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Best Movies Set In The 17th Century


It was a time of oppressive authorities & great scientific & geographic discoveries; that’s the 17th century in our history. That period in human development also marked the end of the Renaissance, a time when new cultural norms & the restructuring of traditions were more widely accepted. As one can imagine, life was difficult during the 17th century.

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As a result, movies set in the 17th century are full of drama. The best of them capture what the authorities & monarchs were like during such an era; they were paranoid, despotic, & violent. Such was the case for religious & governing bodies. And these events in human history became sources of inspiration for these particular blockbusters.


8/8 The Witch

The Witch horror film

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The Witch, stylized as The VVitch, is one of the most unique horror films in existence since it’s also a period piece that takes place during the 1630s. It follows a small family that was banished from their village in New Engl& (North America) due to their different br& of Christianity. The said family was thus forced to migrate somewhere else.

Panic & strange occurrences followed them, however, & their teenage daughter was blamed for witchcraft. Young siblings started disappearing, & madness consumed the oldest members of the family, all in preparation for recruiting the young teenage daughter into the witches’ ranks.

7/8 The Crucible

The Crucible movie

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Speaking of witch hunts & Christian/Catholic inquisitions, The Crucible is yet another historical drama that takes place some decades after The Witch‘s time period, in 1692. It also took place in Salem, Massachusetts, famed for its legendary & notorious Salem Witch Trials back in the 17th century.

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That’s exactly what the film is about. As it turns out, witchcraft, both legitimate & suspected, was rampant during that period, & church authorities were rabid with vigilance. But even church officials had some skeletons in their closets that didn’t alleviate them from suspicion in this adaptation of a play based on historical events.

6/8 Pocahontas

Pocahontas disney film

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Backing up a bit to the start of the 17th century, Pocahontas is a Disney-fied tale of a real-life Native American figure who served as an important example of the cruelty of European colonialism & racism, with historical texts painting her as a “tamed savage.” Of course, the real-life tale is more harrowing, but the Disney version gave Pocahontas a fighting chance for her dignity.

In the Disney film, Pocahontas would encounter settlers from Virginia, ever-inching closer to Powhatan territory. During the height of the tension, Pocahontas falls in love & forms a dream-team interracial relationship with John Smith, which also serves as a symbolic gesture of peace. But as with most tales that derive from Romeo & Juliet, it ended in tears & tragedy, but at least the two lovers prevented a war.

5/8 The New World

The New World movie

For those who prefer a somewhat more accurate account of what happened to Pocahontas, The New World might be more tolerable & without those highly romanticized musical numbers. It offers a different perspective for Pocahontas & how she was involved with John Smith & later on with the Rolfe family.

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The New World follows the historical accounts better, where Pocahontas was captured or exiled & was taken back to Engl& to live with the Rolfes. Sadly, due to its emphasis on historical accuracy & authenticity (as much as possible), the film ended on a more heartbreaking note.

4/8 Silence

Silence movie

Not all religious entities in the 17th century were oppressors & enforcers; some of them were missionaries who acted as liberators for downtrodden locals. Such was the case in Silence when two Christian missionaries were tasked with locating their missing mentor in 17th-century Japan when Christianity was outlawed by the Shogun.

Thus, the two missionaries’ presence was forbidden, forcing the faithful & secretive Christian locals to hide them. They were soon discovered by the Shogunate authorities, of course, & their faith was put to the test in this film about systematic bigotry & religious extremism.

3/8 Cyrano de Bergerac

Cyrano de Bergerac movie

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Cyrano de Bergerac explores an odd romance between the titular hero of the film, who is madly in love with his own cousin. It was 17th-century France, don’t judge him. It’s also a comedy film, first & foremost, with jabs at incest & Cyrano’s huge nose which was partly the reason for his timidity.

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In any case, that’s the whole premise of the film. Cyrano, with his large nose & first-degree familial ties with his cousin, had to resort to subtle & stealthy ways to express his love for her. The film was based on an 1897 play of the same name.

2/8 I, the Worst of All

I, the Worst of All movie

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The Spanish Inquisition was one of the most notorious religious groups of the Renaissance period. Their foul deeds & tyranny even reverberate to this day, & a lot of people know them as a result. Thus, only a few people dared to oppose them, & one of those was a real figurehead & early feminist, Juana Inés de la Cruz.

During the height of the Spanish Inquisition, Juana re-established herself as a new philosopher & even became one of the earliest symbols of feminism due to her opposition to the Spanish Inquisition in Mexico. It’s an uphill battle against religious bigotry & tradition, making Juana’s plights worthy of a film.

1/8 Anonymous

Anonymous movie

There has always been a lingering theory that someone else penned Shakespeare’s works as a ghostwriter, putting the famous author & playwright’s reputation into question. Anonymous explores that possibility. Edward De Vere, the Earl of Oxford, was presented as the real author of Shakespeare’s works in this drama & thriller film.

But it wasn’t only Shakespeare’s reputation that was at stake in the film, as apparently, Edward’s ghostwriting work paved the way for a young Elizabeth Tudor to become the Queen of Engl&. The film’s bold claims & theories were explored through flashbacks to Edward’s childhood & his liaisons with Elizabeth I.

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