Skip to content

8 Movies Like Apocalypto You Must See

December 20, 2022

Apocalypto is a historical film set in Mexico around 1500. The focus is on Jaguar Paw, a tribesman who is captured by soldiers of the Mayan tribe who rule Mexico at the time. To save himself and return to his family, Jaguar Paw uses various methods and tactics in the forest to hunt down his enemies. Directed by Mel Gibson, the film is a fascinating portrayal of how civilizations, people and cultures functioned at that time.

The 2006 film’s story also explores themes of survival, invasion and the fall of empires. If you like such tropes and stories, we have compiled a list of movies for you. Most of these movies that are similar to Apocalypto can be watched on Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime.

8. Alpha (2018)

Zl5bhCkUxmsX 6hJLKqm 2 4

‘Alpha’ is a prehistoric adventure film directed by Albert Hughes and set 20,000 years ago. After being separated from his tribe, Keda, a young boy, finds a wounded wolf, Alpha. The two become friends and attempt to return to Keda’s tribe. Like Apocalypto, Alpha is a tale from an earlier time and a fascinating representation of what modern people think of that time. Both films are about survival, but Alpha is more about one man’s journey through wild landscapes and uncharted territory. The first film, on the other hand, is about revenge and the fight for your own life against those who want to abuse it for their own purposes.

7. Valhalla Rising (2009)

v2TTKfXyeUimiz9 lCjIGVx 3 5

‘Valhalla Rising’ is an oblique look at Viking culture in the 20th century and how it clashed with the rise of Christianity around the world. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn, the film is about One-Eye (Mads Mikkelsen) and a young boy trying to reach the Holy Land the former sees in his vision. We follow the two on their way through different areas and attacks to finally learn the truth about the Holy Land.

‘Valhalla Rising’ and ‘Apocalypto’ explore historical facets of the narrative with great detail that captivates audiences. While the core is survival, the background adds more depth to the characters, how they work, their beliefs, and more. Directed by Nicolas Winding Refn we see Viking culture while directed by Mel Gibson we see Mayan civilization.

6. 10,000 BC. (2008)

Jnnj7oTvtzFzWkgRRpxHhM fqtQBVXW 4 6

10,000 BC is a prehistoric action-adventure film set in the year of the same name about a D’Leh, a man who travels far-off lands to save his one true love. The film contains several historical references; the viewer sees mammoths, saber-toothed tigers, pyramids and much more. D’Leh of 10,000 BC is comparable to Jaguar Paw of Apocalypto in that both are separated from their respective partners and will do anything to rejoin them. Furthermore, both protagonists face extreme opposition from enemies who don’t want them to be successful in their endeavors. In addition, the story plays an important role in both films and acts as a character in its own right.

5. Braveheart (1995)

pd3wWjjWUD1YEFEGOltlR84uyJsndB aI22pQJ 5 7

‘Braveheart’ is directed by Mel Gibson and set during the reign of King Edward I of England. After losing his wife to King Edward’s tyranny, William Wallace, a Scottish rebel, decides to wage war and seek justice. Though Braveheart doesn’t share an aesthetic similar to Apocalypto, both films embody a sense of defiance of social hierarchy.

Also, the protagonists embody the spirit of freedom and are willing to do anything to get it. Interestingly, the critics praised both stories but criticized the deviation from historical fact. Notwithstanding the criticism, both films evoke different emotions and ideologies in the viewer that enhance the viewer’s experience.

4. The Revenant (2015)

9YBbw27n9bmbjKYLEBQIvVAy LmPEPdp 6 8

The film The Revenant, based in part on Michael Punke’s novel of the same name, is directed by Alejandro G. Iñárritu and is believed to be a remake of The Man in the Wild. The western adventure film chronicles the journey of Hugh Glass (Leonardo DiCaprio) as he struggles to survive after being badly injured by a bear and abandoned by his hunting team.

The Revenant is similar to Apocalypto in some aspects, such as the survival theme and the protagonist’s connection to family. But unlike the latter, the first film is almost like a revenge drama, with Hugh Glass seeking revenge on John Fitzgerald (Tom Hardy) for the death of his son. Both films immerse the viewer in their worlds and captivate them to the end.

3. 300 (2006)

RwBoEuXWyVO53SqVy5HJ58 L3RXL5E 7 9

300 is an historical action film directed by Zack Snyder that chronicles the war between the 300 Spartan soldiers from Greece and the massive army of Xerxes from Persia. The groundbreaking film is known for its stylistic portrayal of action and innovative cinematography that gives viewers a hyper-real feel. In 300 and Apocalypto, the authors create a unique world that is real, yet surreal. They capture the audience’s attention and draw them in with an epic story that will be remembered long after the film is over.

Like Apocalypto, 300 is about a ruler of a great civilization and his desire to control everything. King Leonidas (Gerard Butler) from 300 reminds us of Jaguar Paw from Apocalypto for several reasons. Both characters believe in independence, not authority. Leonidas and Jaguar Paw fight for their survival and their families. In a way, we only see the world through the eyes of the protagonists. Overall, both characters ensure that the viewer is immersed in the story.

2. Seven Samurai (1954)

PCTbgSvlOeSIc5SR0kxL3RuXvR to45OgmMv 8 10

Directed by Akira Kurosawa, Seven Samurai is a cult classic that has inspired numerous modern filmmakers and their films. As a group of notorious bandits repeats a village of peasants one of the peasants hires a samurai to protect them. The samurai assembles a team of six others of his kind and together they try to defeat the bandit group.

Although Seven Samurai isn’t set in a different age, it shares some interesting similarities with Apocalypto. In both films, the protagonists try to defeat a group of invaders who wreak havoc and harm people. The two films follow a similar path when it comes to how the Samurai and Jaguar Paw plot their plan and take down the enemy. That being said, there are a few other minor similarities between the two films that make them an intriguing experience.

1. Ben-Hur (1959)

wtogMRRv3rppriJd E8RouGPq 9 11

‘Ben-Hur’ is a religious historical epic film based on the novel ‘Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ.’ Set in the 1st century, the film is about a Jewish prince who becomes a slave and gladiator after a Roman friend betrays him. The prince fights for his freedom and wants revenge on his friend. Ben-Hur is a cult classic film that covers various subjects such as history, religion, culture, independence and more.

Apocalypto includes several such themes that elevate the story beyond a revenge saga. Through the films we get a glimpse of a fictionalized version of history that intrigues audiences and holds their attention. Most importantly, both films leave viewers with questions about the civilizations and cultures of their respective eras. In this way, the films remain in the viewer’s memory even after the credits have rolled.