Capsule Reviews

These capsule reviews, written by students of HIST 3220: Medieval Hollywood at Fordham University, provide short, historical evaluations of "medieval" films for viewers interested in certain historical periods, themes, and personae. Many of the films appear in more than one category.

Angevin Empire - Films set during the reigns of Kings Henry II (r. 1154-89), Richard I (r. 1189-99), and / or John (r. 1199-1216), especially in Angevin territories (England, parts of Ireland, and much of present-day France).

The Animated Middle Ages - Digital or hand-drawn animated films set in the middle ages; most are children's films.  

Arthuriana - Any films about either the "historical" or literary King Arthur, including any Arthur-related characters found in medieval romance, such as Lancelot, Guinevere, Percival, Tristan and Isolde, etc. 

Colonialism - Films set in any period before 1750 that involve tensions between a colonizing group and an indigenous or colonized people. 

The Calamitous 14th Century - Films set in the fourteenth century dealing with social unrest caused by famine, plague, or the Hundred Years’ War.

Crusades - Films that feature any of the Crusades, interpreted broadly.

The Decline and Fringes of Empire - Films set in late antiquity (broadly interpreted here as c. 150-500), especially those with themes of a declining or weakening Roman Empire.

Joan of Arc - Films about, or that heavily feature, Joan of Arc (1412 - 1431), the sainted heroine of France, captured and accused of heresy, and executed in 1431 for her role in the Hundred Years' War.

Medieval Murder Mystery - Films about solving mysterious deaths or murders.

Peasants, Townspeople, and Social Life - Films that feature ordinary folks (who are not part of the nobility or clergy) in villages or towns as the main protagonists.

Politics and Warfare - Films set in the world of high politics (especially in royal courts) that also feature political or religious figures strategizing about, or involved in, war. 

Reformation - Films set in the sixteenth century featuring notable figures involved in either the Reformation or Counter-Reformation, including any significant conflicts between Catholics and Protestants. 

Religious Orders - Films that feature monks, nuns, friars, or Jesuit priests as main characters. 

Robin Hood - Films about the legendary outlaw.

Time Travel - Films that feature time travel, which can include characters going back in time to the middle ages, or medieval people being whisked into the present day.

Vikings - Films about, and set during the time of, the Vikings in the eighth, ninth, and / or tenth centuries; this category may also include cinematic adaptations of the Old English poem Beowulf.

Women and Power - Films that not only feature women in main roles as protagonists or antogonists, but also significantly explore, in some way, their leadership abilities, agency, or sexual expression.



Students of HIST 3220: Medieval Hollywood