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Underrated Historical Movies That Performed Poorly At The Box Office

The best thing about historical films is that they vividly depict historical eras and/or genuine occurrences. While reading about them in literature is helpful, having someone else describe them to you can help you grasp them more fully. This is unquestionably one of the key factors in the long-term success of this genre. Recreations of the past are popular with audiences.
Despite this affection, the following historical films all had poor box office performances. They aren't awful, therefore this didn't happen. Not at all; they're actually pretty good. Instead, they were the victims of the many things that may make a movie do poorly at the box office, such as ineffective marketing campaigns, unappealing subject matter, and release dates when they had to compete with big-name films. Whatever the cause, these are compelling images that merit another opportunity at reaching a larger audience. Check out one of these underrated treasures the next time you want to take a cinematic journey through time.

#1 Silence

Underrated Historical MoviesSource: Paramount Pictures

It's always a big deal when Martin Scorsese directs a new film, but somehow Silence didn't get much attention when it hit theaters in late 2016. A big Christmas like Star Wars. Opening for release: Rogue One, Passengers, and Sing have been made less noticeable. This religious drama centers on his two 17th-century Portuguese missionaries, Father Sebastian Rodriguez (Andrew Garfield) and Father Francisco Garpe (Adam Driver). They travel to Japan in search of their missing mentor, Christovan Ferreira (Liam Neeson). There the men are also trying to spread Catholicism among the people. There is danger here as all forms of Christianity are banned by the ruling party.
Many of Scorsese's films contain Catholic imagery and themes. Silence brings them to the fore. It is a deep and meditative exploration of faith and spirituality. Garfield and Driver deliver performances of great conviction that help the themes resonate. Working with cinematographer Rodrigo Prieto, Scorsese brings a historic era to life. There is a misconception in some circles that Scorsese can only make Mafia Movies. Silence is further proof that this belief is not true in the slightest.

#2 Kingdom of Heaven

Underrated Historical MoviesSource: 20th Century Fox

Orlando Bloom plays Balian of Ibelin, a blacksmith who joins the Crusades and travels to Jerusalem on foot with his father, Baron Godfrey, in Ridley Scott's Kingdom of Heaven (Liam Neeson). His objective is to aid in the city's defense against Sultan Saladin (Ghassan Massoud), who is trying to wrest it from Christians. He eventually finds himself participating in the Battle of Hattin, possibly putting everything on the line for a cause he supports.
With the version of Kingdom of Heaven that was presented in theaters, Scott was utterly dissatisfied. The studio forced him to reportedly cut 45 minutes in order to make it shorter and more approachable for general audiences in order to satisfy the demands of test audiences. Later, he was permitted to publish a lengthier, more complex version on Blu-Ray. Both versions feature frantic, carefully staged fight scenes that are action-packed. The story is strengthened by new subplots in the longer version, which also includes more in-depth character relationships. It may be difficult to persuade people who were disappointed by the theatrical version to watch the director's cut, but it is unquestionably the grand vision Scott wished for everyone to see.

#3 Munich

Underrated Historical MoviesSource: Universal Pictures

It's strange to think that Steven Spielberg has a movie that could be called "underrated", given his unprecedented track record of success. However, for some reason, his intense drama Munich did not receive as much love from audiences as some of his other serious works, such as Schindler's List and Amistad, despite being well-received. Nominated for the Best Picture Oscar. Eric Bana stars as Avner, a former bodyguard who leads a top-secret team out to avenge those who kidnapped and murdered 11 Israeli athletes during the 1972 Olympics. Despite the many goals, in some cases, serious obstacles arise.
Munich is a revenge film fueled by a horrific act of real-life terror. It delves into Avner and his team members' feelings about their mission. At first, they were all enthusiastic, but then Avner began to doubt the correctness of his actions. And when there's evidence that the team is being played and someone might be targeting them, a sense of paranoia pervades. Spielberg assigns the film a political responsibility, grappling with the cycle of violence that has long been part of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. His passion for telling this story is evident throughout.

#4 The Courier

Underrated Historical MoviesSource: Lionsgate

The Courier stars Benedict Cumberbatch as Greville Wynne, a businessman approached with an offer by MI6 and CIA agents. They wanted him to settle in Moscow, establish a relationship with a Soviet officer willing to share sensitive information about Nikita Khrushchev's plans, and pass messages back and forth. The theory is that as an ordinary person, he will fly under Russia's sights, avoiding any doubt. Wynne hesitantly agrees after some coercion, only to find herself increasingly committed to an increasingly dangerous cause.
The film is based on a remarkable true story that exposes the field of espionage in its most secretive form. The tense suspense of watching an ordinary man be placed in situations that require tact so as not to reveal his cover. Knowing he had no formal training for such a job added to the stress. Cumberbatch was, as always, superb, demonstrating the growing pressure Wynne felt as MI6 and the CIA cornered him. The role required an actor who could suggest the moral motive the character felt to risk his life for his country, and Cumberbatch got it. Thus, this relatively unknown piece of history is absorbed from beginning to end.

#5 Letters from Iwo Jima

Underrated Historical MoviesSource: Warner Bros. Pictures

Clint Eastwood produced two radically different films on the same event—the battle of Iwo Jima—in 2006. Letters from Iwo Jima were told from the Japanese perspective, while Flags of Our Fathers was told from the American perspective. Both received favorable reviews, but only Flags enjoyed success at the box office. That was probably due to a number of things, including the fact that it was subtitled and lacked major stars. A movie about American soldiers was also more likely to be seen by American audiences.
General Tadamichi Kuribayashi, who is assigned to Iwo Jima to command the Japanese forces, is portrayed by Ken Watanabe. The narrative focuses on the ground-breaking tactics he came up with, such as placing bunkers atop hills rather than on beaches. Such strategies gave their side a significant advantage. The mindset of Kuribayashi and his troops can be seen below; in contrast to their American counterparts, who were equally committed but hoped to return home, they went into battle fully committed and expecting to die. The examination of the psychological effects of choosing to give up one's life for a greater cause in Letters from Iwo Jima is haunting.

#6 The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford

Underrated Historical MoviesSource: Warner Bros. Pictures

Despite starring Brad Pitt, the assassination of Jesse James by the coward Robert Ford grossed about $4 million domestically. Perhaps the title refers to the fact that his character is killed off by a restrained audience. It's about Ford (Casey Affleck). The only way to be free is for him to make a deal to kill his boss. He cowardly shoots him in the back after trying to straighten the crooked painting on the wall. While the assassination calms law enforcement, James is seen as something of a folk hero by a wide segment of the public, thus turning Ford into a social outcast. Aside from the multi-layered performances by Affleck and Pitt, Coward Robert Ford's Assassination of Jesse James features deep and impactful cinematography with an atmosphere that immerses you in his world. This movie is unlike any other Western. Director Andrew Dominic slows the pace of the film so that its 160-minute run doesn't feel boring, and the richly packed visuals and character details prove to be exciting once you've absorbed all of them.

#7 Barry Lyndon

Underrated Historical MoviesSource: Warner Bros. Pictures

Everything Stanley Kubrick Touches Turns to Gold - 2001: Space Odyssey, The Shining, Dr. Strange Love, Full Metal Jacket, and more. His 1975 period drama Barry Lyndon, on the other hand, was a mediocre performer at the box office. Based on the novel by William Makepeace Thackeray, Ryan O'Neill plays an 18th-century English-Irish rogue who marries a wealthy widow and begins climbing the social ladder.
Kubrick gives the film a unique look by using slow zooms to create atmosphere and candlelit scenes to create a contemporary feel. At its heart are Lyndon's compelling character study and his rise through aristocratic ranks. O'Neill gives one of his best performances here, showing the many facets of the ambitious man he plays. Barry Lyndon's reputation has grown over the decades, but it's still a movie that hasn't been embraced by the general public. Almost never.

#8 Ride with the Devil

Source: USA Films

Ang Lee is a fairly consistent director, producing films that are both box office and hardcore award contenders. Life of Pi, Brokeback Mountain, Crouching Tiger, and Hidden Dragon are three of his most famous works. But Ride with the Devil didn't land as expected. Its domestic gross was just $635,096 and it had no award nominations at all. But let's be frank - Ang Lee's weakest films are far more interesting than many directors' best. This 1999 Civil War drama revolves around Jake Rodell (Tobey Maguire) and Jack Childs (Skeet Ulrich). They are members of the Missouri Bushwhackers who want to avenge the murder of Jack's father. Pop singer Jewel co-stars as a war widow and falls in love with Jack, but it's Jake who plays an important role in her life. Ang Lee successfully combines action and romance in Ride with the Devil. There are some exciting battle scenes, but the time when the character slows down to the beat still attracts attention. Maguire has generally excelled, and Jewel has performed well in her only major film role.

#9 The Last Duel

Source: 20th Century Studios

Director Ridley Scott has worked in historical drama multiple times in his career. The Last Duel is one of his best efforts on that count. Matt Damon plays Jean de Carrouges, a knight in the king`s army. His friendship with squire Jacques Le Gris (Adam Driver) is put to the test when Count Pierre d'Alençon (Ben Affleck) asks Le Gris to collect debts owed to him. That includes collecting payment from Carrouges. To make matters worse, Carrouges's wife Marguerite (Jodie Comer) accuses Le Gris of sexual assault. These tensions build to the point where the only way to settle it is for the men to engage in a literal duel to the death.
The movie presents these events from multiple perspectives, showing how various characters view them differently. We see Carrouges's version, Le Gris's, and finally, Marguerite's. Taking the Rashomon approach is tricky, yet The Last Duel is written sharply enough to succeed. Rather than feeling repetitive, we become more engrossed in learning new pieces of information or seeing how one character's perception is different than another's. The climactic duel proves genuinely exciting because, by that point, the stakes have been made crystal clear. All four main actors are outstanding, with Comer, in particular, investing the movie with strong emotion.

#10 A Hidden Life

Source: Fox Searchlight Pictures

Based on a true story, A Hidden Life asks an interesting question: Would you do the right thing morally, even if it had terrible personal consequences? This is the dilemma of Tetter (August Diehl). This status as a conscientious objector puts him at risk of execution. Valerie Pachner plays Fani, his wife who is ridiculed by her neighbors and villagers because of her husband's attitude. Just as he willingly goes to prison for his opinion, she endures her anger to support him. A Hidden Life was directed by Terrence Malick, so the story unfolds naturally in a slow, lyrical way without emphasizing heavy drama. The approach works. As Franz goes through his ordeal, we settle on Franz, and the nearly three-hour length helps him and Fani communicate how long they'll be apart. The way he does it and his signature shot of grass blowing in the wind really help sell the connection between the pair. It is a powerful story.

#11 The Cotton Club

Source: Orion Pictures

The Cotton Club, Francis Ford Coppola's lavish 1984 musical, was marred by the behind-the-scenes drama of budget overruns, creative differences, and lawsuits between producers. It is set in the eponymous Harlem institution where musician Dixie Dwyer (Richard Gere) falls in love with Vera Cicero (Diane Lane). She is the girlfriend of notorious real-life gangster Dutch Schultz (James Remar). Things take a turn for the worse when Dixie's brother Vincent (Nicolas Cage) becomes an enforcer for Schulz's crew. Gregory Hines plays Delbert "Sandman" Williams, a top-notch tap dancer who also works in clubs. Coppola went to great lengths to create the Cotton Club look. It's a great movie with great visual attention to detail. The film contains several delightful musical numbers, the best of which features Hines' extraordinary tapping dance. At the time, some critics complained about a film set in a black nightclub that focused primarily on white characters. As a result, some plot elements were inadequate. A few years later Coppola edited his director's cut for Blu-ray. It has a different structure with his 27 minutes new and his 13 minutes removed. It received good reviews, but whichever version you choose, the effective performances and over-the-top styling add significantly to the Entertainment value.

#12 The Sisters Brothers

Underrated Historical MoviesSource: Mirror Releasing

John C. Reilly and Joaquin Phoenix are the title characters of The Sisters Brothers. They are brother hitmen tasked with killing Herman Worm (Riz Ahmed), the man who developed a new chemical formula that makes gold easier to find. Your employer wants you to have this formula for the obvious reason of self-fulfillment. Jake Gyllenhaal co-stars as John Morris, a private investigator who was originally hired to apprehend Worm but ends up on his side by escaping the assassin. The Sisters Brothers operate on two levels. On the one hand, it provides excitement from the hunt. On the other hand, it's a great study of sibling dynamics. Reilly and Phoenix may not look alike in person, but they complement each other beautifully on screen. Humor is also present in the painting. Despite her and Gyllenhaal's and Ahmed's presence, The Sisters Brothers managed only $3 million at the domestic box office. Marketing her campaign, which struggled to convey what was so special about the film, may have contributed. An all-star cast that includes Rutger Hauer in a recent role makes him an obvious candidate for a second life in his home country.

#13 The Lost City of Z

Source: Amazon Studios

The Lost City of Z is based on a compelling true story. British explorer Percival Fawcett (Charlie Hunnam) believes that a hidden city exists somewhere in the Amazon jungle. He intends to find it and study the civilizations that still seem to live there. Robert Pattinson plays Corporal Henry Costin, a rainforest expert who guides him through difficult terrain. increase. A significant part of the drama comes from learning that in real life Fawcett disappeared during his wanderings. Director James Gray brings out Fawcett's adventures full of danger, suspense and wonder. Hunnam excels, giving viewers a sense of relentless determination and relentlessly driving the explorers on their quest for the city. Pattinson, on the other hand, is barely recognizable as Costin. It's solid both as an adventure and as character research.

#14 The Master

Source: The Weinstein Company

Paul Thomas Anderson's films are known for their fast-paced plots, snappy dialogue, and engaging visual style. His fans may have been unprepared for The Master, who intentionally softens those qualities. Joaquin Phoenix is ​​an alcoholic with anger issues who has just been discharged from the Navy. I play Freddy Quell. Losing control of his own demons, he encounters Lancaster Dodd (Philip his Seymour his Hoffman), the enigmatic leader of a cult known as the Corse. He happily follows Dodd's strange "cure" technique, which works until it fails, making him suspicious. A film starring Phoenix and Hoffman would clearly produce an exceptional performance. Amy Adams also has a great supporting role as Dodd's wife. Dodd fiercely defends her husband from those who criticize him from afar.

#15 Heaven's Gate

Source: United Artists

Heaven's Gate is one of the most infamous blockbusters of all time. We were way over budget and far behind schedule. The first release of the 219-minute original His cut in New York City was hit so dramatically by critics that United Artists pulled the film from theaters, shortened it by over an hour, and re-released it five months later. Released. It still tanked and garnered lousy reviews. The financial loss was staggering, with a $44 million budget he earned $3.5 million. For a while, I single-handedly wrecked the United Artists studio.
So how can this catastrophe be underestimated? Curiously, Heaven's Gate has undergone a notable reappraisal over the decades. Far from terrible PR, behind-the-scenes gossip, and box office success, quite a few critics were able to appreciate the ambition and reach directed by Michael Cimino. takes place in Wyoming. Sheriff James Averill (Chris Kristofferson) tries to protect immigrant farmers from wealthy ranchers who try to evict them. It's a long movie with too many storylines and themes, but there's no denying that some of them work very well.

#16 Beloved

Source: Buena Vista Pictures

Toni Morrison's novel "My Beloved" was made into a movie by Jonathan Demme ("The Silence of the Lambs"). This may seem like a strange coincidence, but the filmmakers' attention to emotional detail makes it work perfectly. The story revolves around a young woman, Beloved (Thandiwe Newton), who behaves like a child. She enters the lives of freed slave girl Sete (Oprah Winfrey) and her daughter Denver (Kimberly Elise). They live in a potentially haunted house. The story describes what happens when a lover comes into her life and turns things upside down.
Winfrey was at the height of her influence in 1998, and with her constant promotion, it was thought that her beloved would become a blockbuster and a serious contender for awards. Instead, the film stalled with a domestic gross of $22 million and was only nominated for an Academy Award for costume design. It's a profound film about how the impact never ends. Winfrey, Newton, and Elise form a strong trio, while Demi creates a visual atmosphere that hints at a potential threat. Overall, this is an image that engages the viewer both intellectually and emotionally.
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