The Lord of the Rings. The Two Towers.

Books on Film
Ancient, Classical, Biblical & Medieval Literature

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Scroll down to see authors in chronological order, or click a name to go straight to that author. For details of a movie click the cover illustration.

Arabian Nights
The Bible
Boccaccio, Giovanni
Chaucer, Geoffrey
Homer
Mahabharata
Malory, Sir Thomas
Sophocles

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Ancient literature

The Mahabharata

200BC - 200AD
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The Mahabharata

The Mahabharata

Based on the legend central to Indian culture, this tells the story of the feud between two groups of cousins which escalated and resulted in a devastating global war.
The Mahabharata

The Mahabharata

This 15-hour digitally re-mastered, abridged version of Mahabharat, the epic Indian television series (which originally ran for over 60 hours), is available in a five-disc digi-pack that includes an eight-page booklet containing a glossary of the many characters and an overview of the series.
     

Classical literature.

Greek approx 1000BC to 320 BC, Roman approx 100 BC to 500AD

Homer

8th century BC.
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The Odyssey

The Odyssey

The story of Odysseus, the King of Ithaca following his successful 'wooden horse' tactic and the destruction of Troy. After the ten year Trojan war Odysseus sets sail for home but the journey is to prove even more dangerous and even longer than the war itself.
Troy

Troy

There are many reasons to recommend Troy as a good ol' fashioned Hollywood epic, especially if you've never read Homer's The Iliad. Dispensing with Greek gods altogether, this massive production will surely offend historians and devoted students of the classics. But there's politics aplenty in the grand-scale war
Helen of Troy

Helen of Troy

2003. One of the most epic adventure stories of all time comes powerfully to life in this original four-hour epic-series
Helen of Troy

Helen of Troy

1955.
 

Sophocles

496?-406 BC.
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Oedipus Rex

Oedipus Rex. 1957. Recording of a stage production of Sophocles' play filmed by Tyrone GuthrieOedipus Rex.

Oedipus Rex

Oedipus Rex. 1967. Pier Paolo Pasolini presents us with an accurate but personal interpretation of this Ancient Greek legend.

Antigone.

Antigone. 1961.

Antigone

Antigone. 1972. French playwright Jean Anouilh's modernized version of the classic Greek tragedy Antigone sets the story in the sleek palace of a fascist state.

 

The Bible

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The Greatest Story Ever Told

The Greatest Story Ever Told. 1965. The life of Christ got an excessively long treatment (260 minutes, later trimmed to 195) in this film directed by George Stevens

Jesus of Nazareth.

Jesus of Nazareth. Originally made for TV in 1977, this in-depth version of Jesus' life is so thorough that the first hour is devoted solely to the story of his birth. The film doesn't skimp on some of the other landmark events of this famous story either. Director Franco Zeffirelli gives ample screen time each to the Last Supper and the Crucifixion. Passages of the Bible are quoted verbatim.

The Passion of the Christ

The Passion of the Christ. A dramatisation of the last twelve hours of the life of Jesus Christ. Following a betrayal by his close friend Judas, Jesus is arrested. There follows a chain of events in which a man who claimed he was the son of God is persecuted by the will of Jewish high priests and at the hands of occupying Roman forces.

The Gospel According to St Matthew

The Gospel According to St Matthew. Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini. An entirely non-professional cast act out an adaptation of the Gospel according to St. Matthew's biblical account. Italian dialogue with subtitles.

 

Medieval literature.

Approx 1100 to 1500 Books: Medieval literature

Arabian Nights, or One Thousand and One Nights.

Books: Arabian Nights
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Arabian Nights
Region 1 (USA)
Region 2 (UK)

Arabian Nights. One of Pasolini's trilogy of explorations of the medium of storytelling and spoken narrative (Canterbury Tales and Decameron are the other pair), Arabian Nights is the most integrated and coherent of the three. It follows a theme of lust, love, and loss.

Arabian Nights
Region 1 (USA)
Region 2 (UK)

Arabian Nights. collection of magical tales and high adventure based on Sir Richard Burton's translation of The Thousand And One Nights.

     

Giovanni Boccaccio

1313-1375. Books by Giovanni Boccaccio
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The Decameron
Region 1 (USA)
Region 2 (UK)

The Decameron (1972) is one Pasolini's trilogy of films (Arabian Nights and Canterbury Tales are the others) exploring the role of the storyteller and the translation of this timeless vocal tradition into a cinematic one.

       

Geoffrey Chaucer

Approx 1343-1400. Books by Geoffrey Chaucer
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The Canterbury Tales
Region 1 (USA)
Region 2 (UK)

Italian director Pier Paolo Pasolini's film of The Canterbury Tales was one of a trilogy from the early 1970s that, like its companions The Decameron and the Arabian Nights, was an international box-office hit.

The Canterbury Tales
Region 2 (UK)

The Canterbury Tales. Animated adaptation. Features ten tales, including: 'The Squire's Tale', 'The Miller's Tale', 'The Knight's Tale', 'The Wife Of Bath's Tale', 'The Merchant's Tale' and 'The Franklin's Tale'.

The Canterbury Tales
Region 2 (UK)

The Canterbury Tales. A modern version of six stories. Features: 'The Miller's Tale', 'The Wife of Bath', 'The Knight's Tale', 'The Sea Captain's Tale', 'The Pardoner's Tale' and 'The Man of Law's Tale'.

   

Sir Thomas Malory

?-1471. Books by Sir Thomas Malory
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The Adventures of Sir Lancelot
Region 1 (USA)
Region 2 (UK)

The Adventures of Sir Lancelot. 1956. Features the complete thirty episodes of the television show which re-tells the stories of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table

Excalibur.
Region 1 (USA)
Region 2 (UK)

Excalibur. A lush retelling of the legend of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table, Excalibur is a dark and engrossing tale. Director John Boorman (Deliverance) masterfully handles the tale of the mythical sword Excalibur, and its passing from the wizard Merlin to the future king of England.

Lancelot of the Lake.
Region 1 (USA)
Region 2 (UK)

Lancelot of the Lake. This is a sombre version of the Arthurian legend, and so, perhaps, in tune with Thomas Malory's 15th century version. The latter is dark and foreboding, and so is this film.

King Arthur
Region 1 (USA)
Region 2 (UK)

King Arthur.

King Arthur - The Truth Behind the Legend.
Region 1 (USA)
Region 2 (UK)

King Arthur - The Truth Behind the Legend. An attempt to explode the myth behind the stories of 'the once and future king' of British and French legend. This documentary seeks to uncover the facts behind the tales of chivalry and magic that have permeated English folklore since the days of the Roman occupation.

 

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