8 Must-Watch Movies For Fans of Ancient Greece

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Humanity’s storied history never ceases to entertain us. From modern history and its major conflicts, to Ancient Rome to Feudal Japan, many films have been inspired by or adapted historical stories and events, with many succeeding commercially or receiving critical acclaim.

RELATED: 10 Best Award-Winning Historical Movies of All Time

Filmmakers love to revisit historical stories and, just as much, historical myths. Ancient Greece, therefore, is a breeding ground for some of the medium’s most gripping tales. Whether you’re a fan of the Underworld and the Olympians, or the era of antiquity that Ancient Greece embodies, there are more than a few films that every budding classicist might enjoy.

Clash of the Titans (1981)

Clash of the Titans holds the crown as one of cinema’s seminal adventure films, in addition to being one of the most enjoyable films about Greek mythology. Directed by Desmond Davis, the movie is inspired by the story of Perseus and adapts a version of his story for the silver screen.

The film boasted impressive visual effects for its time and featured some big names within its cast, including Maggie Smith and Laurence Olivier. Clash of the Titans was remade in 2010, with Sam Worthington playing Perseus, and was successful enough to get a sequel, Wrath of the Titans, which was released in 2012.

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The Killing of a Sacred Deer (2017)

While not set in or about Ancient Greece, The Killing of a Sacred Deer still deserves your time and attention. This psychological horror, directed by Yorgos Lanthimos, stars Colin Farrell, Nicole Kidman, Raffey Cassidy and Sunny Suljic as the Murphys, a family that begins to fall severely ill after befriending a mysterious young man (Barry Keoghan).

What fans of Ancient Greece will love about this film is how it serves as a chilling adaptation of Agamemnon’s offense against the goddess Artemis in the leadup to the Trojan War. With a modern setting and elements of horror, Lanthimos (also known for directing The Lobster) and The Killing of a Sacred Deer engages with the grim Greek parable in a unique, genre-defining way.

Troy (2004)

Adapting the Trojan War from Homer’s Iliad is quite a daunting task, but that was what Wolfgang Petersen (and writer David Benioff) did in the creation of the movie Troy. Petersen’s historical war film features an ensemble cast that includes the likes of Brad Pitt, Eric Bana, Diane Kruger, Sean Bean, and Orlando Bloom.

The film strips Homer’s original myth of its fantastical elements. Most notably, the film does not depict the gods participating in the events leading up to and during the Trojan War. Despite this, the focus on the humans in the film makes this more than a visceral action epic; 2004’s Troy is a gripping, if not tragic, viewing experience throughout.

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief (2010)

This one is for the young adult fiction fans out there. Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief is based on the 2005 young adult novel of the same name, the first in the Percy Jackson & the Olympians series. Directed by Chris Columbus, this 2010 fantasy adventure film stars Logan Lerman as Percy Jackson, a seemingly-normal boy who becomes forced to journey across the United States in order to recover Zeus’ stolen lightning bolt.

Despite the discontinuation of the series’ film adaptations, the story is set to be adapted again, this time into a Disney Plus series, with Walker Scobell of The Adam Project set to star in the leading role.

Jason and the Argonauts (1963)

Jason and the Argonauts is a delight for fans of film and Greek mythology alike. The movie is known for heavily featuring some of the most impressive work by Ray Harryhausen, who propelled the film and the field of special effects to greatness with his groundbreaking stop-motion animation.

RELATED: The Value and Impact of Ray Harryhausen’s “Dreamlike” Special Effects

For fans of fantasy and myth, Jason and the Argonauts, as you might have guessed, retells the story of the heroic Jason and his crew, their maritime adventures aboard the Argo, and their quest for the Golden Fleece.


Iphigenia (1977)

Iphigenia is a retelling of the sacrifice of Iphegenia, King Agamemnon’s daughter, in the leadup to the Trojan War. The foreign-language film is an adaptation of Iphigenia in Aulis, a play written by Euripides in 405 BC. Like Euripides’ play, director Michael Cacoyannis highlights the drama and tragedy of Iphigenia’s final days.

Trapped on Aulis, King Agamemnon (Kostas Kazakos) is commanded to kill his daughter (Tatiana Papamoschou) so as to ensure that his army and fleet reach Trojan soil. Nominated for the 1977 Academy Award for the Best Foreign Language Film, Iphigenia is a refreshing, somber take on one of Greek mythology’s most overlooked tragic figures.

300 (2006)

Zack Snyder’s films are considered to be some of the most exciting, yet frustrating, movies made today. Take 300 for example, his 2006 adaptation of the comic book series of the same name. Featuring kick-ass action, abs, and more slow-motion swordplay that any action movie fan can handle, the movie stars Gerard Butler as King Leonidas, leader of the Spartan fighting force known for their brave stand against the army of King Xerxes at the Battle of Thermopylae.

Fans of Greek history be warned: Snyder’s film throws realism and historical accuracy out the window, choosing instead to remain faithful to the heavily-stylized fantasy of the graphic novel that it adapts.

Alexander (2004)

Alexander is an epic drama of the Gladiator era of sword-and-sandal films. Unlike Ridley Scott’s historical action film, director Oliver Stone chose to focus on the psychological intricacies of one of history’s most successful conquerors, Alexander the Great.

The film stars Colin Farrell in the titular role and, in one of the actor’s best performances, focuses on the childhood, trauma, and interpersonal relationships of the ill-fated conqueror in addition to rendering the battles and feats of Alexander’s military years.

NEXT: 10 of the Best Movies Set in Ancient Rome


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