As something of a history buff myself, I can promise you that true life is stranger – and often more intriguing and entertaining – than fiction. There’s a reason that some of our favorite films of all time are based on true events, and it’s that you can never come up with crazier events than some human has already done.
If Hollywood is looking for any new ideas, they should crack a history book – or maybe just browse Reddit and start with these 14 amazing events from real history.
14. Who needs a happy ending?
Defence of the Polish Post Office in Danzig. I know it shows up in the movie of Tin Drum but it really deserves its own full treatment.
Lightly armed and barely trained postmen hold off the SS. Not a happy ending but a really good tale.
13. What more do you need?
Battle of Jutland could use a modern movie depiction.
Massive battle, day and night, high drama, tension, massive explosions.
What more could you ask for?
12. Yes, please.
Sophie Blanchard was the world’s first woman to become a professional aeronaut: she had an appointment from Napoleon Bonaparte.
Her husband had been trying to make a living as a balloonist but fell to his death deep in debt. Sophie had a knack for it, giving shows and crossing the Alps in a balloon. She specialized in night flights and set off extremely dangerous fireworks beneath her hydrogen balloon.
At one point she nearly froze to death when her balloon went too high, then she nearly drowned when her balloon landed in a swamp near Naples. After a 15 year career she died in an aviation accident when her balloon caught on fire.
11. I’d pay to watch that.
Even better: the Haitian Revolution. I’m particular Touusaint
And it’s tied directly to the various revolutionary and counter-revolutionary politics in France. Some of it wild.
10. It would be tough to stomach.
I always thought a big-budget telling of The Donner Party would be pretty good. Not that low-budget version from 10 years ago. I want epic!
9. I do love me some ancient history.
Xenophon. He was a student of Socrates that was commander of a Greek mercenary company under Cyrus that nearly captured Babylon then had to retreat to Greece. Philosopher, historian, and military commander.
Peloponnese War would be awesome too with Alcibiades and Pericles.
8. The worst year ever.
A movie about the year 536 A.D. I don’t believe there is a movie on it. I’m specifically interested in the extreme weather events that occurred throughout this year.
“The worst year ever”
Summer temps were around 2C, summer snow fell in china, and large parts of Europe were covered in fog/smog for 18 months! Crops died, people starved, and then the bubonic plague hit.
7. Say it every day until it happens.
A black slave that stole a confederate transport ship, freed the slaves aboard, and sailed it to the union to be converted into a warship. Oh and then he became a congressman in South Carolina.
6. Humans, am I right?
The Halifax explosion in 1917.
Was looking for this, it was the largest man made explosion until the atomic bomb.
It obliterated a half mile radius around the ship, destroying buildings in a 1.6 mile radius.
It has suspense, tragedy, heroes, and an American led rescue effort.
5. Everyone loves Vikings.
The year 1066 when the vikings invaded England and then the Normans invaded England. Massive amounts of drama too.
If done well this would be amazing. It would need to feature Harold Godwinson, Harald Hardrada, and William of Normandy equally as the three main characters, and have them and their motives fleshed out. It would also need to delve into the relationship between Harold Godwinson and his brother Tostig, who was exiled to Denmark and was instrumental in the planning and execution of Harald Hardrada’s invasion.
In fact, there could be a film which just focuses on Harold Godwinson’s rise to power and his relationship with Tostig, with the battles as plot points. Basically, if Tostig wasn’t exiled there would be no Viking invasion and Harold Godwinson would almost certainly have won the battle of Hastings. In this narrative, William and Harald are supporting characters.
4. Too many to pick just one.
The construction of the pyramids in Egypt (either Snefru who built three pyramids during his lifetime or his son Khufu who built the Great Pyramid).
Anything related to Mesopotamia, like the rise of the Akkadian Empire or Babylon. I can’t recall any historical movie at all set in that location.
Epaminondas and the Theban hegemony.
The conflict between Gaius Marius (Julius Caesar’s uncle) and Sulla.
The Crisis of the 3rd Century in the Roman Century, which broke the empire in three states.
The Battle of Las Navas de Tolosa in the 13th century (a coalition of Spanish kings led by Richard the Lionheart’s brother in law defeated the radical Almohads, which basically was the turning point of the Reconquista).
The defense of Cartagena de Indias by admiral Blas de Lezo in the 18th century.
3. So many WWII movies, though.
The battle of Castle Itter. One of the final battles of WWII which involves a US tank division teaming up with Austrian resistance fighters, a German Army Major and a high ranking member of the SS to protect an free high ranking French prisoners from loyal Nazis in a medieval Austrian Castle.
Seriously it sounds like a random alt history DLC from a Call of Duty game but it actually happened. I know we have like 8 million WW2 movies but how this hasn’t been made yet still boggles my mind.
2. Well that’s terrible.
There was an engineer at NASA named Roger Boisjoly who knew the Challenger was going to explode and he tried to tell people but nobody would listen to him. The movie should be called The Man Who Knew.
1. A big undertaking.
Not really history, but retelling the Epic of Gilgamesh on the silver screen would be awesome.
I doubt anyone would want that pressure let alone the fact that no matter how good it can be people will still crap on it
I had never heard of some of these so I’m off to tumble down a rabbit hole.
What other historical events belong on this list? Let us know in the comments!