Having just recently seen a couple of films which could be described as “epics” (Bridge on the River Kwai and Lawrence of Arabia), I’m curious; what would you all consider to be the greatest “epic” film you’ve ever seen?
For the purposes of this discussion, “epic” movies are movies with vast, sweeping storylines, stunning visuals, ensemble casts… basically any movie where the film had a significant impact on film history. For example; early films like Gone With The Wind, Casablanca, etc could be epics, but also more recent fare such as Avengers: Endgame (which wrapped up a 22 movie arc and contained arguably the most stars of a single film ever).
For me… at the moment, my pick has to go to three in particular. The earliest is probably Gone With The Wind, which was released in what many film historians consider the absolute greatest year for film in history, 1939. I also include Lawrence of Arabia in my list; the visuals are stunning, the cast is perfection, and the story holds your attention despite being nearly four hours long. And… Avengers: Endgame. Marvel Studios managed to take the MCU from the humble beginnings of using a largely forgotten (except among comic book nerds) character like Iron Man to try and see if they could make successful movies with their lesser-known characters, to a movie franchise unequaled among the superhero film genre and that is the most successful film franchise of all time by over twice the total of the closest grossing franchise to it (Star Wars, grossing just over $10 billion in comparison to the MCU’s nearly $23 billion). In a lot of ways, having now seen a couple of David Lean’s films and also comparing it to some of the earliest “epic” films Hollywood has to offer, I think Endgame is both a return and an homage to epic films of the past, which we have sadly lost in favor of the formulaic fare being churned out by the bucketful. The directors managed to balance out one of the largest casts ever assembled and give each of them significant screen time to tell their stories, seamlessly interweaving the varying plotlines in a way that hasn’t been done in Hollywood for a long, long time.
Honorable mentions have to be given to A Quiet Place (a film which relied mostly on its visual content to tell its story), Titanic, The Sound of Music, West Side Story, Clash of the Titans (the original Harryhausen version), Jason and the Argonauts, and the original King Kong.
So how about you guys? What would you consider to be an “epic” film, and which is the best you’ve seen? I should add, I am going to be taking notes and will likely watch a lot of the answers if I haven’t already seen the film, so this is also a suggestion list for new films I should see!