Mädchen Amick, Sherilyn Fenn and David Lynch

Creator: David Lynch

David Lynch, the well-known director of weird and captivating films such as Eraserhead and Blue Velvet created an iconic show called Twin Peaks. It is a hauntingly eccentric show about the investigation of the mysterious murder of a small-town homecoming queen named Laura Palmer. Believe me, as odd as the show may seem at first, you will grow to love it, after all, it is considered to be one of the best mystery shows ever created. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Zwn9ou_nf-I

With the mysteries, the supernatural elements and the list of bizarre characters, Twin Peaks has it all. In my opinion, the cinematography of the show was truly ahead of its time. Kyle’s Dale Cooper was especially entertaining. Twin Peaks’ experimental formula of the satirical soap opera is extremely unsettling yet rewarding to watch, I must warn you, it’s not for the faint-hearted!  If you are in search of TV shows like Lost then Twin Peaks won’t disappoint you.

The Prisoners (1967)

IMDB ratings: 8.5/10

Cast: Patrick McGoohan, Angelo Muscat and Geroge Markstien

Creator: Patrick McGoohan


The Prisoner centres around an unnamed British agent (Patrick McGoohan) who tries to flee his country after abruptly quitting his high-ranking government job. He is abducted and held captive in a strange ‘sea-side’ village that is isolated from the rest of the world. This village is a highly secure and monitored place filled with weird technology. There are only 17 episodes to this late 60s show but it manages to bring up such surreal surprises, it's sure to leave a great impact on the viewer.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4JrNr85fPms

The Prisoner’s unique concept influenced many popular shows including Lost. The creators of Lost even cited the show. I was very impressed by how ahead of its time The Prisoners proves to be. If you want to watch more shows similar to Lost the Prisoners should definitely be on your list.

6. Battlestar Galactica (2004)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Katee Sackhoff, Edward James Olmos and Tricia Helfer 

Creator: Glen A. Larson

The 2004 Battlestar Galactica is a reboot of the original 1978 miniseries of the same name. Do not be mistaken by the title, the show is not related to Star Trek.  Battlestar Galactica is set in the 7th millennium AD and follows Cylons, the robot enemy of humanity that resurfaces to destroy the 12 colonies of Mankind. Only a few survive and are able to escape on ships led by a powerful warship called Battlestar Galactica. Mankind struggles to fight the Cylons and work their own political agendas and disputes while finding their long-lost 13th colony Earth.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TnYsf2Yv8i8

The show is a dark, intense and gritty socio-political commentary with EPIC cinematic value. The script is especially clever and as a huge fan of sci-fi shows, this show ticks the boxes in all the right categories. When the show was released, it blew the viewers and critics away. As far as an obsessive and gripping story goes, Battlestar Galactica is one of the most similar to shows like Lost. 

7. The New People (1969)

IMDB ratings: 7.3/10

Cast: David Moses, Zooey hall and Tiffany Boiling

Creator: Larry Gordon Aaron Spelling

The New People is an American Tv series that aired only for 1 season and is focused on a couple of college students who survive a plane crash. The incident takes place while they were returning from a trip to Southeast Asia, their plane crashes on an island in the south of the Pacific ocean. 

By now this show must already be sounding a lot like Lost to you, and it surely is. The remaining group of people discover an unusual truth about the island: there’s an above-ground unused nuclear test site filled with supplies for the survivors. If you want to see more plane survival stories like Lost then The New People should definitely be on your list.

8. Flight 29 Down (2005)

IMDB ratings: 7.2/10

Cast: Allen Alvarado, Halle Hirsh and Corbin Bleu

Creator:  Stan Rowgow D. J. MacHale

The show Flight 29 Down is a drama series about a group of pre-teens/teens who are stranded on a South Pacific island after their plane crashes in a tropical storm while they were flying from an eco-adventure camping trip in Palau. The show is in many ways a younger version of the Adult-centred show Lost but sans the supernatural elements. I’d say that the show draws inspiration from the show The New People.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MLeG0w3kL8k

Flight 29 Down uses the technique of a video diary as a plot device for the viewers to keep up with the story of these children. It was very engaging to watch young intelligent characters finding their way on the island. The first two seasons of the show are quite engaging but I seemed to lose interest in its 3rd and final season. Regardless, Flight 29 Down is a really good series to watch if you want to see TV shows like Lost.

9. Fringe (2008)

IMDB ratings: 8.4/10

Cast: Anna Torv, John Noble and Joshua Jackson

Creator: J. J. Abrams, Alex Kurtzman, and Roberto Orci

Fringe is a popular Sci-fi crime drama television series. It may seem like a standard procedural drama at first, but the show actually explores the parallel universe, alternate versions of people filled with crazy scientific experiments. I personally had a great time watching this show.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=29bSzbqZ3xE

Fringe is actually inspired by shows like Lost, The X-files and The Twilight Zone. The 3 main characters of the show work with a special division called Fringe. There are so many brilliant twists and turns in Fringe that in my opinion, the show is at the top of its category. If you are searching for TV series like Lost, I strongly recommend you watch Fringe

10. Alcatraz (2012)

IMDB ratings: 6.9/10

Cast: Sarah Jones, George Garcia and Jonny Coyne 

Creator: Elizabeth Sarnoff, Steven Lilien, Bryan Wynbrandt

This American fiction show is based on the infamous Alcatraz Federal Penitentiary built on Alcatraz island in San Francisco Bay. The prison is now closed but once kept some of the most dangerous criminals of America. The show takes the liberty to make a show around the conspiracies of the place.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=V514ACIGp_k

In the interesting premise we see that under unknown circumstances, 256 inmates and 46 guards of the prison disappear without a trace. Later the disappeared ones start to appear one by one without ageing a day and resume their criminal activities with no realisation of disappearance. A special government unit is dedicated to finding and putting those criminals back in prison. If you are looking for mystery shows similar to Lost, try watching Alcatraz. 

11. Under the Dome (2013)

IMDB ratings: 6.5/10

Cast: Alexander Koch and Rachelle Lefevre

Creator: Stephen King

Based on a novel written by the sci-fi legend Stephen King, Under the Dome tells the story of the residents of the fictional small town called Chester's Mill, when a huge, transparent and indestructible dome suddenly cuts them off from the rest of the world. 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=f_Y5YeYrqUk

Now the trapped residents try to find a way to discover the truth, origin and purpose of these domes. This journey forces them into situations where they learn more about each other than they ever knew. Under the Dome may not be on the top of this list but it’s quite a decent watch if you’re looking for mystery shows similar to Lost

12. Dark (2017)

IMDB ratings: 8.7/10

Cast: Louis Hofmann, Lisa Vicari and Gina Stiebitz

Creator: Baran bo Odar, Jantje Friese

The German-language Netflix series Dark is an interesting blend of Science fiction and Mystery. Truly a compelling and mind-bending story to watch. At the beginning of Dark, many children suspiciously start disappearing in the German town of Winden. The dark past of generational mysteries of 4 families living in the town namely, Kahnwald, Nielsen, Doppler, and Tiedemann is brought to light.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=rrwycJ08PSA

After the discovery of a wormhole, the lives of the families intertwine more than one can imagine. I believe every element of the show is top-notch, especially Dark’s cinematography, which is a TRUE masterpiece. If you are looking for TV series similar to Lost then the intense and gripping story of Dark is sure to keep you engrossed.

Honourable Mentions

Here are a few TV shows like Lost that didn’t make the list, but you can check them out nonetheless: 

  1. Carnivale
  2. Yellowjackets
  3. Game of Thrones
  4. Black Mirror
  5. Flashforward