20 Best Historical Bollywood Movies: A Journey Into The Past

Indian history has a lot to offer to filmmakers. From the prosperous kingdoms to British rule to the pathos of partition, Indian history has provided plenty of material for movies. Are you one of those who liked to watch historical Bollywood movies? Then read the guide till the end as here we are going to highlight the 20 best Indian historical movies that will bring you back to the past. 

Bollywood Historical Movie List

In the below section, we have prepared a list of the 20 top movies based on Indian history. Let’s have a glance:

  1. Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior (2020)
  2. The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)
  3. Kesari (2019)
  4. Airlift (2016)
  5. Border (I) (1997)
  6. Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019)
  7. Super 30 (2019)
  8. Batla House (2019)
  9. The Tashkent Files (2019)
  10. The Kashmir Files (2022)
  11. Neerja (2016)
  12. Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran (2018)
  13. The Ghazi Attack (2017)
  14. GOLD (I) (2018)
  15. The Attacks of 26/11 (2013)
  16. Shershaah (2021)
  17. Sardar Udham (2021)
  18. Manjhi: The Mountain Man (2015)
  19. Chittagong (2012)
  20. 1971 (2007)

Let’s know more about these best movies on Indian history. 

#1.Tanhaji: The Unsung Warrior (2020)

historical bollywood movies

Rating: 7.5/10 IMDb

Genre: Biography, Action, Drama

Available On: Hotstar

This historical Indian movie shows the life of the great warrior Tanhaji Malusare. He was the chieftain in the army of the Maratha king Shivaji and leads the charge to capture the strategically important Kondhana fort guarded by the army of the fierce Rajput. 

Directed By: Om Raut

Written By: Prakash Kapadia, Om Raut

Star Cast: Sharad Kelkar, Ajay Devgn, Saif Ali Khan, Kajol, Padmavati Rao

#2. The Legend of Bhagat Singh (2002)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vih7kDoviYw

Rating: 8.1/10 IMDb

Genre: Drama, Biography, Action

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

This historical Hindi movie tells us about the unforgettable journey of the Legend Bhagat Singh who refuses to accept British rule. His only ambition was to make India independent. Soon, he was arrested by the Police. 

Directed By: Rajkumar Santoshi

Written By: Piyush Mishra, Ranjit Kapoor, Rajkumar Santoshi

Star Cast: Akhilendra Mishra, Ajay Devgn, Raj Babbar, Sushant Singh, D. Santosh

#3. Kesari (2019)

Kesari

Rating: 7.4/10 IMDb

Genre: History, Action, Drama

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

This Indian epic historical movie is based on the true story of the Saragari battle in which an army of 21 Sikhs fought against 10,000 Afghans in the year 1897. The movie was released in 2019 and was one of the biggest hits in the same year. 

Directed By: Anurag Singh

Written By: Anurag Singh, Girish Kohli

Star Cast:  Surmeet Basran, Akshay Kumar, Vansh Bhardwaj, Parineeti Chopra

#4. Airlift (2016)

Rating: 7.9/10 IMDb

Genre: History, Action, Drama

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

This is one of the best Indian historical movies of all time. When Iraq attacked Kuwait in August 1990, an Indian businessman Ranjit Katyal (played by Akshay Kumar) becomes the spokesperson for more than 170,000 stranded countrymen. 

Directed By: Raja Menon

Written By: Raja Menon, Sonu Sinha

Star Cast: Nimrat Kaur, Akshay Kumar, Prakash Belawadi, Kumud Mishra

#5. Border (I) (1997)

bollywood historical movie

Rating: 7.9/10 IMDb

Genre: History, Action, Drama

Available On: YouTube

This Bollywood historical movie shows the Kargil war in 1971 when the Pakistani Army attacks India. The movie is a landmark in Bollywood cinema and unfolds the effort of the Indian army to save the nation from the Pakistani army. 

Directed By: J.P. Dutta

Written By: O.P. Dutta, J.P. Dutta

Star Cast: Jackie Shroff, Sunny Deol, Akshaye Khanna, Suniel Shetty,  Puneet Issar

#6. Uri: The Surgical Strike (2019)

Rating: 8.2/10 IMDb

Genre: History, Action, Drama

The movie is divided into five chapters and tells us the story of 11 explosive events over which the operation was carried out. The special force of the Indian army carried out an operation to take revenge on the terrorist for killing fellow army men. 

Directed By: Aditya Dhar

Written By: Aditya Dhar

Star Cast: Kirti Kulhari, Vicky Kaushal, Yami Gautam, Paresh Rawal, Mohit Raina

#7. Super 30 (2019)

Super 30

Rating: 7.9/10 IMDb

Genre: Drama, Biography

Available On: Hotstar

This is one of the best Indian historical movies of all time. The film starts with a Mathematics genius- Anand Kumar. He believes in the statement that only a King’s son can become the king. He started a training program that needs Super 30 in order to help 30 IIT aspirants to crack the exam. 

Directed By: Vikas Bahl

Written By: Sanjeev Dutta

Cast: Nandish Singh Sandhu, Virendra Saxena, Hrithik Roshan, Aditya Srivastav, Pankaj Tripathi

#8. Batla House (2019)

Rating: 7.2/10 IMDb

Genre: Action, Crime, Drama

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

We include Batla House in the list of best historical Bollywood movies. The action-thriller movie is based on the true event of the Batla House Encounter, officially known as Operation Batla House, to the silver screen. The incident took place in the year 2008 against the Indian Mujahideen in Batla House locality in Jamia Nagar, Delhi.

Directed By: Nikkhil Advani

Written By: Ritesh Shah

Star Cast: Kranti Prakash Jha, John Abraham, Mrunal Thakur, Nora Fatehi, Ravi Kishan

#9. The Tashkent Files (2019)

indian historical movies

Rating: 8.1/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Drama, Mystery

Available On: YouTube

The plot of the film revolves around the mysterious death of India’s 2nd Prime Minister Shri Lal Bahadur Shastri. The movie tries to disclose his actual death reason. 

Directed By: Vivek Agnihotri

Written By: Vivek Agnihotri

Star Cast: Naseeruddin Shah, Vinay Pathak, Pallavi Joshi, Shweta Basu Prasad, Mithun Chakraborty

#10. The Kashmir Files (2022)

Rating: 8.3/10 IMDb

Genre: Drama

We include The Kashmir Files in the list of Indian historical movies. The movie is based on video interviews of the 1st-era victims of the Genocide of the Kashmiri Pandit Community In 1990. 

Directed By: Vivek Agnihotri

Written By: Saurabh M. Pandey, Vivek Agnihotri

Star Cast: Chinmay Mandlekar, Mithun Chakraborty, Anupam Kher, Chinmay Mandlekar, Pallavi Joshi

#11. Neerja (2016)

Neerja

Rating: 7.7/10 IMDb

Genre: Thriller, Biography, Drama

Available On: Hotstar

It’s the story of Neerja Bhanot who sacrificed her life to protect the lives of 359 passengers on Pan AM Flight 73 in the year 1986 when the plane was hijacked by a terrorist organization. 

Directed By: Ram Madhvani

Written By: Sanyuktha Chawla Shaikh

Star Cast: Abrar Zahoor, Jim Sarbh, Sonam Kapoor, Shabana Azmi, Vikrant Singta

#12. Parmanu: The Story of Pokhran (2018)

Rating: 7.6/10 IMDb

Genre: History, Action, Drama

Available On: Netflix

The film starts with Ashwat Raina and his teammates reached in Pokhran in order to re-conduct a secret nuclear test, where they face many difficulties from the American Lacrosse satellite and local spies. The movie was released in 2018 and is one of the best historical Bollywood movies of all time. 

Directed By: Abhishek Sharma

Written By: Abhishek Sharma, Saiwyn Quadras

Star Cast: Vikas Kumar, John Abraham,  Diana Penty, Boman Irani, Aditya Hitkari

#13. The Ghazi Attack (2017)

movies based on indian history

Rating: 7.5/10 IMDb

Genre: War, Thriller, Action

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

In 1971, the Pakistan Navy planned to attack the Indian majestic-class aircraft carrier INS Vikrant to get control over the waters of the Bay of Bengal. The Pakistani army sends their submarine PNS Ghazi but is intercepted by the Indian submarine INS Karanj ( S21). 

Directed By: Sankalp Reddy

Written By: Niranjan Ramireddy, Sankalp Reddy

Cast: Atul Kulkarni, Rana Daggubati, Kay Kay Menon, Om Puri, Rahul Singh

#14. GOLD (I) (2018)

GOLD (I)

Rating: 7.3/10 IMDb

Genre: Sport, Drama, History

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

The Gold movie shows the life of Tapan Das who was the manager of the Indian hockey team during the British Rule and dreams of bringing a Gold medal to the country post-independence. Later, he prepares his own team for the upcoming Olympics. 

Directed By: Reema Kagti

Written By: Reema Kagti, Rajesh Devraj

Star Cast: Kunal Kapoor, Akshay Kumar, Mouni Roy, Vineet Kumar Singh, Sunny Kaushal

#15. The Attacks of 26/11 (2013)

Rating: 6.9/10 IMDb

Genre: Drama, Action, Crime

Available On: Eros Now

We include this movie in the list of top historical Bollywood movies. The movie is based on the Mumbai attack that happened on 26 November 2008. A group of 10 terrorists came to Mumbai from Pakistan and wage war on the populace for the next 72 hours. 

Directed By: Ram Gopal Varma

Written By: Rommel Rodrigues, Prashant Pandey

Star Cast: Sanjeev Jaiswal, Ferzad Jehani, Sadh Orhan, Atul Kulkarni, Nana Patekar

#16. Shershaah (2021)

historical bollywood movies

Rating: Drama, Action, Biography

Genre: Action, Biography, Drama

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

This is one of the best historical Bollywood movies of all time and revolves around PVC awardee Indian soldier Capt. Vikram Batra was shot to fame and became a household name during the Kargil War in 1999.

Directed By: Vishnuvardhan

Written By: Sandeep Shrivastava

Star Cast: Pranay Pachauri, Sidharth Malhotra, Shiv Panditt, Kiara Advani,  Atul Singh Verma

#17.  Sardar Udham (2021)

Rating: 8.5/10 IMDb

Genre: Drama, Biography, Crime

Available On: Amazon Prime Video

The film starts with Udham Singh, better known for the assassination of Michael O Dwyer in London, who was behind the Jallianwala Bagh Massacre on April 13, 1919. In the remaining story, we will see how Udham Singh survived the bloodbath on the day of Baisakhi which killed around 400 people and injured around 1000, and avenged those who died.

Directed By: Shoojit Sircar

Written By: Ritesh Shah, Shubhendu Bhattacharya

Star Cast: Andrew Havill, Vicky Kaushal, Stephen Hogan, Amol Parashar, Banita Sandhu, Kirsty Averton

#18. Manjhi: The Mountain Man (2015)

Manjhi The Mountain Man

Rating: 8.0/10 IMDb

Genre: Drama, Biography

Available On: Netflix

Dashrath Manjhi lives in a remote village. For him, life is a daily struggle. He loved his wife Phaguniya very much. One day while climbing the mountain to bring food, Darshrath’s wife slipped and died. After that, Dashrath decided to carve out a path through the mountain, so that no one else fell from the mountain. 

Directed By: Ketan Mehta

Written By: Ketan Mehta, Shahzad Ahmed

Star Cast: Radhika Apte, Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Shahzad Ahmed, Vishwa Bhanu, Abhinay Raj Singh

#19. Chittagong (2012)

Rating: 7.2/10 IMDb

Genre: War, Action, Drama

The film is set in 1930s British India and shows the journey of a 14-year-old boy. For the 1st time in Indian history, the British army is defeated by a ragtag army of schoolboys and their teachers. The movie was released in 2012 and was one of the top historical Bollywood movies of all time. 

Directed By: Bedabrata Pain

Written By: Bedabrata Pain

Star Cast: Nawazuddin Siddiqui, Rajkummar Rao, Jaideep Ahlawat, Manoj Bajpayee

#20. 1971 (2007)

Rating: 8.1/10 IMDb

Genre: War, Action, Drama

The story of this Bollywood historical movie revolves around 6 brave soldiers who escape from the clutches of the Pakistani Army and die with honor and bravery with sacrifice towards their journey home.

Directed By: Amrit Sagar

Written By: Piyush Mishra

Star Cast: Manav Kaul, Manoj Bajpayee, Deepak Dobriyal, Ravi Kishan, Piyush Mishra

Conclusion

That’s it. In this guide, we have prepared a list of the 20 best historical Bollywood movies that will drive you into the past. Let us know, if we forget to include your favorite movie’s name on the list. 

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