This month, SBS is making history every night during the 2016 Olympic Games. Explore further milestones in mankind's history with these incredible movies and documentaries available at SBS On Demand.
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SBS Movies

11 Aug 2016 - 11:27 AM  UPDATED 11 Aug 2016 - 11:27 AM

Agora

MA15+
Spain, 2009
Genre: Drama, History, Adventure
Language: English
Director: Alejandro Amenábar
Starring: Rachel Weisz, Oscar Isaac, Michael Lonsdale
What's it about?
This gripping and realistic historical drama gives us an insight into the 4th century A.D. Egypt under the Roman Empire, as violence erupted in the streets of Alexandria between Christians and pagans. Trapped inside the walls of the city's famous library, the brilliant astronomer Hypatia (Rachel Weisz) and her disciples fight to save the wisdom of the Ancient World. Among them, the two men competing for her heart: the witty, privileged Orestes (Oscar Isaac) and Davus (Max Minghella), Hypatia’s young slave, who is torn between his secret love for her and the freedom he knows can be his if he chooses to join the unstoppable surge of the Christians.

Agora takes the sword to fundamentalism
Agora gets a tick for credibility
Why You Should Watch: Agora

 

The Admiral

MA15+
Russia, 2008
Genre: Drama, History, War
Language: Russian
Director: Andrey Kravchuk
Starring: Konstantin Khabenskiy, Anna Kovalchuk, Elizaveta Boyarskaya
What's it about?
A sweeping historical epic about the story of Alexander Kolchak, who briefly became the supreme ruler of Russia during the Russian Civil War. The married Kolchak falls in love with Anna, the wife of a friend and fellow officer. Although Kolchak and Anna initially try to resist their passion and are separated in the chaos of the Revolution, they eventually unite in Siberia, where Kolchak is fighting the Bolsheviks.

 

Outside the Law

MA15+
Algeria, 2010
Genre: Drama, History, Crime
Language: French, Arabic
Director: Rachid Bouchareb
Starring: Sami Bouajila, Roschdy Zem, Jamel Debbouze
What's it about?
This Cannes- and Oscar-nominated drama is set across three decades of the Algerian struggle for independence. After losing their family home in Algeria in the 1920s, three brothers and their mother are scattered across the globe. Messaoud joins the French army fighting in Indochina; Abdelkader becomes a leader of the Algerian independence movement in France, and Saïd moves to Paris to make his fortune in the shady clubs and boxing halls of Pigalle. Gradually, their interconnecting destinies reunite them in the French capital, where freedom is a battle to be fought and won.

Outside the Law ★★★ review

 

My Enemy's Enemy

M
France, 2007
Genre: Documentary
Language: English, Spanish, French
Director: Kevin Macdonald
What's it about?
Oscar-winning director Kevin Macdonald's (The Last King of Scotland) documentary tracks Nazi war criminal Klaus Barbie, aka the Butcher of Lyon, who committed atrocities while hunting down members of the French Resistance. This documentary's main focus will be on Barbie's post-war activities, in which he became a counter-intelligence agent who worked for the same countries that pursued him during WWII. In Bolivia, Barbie became astonishingly successful in reviving the fortunes of other ex-Nazis. 

 

Che: Part One

M
France, Spain, USA, 2009
Genre: Drama, History
Language: English
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Julia Ormond, Demián Bichir
What's it about?
The first film in Steven Soderbergh's two-part Che Guevara epic tracks the charismatic revolutionary (Benicio Del Toro, in a flawless performance) as he joins Fidel Castro's band of Cuban exiles and journeys to the island on a leaky boat in 1956. From these humble beginnings, the small team of rebels mobilise popular support and recruit an army which will ultimately topple the US-friendly regime of dictator Fulgencio Batista, while Che himself undergoes a transformation from a simple doctor to one of the most iconic political figures of the modern age.

Che: Part One & Two ★★★ ½ review

 

Che: Part Two

M
France, Spain, USA, 2008
Genre: Drama, War, Biography
Language: English
Director: Steven Soderbergh
Starring: Benicio Del Toro, Demián Bichir, Rodrigo Santoro
What's it about?
Following the success of the Cuban Revolution, Che Guevara is at the peak of his fame and power when he vanishes without a trace. Resurfacing some time later in the jungles of Bolivia, Guevara sets about recruiting a new band of insurgents to help him spread the revolutionary message across the rest of Latin America. But as the Bolivian government and CIA close in on him, this will prove to be his most dangerous campaign yet.

Che: Part One & Two ★★★ ½ review
NITV: Che: Part Two Review: we meet Che the man at the peak of his fame and power

 

Chevolution

M
Mexico, 2008
Genre: Documentary
Language: Spanish, English
Director: Luis Lopez, Trisha Ziff
What's it about?
On March 5, 1960, photographer Alberto Korda snapped a picture of Che Guevara at a memorial service. Within a few years, his portrait of Che became one of the most famous photos in the world. Chevolution traces the strange journey of Korda's portrait of Che, from revolutionary symbol to advertising logo. It includes interviews of actors Antonio Banderas and Gael Garcia Bernal, both of whom have played Guevara on screen, and Tom Morello of the rock band Rage Against The Machine, who have used the Che portrait on their T-shirts.

 

The Weather Underground

M
USA, 2002
Genre: Documentary
Language: English
Director: Sam Green, Bill Siegel
What's it about?
In October 1969, as news of the My Lai massacre was filtering through and in the wake of the riots at the Democratic Convention in Chicago, the Weathermen staged their first Day of Rage, attacking an up-scale Chicago district. The members of this group were well-educated, white middle-class 20-year-olds – and after a series of bombings and attempted bombings, they went underground. This powerful documentary was nominated for an Academy Award and inspired the 2012 movie The Company You Keep directed by and starring Robert Redford as a former 'Weatherman'. 

The Weather Underground ★★★★ review

 

In the Shadow of the Moon

PG
USA, 2007
Genre: Documentary
Language: English
Director: David Sington
What's it about?
This gripping, beautiful documentary produced by Ron Howard (who directed the 1995 movie Apollo 13), follows the greatest moments of one of Humanity's great achievements, the Apollo 13 space mission that began in the 1960s, and culminated with Neil Armstrong being the first man to set foot on the Moon. This film offers breathtaking, never-seen-before NASA space footage, and interviews with most of the surviving astronauts of the Apollo program who prepared for that great voyage with an army of experts determined to make the endeavour possible. 

In the Shadow of the Moon ★★★★ review

 

Salute

PG
Australia, USA, 2008
Genre: Documentary
Language: English
Director: Matt Norman
What's it about?
In 1968 at the Mexico Olympic Games, two American athletes, Tommie Smith and John Carlos, gave the black power salute while standing on the podium after the 200 metres final, as the American national anthem was playing. They became symbols of the US civil rights movement, but paid a hefty price as they subsequently became ostracised and harassed for many years. Directed by the nephew of Peter Norman, the white Australian athlete who stood with Smith and Carlos on the podium, this documentary highlights his role in the iconic event.

Read: Social exclusion couldn’t stop the rise of black athletes

 

The Thin Blue Line

PG
USA, 1988
Genre: Documentary
Language: English
Director: Errol Morris
What's it about?
Directed by legendary documentary-maker Errol Morris, The Thin Blue Line, often referred to by critics as one of the best documentaries of all time, tells the controversial and true story of the arrest and conviction of Randall Dale Adams for the murder of a Dallas policeman in 1976. This documentary, with its use of expressionistic re-enactments and interview material, is credited with overturning the conviction of Adams for the murder of Dallas police officer Robert Wood, a crime for which Adams was sentenced to death.

The Thin Blue Line ★★★★★ review

 

Land of Oblivion

M
France, Poland, Germany, 2011
Genre: Drama
Language: French, Ukrainian, Russian
Director: Michale Boganim
Starring: Olga Kurylenko, Andrzej Chyra, Ilya Iosifov
What's it about?
This powerful film explores what happened on the fateful day of 26 April, 1986, in the Ukranian town of Chernobyl, and follows the lives of these survivors ten years on, such as couple Anya and Piotr, who were celebrating their marriage, and Alexei and his son Valery who were planting an apple tree, when both were interrupted by an explosion at the power station, which turned into one of the worst radioactive disasters in history. 

 

Waltz with Bashir

MA15+
Israel, 2008
Genre: Animation, Documentary, War
Language: Hebrew, Arabic, German, English 
Director: Ari Folman
Starring: Dror Harazi, Ronny Dayag, Ron Ben-Yishai, Ari Folman
What's it about?
This fascinating animated film is the powerful account of director Ari Folman’s efforts to recover lost memories of his military service in Lebanon in 1982, and follows him as he sets out to talk to those he knew at the time to learn about the events and his role in them. Folman’s decision to render the images in stylised animation results in a ground-breaking depiction of atrocity and its far-reaching consequences. Waltz with Bashir won a Golden Globe Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film.

Waltz with Bashir ★★★★★ review

 

Man on Wire

PG
UK, 2007
Genre: Documentary
Language: English, French
Director: James Marsh 
Starring: Philippe Petit, Annie Allix
What's it about?
Man on Wire is the magical and exhilarating account of the exploit of a young French man named Philippe Petit, who on August 7, 1974, stepped out on a wire suspended between the Twin Towers of the World Trade Center. Petit danced on the wire for an hour with no safety net before he was arrested for what has become to be known as the "artistic crime of the century". Petit's story was also recently adapted into the biopic The Walk, directed by Robert Zemeckis and starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Watch 'Man On Wire' on the 41st anniversary of Philippe Petit's walk across the sky
Man on Wire: interview

 

 

Explore the entire Historical Movie collection at SBS On Demand

 

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