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Random Renaissance Era Quotes (Well, mostly)

When I first built this site in 2004, I painstakingly researched all the Renaissance era movies I could find, and then I added a separate page for each movie to this website. But that was before technology caught up. Now there’s Netflix, Amazon Prime, and a lot of other places you can find information on Renaissance Era movies. So I removed all of the web pages for the individual movies.

You can now find over 600 movies categorized as Renaissance Movies here.

For the true diehards, the list below is from IMDB and is titled the “Best Movies about the Renaissance”. The links will take you to the search page for that specific movie.

Romeo and Juliet

PG | 138 min | Drama, Romance  7.6 Rate  

When two young members of feuding families meet, forbidden love ensues.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli | Stars: Leonard Whiting, Olivia Hussey, John McEnery, Milo O’Shea Votes: 29,296 | Gross: $38.90M

 

TheTaming of the Shrew

Approved | 122 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance  7.1 Rate  

Brutish, fortune-hunting scoundrel Petruchio tames his wealthy, shrewish wife, Katharina.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli | Stars: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton, Cyril Cusack, Michael Hordern Votes: 7,282 | Gross: $8.00M 

 

Much Ado About Nothing

 PG-13 | 111 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance  7.3 Rate  

Young lovers Hero and Claudio, soon to wed, conspire to get verbal sparring partners and confirmed singles Benedick and Beatrice to wed as well.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Keanu Reeves, Kate Beckinsale Votes: 45,007 | Gross: $22.55M  

 

The Merchant of Venice

R | 131 min | Drama, Romance  7 Rate 63 Metascore

In 16th century Venice, when a merchant must default on a large loan from an abused Jewish moneylender for a friend with romantic ambitions, the bitterly vengeful creditor demands a gruesome payment instead.

Director: Michael Radford | Stars: Al Pacino, Joseph Fiennes, Lynn Collins, Jeremy Irons Votes: 34,902 | Gross: $3.77M

 

Rosencrantz & Guildenstern Are Dead

PG | 117 min | Comedy, Drama  7.4 Rate  

Two minor characters from the play ‘Hamlet’ stumble around unaware of their scripted lives and unable to deviate from them.

Director: Tom Stoppard | Stars: Gary Oldman, Tim Roth, Richard Dreyfuss, Livio Badurina Votes: 20,784 | Gross: $0.74M 

    

 

The Borgias

TV-MA | 50 min | Crime, Drama, History  7.9 Rate  

In the fifteenth century, Pope Alexander VI tries to control all power in Italy with the help of his several sons, through murder, intrigue, war, and marriage alliances.

Stars: Jeremy Irons, François Arnaud, Holliday Grainger, Peter Sullivan Votes: 47,947  

 

The Borgia

TV-MA | 52 min | Biography, Drama, History  7.8 Rate  Story of the rise and the fall of the Renaissance dynasty.

Stars: Mark Ryder, Isolda Dychauk, Diarmuid Noyes, John Doman Votes: 5,990

 

 

 

Borgia

120 min | Biography, History  6.1 Rate  

A portrait of the bloody dynasty that spawned a pope, Alexander VI, as well as the role model for Machiavelli’s “The Prince,” his son Cesare Borgia, and a legend of femme duplicity, daughter Lucrezia Borgia.

Director: Antonio Hernández | Stars: Lluís Homar, Sergio Peris-Mencheta, María Valverde, Sergio Múñiz Votes: 1,449

 

   

The Conclave

100 min | Biography, Drama, History  6.5 Rate  

In 1458, five years after the fall of Constantinople to the Turk, eighteen cardinals met in Rome to elect a new pope. A 27-year-old Spanish cardinal, Rodrigo Borgia, learns to play a very dangerous game; how to survive his first conclave.

Director: Christoph Schrewe | Stars: Manu Fullola, Brian Blessed, James Faulkner, Rolf Kanies Votes: 539

 

 

The Profession of Arms

Not Rated | 105 min | Drama, History, War  7 Rate  

The history of the first victim of modern artillery and its moving agony, amidst conspiracies and betrayals of the powerful. Life and death of Giovanni De’ Medici.

Director: Ermanno Olmi | Stars: Christo Jivkov, Sergio Grammatico, Dimitar Ratchkov, Fabio Giubbani Votes: 1,392   

 
 

The Falcon and the Dove

100 min | Romance  4.4 Rate  

Beautiful love story, remind us of ”Romeo and Juliet”, two young lovers – ”The Falcon” Giulio and ”The Dove” Elena – thru the social and political life in 14th Century Italy. Unique locations, very well directed and photographed.

Stars: Cosima Coppola, Giulio Berruti, Anna Safroncik, Alessandra Barzaghi Votes: 101 

 

The Agony and the Ecstasy

 Approved | 138 min | Biography, Drama, History  7.2 Rate  

The biographical story of Michelangelo’s troubles while painting the Sistine Chapel at the urging of Pope Julius II.

Director: Carol Reed | Stars: Charlton Heston, Rex Harrison, Diane Cilento, Harry Andrews Votes: 6,553    

 

 

The Tudors

TV-MA | 60 min | Drama, History, Romance  8.1 Rate  

A dramatic series about the reign and marriages of King Henry VIII.

Stars: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy, James Frain Votes: 68,046.

 

The Wolf Hall

TV-14 | 360 min | Biography, Drama, History  8.1 Rate  

After the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey, his secretary, Thomas Cromwell, finds himself amongst the treachery and intrigue of King Henry VIII’s court and soon becomes a close advisor to the King, a role fraught with danger.

Stars: Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy, Thomas Brodie-Sangster Votes: 9,570

 

The Other Boleyn Girl

PG-13 | 115 min | Biography, Drama, History  6.7 Rate 50 Metascore

Two sisters contend for the affection of King Henry VIII.

Director: Justin Chadwick | Stars: Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana, Jim Sturgess Votes: 103,861 | Gross: $26.81M 

 

 

The Other Boleyn TV-PG | 90 min | Romance, Drama  6.1 Rate  

Based on the controversial novel by Philippa Gregory, “The Other Boleyn Girl” is a fictionalized account of the life of Lady Mary Boleyn who becomes mistress to England’s King Henry VIII.

Director: Philippa Lowthorpe | Stars: Natascha McElhone, Jodhi May, Jared Harris, Steven Mackintosh Votes: 1,044  

 

Anne of the Thousand Days

PG | 145 min | Biography, Drama, History  7.5 Rate  

King Henry VIII of England discards one wife, Catharine of Aragon, who has failed to produce a male heir, in favor of the young and beautiful Anne Boleyn.

Director: Charles Jarrott | Stars: Richard Burton, Geneviève Bujold, Irene Papas, Anthony Quayle Votes: 6,662 | Gross: $2.07M

 

 

Henry VIII and His Six Wives

PG | 125 min | Biography, Drama  7 Rate  

On his deathbed, King Henry VIII looks back on his eventful life and his six marriages.

Director: Waris Hussein | Stars: Keith Michell, Donald Pleasence, Charlotte Rampling, Jane Asher Votes: 762    

 

 

Henry VIII

193 min | Biography, Drama, History  7.2 Rate  

Two-part mini-series documenting the stormy thirty-eight-year reign of King Henry VIII.

Director: Pete Travis | Stars: Ray Winstone, Joss Ackland, Sid Mitchell, Charles Dance Votes: 2,177   

 

    

A Man for All Seasons 

G | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History  7.7 Rate 72 Metascore

The story of Sir Thomas More, who stood up to King Henry VIII when the King rejected the Roman Catholic Church to obtain a divorce and remarry.

Director: Fred Zinnemann | Stars: Paul Scofield, Wendy Hiller, Robert Shaw, Leo McKern Votes: 31,066 | Gross: $28.35M 

 

     

Lady Jane

PG-13 | 136 min | Biography, Drama, History  7.1 Rate 64 Metascore

The story of Lady Jane Grey, who was Queen of England for only nine days.

Director: Trevor Nunn | Stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Cary Elwes, John Wood, Michael Hordern Votes: 6,115 | Gross: $0.28M  

    

Elizabeth

R | 124 min | Biography, Drama, History  7.4 Rate 75 Metascore The early years of the reign of Elizabeth I of England and her difficult task of learning what is necessary to be a monarch.

Director: Shekhar Kapur | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Liz Giles, Rod Culbertson, Paul Fox Votes: 92,763 | Gross: $30.08M    

 

 

Elizabeth: The Golden Age

PG-13 | 114 min | Biography, Drama, History  6.8 Rate 45 Metascore

A mature Queen Elizabeth endures multiple crises late in her reign including court intrigues, an assassination plot, the Spanish Armada, and romantic disappointments.

Director: Shekhar Kapur | Stars: Cate Blanchett, Clive Owen, Geoffrey Rush, Jordi Mollà Votes: 67,273 | Gross: $16.29M  

 

 

The Virgin Queen

237 min | Biography, Drama, History  7.6 Rate  

The Virgin Queen explores the full sweep of Elizabeth’s life: from her days of fear as a potential victim of her sister’s terror; through her great love affair with Robert Dudley.

Stars: Anne-Marie Duff, Sienna Guillory, Ian Hart, Tom Hardy Votes: 2,757  

 

 

Elizabeth I

TV-MA | 223 min | Biography, Drama, History  7.9 Rate  Mini-series about the public and private lives of the later years of Queen Elizabeth I.

Stars: Helen Mirren, Hugh Dancy, Toby Jones, Patrick Malahide Votes: 6,200 

 

    

Shakespeare in Love

R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, History  7.1 Rate 87 Metascore

The world’s greatest ever playwright, William Shakespeare, is young, out of ideas and short of cash, but meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays. 

Director: John Madden | Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson Votes: 213,225 | Gross: $100.32M

 

  

Upstart Crow

TV-PG | 29 min | Comedy, History  7.6 Rate  

Satirical Blackadderesque sitcom about how friends, family, historical circumstances, and his arch-rival Robert Greene, who first coined the derogatory term “upstart crow”, influenced William Shakespeare to write his famous plays.

Stars: David Mitchell, Gemma Whelan, Rob Rouse, Liza Tarbuck Votes: 2,543 

 

    

Anonymous

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, Thriller  6.9 Rate 50 Metascore

The theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, who penned Shakespeare’s plays. Set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I and the Essex rebellion against her.

Director: Roland Emmerich | Stars: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis, Sebastian Armesto Votes: 39,201 | Gross: $4.46M

 

  

Orlando

PG-13 | 94 min | Biography, Drama, Fantasy  7.2 Rate 74 Metascore

After Queen Elizabeth I commands him not to grow old, a young nobleman struggles with love and his place in the world.

Director: Sally Potter | Stars: Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane, Quentin Crisp, Jimmy Somerville Votes: 14,464 | Gross: $5.29M

 

    

Gunpowder, Treason and Plot

V-MA | 205 min | Drama, History  7.1 Rate  

Miniseries depicting the turbulent and bloody reigns of Scottish monarchs Mary, Queen of Scots, and her son King James VI of Scotland who became King James I of England and foiled the Gunpowder Plot.

Director: Gillies MacKinnon | Stars: Vulpe Adrian, Carmen Ungureanu, Clémence Poésy, Tadeusz Pasternak Votes: 1,658

 

    

The Decameron

R | 111 min | Comedy, Drama, History  7.1 Rate  

An adaptation of nine stories from Boccaccio’s “Decameron”.

Director: Pier Paolo Pasolini | Stars: Franco Citti, Ninetto Davoli, Jovan Jovanovic, Vincenzo Amato Votes: 9,838   

 

       

Dangerous Beauty

R | 111 min | Biography, Drama, Romance  7.2 Rate  

A Venetian courtesan becomes a hero to her city, but later becomes the target of an inquisition by the Church for witchcraft.

Director: Marshall Herskovitz | Stars: Catherine McCormack, Rufus Sewell, Oliver Platt, Fred Ward Votes: 15,958 | Gross: $4.53M  

 

   

Romeo and Juliet

PG-13 | 118 min | Drama, Romance  5.8 Rate 41 Metascore

Romeo and Juliet secretly wed despite the sworn contempt their families hold for each other. It is not long, however, before a chain of fateful events changes the lives of both families forever.

Director: Carlo Carlei | Stars: Hailee Steinfeld, Douglas Booth, Damian Lewis, Laura Morante Votes: 11,066 | Gross: $1.16M  

 

 

 

Carlos, Rey Emperador

TV-MA | Biography, Drama, History  7.5 Rate  

The Roman Catholic Church faces the new challenges of Protestanism in Northern Europe and Paganism in the Americas. Carlos V seeks to secure the power of the Church, in this continuation of Isabel (2011-2014) and La Corona Partida (2016).

Stars: Álvaro Cervantes, Alfonso Bassave, Marina Salas, Félix Gómez Votes: 535

 

 

Aguirre, the Wrath of God

Not Rated | 95 min | Action, Adventure, Biography  7.9 Rate  

In the 16th century, the ruthless and insane Don Lope de Aguirre leads a Spanish expedition in search of El Dorado.

Director: Werner Herzog | Stars: Klaus Kinski, Ruy Guerra, Helena Rojo, Del Negro Votes: 52,087    

 

 

1492 Conquest

PG-13 | 154 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama  6.5 Rate 47 Metascore

Christopher Columbus’ discovery of the Americas and the effect this has on the indigenous people.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Armand Assante, Sigourney Weaver, Loren Dean Votes: 28,079 | Gross: $7.19M

 

 

Christopher Columbus: The Discovery

PG-13 | 120 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama  4.5 Rate  

Genoese navigator overcomes intrigue in the court of King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella of Spain and gains financing for his expedition to the East Indies.

Director: John Glen | Stars: Marlon Brando, Tom Selleck, Georges Corraface, Rachel Ward Votes: 2,760 | Gross: $8.25M 

 

 

Two Nudes Bathing

35 min | Short  7.8 Rate  

An anonymous painting from the Fontainebleau School hangs in the Louvre. The mysterious pose whereby two young women sit in a bath, one holding the nipple of the other between finger and thumb, has baffled all the experts.

Director: John Boorman | Stars: John Hurt, Charley Boorman, Angeline Ball, Jocelyne West Votes: 74   

 

        

Queen Margot

R | 159 min | Biography, Drama, History  7.4 Rate  

Young Queen Margot finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage amidst a religious war between Catholics and Protestants. She hopes to escape with a new lover but finds herself imprisoned by her powerful and ruthless family.

Director: Patrice Chéreau | Stars: Isabelle Adjani, Daniel Auteuil, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Vincent Perez Votes: 16,265 | Gross: $2.02M 

 

 

Henri IV

155 min | Biography, Drama, War  5.9 Rate  

A wide-ranging, energetic period piece tracing the rise of the Protestant Henry of Navarre as he goes from battlefield warrior to France’s beloved King Henri IV.

Director: Jo Baier | Stars: Julien Boisselier, Joachim Król, Andreas Schmidt, Roger Casamajor Votes: 1,223           

 

  

Koroleva Margot

48 min | Biography, Drama, Romance  7.3 Rate   

Stars: Evgeniya Dobrovolskaya, Dmitriy Pevtsov, Mikhail Efremov, Yekaterina Vasilyeva Votes: 201

 

             

Grafinya de Monsoro

1,352 min | Drama, History, Romance  7.9 Rate  

France during the times of Henry III. Religious wars and political intrigues mixed with the tragic love story between Count Louis de Bussy and Countess Diana de Monsoreau.

Stars: Gabriella Mariani, Aleksandr Domogarov, Yury Belyayev, Yuriy Yakovlev Votes: 226

 

 

The Return of Martin Guerre

Not Rated | 112 min | Biography, Crime, Drama  7.4 Rate  

In medieval France, some villagers challenge a man’s claim of identity when he (as he says) returns home from some time in the army.

Director: Daniel Vigne | Stars: Gérard Depardieu, Nathalie Baye, Maurice Barrier, Bernard-Pierre Donnadieu Votes: 4,027 | Gross: $0.02M 

 

 

De Vliegende Hollander

140 min | Comedy, Drama, Fantasy  7.2 Rate  

Late 16th century, persecuted Protestantism and general dissatisfaction with the Catholic Habsburg rule in the Netherlands lead to large-scale plundering and vandalizing of churches.

Director: Jos Stelling | Stars: René Groothof, Veerle Dobbelaere, René van ‘t Hof, Gene Bervoets Votes: 525       

 

      

The Mill and the Cross

Not Rated | 92 min | Drama, History  6.9 Rate 80 Metascore

This movie focuses on a dozen of the five hundred characters depicted in Bruegel’s painting. The theme of Christ’s suffering is set against religious persecution in Flanders in 1564.

Director: Lech Majewski | Stars: Rutger Hauer, Michael York, Charlotte Rampling, Joanna Litwin Votes: 3,831 | Gross: $0.31M

 

     

 

Bathory: Countess of Blood

R | 141 min | Biography, Drama, Fantasy  5.8 Rate  

Bathory is based on the legends surrounding the life and deeds of Countess Elizabeth Bathory known as the greatest murderess in the history of mankind. 

Director: Juraj Jakubisko | Stars: Anna Friel, Karel Roden, Vincent Regan, Hans Matheson Votes: 4,199

 

A touch of “Swan Song” and a dash of “The Stand”…Very good post-apocalyptic tale in the mode and mood of R. McCammon’s “Swan Song” and S. King’s “The Stand”. ★★★★★

Excerpt from Troop of Shadows:

Prologue
Colleyville, Texas
October

Dani cursed the weight of her backpack. The final two items from the ransacked Walgreens, crammed in as an afterthought ten minutes ago, might cost her everything. After surviving the last twelve months of hell only to be thwarted now by a can of Similac and a twelve-pack of Zest soap, would be sadly anticlimactic. Despite running at a full sprint down a dark suburban street, dodging overflowing garbage cans while eluding three men who would steal her hard-won tubes of Neosporin and likely rape and kill her in the process, she snorted at the thought of a fictional headline: Young Woman’s Life Ends Tragically but Zestfully Clean.

Damn it, she would ditch the backpack. She could come back tomorrow night for it, but right now staying alive outweighed any future benefit its contents might provide. As her pursuers rounded the corner behind her, she darted across the front lawn of a house and leaped over a cluster of dead juniper shrubs. A year ago, those shrubs had been green, manicured, and providing curb appeal to the upscale neighborhood; they functioned now as a hurdle component in the obstacle course Dani navigated on most nights.

She angled toward the side of the house and around the corner, only to come to an abrupt stop next to a six-foot barricade. Residents of these sprawling bedroom communities situated between Dallas and Fort Worth clung to their privacy fences as fiercely as their rural counterparts did to their firearms. Why all those day-trading dads and cheerleader moms required such secrecy was beyond Dani. She didn’t care. All that mattered was how difficult they made her nightly forages. Only idiots or people with a death wish traveled alone on the streets anymore. The clever ones navigated through backyards and drainage ditches, shadowed easements and alleyway, avoiding open spaces and other humans.

Especially humans traveling in groups.

Stealth and caution were second nature to her now, and she was pissed at herself for loading up the backpack with more weight than she could easily carry at a full run.

Rookie mistake.

She flung the pack into the undergrowth of a once meticulous garden, making a mental note of the enormous red tip photinia which camouflaged the bundle in a leafy shroud. She hoped to be alive the next day to retrieve it.

She clambered up the fence, finding a toehold on a warped plank, and squirmed over the top. A silver fingernail of a moon did little to illuminate the backyard. Weak starlight reflected off the inky surface of a half-empty, kidney-shaped swimming pool. Her Nikes gripped the concrete deck as she skirted the murky water and made a beeline for the back of the yard that was, of course, separated from its neighbor by a privacy fence. It was a tall one too — a full ten feet. There were no bushes or trees to use for leverage either. She scanned the area for anything that might serve as a step ladder.

Of all the yards she could have chosen for her escape, she’d picked one with a damn ten-foot fence.

Her heart raced from the sprint, but not from panic. Gone was the young woman from a year ago, the full-time floundering college dropout and part-time surly Starbucks barista who spent too much time reading books and not enough time looking for a job that would allow her to move out of her parents’ house. She was too smart for her own good, everyone had told her. She should have taken that secretarial position in North Dallas, but she would have lost her sanity in that environment. The tedious filing, the ringing phones, the office politics — in other words, hell on earth for a girl with an IQ over a hundred and fifty.

Despite the recent horrors, she’d come into her own at last, after twenty-one years of meandering through life unfocused and unchallenged. The extra twenty pounds she’d been carrying courtesy of Freddy’s cheeseburgers and Taco Bell burritos were gone, thanks to her newfound self-discipline and endless hours of Krav Maga training with Sam. Not only had she transformed her body, she’d elevated and strengthened her mind as well. Before the power had gone out, she’d watched countless tutorials on T’ai Chi, Qigong, and Buddhist meditation. During that same window — when people were beginning to get sick, but before most of them had died — she’d combed book stores and libraries within a fifteen-mile radius. When the country went dark and people realized that life-saving information was no longer available with a few keystrokes, Dani had amassed reference material on subjects as diverse as hydroponics and combat first aid, ancient meat drying techniques and bomb making. Between martial arts lessons with Sam, she spent every spare minute absorbing the printed esoteric knowledge like a greedy lizard on a sun-drenched rock.

Knowledge was survival.

When the first of the men slithered over the fence into the backyard, she hadn’t found anything to use as a foothold. Another figure followed behind him. She closed her eyes, took a deep breath and released it from her lungs, slow and measured, then took off at a full run toward them. While she ran, fingers slid down to a leather sheath secured to her belt. Two seconds before she reached the first of her would-be assailants, a Ka-Bar — the grandaddy of tactical knives — was in her hand.

Dani used momentum and every ounce of her one-hundred-twenty pound frame to slam the first man into the second, knocking both assailants off-balance and unprepared for her next move: a vicious stab to the groin of the first. He collapsed to his knees. She followed with a backhand movement, opening up the throat of his companion. A similar gesture to the man with the injured groin silenced his moaning.

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