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15 Movies like Gladiator for Fans of Big Budget Epics

movies like gladiator

Historical epics are always a high budget affair, from sprawling landscapes to huge battlefield scenes, and high octane action set pieces, with a bit of the fantastical sprinkled in the mix. Movies like Gladiator have all of these and even more, and that’s why we’ve created a list of 15 movies just like the 2000 historical epic.

Gladiator, which features Russell Crowe and Joaquin Phoenix, follows the story of Maximus Decimus Meridius, a Roman general who is betrayed by Phoenix’s Commodus, the son of Emperor Marcus Aurelius. Aurelius is murdered by his own son, who goes on to take his place on the throne, and starts off his reign by banishing Maximus to slavery. Maximus has no choice than to redeem himself by becoming a gladiator with the aim of avenging his family’s death, and also the memory of the emperor.

One of 2000’s most successful and critically acclaimed movies, Gladiator was the second highest grossing film of the year behind Tom Cruise’s behemoth action franchise Mission: Impossible 2. Couple that achievement together with the five Academy Awards won by the movie, including Best Picture and Best Actor for Russell Crowe, and you have a classic sword-and-sandal hit, the likes of which we have rarely seen since. If you are a fan then here are 15 Movies like Gladiator we guarantee you’ll also enjoy.

List of Movies like Gladiator

1. Braveheart (1995)

Braveheart, similar to movies like Gladiator, is centered on a strong male protagonist. This time it’s William Wallace, a Scottish warlord who leads a revolution in his country against England, motivated by the murder of his love interest. He leads an army to fight against the English Army, advancing onto their territory battle after battle, all culminating in a climactic conclusion.

Released in 1995, Braveheart ticks all the boxes for a classic historical epic. Just like Gladiator it swept everywhere during award season, winning Best Picture and Best Director at the 68th Academy Awards. While it does take some liberties in terms of historical accuracy, this is still one movie that you oughta give a watch.

2. Ben Hur (1959)

A historical epic to end all epics, Ben-Hur was one that influenced the likes of movies similar to Gladiator. At more than 60 years old, it’s still the benchmark that historical epics are judged by and for good reason to. At the time of filming, Ben-Hur had the largest budget of any movie ever, as well as one of the most impressive, expensive and largest sets ever built.

This epic follows the story of a rich Jew, who gets in trouble with a Roman officer, who he happened to be friends with while growing up. It produced one of the most legendary action sequences with its chariot race. There’s just a lot to see and admire about this movie, and you should check out this classic whenever you have the chance.

3. The Last of the Mohicans (1992)

In The Last of The Mohicans, we are told a story about a Native American tribe that has slowly but gradually been dwindling in numbers. This tribe lives in peace and harmony with the British colonists, until one day, when a British colonel’s daughters are kidnapped, and Uncas, a Mohican, has to go head first into danger to rescue them, and maintain the peace.

In the same vein with films similar to Gladiator, The Last of The Mohicans is a rip roaring adventure that is a bit loose with history, but makes up for it with its quality writing and action. The Last of The Mohicans is one of those movies which elevates its source material even further instead of diminishing it, so if you were a James Fenimore Cooper’s book, then you should check this out.

Also Read: Movies like The Prestige

4. 300 (2006)

The movie that all but shot Zack Snyder into the limelight. 300’s distinct visual style, cinematography, color palette and editing, makes it one of the more memorable action movies of the 2000s, and one of the better entries in the historical epic genre since movies similar to Gladiator.

300 is set in 480 B.C., a time in which there is a war raging on between Persia and Greece. Leonidas, who is king of the small but formidable city of Sparta, Greece, leads an army of just 300 out to fight against the massive army of Persians.  If not for anything, you have to check it out for its unconventional visual style. Check it out in the trailer above!

5. The Last Samurai (2003)

The Last Samurai features Tom Cruise, as Nathan Algren, an American Regiment Captain, who gets into contact with some samurai warriors in 19th century Japan. He is asked to help train the newly formed Imperial Japanese Army for a businessman who wishes to use them in stopping a rebellion against the current Japanese emperor.

This movie has been praised for the true to life portrayal of Japan, with Japanese critics deeming it as miles ahead of any other American movie which is set in Japan or has attempted to showcase its culture. The Last Samurai in a big turn of events for a Hollywood movie, was actually a bigger hit in Japan than in the U.S. If you love films similar to Gladiator, then you’ll love this.

6. Shogun (1980)

Shogun is an American historical epicthat follows the story of an English explorer, loosely based on a real life navigator by the name of William Adams. This explorer journeys to Japan in 1600 and grows so much in power and influence, and so quickly that he is given the position of shogun, a high ranking military position.

Quite similar to movies like Gladiator, and maybe more to the previous one on this list due to its Japanese setting, Shogun was a groundbreaking TV movie, recording a good number of firsts for American television, especially in the aspect of violence, nudity, and language. If you want to see it all for yourself, then make sure to check this one out.

7. Spartacus (1960)

We’re back to the early days of cinema with Spartacus, a 1960s historical epic similar to movies like Gladiator. Spartacus follows the rebellious Thracian Spartacus, who starts off as a slave, and a gladiator in training under a trainer named Batiatus. He leads a rebellion with other slaves in the trainer’s custody, with the aim of leading them to freedom.

Based on the 1951 novel of the same name, Spartacus is one of the many historical epics that came off the back of the mammoth success that was Ben-Hur. This movie was also directed by a fledgling Stanley Kubrick, so if you want to see what he had going on prior to The Shining, then this is the movie for you.

8. Troy (2004)

Few movies have as epic a premise as Troy. With a star-filled cast, which sees Brad Pitt play Achilles, Troy is based on Homer’s Iliad, one of the oldest pieces of literature in existence. This epic follows the story of the Trojan War, the invasion of Troy by the Greek army, and the conflict between Achilles and Agamemnon, all of which are spurned by the decision of one man to steal a King’s wife.

It’s a hugely entertaining watch with some powerful performances by Pitt and Eric Bana, who plays Hector. Its battlefield scenes and one on one fights are a joy to watch, and it more than deserved its nomination for Best Costume Design at the 77th Academy Awards. There’s no doubt those particular scenes will live long in your memory should you decide to give it a watch. Try it out if you’re a fan of movies similar to Gladiator.

Also Read: Movies like The Godfather

9. Odysseus: Voyage to the Underworld (2008)

From Achilles and Hector, we move to another legend of the Iliad in Odysseus. Odysseus, who left his home of Ithaca for ten years to fight in the Trojan War, didn’t get to go home after it was all over. Instead he spent another ten years fighting different foes and overcoming different challenges all for the chance to get home.

This movie tells the story of this part of Homer’s Iliad in a simple and grounded way, although it is a bit restrained by its visual effects. It has some good performances in terms of acting, especially from Vosloo who plays Odysseus. If you like epic action adventure films like Gladiator, you should get something from this.

10. The Patriot (2000)

The Patriot is one of the more memorable historical epic films similar to Gladiator. It follows the story of Mel Gibson’s Captain Benjamin Martin, an American colonist who is reluctant to start a war with Great Britain. He has no choice in the end but to join in the Revolutionary War, alongside his son Corporal Gabriel Martin, played by Heath Ledger.  

Serious work was put into maintaining historical accuracy in The Patriot, especially in the setting, sets and costume design. All intended to showcase the true atmosphere of the years of the Revolutionary War. Mel Gibson shows off his acting chops on this movie and Heath Ledger gives a hint of the greatness that lied in wait for him a few years down the line.

11. Outlaw King (2018)

In recent years there seems to have been an attempt to revitalize the historical epic genre, and one of the movies that has tried to is Outlaw King. A straight to Netflix movie which is based around the Scottish Wars of Independence, the plot follows the Scottish King Robert the Bruce as he leads his troops to rebel against the rule of Edward I

It has a similar premise to a movie previously seen on this list, Braveheart, although the events of this movie takes place some years after. Outlaw King has some great big budget battle scenes, although it has been criticized for not being as historically accurate as it could be. The action is where it’s at though, so if you like movies like Gladiator, check this out on Netflix.

12. Pompeii (2014)

Pompeii is set in the city of the same name, a city which is located close to a volcanic mountain called Mount Vesuvius. This historical epic is similar in terms of scale and pacing to films like Gladiator. It features Game of Thrones’ very own Kit Harington as Milo, a gladiator who falls in love with a merchant’s daughter.

Things all seem to be coming to a head, until something happens which trivializes all the political tussles and class struggles, Mount Vesuvius erupts and threatens to wipe out the entire city. Pompeii is entertaining with some memorable action sequences, from its gladiator battles to its chariot chases through the city.

13. King Arthur: Legend of the Sword (2017)

King Arthur: Legend of the Sword is an epic action-adventure and a retelling of the legend of King Arthur. In this version of this story, Arthur has grown up far from the crown in the slums of the city without knowing who he is, as his father was murdered by Jude Law’s Uncle Vortigern.

King Arthur tries out a more modern style compared to movies like Gladiator. Charlie Hunnam gives a vibrant and cheeky performance as Arthur, and the movie on a whole is filled with entertaining set pieces. Check out this movie if you’re looking for something a little bit different.

14. Medieval (2022)

Medieval follows the story of Jan Žižka, a Bohemian army general who up till this point never lost a battle in his life. The movie is set just before the Hussite Wars of the 15th century, and shows how Jan built such a legendary reputation for himself in Warcraft and battle tactics, a reputation that still holds true till today.

This English language Czech historical epic is a visual spectacle with lots of intense fight scenes similar to films like Gladiator and Braveheart. It’s a good look into a rarely explored era of European history, at least on the big screen. You’ll find yourself wanting to read all about this time once you’re done watching this.

15. The Last Duel (2021)

Jean de Carrouges is a legendary knight in The Last Duel. This movie is set in medieval France, and is based on the 2004 book of the same name authored by Eric Jager. This movie follows the story of Carrouges as he challenges his friend to a duel after Carrouge’s wife accuses him of raping her.

It’s a tale of vengeance, violence, and justice, in the same vein as many films similar to Gladiator. The movie is split into three chapters, giving us different perspectives into the events of the movie. The Last Duel contains some real powerhouses in the likes of Matt Damon, Ben Affleck and Adam Driver, with the directorial reins taken by the legendary Ridley Scott.

Honorable Mentions

Here are some movies like Gladiator that didn’t quite make the list but you can watch regardless:

  1. Excalibur (1981)
  2. The Eagle (2011)
  3. Centurion (2010)

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.


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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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
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