10 Movies to Learn About Revolutions Throughout the World History

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Movies on Revolutions

Movies are a great place to start learning about different topics for visual learners. They are less consuming compared to reading long texts and books. Especially, when it comes to historical topics such as revolutions. So, we have come to your rescue once again with our list of the perfect movies for you to learn about revolutions in a fun and interactive way. 

Not only have we included all the major and popular political and social revolutions in this list but we have also made sure to include the unconventional ones, such as the Digital revolution and the Green revolution.

If you are wondering what can be classified as a revolution, the answer it quite simple. 

If we look at the history of the word ‘Revolution’, we realize that it is derived from the Latin word ‘Revolvere’, which is a compound of two Latin words: ‘re,’ meaning ‘back,’ and ‘volvere,’ meaning ‘to turn.’ Therefore, ‘revolutio’ essentially means ‘a turning back’ or ‘a revolving.’

The term was initially used in a more literal sense to describe the movement of celestial bodies, such as the Earth’s rotation around its axis or its orbit around the Sun. Over time, the word “revolution” took on a broader and metaphorical meaning, coming to represent a significant and often abrupt change in the way society or a system operates. This transformation can involve political, social, economic, or cultural aspects, and it typically implies the overthrow of an existing order and the establishment of a new one.

So, every mass movement of set of events that change the pre-existing norms of the society can be considered to be a revolution. Now, check out the list of these films on revolutions and let us know if you would like us to add something else in the future! 

1) La Révolution Française

Movies on Revolutions- La Revolution Francais

Revolution: French Revolution

Original Language: French

Release Year: 1989

Run Time: 6 hours

Director[s]: Robert Enrico (Part 1), Richard T. Heffron (Part 2)

What is the Film About?

La RĂ©volution française is one of the most essential movies on revolutions to watch. It’s a two-part historical epic made on the 200th anniversary of the great but infamous French Revolution. It talks about the events of the French Revolution in great detail. Part one of the movie, called Les AnnĂ©es Lumières, portrays the rise of Enlightenment ideals, while the part two, Les AnnĂ©es Terribles, shows the explosive chaos of the Reign of Terror.

This masterpiece shows the journey through the Revolution’s birth and its darkest descent, revealing the large contrast between the Enlightenment’s lofty aspirations and the ruthless horrors that followed. It’s a mesmerizing tale of hope and humanity, set against a backdrop of brutality and revolution.

This movie also gets us glimpse into the struggles of the key historical figures like Louis XVI, Robespierre, and Danton, who navigated a rapidly changing France during the late 18th century. It highlights the battles of masses for fundamental civil rights (however, don’t confuse them with human rights, which only came into place after WW2, different story altogether), notably liberty, equality, and fraternity. These rights were championed during events such as the Estates-General in 1789, the storming of the Bastille, and the Reign of Terror in the 1790s. The film also shows the parallel technological advancements of the era, such as the printing press, which fueled literary developments and the spread of revolutionary ideas. The legacy of this period is seen in the enduring fight for human rights, the shaping of modern France, and its profound influence on subsequent revolutions worldwide.

2) 1776

Revolution: American Revolution

Original Language: English

Release Year: 1972

Run Time: 2 hours 21 minutes

Director: Peter H. Hunt

What is the Film About?

1776 is a captivating musical drama that transports viewers to the critical moments leading to America’s Declaration of Independence. The story revolves around John Adams, Thomas Jefferson, and Benjamin Franklin, who grapple with the weighty decision to break free from British rule. Set in Philadelphia during the scorching summer of 1776. The film shows the impassioned debates, political wrangling, and personal sacrifices of the Founding Fathers of America. The musical numbers add depth to the characters and the era’s spirit, making 1776 a compelling account of how a group of extraordinary individuals set the stage for the birth of a new nation.

3) The Admiral

Revolution: American Revolution

Original Language: Russian

Release Year: 2008

Run Time: 2 hours 4 minutes

Director: Andrei Kravchuk

What is the Film About?

The Admiral is a Russian film that vividly portrays the life of Admiral Alexander Kolchak, a prominent figure in the Russian Revolution of 1917. It shows the period of the Russian Civil War, during the struggle between the White Army, led by Kolchak, and the Red Army. The film delves into the political intrigue, battles, and the personal sacrifices of its characters, reflecting the complexity of the revolution and the chaos, which resulted from it. The Admiral gives us a glimpse into the historical divisions and power struggles of the era of Russian revolution. You can learn about the events leading to Russia’s future from this film in an easy way.

4) The Last Emperor

Movies on Revolutions- The Last Emperor

Revolution: Chinese Revolution

Original Language: Italian

Release Year: 1987

Run Time: 2 hours 43 minutes

Director: Bernardo Bertolucci

What is the Film About?

The Last Emperor is biographical drama directed by Bernardo Bertolucci, chronicles the remarkable life of Puyi, the final Emperor of China. From his early years as a child ruler in the Forbidden City to his later life as a political prisoner and an ordinary Chinese citizen, the film offers a compelling look at China’s complex history during the late Qing Dynasty and early 20th century. It portrays the fall of the monarchy, the advent of the Republic, and the profound societal changes in China, all without explicitly discussing the Chinese Revolution. The Last Emperor is a visually stunning and historically rich portrayal of this transformative era in China.

5) Gandhi

Movies on revolutions- Gandhi

Revolution: Indian Civil Disobedience Movement

Original Language: English

Release Year: 1982

Run Time: 3 hours 1 minute

Director: Richard Attenborough

What is the Film About?

Gandhi, directed by Richard Attenborough, is a 1982 biographical film that eloquently depicts the life and work of Mahatma Gandhi. The film encompasses various aspects of the Indian independence movement, focusing on Gandhi’s nonviolent civil disobedience campaigns, such as the Salt March, boycotts, and protests against British colonial rule. It also highlights his enduring commitment to communal harmony and religious tolerance, as well as his role in negotiating with the British and advocating for India’s independence. Gandhi offers a comprehensive view of the Indian independence struggle, emphasizing the power of nonviolence and the pursuit of social justice in the face of colonial oppression.

6) Persepolis

Movies on Revolutions- Persepolis

Revolution: Iranian Revolution

Original Language: French

Release Year: 2007

Run Time: 1 hour 36 minutes

Director [s]:  Marjane Satrapi, Vincent Paronnaud

What is the Film About?

Persepolis, based on Marjane Satrapi’s graphic novel, is a compelling animated film that provides a personal account of the Iranian Revolution and its aftermath. The story follows young Marjane’s experiences growing up in Iran during a time of radical political change. It sheds light on various aspects of the Iranian Revolution, including the rise of fundamentalism, the overthrow of the Shah, and the oppressive climate that followed. Marjane’s journey also explores themes of identity, exile, and the challenges faced by Iranians in a rapidly transforming society. Persepolis offers an intimate perspective on the human impact of a tumultuous period in Iranian history.

7) Uprising

Movies on Revolutions- Uprising

 

Revolution: Egyptian Revolution

Original Language: English

Release Year: 2001

Run Time: 2 hours 17 minutes

Director: Jon Avnet

What is the Film About?

Uprising is a documentary that provides an in-depth examination of the Egyptian Revolution of 2011, featuring prominent figures like Wael Ghonim and key events such as the Tahrir Square protests. The film illuminates the widespread social and political discontent, the pivotal role of social media in organizing demonstrations, and the growing demands for democratic reforms and human rights. Through interviews and firsthand accounts, it vividly portrays the Egyptian people’s unwavering determination in their quest for political change. Uprising offers a compelling insight into the dynamics of the Arab Spring and the Egyptian people’s struggle for a more democratic and equitable society.

8) Young Karl Marx

Revolution: Industrial Revolution

Original Language: French

Release Year: 2017

Run Time: 1 hour 58 minutes

Director: Raoul Peck

What is the Film About?

Young Karl Marx is a biographical drama that explores the early life and revolutionary ideas of Karl Marx, Friedrich Engels, and their relationship. The film provides insight into the social and economic changes wrought by the Industrial Revolution during the 19th century. It showcases the appalling working conditions in factories, the emergence of the proletariat, and the exploitation of labor, which inspired Marx and Engels to formulate their theories on class struggle and communism. Young Karl Marx shows how the Industrial Revolution was a catalyst for social change and the development of revolutionary ideologies aimed at addressing the inequalities and injustices throughout that important period in the history. Considering the massive changes brought by industrial revolution to the society, we suggest that you definitely watch this movie on revolutions from the list! 

9) The Man Who Tried to Feed the World

Movies on Revolutions- The Man Who Tried to Feed the World

Revolution: Green Revolution

Movie: The Man Who Tried to Feed the World:

Original Language: English

Release Year: 2020

Run Time: 53 minutes

Director: Rob Rapley

What is the Film About?

The Man Who Tried to Feed the World is one of the unconventional movies on revolutions. It’s a documentary that illuminates Dr. Norman Borlaug’s pivotal role in the Green Revolution of the mid-20th century. The film highlights the backdrop of a severe global food crisis, Borlaug’s groundbreaking work in developing high-yield, disease-resistant wheat varieties, and his collaboration with institutions like the Mexican Agricultural Program and the International Maize and Wheat Improvement Center (CIMMYT). It further explores his partnerships with the Indian and Pakistani governments, supported by figures such as Henry Kissinger. The Green Revolution ultimately led to a significant upsurge in wheat and rice production, saving countless lives and alleviating global hunger.

10) Pirates of Silicon Valley

Movies on Revolutions- Pirates of the Silicon Valley

Revolution: Digital Revolution

Original Language: English

Release Year: 1999

Run Time: 1 hours 35 minutes

Director: Martyn Burke

What is the Film About?

Pirates of Silicon Valley is a 1999 docudrama that delves into the birth of the digital revolution, focusing on the rivalry between Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc., and Bill Gates, co-founder of Microsoft. The film vividly portrays their early innovations and the development of personal computing. Key figures involved include Steve Wozniak, co-founder of Apple, and Paul Allen, co-founder of Microsoft.

The legacy of this period is profound. Jobs and Wozniak transformed Apple into an iconic tech company, pioneering user-friendly computers. Gates and Allen shaped Microsoft into a software powerhouse. Both companies played vital roles in the personal computer revolution, leaving a lasting impact on technology and our daily lives. And the scenarios of work, production, entertainment, and social engagement has never been the same again.

We hope that these movies on revolutions could help you in learning more about revolutions. Also check out Alekhni’s Movie Space to discover more films to learn from! And to learn more about revolutions, check out our Sociology Space 🙂

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