Cover image for Epic films : casts, credits and commentary on over 350 historical spectacle movies
Epic films : casts, credits and commentary on over 350 historical spectacle movies
Smith, Gary A., 1950-
Personal Author:
Second edition.
Publication Information:
Jefferson, N.C. : McFarland, [2004]

Physical Description:
vii, 312 pages : illustrations ; 27 cm
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN1995.9.H5 S55 2004 Adult Non-Fiction Non-Fiction Area-Reference

On Order



Epic films, those concerned with monumental events and larger-than-life characters, cover the period from the Creation to the A.D. 1200's and have been churned out by Hollywood and overseas studios since the dawn of filmmaking. Arguably the master of the genre, Cecil B. DeMille hit upon the perfect mixture of sex, splendor, and the sacred to lure audiences to his epic productions. Each of the 225 alphabetically arranged entries in this book includes casts and credits, plot synopsis, and narratives on the making of the films. Many photographs enliven the text.

Author Notes

Gary Allen Smith, a contributing writer for Little Shoppe of Horrors since 1980, has also written for Films in Review, Filmfax, Superstar Cine and Cult Movies

Reviews 1

Booklist Review

Epic films continue to delight and impress audiences. As early as 1907, the year of the first version of Ben-Hur,0 large-scale historical movies were being produced. Smith, a frequent film reviewer, describes 355 epics in this volume, starting with Judith of Bethulia0 (1914) and ending with the 2000 Oscar-winning Gladiator.0 This second edition has about 50 percent more entries, and all commentary is based on viewing rather than occasional recollection, as in the first edition. Most of the films are from the U.S and Italy. Smith limits his scope to "the period of time from the creation to the thirteenth century--from cavemen to the Crusades." Thus, the reader will not find Gone with the Wind 0 in these pages. The work is not exhaustive; television productions are few and not as extensively treated. Although a few comic epics are included, such as The Three Stooges Meet Hercules0 , the Monty Python classics Life of Brian0 and The Holy Grail0 as well as Mel Brooks' History of the World, Part 1 0 are omitted. Smith's introduction provides an objective and encompassing history of epics, noting the interplay between film and TV. Each alphabetically arranged entry ranges from a quarter-page to two pages in length. The first paragraph lists the production credits (producer, director, crew, cast), followed by a plot summary. About a fifth of the entries give production history, editorial commentary, and snippets from movie reviews. Black-and-white photos complement the text on almost every page. Twenty other films are credited in the first appendix (with no explanation for why they are given this treatment), and 21 more epics that were not completed are listed in the second appendix. A bibliography and index complete the volume. It should be noted that the index of titles and names is incomplete and not always accurate. A chronological list of films, a list by country, and a list by topic (e.g., King Arthur, prehistoric, etc.) would have been useful. Although the coverage is not complete, this volume provides a good introduction to the mainstream genre. Public, academic, and high-school libraries may consider this reference as a pleasant addition to their film collections. -- RBB Copyright 2004 Booklist

Table of Contents

Stephen Papich
Acknowledgmentsp. vi
Foreword: Choreographing Antiquityp. 1
Prefacep. 5
Introductionp. 7
The Filmsp. 13
Appendix 1 Related Titlesp. 283
Appendix 2 Epics That Never Werep. 287
Bibliographyp. 289
Indexp. 291