Gimme 5: Sweeping Epics!

According to Wikipedia, the epic film is one “that emphasizes human drama on a grand scale.” They are more ambitious in scope, have high production budgets, and usually have a much longer running time. From historical epics (The Birth of A Nation and Lawrence of Arabia) to war epics (Patton and El Cid) to romantic epics (Out of Africa and Doctor Zhivago), Hollywood has been making them for decades. I will try not to be repetitive in my film choices here (or else I would certainly put The Godfather films as epics) and Woody Allen doesn’t make these kind of movies, so sadly, no Woody on this “Gimme 5.” I will try and list my favorites of those most commonly viewed as a “saga” or “epic.” Really, the definition is up to you. So for this week, I am asking you to think big, think saga, think glorious and grandiose — and



I Will Start…

1. Fanny and Alexander (1982)
(not your typical “epic,” but Bergman’s 312-minute autobiographical film is everything that movies should be)
2. Reds (1981)
(Warren Beatty’s romantic epic is gorgeous from beginning to end)
3. The Ten Commandments (1956)
(Cecil DeMille’s last film; I’ve seen this story of Moses so many times & it never wears on me)
4. Braveheart (1995)
(Mel Gibson’s retelling of William Wallace’s story is a cinematic triumph. Freedom!!!)
5. Gone With the Wind (1939)
(I know it’s cliché, but there is a reason for it. And yes, I do love this outstanding achievement)

Now It’s YOUR Turn!!!


23 Responses to Gimme 5: Sweeping Epics!

  1. rtm says:

    Well this is easy. In order of favorites:

    1. BEN-HUR
    2. Gone with the Wind
    3. Lord of the Rings trilogy
    4. The Ten Commandments
    5. Gladiator

    • all great choices, Ruth! Well, except for LOTR, which I was never a fan of…but I am all alone there, I think. Gladiator was great and the “religious” epics of the time are timeless…

  2. twina24 says:

    I really like this post! I hope you will come check me out too. All of us movie researchers and analyzers should stick together and keep exchanging information. It is the best way to learn about something you love. I look forward to reading more of your posts

    • Thank you – and yes, it is good to keep in touch with other bloggers. That is one reason why I do the Gimme 5 — gives everyone a chance to share their faves on a given topic. I checked out your Scarlett site…looks like it should be a lot of fun. I look forward to more of your input on future posts — and reading your future articles….best of luck!

  3. Heather says:

    Awesome to see Braveheart and Gone With The Wind on your list. I hate and love that you do Top Fives. I do tens because I can’t shorten my list, but I like that you force my hand and make me do it, even if it cuts my soul into shreds. This one I may be able to do. First I’d like to give a shout out to Australia for trying. It was leaps and bounds better than I ever could have imagined it. Because of the lack of epic goodness in recent years I’d like to pay tribute to it, even though it doesn’t make my own prestigious list here.

    5. Gladiator
    4. L.A. Confidential
    3. Patton
    2. Gone With The Wind
    1. LOTR

    Honorable Mentions to The Last Samurai, Dances With Wolves and Braveheart

    • Australia??? Really??? I never even thought about seeing it because everything I read was beyond negative. Is it worth giving it a shot? I do my own Top 10’s — I like 10. But for this feature, I only do 5 every Friday because it is quicker and easier for readers to share and the task seems less demanding. Love Patton — great piece of work. Big fan of Gladiator too!

  4. Nora says:

    Gone WIth the Wind
    Lawrence of Arabia
    Lord of the Rings

    • Raul Duke says:

      Big surprise Gone with the Wind was your number 1 Nora. (not)
      Cleopatra. Liz Taylor is built for speed and comfort. Giddy Up!
      Titanic. You named your kid after F##KING Titanic!

      • Nora says:

        😛 Don’t get me started. You know what happens. Yes, Flying Spur is gorgeous. HA!! and what’s HIS name? F**king, Shrek?

    • Could never get into LOTR at all. I love GWTW, of course. I must admit that I need to be in a certain mood to watch Lawrence of Arabia. I can’t deal with Titanic. It has been a long, long time since I watched Cleopatra. It was just on TCM last week I think.

  5. Raul Duke says:

    1) Ben Hur
    2) The Ten Commandments
    3) Gone With The Wind
    4) The Longest Day
    5) Spartacus

  6. John says:

    1. Seven Samurai
    2. Fanny and Alexander
    3. Bridge on the River Kwai
    4. Napoleon and…

    I don’t know. Does Berlin Alexanderplatz count? The Godfather? If so, put me down for The Godfather.

  7. Corey says:

    It used to be a lot easier to recognize whether a film is considered an “Epic” or not because they would come with two VHS tapes. Now that it’s all DVD and Blu-Ray, I’m confused all over again. I’ll give it a shot though…

    1. Barry Lyndon
    2. Spartacus
    3. Schindler’s List
    4. Lawrence of Arabia
    5. Amadeus

    By the way, congrats on New York advancing to the ALCS.

  8. Sebastian says:

    Lord of the Rings
    The Matrix
    Lawrence of Arabia
    All Quiet on the Western Front

    • I thought Avatar was great to watch on the big screen, but I didn’t find it to be a great film. I would think there would be a lot of love for LOTR in this category. Lawrence is a classic, but I must admit…I have to be in the mood for it. Nice 5!!!

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