8 Best Movies and Cartoons About Christopher Columbus

The best movies about Christopher Columbus

For the man who discovered America, Christopher Columbus is a very unpopular figure on the screen. There is hardly any attention on the famous explorer in Hollywood, and Europe hasn’t given him much screentime since the 500th anniversary of his maiden voyage to the New World in 1992. Most fans are therefore forced to resort to the classics when looking for the best movies and cartoons about Christopher Columbus.

The apathy towards Christopher Columbus is understandable because he is one of the most divisive figures in history. Most movies about the explorer didn’t perform well in the theaters, so producers tended to avoid the subject. There are still enough movies on Christopher Columbus and his voyages to binge on, and these eight are a good place to start.

1. ‘Even The Rain’: 2010

Even the rain 2010 movie

What it is about: Even The Rain follows a Mexican filmmaker, Sebastian, who decides to create a movie about Christopher Columbus’s first voyage. The film focuses on the rebellion led by Hatuey, a local chief who opposed Columbus’s imposition of Spanish law. He chooses to film in Cochabamba, Bolivia, to save costs. However, Daniel, the local actor he chooses to portray Hatuey, turns out to be an activist, and the events in 1492 replay on Sebastian’s movie set.


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Why you should watch it: Even The Rain recreates the Hatuey rebellion from the eyes of the modern native inhabitants of Latin America. While it doesn’t have the action and the medieval set, it does recreate the events of Columbus’ interaction with the natives perfectly. The movie highlights the impact of cultural differences expressing how natives were taken advantage of and how the trend continues. It also embraces the fighting spirit of the native people, which many movies don’t capture.

2. ‘The Magic Voyage’: 1992

The Magic Voyage animation

What it is about: In 1492, the people still believed that the Earth was flat and that they might fall off the edge if they sailed too far. However, one woodworm convinces Christopher Columbus that the Earth is round by eating the edge of his cube-shaped globe. Colombus convinces Queen Isabella to give him three ships and fund his voyage. The queen agrees because he likes Columbus, but the king hates him and hopes he will die on the voyage.

Why you should watch it: The animation is one of the few movies that portray Columbus as a hero. It captures his determination and foresight in a world where many people are afraid to explore and venture far from home. The movie doesn’t capture the actual political impact of Columbus’s voyage on Native Americans, instead portraying him as the savior against an enemy of the people in the New World, the Swarm Lord.

3. ‘Nothing Left To Do But Cry’: 1984

Nothing Left To Do But Cry 1

What it is about: It follows a school teacher (Saverio) and a janitor (Mario) in Rural Tuscany who mysteriously travels back in time to the 15th century. While struggling to survive, they also take the opportunity to try and change some aspects of history they don’t like. One of the things they try to change is Columbus’ discovery of America. They try to go to Spain and convince him to cancel his voyage.

Why you should watch it: The movie takes a comedic approach to history while also exposing the culture clash between the 15th century and the 1980s. It is an interesting watch for both history buffs and comedy fans as it avoids the controversial political aspect of historical topics from the era. The movie also covers almost every topic that changed history from the 15th century, including Leonardo Da Vinci.

4. ‘Christopher Columbus: The Discovery’: 1992

Christopher Columbus The Discovery

What it is about: The movie follows the events in 15th-century Spain, from the fall of the Arab Emirate of Granada to Spain to the time when Colombus shows up in King Ferdinand’s court seeking financing for his voyage. The movie puts more context around the state of the Spanish economy before Colombus received funding and the level of intrigue he faced from the royal court.


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Why you should watch it: Featuring Marlon Brando, Tom Selleck, and Georges Corraface, Christopher Columbus: The Voyage is arguably the most star-studded Christopher Columbus movie. It also features a detailed plot that gives a perfect picture of Columbus’ trip, which happens against all odds. However, it doesn’t cover much of the voyage’s impact on the New World.

5. ‘Christopher Columbus: The Enigma’: 2007

christopher columbus the enigma Sylvia and Manuel

What it is about: Manuel Da Silva and his brother Herminio move to the US to make a fortune for themselves. After struggling and becoming a doctor, Manuel realizes that his true calling is to be a researcher and an explorer, just like Christopher Columbus. He moves back home to Portugal and embarks on a mission to prove that Christopher Columbus was Portuguese and not Spanish, as historical records claim.

Why you should watch it: Set in both Portugal and the US, the movie gives a clear view of how ambitions can block the path of one’s true calling. The movie also tries to solve the controversial topic of Christopher Columbus’s origins, which is interesting. Although the movie brings in Columbus as an interesting subject, its main storyline only covers life in general, which is a welcome break from the monotony of historical drama.

6. ‘1492: Conquest of Paradise’: 1992

Columbus in 1492 Conquest of Paradise

What it is about: Despite opposition from the church and fellow explorers, Christopher Columbus believed that the world is round and he could find a shorter route to the West Indies. He gets the support of one banker to who Queen Isabella owes money I and gets the ships and funding to set off on his voyage. After quelling a mutiny due to the crew’s failure to find land, Columbus and his crew arrive on the island of Guanahani. However, the glory of his discovery turns into his downfall as the nobles back home enslave the natives and declare him a traitor.

Why you should watch it: The movie was released around the same time as Christopher Columbus: The Discovery. It has a rich storyline and action-packed scenes that rival its American counterpart. Despite many historical inaccuracies, the movie perfectly builds the atmosphere around Columbus and manages to bring him out as a hero despite what history books say.

7. ‘Columbus: The Lost Voyage’: 2007

Colombus The Last Voyage

What it is about: After years of voyaging and making the greatest discovery of the century, an old Christopher Columbus sets off on his fourth voyage. His new world fame has faded, and his legacy depends on the success of the fourth voyage. However, the trip becomes a total disaster since Columbus can’t find a West route. He loses men and ships and is on the verge of being exiled from his homeland of Spain.

Why you should watch it: Unlike other movies which portray Columbus as a hero with excellent leadership skills and an eye for finding land, Columbus: The Lost Voyage is the exact opposite. It portrays the last days of Columbus, showing him as a miserable outcast struggling to restore his fame. It is an interesting watch for anyone that wants to know what Colombus’s last days looked like.

8. ‘Carry On Columbus’: 1992

Carry On Columbus 1992

What it is about: It is a British comedy following Cristopher Columbus on a voyage in an attempt to discover a shorter route to the Far East. Despite his big ambitions, Columbus’ plans are thwarted by the secret opposition from the Sultan of the Ottomans, who taxes the long route currently used by ships to the region. Columbus ends up setting off on a doomed voyage with convicts that have never sailed before as his crew and without his map.


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Why you should watch it: This comedy doesn’t focus on historical accuracy or exalting Columbus’s genius as an explorer. It still expresses him as a resilient person able to improvise in tough situations and lead people. It is a great alternative for comedy and history fans who want to see a full-on comedic version of Christopher Columbus.

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