Movies and TV Shows

Archaeology, and the historical events that archaeologists study, have inspired Hollywood time and time again.  Archaeology, or at least a fantasized version of it, is even featured in a few popular fictional movie franchises—Indiana Jones, Lara Croft, The Mummy, and National Treasure.  See the lists below for some of our favorites.

Modern Films Rating Year
Ben Hur
Forced into slavery by a false accusation, Judah Ben Hur returns to his homeland to seek revenge but finds redemption instead
PG-13 2016
The Lost City of Z
Portrays real events surrounding a British explorer's disappearance in Bolivia while searching for the lost city of Z
PG-13 2016
The Young Messiah
The story of Jesus leaving Egypt for Nazareth with his family at the age of seven
PG-13 2016
Finding Altamira
Discovery of the Altamira caves in 1879
A Roman soldier's search for Jesus' body after the resurrection
PG-13 2016
Thor Heyerdal sets out on a balsawood raft across the Pacific to prove Peruvians could have settled Polynesia
PG-13 2012
Historical drama in Roman Egypt of philosophy and math professor, Hypatia of Alexandria
R 2009
Adventurer seeks lost Civil War ship in the Sahara
PG-13 2005
Clash of the Titans
Film loosely based on the Greek myth of Perseus, demigod and son of Zeus
PG-13 2010
The Prince of Egypt
Animated telling of the Book of Exodus
PG 1998
The Story of the Battle of Thermopylae where King Leonidas of Sparta led 300 men against much more numerous enemy forces
R 2006
Based on the life of Alexander the Great
R 2004
The Body
Follows the trouble that ensues after a crucified body from the 1st century AD is discovered in a cave in Israel
PG-13 2001
When a Roman General is betrayed and his family murdered, he becomes a Roman gladiator to seek revenge
R 2000
Animated Disney version of the story of Hercules
G 1997
The Odyssey
The journey of Odysseus back home to Ithaca after the Trojan War
PG-13 1997
Passion of the Christ
The final 12 hours in the life of Jesus
R 2004
The Road to El Dorado
Animated film of two con artists who win a map to the fabled city of gold, El Dorado
PG 2000
An adaptation of Homer's epic The Iliad
R 2004
A sci-fi film about discovering a planet whose inahbitants speak a variation of Ancient Egyptian and worship the god Ra
PG-13 1994
Classic Films Rating Year
Valley of the Kings
An early twentieth century adventure in search of the tomb of Ra-Hotep
The Ten Commandments
The story of Moses
G 1956
The Thracian slave Sparticus leads a revolt that spreads across Rome
PG-13 1960
An Egyptologist encounters murder, theft, treachery, love, and a mummy's curse during her trip to Egypt
PG 1981
Quo Vadis
A Roman commander falls in love with a Christian hostage and begins to question Emperor Nero's actions
The Robe
The Roman tribune who was ordered to crucify Jesus is later tormented by a guilty conscience
Monty Python's Life of Brian
Brian of Nazareth was born in the stable next to Jesus and spends his life being mistaken for him
R 1979
History of the World, Part 1
Mel Brooks history of the world including Moses and Nero
R 1981
Jason and the Argonauts
Jason leads a team of adventurers as they search for the Golden Fleece
G 1963
Julius Caesar
Political assassination in 44 BC of Caesar by a group of Roman senators
G 1970
King of Kings
Life of Jesus Christ
PG-13 1961
The story of Hannibal's 218 BC crossing of the Alps and attack on Rome during the Second Punic War
Helen of Troy
The story of The Iliad told from a Trojan perspective
Iconic story of Cleopatra
G 1963
David and Bathsheba
King David enters into an adulterous affair with Bathsheba which has tragic consequences for his family and Israel
Demetrius and the Gladiators
This sequel to The Robe features Emperor Caligula's quest for Jesus' robe as he seeks immortality
Alexander the Great
Life of Alexander the Great
Ben Hur
A Jewish prince betrayed by a Roman friend is sold into slavery and returns for revenge
G 1959
The 300 Spartans
Leonidas and his 300 Spartans at the Battle of Thermoplylae
The Mummy's Hand
An ancient mummy is revived to scare off invaders of tomb raiders in Egypt
Abbott and Costello Meet the Mummy
Bud and Lou find trouble in Egypt
Series Rating Year
The Mummy
A living mummy stalks a beautiful woman who he believes is the reincarnation of his lost love
The Mummy
An American archaeologist on a dig accidentally unearths a mummy and chaos ensues when it comes to life
PG-13 1999
The Mummy Returns
The mummy of Imhotep is shipped to a London museum, where he awakes and wreaks havoc
PG-13 2001
The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor
In China, an archaeologist discovers the mummy of an emperor that comes to life and attempts to enslave the human race
PG-13 2008
National Treasure
Benjamin Franklin Gates races to be the first to find the legendary Templar Treasure
PG 2004
National Treasure: Book of Secrets
Gates uses John Wilkes Booth's diary as he attempts to prove that his ancester was not a co-conspirator in Lincoln's assasination
PG 2007
Lara Croft: Tomb Raider
Lara Croft crisscrosses the globe encountering danger and adventure as she acquires ancient artifacts
PG-13 2001
Lara Croft Tomb Raider: The Cradle of Life
Lara Croft must find the mythical Pandora's Box before it falls into the wrong hands
PG-13 2003
Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark
Archaeologist Indiana Jones must find the Ark of the Covenant before the Nazis
PG 1981
Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom
While seeking a mystical stone, Indiana Jones discovers a cult plotting a terrible scheme in the catacombs of an ancient palace
PG 1984
Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade
After his father goes missing, Indiana Jones follows his footsteps to stop the Nazis from getting the Holy Grail first
PG-13 1989
Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull
Almost 20 years later, Dr. Jones returns and is ensnared in a Soviet scheme to uncover the secret of the Crystal Skulls
PG-13 2008
Television Rating Year
The story of Cleopatra, Caesar, and Marc Anthony
I, Claudius
Claudius' perspective on the events of the fledgling Roman Empire through his death in 54 AD
Twenty-two episodes that illustrate the lives of wealthy and powerful as well as ordinary Romans during the last days of the Roman Republic
TV-MA 2005
The story of Barabbas, whose life was spared because of the crucifixion of Jesus
Jason and the Argonauts
The story of Jason and the Golden Fleece