These Movies Like Apocalypto Will Take You On Mesmerizing Cinematic Adventures
If you enjoyed Mel Gibson's enthralling historical epic "Apocalypto" and you're looking for more films with a similar combination of adventure, drama, and strong narrative, you're in luck.
In this post, we'll look at a curated list of movies like Apocalypto that feature the everlasting themes of exciting adventures, vibrant realms of ancient civilizations, and characters fighting for survival against insurmountable odds.
1. Braveheart (1995)
- IMDb rating: 8.3/10
- Director: Mel Gibson
- Writer: Randall Wallace
- Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan
- Duration: 2h 58m
Let’s start off the list with another iconic Mel Gibson movie. Braveheart, directed by and starring Mel Gibson, is a sweeping historical drama that transports you to medieval Scotland. Being one of the most interesting movies like Apocalypto, this film tells a tale of a man driven by his quest for freedom and the strength of his unwavering spirit. Set against the backdrop of war and political turmoil, Braveheart showcases themes of honor, loyalty, and the indomitable human spirit.
The plot revolves around William Wallace, a commoner who rises to prominence as a commander in the Scottish resistance against the English. After witnessing his father's murder and his people's persecution, Wallace takes up arms and unites the Scottish clans in a struggle for freedom and independence. The narrative follows his personal journey, his love for Murron, and his ardent ambition to unify Scotland and fight King Edward I's English control. Braveheart received generally positive reviews from critics.
While some reviewers acknowledged its historical inaccuracies and dramatic embellishments, they praised its epic scope, memorable battle sequences, and Mel Gibson's performance as William Wallace. The movie was also a great commercial success, grossing over $210 million worldwide against a budget of approximately $72 million. It performed well both domestically and internationally.
Discover Epic Tales: Movies Like Braveheart That Ignite the Spirit
In the United States alone, Braveheart grossed over $75 million, becoming one of the highest-grossing films of 1995. Braveheart is on my list of the greatest movies of all time. It is without a doubt one of the most epic stories ever told. Mel Gibson deserved every bit of praise he received. His portrayal of William Wallace, one of Scotland's most powerful warriors, was flawless.
The only thing missing was Princess Isabella and Wallace's love relationship. It has never occurred before. "Braveheart" is an epic historical drama movie like Apocalypto that immerses viewers in a vivid and turbulent period of history. Both movies share a common theme of freedom and resistance against tyranny, and if someone appreciates the thrilling and visually stunning action sequences in "Apocalypto," they are likely to be drawn to "Braveheart" as well.
2. 10,000 BC (2008)
- IMDb rating: 5.1/10
- Director: Roland Emmerich
- Writers: Roland Emmerich, Harald Kloser
- Stars: Camilla Belle, Steven Strait, Marco Khan
- Duration: 1h 49m
Embark on an epic journey through prehistoric times in 10,000 BC. This adventure film follows a young hunter who sets out to rescue his tribe after they are captured by a warlord and forced into slavery. With breathtaking visuals and thrilling action sequences, this movie explores the resilience of the human spirit and the power of determination. Set in the late Stone Age, the film centers around D'Leh, a mammoth hunter from a small tribe called the Yagahl.
When his village is attacked by slave raiders, they capture a significant portion of the tribe, including D'Leh's love interest, Evolet. Determined to rescue them, D'Leh sets out on a treacherous journey across unknown lands, encountering various prehistoric creatures and civilizations along the way. Ultimately, he must confront the mighty god-like figures known as the "Four Legged Demons" to save his people.
"10,000 BC" garnered generally negative reviews from critics. Many reviewers criticized the film for its weak storytelling, lack of character development, and reliance on visual effects over substance. Yet despite the poor reviews from critics, moviegoers loved the film. "10,000 BC" performed well at the box office, grossing over $269 million worldwide, making it a financial hit.
While I wasn't anticipating a masterpiece when I saw 10,000 B. C., I also received a lot more than I bargained for. While the film is not fantastic, it totally pleased me, keeping me engaged throughout and surprising me when it was finished. It has received several comments and reviews claiming that it is badly written, edited, and played out, but I am here to refute all three charges since I, like a small number of others, found it pleasant.
If you are looking for prehistoric-themed movies like Apocalypto, then don’t hesitate to check “10000 BC” out. While "Apocalypto" focuses on the decline of the Maya civilization, "10,000 BC" takes place during the late Stone Age. Both films share themes of adventure and survival.
Furthermore, "10,000 BC" features visually stunning landscapes, prehistoric creatures, and ancient civilizations brought to life through impressive visual effects. The grand scale and visual elements of "10,000 BC" will satisfy those who enjoyed the immersive visual spectacle of "Apocalypto."
Where to watch: Justwatch
3. The New World (2005)
- IMDb rating: 6.7/10
- Director: Terrence Malick
- Writer: Terrence Malick
- Stars: Colin Farrell, Q'orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer
- Duration: 2h 15m
Directed by Terrence Malick, The New World transports viewers to the early 17th century when English settlers arrived in America. This visually stunning film tells the story of the relationship between Captain John Smith (Colin Farrell) and Pocahontas (Q'orianka Kilcher), offering a poignant exploration of cultural clash, love, and the struggle for survival in an unfamiliar land.
In "The New World", Captain John Smith is an English explorer who arrives in the New World in the early 17th century. Smith encounters and befriends Pocahontas, the daughter of Chief Powhatan. Their relationship becomes a catalyst for understanding and conflict between the English settlers and the Powhatan tribe. The film explores themes of colonization, cultural clash, love, and the impact of European arrival on Native American societies.
"The New World" garnered generally positive reviews from critics. Many praised Terrence Malick's visionary direction, the film's stunning visuals, and the performances of the cast, particularly Q'orianka Kilcher as Pocahontas.
Despite the critical acclaim, "The New World" did not achieve significant commercial success. It had a modest box office performance, earning approximately $30 million worldwide.
After watching “The New World”, I can say that this film did a lot of things right. The performances are generally excellent, the photography and editing are award-worthy, and the use of Wagner's 'Das Rheingold' is the most brilliant use of Wagner in a film. 'The New World' is a truly beautiful, lyrical, aesthetically magnificent, and devastating film. As close to perfect as cinema gets. Overall, I really enjoyed this film.
Similar to Apocalypto, The New World offers an immersive storytelling experience. Both films present their stories from the perspective of their respective cultures and characters, delving into their struggles, triumphs, and personal journeys.
Where to watch: Justwatch
4. Agora (2009)
- IMDb rating: 7.1/10
- Director: Alejandro Amenábar
- Writers: Alejandro Amenábar, Mateo Gil
- Stars: Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac
- Duration: 1h 28m
Agora, directed by Alejandro Amenábar, takes us to ancient Alexandria, Egypt, during the 4th century AD. The film follows the brilliant philosopher and astronomer Hypatia (Rachel Weisz) as she faces religious and political unrest. Like Apocalypto, Agora delves into the clash of civilizations, highlighting the pursuit of knowledge and the struggle against oppression.
As mentioned above, "Agora" tells the story of Hypatia of Alexandria, a philosopher and mathematician who navigates the cultural and religious conflicts of her time. The film explores Hypatia's quest for knowledge, her teachings, and her relationships with her students and colleagues.
Against the backdrop of a declining Roman Empire and the rise of Christianity, Hypatia becomes entangled in political and religious struggles that threaten her life and the pursuit of scientific inquiry.
Upon its release, "Agora" garnered generally positive reviews from critics. Many praised the film for its stunning visuals, attention to historical detail, and Rachel Weisz's performance as Hypatia. Critics appreciated the film's exploration of intellectual pursuits, religious conflicts, and the clash between reason and faith. Despite the critical acclaim, "Agora" did not achieve significant commercial success.
It had a modest box office performance, earning approximately $39 million worldwide. I think this movie is just brilliant. In my eyes, it is in the same league as Braveheart and Apocalypto. Superb setting, directing, and acting, and on top of that, it is one of the few movies that give us an idea of how life in ancient Roman times (possibly) was. Rachel Weisz shines in Agora again with brilliance.
As one of the best movies like Apocalypto, "Agora" explores the themes of survival and resilience in challenging circumstances. "Agora" depicts the challenges faced by Hypatia, a female philosopher, as she navigates political and religious turmoil. The movie embodies the same human determination to endure and overcome adversity that Apocalypto centered around.
Where to watch: Justwatch
5. The Last Of The Mohicans (1992)
- IMDb rating: 7.7/10
- Director: Michael Mann
- Writers: James Fenimore Cooper, John L. Balderston, Paul Perez
- Stars: Daniel Day-Lewis, Madeleine Stowe, Russell Means
- Duration: 1h 52m
Set during the French and Indian War, The Last of the Mohicans is a historical drama that tells the tale of Hawkeye (Daniel Day-Lewis), a frontiersman caught in the crossfire between warring nations. This film captures the essence of survival and sacrifice, exploring themes of love, honor, and the clash of cultures in a time of conflict. Based on the 1826 novel of the same name by James Fenimore Cooper", The Last of the Mohicans" takes place in 1757 during the French and Indian War.
It follows Hawkeye (played by Daniel Day-Lewis), a white man adopted by the Mohican tribe, and his companions Chingachgook (played by Russell Means) and Uncas (played by Eric Schweig). The film explores their quest to rescue the daughters of a British colonel, Cora (played by Madeleine Stowe) and Alice (played by Jodhi May), who have been captured by the Huron tribe.
As they navigate the treacherous wilderness and confront rival factions, their lives become intertwined with the larger conflict between the French and British forces. The Last of the Mohicans was widely praised by critics for its epic scope, cinematography, performances, and emotional storytelling. Critics appreciated the film's attention to historical detail, its immersive portrayal of the time period, and the gripping action sequences.
Daniel Day-Lewis's performance as Hawkeye was particularly acclaimed, with many considering it one of his finest roles. To nobody’s surprise, the film performed well at the box office, both domestically and internationally. In the United States, it earned over $75 million, while its worldwide box office gross exceeded $130 million, further solidifying its financial success. I personally believe this is a must-see film, and despite what some say about the directorial style being 'offensive,' I couldn't agree more.
First and foremost, I like the more equitable representation of Native American tribes. Previous films frequently depicted the tribes as foolish savages with no moral compass, with the 'white man' constantly having the moral high ground.
Michael Mann demonstrated the similar level of brutality that individuals of all backgrounds are capable of as well as the universal lack of sympathy that is typically plentiful during times of conflict.
Like Apocalypto, The Last of the Mohicans explores the clashes between different cultures and civilizations. This film portrays the tensions between Native American tribes, European colonizers, and rival factions during the French and Indian War. This exploration of cultural conflicts resonates with the themes present in "Apocalypto" and adds depth to the storytelling.
Where to watch: Justwatch
6. Pathfinder (2007)
- IMDb rating: 5.4/10
- Director: Marcus Nispel
- Writers: Laeta Kalogridis, Nils Gaup
- Stars: Karl Urban, Clancy Brown, Moon Bloodgood
- Duration: 1h 39m
"Pathfinder" is an action-adventure film directed by Marcus Nispel and released in 2007. The film is a remake of the 1987 Norwegian film of the same name. It takes place during the Viking Age and follows a young Viking boy who, after being left behind during a battle with Native Americans, is raised by the tribe and becomes their defender. The story revolves around a Viking boy named Ghost, who is abandoned during a failed Viking invasion of North America.
He is discovered and adopted by a Native American tribe known as the Wampanoag. As Ghost grows up, he becomes a skilled warrior and protector of his adoptive people. When the Vikings return years later, seeking to conquer the land, Ghost must defend his tribe against the brutal invaders. "Pathfinder" received mixed to negative reviews from critics. While some praised the film's atmospheric visuals and action sequences, others criticized its thin plot and lack of character development.
The performances and cultural representation in the film also garnered some criticism. Overall, it was not widely regarded as a standout film in its genre. The film had a modest performance at the box office, earning around $31 million worldwide against a production budget of approximately $45 million, according to Box Office Mojo. In my opinion, "Pathfinder" is a beautiful powerful historic warrior adventure film.
The fundamental setup is just awesome for an ultra-violent warrior film. This epic action-adventure is visually stunning & striking with just fantastic cinematography & a scary dark look & atmosphere, also directed by the brilliant Marcus Nispel. I was on the edge of my seat while watching this wonderful movie since it was stressful and riveting.
I can understand how this is an overlooked yet amazing film with a fantastic lead performance by "Karl Urban," but I liked it and personally consider it a cult classic movie like Apocalypto. Both "Pathfinder" and "Apocalypto" share certain similarities, including their historical settings and themes of survival and defending one's people against invaders. However, it's important to note that "Apocalypto" focuses on the Maya civilization, while "Pathfinder" centers around Vikings and Native Americans.
The films differ in terms of cultural contexts, storylines, and visual styles. In summary, "Pathfinder" is an action-adventure film set during the Viking Age, featuring a young Viking boy who becomes a defender of a Native American tribe. While the film had mixed reception and moderate box office success, it can be loosely linked to "Apocalypto" in terms of the historical setting and themes of survival against invaders.
Where to watch: Justwatch
7. Quest For Fire (1981)
- IMDb rating: 7.3/10
- Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud
- Writers: Gérard Brach, J.H. Rosny Sr.
- Stars: Everett McGill, Ron Perlman, Nicholas Kadi
- Duration: 1h 40m
"Quest for Fire" is a prehistoric adventure film directed by Jean-Jacques Annaud and released in 1981. It is based on the 1911 novel of the same name by J.-H. Rosny. The film explores the struggles and survival of early humans as they search for fire, a crucial element for their existence. The story is set in prehistoric times and follows a tribe of early humans known as the Ulam.
After their tribe's fire is extinguished, three members—Naoh, Amoukar, and Gaw—embark on a perilous journey to find a new source of fire. Along the way, they encounter other tribes, face hostile creatures, and experience the challenges of survival in a harsh and primitive world. "Quest for Fire" was well received by both critics and audiences. It was praised for its immersive depiction of prehistoric life and the efforts made to realistically portray early human behavior and communication.
The film won the Academy Award for Best Makeup and Hairstyling, further highlighting its technical achievements. The performances of the cast, who had to rely on physicality and nonverbal communication, were also lauded. "Quest for Fire" achieved moderate success at the box office, grossing over $20 million worldwide. It gained further popularity through its positive critical reception and word-of-mouth recommendations.
Personally, I think this film makes an educated and believable attempt to depict a world 80,000 years ago. This raises interesting considerations about who we are as a species. Human genetic code has not altered since then, and any of the individuals shown would be fully capable of utilizing a computer as I am now. Nonetheless, they lived in a world without numbers, pricing, commerce, written language, or the ability to make fire.
Everyone alive now had an ancestor who lived through those times. I would say 'Quest for Fire' is a must-see for everyone who is interested in the human condition. While both "Quest for Fire" and "Apocalypto" explore ancient settings and survival, there are notable differences between the films. "Quest for Fire" focuses on early humans in prehistoric times, while "Apocalypto" portrays the Maya civilization during the decline of their empire.
While both films showcase primal struggles and survival instincts, "Quest for Fire" has a broader scope, encompassing various tribes and their quest for a vital resource, whereas "Apocalypto" centers on a single individual's journey to save his family and community. In summary, "Quest for Fire" is a critically acclaimed prehistoric adventure film that delves into the challenges faced by early humans as they search for fire.
The film received positive reviews for its immersive portrayal of prehistoric life and was moderately successful at the box office. While it shares some themes of survival with "Apocalypto," the films differ in their historical settings and narrative focuses.
Where to watch: Justwatch
8. 300 (2006)
- IMDb rating: 7.6/10
- Director: Zack Snyder
- Writers: Zack Snyder, Kurt Johnstad, Michael B. Gordon
- Stars: Gerard Butler, Lena Headey, David Wenham
- Duration: 1h 57m
If the message of courage and will survive in Apocalypto left you inspired, then this film is for sure going to fill you with an abundance of macho energy with its theme and plot. Based on Frank Miller's graphic novel, 300 brings the legendary Battle of Thermopylae to life in ancient Greece. Directed by Zack Snyder, the film portrays the valiant stand of King Leonidas and his 300 Spartan warriors against the vast Persian army.
The story is set in 480 BC, as the Persian Emperor Xerxes leads a massive invasion force to conquer Greece. King Leonidas I of Sparta, played by Gerard Butler, rallies his army of 300 Spartan warriors to defend their homeland. Determined to repel the overwhelming Persian forces, the Spartans hold their ground at the narrow coastal pass of Thermopylae, utilizing their superior combat skills and military tactics.
"300" received mixed reviews upon its release in 2006.
The film was applauded for its visually striking aesthetic, with many praising the innovative use of CGI and green screen technology to create a stylized, graphic novel-inspired look.
The film's highly stylized violence, slow-motion action sequences, and vivid color palette were often cited as highlights, contributing to its distinctive visual appeal. In terms of its box office performance, "300" was a hit and grossed over $456 million globally, according to Box Office Mojo.
Domestically, in the United States and Canada, the film earned approximately $210 million. Internationally, it garnered around $245 million, showcasing its strong appeal to a global audience. I enjoyed this movie when I initially watched it, and it still holds up after several viewings. The cinematography is fantastic, and the combat and battle scenes are epic. Characters are memorable, with fantastic costumes, set designs, and CGI.
A fantastic story. The Persian army's mystical features are very appealing to me. Just a wonderful action film that never goes out of style. While both "300" and "Apocalypto" are historical action films, they differ in their settings and focus. "300" is set during the Greco-Persian Wars and centers on the battle of the Spartans against the Persian army. On the other hand, "Apocalypto" takes place during the decline of the Maya civilization and focuses on a man's struggle for survival and the protection of his family.
Where to watch: Justwatch
9. Centurion (2010)
- IMDb rating: 6.3/10
- Director: Neil Marshall
- Writer: Neil Marshall
- Stars: Michael Fassbender, Dominic West, Olga Kurylenko
- Duration: 1h 37m
Next up, we have another action-packed film. "Centurion" is a historical action film directed by Neil Marshall and released in 2010. The movie is set during ancient Rome's occupation of Britain and follows a group of Roman soldiers who must fight for survival behind enemy lines. The story centers around Quintus Dias, a Roman centurion, who joins the Ninth Legion stationed in Britain.
When the legion is ambushed by a tribe of Picts, Quintus and a small group of survivors find themselves trapped deep in enemy territory. They must navigate through treacherous terrain and evade the relentless pursuit of the Pict warriors in order to make their way back to Roman-controlled territory. "Centurion" received mixed reviews from critics. The film was praised for its gritty action sequences, atmospheric visuals, and the performances of its cast, which includes Michael Fassbender and Dominic West.
However, some critics found the plot and character development to be lacking, and the film's historical accuracy was questioned. Overall, it garnered a moderate level of critical reception. The film had a limited release and its box office performance was modest, grossing around $6 million worldwide, according to Box Office Mojo. In my opinion, director Neil Marshall (The Descent) has developed a gritty film that, in principle, is a simple 'cat and mouse' scenario - although a tremendously entertaining one - but becomes much more as a result of the hard work of the whole cast and crew.
Marshall himself performs a few stunning scenes, the most notable being the initial ambush on the Ninth Legion, demonstrating once again his ability to stretch a modest budget with simple techniques and a passionate attitude. Director of photography Sam McCurdy creates an appropriately grimy and grainy aesthetic that, while occasionally overly dark, sets the right tone for the picture. Overall, I think this is an immersive and satisfyingly violent film with a historical background.
Both "Centurion" and "Apocalypto" share similarities in their intense and harrowing survival stories. While "Apocalypto" focuses on a Mayan protagonist trying to save his family, "Centurion" follows a Roman soldier and his comrades as they navigate hostile territory and fight for their lives against a persistent enemy force. The films also share themes of endurance, resilience, and the clash of civilizations.
However, they differ in their historical contexts and cultural settings, with "Centurion" taking place during ancient Rome's occupation of Britain. In summary, "Centurion" is a historical action film that depicts the struggle of Roman soldiers trying to survive behind enemy lines in ancient Britain. It received mixed reviews from critics, with praise for its action sequences and performances. While sharing themes of survival, "Centurion" has its own unique narrative and historical backdrop separate from the Mayan setting of "Apocalypto."
Where to watch: Justwatch
10. Aguirre, The Wrath Of God (1972)
- IMDb rating: 7.8/10
- Director: Werner Herzog
- Writer: Werner Herzog
- Stars: Klaus Kinski, Ruy Guerra, Helena Rojo
- Duration: 1h 35m
"Aguirre, the Wrath of God" is a historical drama film directed by Werner Herzog and released in 1972. The film is based on the real-life story of Spanish conquistador Lope de Aguirre and his disastrous expedition in search of El Dorado, the mythical city of gold, during the 16th century. The story follows Aguirre and a group of Spanish conquistadors as they venture down the Amazon River in South America.
As they face treacherous obstacles, including harsh environments, mutinies, and encounters with indigenous tribes, Aguirre's obsession with finding El Dorado consumes him, leading to madness and the disintegration of the expedition. "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" received critical acclaim for its atmospheric storytelling and Werner Herzog's direction. The film is often hailed as a masterpiece of German New Wave cinema.
Klaus Kinski's portrayal of Aguirre is particularly praised for its intensity and captivating performance. The film's haunting visuals and exploration of human obsession garnered high praise from critics and cinephiles alike. The film had a limited release and did not achieve significant commercial success at the box office. However, its critical acclaim and cult following have solidified its place in film history.
In my opinion, “Aguirre, The Wrath of God” operates on so many levels and reflects so many aspects of its story that it is difficult to convey precisely what the film is about. It is ostensibly a piece of historical fiction based on fragmentary evidence concerning one of the many ill-fated attempts to find and conquer the mythic El Dorado (a city of gold rumored to be anywhere from southern Canada to Patagonia).
The scenery is so gorgeous that even if there were no narrative, amazing premise, or superb performance, the film would still be breathtaking and sad. While both "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" and "Apocalypto" explore historical settings and the theme of the collapse of civilizations, their stories differ significantly.
"Aguirre, the Wrath of God'' focuses on a conquistador's descent into madness during an ill-fated expedition, whereas "Apocalypto" revolves around a Mayan protagonist's struggle for survival against an impending collapse of his civilization. Though both films depict the disintegration of societal structures and the exploration of obsession, they differ in terms of historical context, cultural settings, and narrative scope.
"Aguirre, the Wrath of God" provides a deeper exploration of human psychology and the destructive forces of ambition, while "Apocalypto" emphasizes the personal journey and resilience of an individual within a specific historical backdrop. In summary, "Aguirre, the Wrath of God" is a critically acclaimed historical drama that delves into the descent into madness of a Spanish conquistador during a doomed expedition.
The film received praise for its atmospheric storytelling and Klaus Kinski's riveting performance. While sharing themes of the collapse of civilizations, it differentiates itself from "Apocalypto" through its unique historical context and exploration of human obsession.
Where to watch: Justwatch
Movies like Apocalypto - Conclusion:
Movies like Apocalypto take us on exhilarating journeys to ancient times, showcasing the triumph of the human spirit against seemingly insurmountable odds. Whether it's the gripping storylines, the visually stunning settings, or the exploration of timeless themes, these films offer a captivating cinematic experience.
So, if you're craving more of the intense adventure and drama that Apocalypto delivers, be sure to add these compelling movies to your must-watch list. Get ready to be transported to worlds where survival, honor, and the indomitable human spirit take center stage. If you like our list of movies like Apocalypto above, feel free to share it right now!