Ancient Warfare Expert Rates 10 Battle Tactics In Movies And TV | How Real Is It?

Birt 2 feb 2021
Roel Konijnendijk, who has a doctorate in ancient history and is a lecturer at the University of Oxford's New College, rates 10 ancient-warfare scenes in movies and shows for realism.
Konijnendijk rates the realism of tactics portrayed in films such as “300" (2006), "Alexander" (2004), and "Braveheart" (1995). He breaks down the martial arts prowess of stars such as Brad Pitt in "Troy" (2004), Orlando Bloom in "Kingdom of Heaven" (2005), and Russell Crowe in "Gladiator" (2000).
He also looks at some fantastical scenes such as the battle of Helm's Deep from "The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers" (2002) and the battle of Winterfell from "Game of Thrones." Konijnendijk analyzes the historical accuracy of scenes from "The Last Kingdom" (2015) and "Red Cliff" (2008), and he rates the realism of the military formations, tactics, movements, and weaponry of each scene.
Find out more about Konijnendijk here:
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Ancient Warfare Expert Rates 10 Battle Tactics In Movies And TV | How Real Is It?


  • “You can just throw them and they get hurt, and its great”

  • so hollywood ancient war must have 1.fireballs 2.screaming and run into each other like a fool with fire

  • getting some serious robert pattinson vibe

  • we all are now wondering what actual medieval/historic warfare was like. a video on that might be a good idea.

  • I was expecting Alexander the Great and I was not disappointed Also why don’t movie producers don’t hire this guy ?

  • Soldiers: How may ditches do you want sir Me: YES

  • To be fair, the army sent to Helms Deep was created with the purpose of overwhelming the forces of Rohan with pure numbers. There wasn't much stratergy going on there. And the arrows bit, for effect we're seeing the ones that hit weak points in the armor. There are plenty of shots of arrows bouncing around

  • I love his aura!😎

  • this ancient warfare expert was not even a thought in someone's mind back then but he is full of experts and professionals these days and none of them know shit....

  • So the point is, you all need ditches!!

  • Regarding fighting the ice zombies, how about using your dragons to turn ablaze the forest just north from your castle that those ice zombies would have to pass through in order to get to your castle.

  • To give credit to Troy's seige, a commander was yelling for everyone to get back into formation as to not cause friendly fire from their archers. So I guess they did keep some kind of formation instead of just rushing to meet the enemy.

  • this guy is amazing. he knows what he's talking about, he explains it well, and he's really funny. 10/10

  • Very interesting

  • what I have learned from this movie. Ditches is op

  • This guy could have beaten the Night King without Arya Stark 😂😂

  • Hollywood gets ancient and medieval battles so wrong and he is pointing it all out. I noticed a lot of these things too from my studies of military history. I love Gladiator but some of the battle scenes were really off. Romans didn't use cavalry, catapults and fire in heavy forests, lol. The tactics are genuinely Roman but were not used in these kind of battles.

  • i am building a ditch around my house right now

  • Brings in an Ancient Warfare Expert to analyze Battle Tactics in Movies. Shows Lord of the Rings where Magic and Orcs exist.

  • Show him some historical indian movies especially the one called 'Bahubali', i guess. He'll just give up his degree and job, and become an Indian preacherㅋㅋㅋ

  • True God written in Holy Bible and the fulfillment of 10 divine law CREATE SPACE INFORMATIONAL good clean sacred right HEALTHY Minal wise and the most preferable CLIMATE PSYCHIC PSYCHOLOGICAL soul mind HEARTS SOULS DARK wandered sick FAULTS underdeveloped illuminate minds cleansed soul consciousness to and THIS God and the bins BIOLOGICAL pSYCHIC spiritual who have accumulated a multitude of sins DIRTY DARK monster evil thoughts SENT BY SATAN AND SPIRITS invisible demon into telepathic witchcraft FULL VENOM POISON Spirits mental mind URA envy Raut perverse enemy divisions proud fool DEPRESSION AND MANY OTHER PSYCHOLOGICAL DISEASES WITH THE HELP OF BLESSING GOD'S LEADING IS TRANSFORMED PSYCHICALLY SOULS BODIES INTO HEALTHY PEOPLE MENTALLY WISE ENLIGHTENED TO MIND CIVILIZED CREAM THAT THOUGHT COMPONENTLY RIE IN THE 10 DIVINE LAWS AND THE TRUTH WRITTEN IN THE HOLY BIBLE EXACTLY SO THAT GOD HELP US. AMEN....................

  • This guy thinks the way I do. -15 year old Total War maniac

  • This dude loves his ditches

  • 5000

  • a gay speak about war

  • This guy is so chill and funny! I want more videos of him

  • Honestly this guy should get his title changed to "Ditch Enthusiast"

  • I would say, his criticism of Braveheart is accurate, but I also think it is worth noting that William Wallace was a rebel, and didn't really lead a professional army. So, while the depiction of his forces wasn't accurate, I think it was an intentional creative choice. Also, he calling the depiction of the Persians "racist" is pretty stupid. Their manner of dress, facial hair and makeup are all based on historical finds, and it is generally believed to be the fashion of the time. He is just flagellating himself with his white guilt.

  • Don't doubt his knowledge, but seems like a buzzkill to interrupt every movie night with "Hactually...."

  • "You don't expect people to run into a pike and die" Laughs in Rome Total war

  • this is guy... aaaaah, he is a film hater and a love it. He has the right arrogance of an historian. he is up there and all of you are way bollow of the deepest point down there. He is THE incarnation of an academic. As a p.hd philospher i LOVE him. God bless the academic arrogance! yeah, yeah yeah! (german philosophical eloquence in its highest form)

  • WE NEED THIS GUY AGAIN! I love his brutality!

  • I like his brutality. He should do another one.

  • This guy seems very douchey

  • Boiling oil makes sense. Boiling water is just 100 °C. Boiling oil , depending from the oil, can have much higher temperatures. Propably, boiling oily liquids are likely much stickier than water, considering that the attakers wear protecting cloths and armor.

  • Huh. So China should've used camels to fight the xiongnu army whose famous for their horse mounted soldiers to scare their horses. But then again I don't think China has camels at that time. 🧐🤔

  • dont agree with the burning oil comment youd save water in a seige and the oil has a moral effect aswell

  • 13:27 maybe they don't want earths help

  • 11:19 ahahahahaha Paris , the French

  • 8:40 so Hector is Adolf Hitler , Achilles must be Churchill than , or Roosevelt , Achilles hill less , not church hill , so it must be Rose above welt (world) , Roosevelt , even though many nations were there also , like shown in the movie , ahahhaahahah Churchill is the empire , the Brit , Agamemnon , the American does the fighting

    • hahahahahah i have to , Aga mam non , what about Erica , Am Erica , is it mam non or mam nan , has to be seen right

  • 7:45 they're to big ,seem to have been build for dragons , the t rex (maximus/noah) leading them back in the day

    • yes , we bring punishment to our own , purifying them of their terrible mistakes , or is it only when it's another tribe / bloodline

  • 4:33 it's actually flip mode , the orcs (not the ors / hours ours , fake or/hour = or'k) had the horses , i mean not the long spears , because the humans had horse also , you see this in 300 also , the Persians carrying Trojan shields , the meaning is 'they're same people' , it's not about racism because there are no races as you may understand that , there's only falling from high , because of dirt sickness

  • 5/10 for that Game of Thrones shitshow?! You gotta be kiddin' me! That's a 1/10 at best!

  • Would LOVE to take a class from this guy omg

  • This is incredibly interesting!, i allways loved war history and allways was very curious about how they REALLY fight, but i have 2 questions: 1) So in testudo formation the romans werent able to move like we saw in other movies?, you know, advancing while on testudo formation?, they just standed there waiting for the arrow rain to end?. 2) I always though that the sticks in the beach in Troy were accurate, or at least was an easy idea using them, we have like battle of Agincourt (i know its from late middle ages) and it was very effective to stop people, not only cavarly, why wouldnt stop people in Troy? If the channel or any person that knows the answer to one or both of these question i would like to know them. Thank you very much and GREAT VIDEO!

  • "How real is this, Battle Expert?" *plays video of Wizard blinding army of Orcs with magic staff*

  • I am just going to start using the phrase "Where is your ditch" in regular conversation. I am not from an English speaking country, so it's gonna be harder to implement, but I'll do my best.

  • Why isn't he a general in the British army...actually knows his stuff !!!

  • I'm glad this man comes. It brings true knowledge of war tactics and strategies of medieval age to us. Now I realized how dumb these 'tactics' actually are.

  • React to scenes from.the turkish series resurrection ertugrul

  • Ice zombies. Man, I hate those guys.

  • They should have him play total war

  • Talking about boiling oil... I remember hear something about hot sand, true or false?

  • you know what? o like this guy the most... he's pretty dope

  • The Concept of the tetsudo in Gladiator was to get the Germans bogged in to close combat and then cavalry would hit them in the rear. So the wanted to waste time or get the Germans to come to them.

  • Is Noone going to mention the fact that the Trojans had a perfectly good wall, and they go stand outside..

    • Somebody put an awful lot of work making then swords and amor, may as well use them instead of being safe and not dead

  • 5:30 its not bizzare my friend , its improv with what they had cos the scotts being ruled by da english in william wallace era , they waz not allowed to have weapons and armors so yeah , they look like a prehistorical bunch of barbarians cos thats all they had ordinary medieval infatery armors and weapons costs a shit load of money :) sorry for my bad english :P

  • "The Scots were a sophisticated people" Aye richt, mist hae bin lost ower time, at least i Dundee.

    • I think it was the invasion of undead unicorns that did that.

  • Ice and fire did the cruelty he said

  • Hittites and such were not using horses during and before the time of the Trojan war? Hitites scythians and all other Iranian peoples? Troy was under Hittite hegemony no?

  • "Or you can just throw rocks, but they cost nothing, they take no preparation, and you just throw them at people. They get hurt. It's great!" Roel Konijnendijk 2021

  • I like these GQ videos, but, we are dealing with movies. And I bet William Wallace and Mel Gibson can kick his arse.

  • and this is the reason why you wouldn't want to become an ancient warfare expert... you can't enjoy movies.

  • dude you are measuring the historical accuracy of the movie 300?? HAH also, i love this guy he is truly a man of culture XD we need more from him please

  • These are always such buzz kills lol


  • The King (the Netflix one) would have been a good one for him to look at.

  • The mounted cavalry thing in Troy - Horses were even more precious in Ancient Greece because most of the region is rocks and seashores with relatively little amounts of farmland, not much to spare for pastures for large grazing animals. So having a horse was a huge status symbol, that was true for Mycenae as well as Dark Age and Classical Greee. Riding a horse was absolutely a flex and not at all a practicality.

  • "you can just throw rocks, they cost nothing and they hurt people, they are great" laught so much

  • Plate armors in movies is just cosmetic and fashion! If you see someone using sword of spear cutting right into plate armor don take serious.

  • the last formation is actually from Indian Mythology, knows has "Chakravyusha" involving seven stages

  • Thanks asshole now I will not able to watch medieval movies

  • Ok in the thumbnail he straight up looked like robert pattinson

  • Pro tip : hire this guy

  • lmfao love him

  • Hey, my name is (nord) and I'm going to shit on your favorite movies. You didn't think they were real, did you?\

  • Great balls of fire!

  • Alexander is a cut above, seek out the Director's Cut and on-set documentary 'Fight Against Time'.

  • Oooooooh so that's why camels have bonus against cavalry in Age of Empires 2.

  • lesson is.. holy wood is absolute garbage.. always will be..and most movies are just a form of propaganda or light history rewriting.

  • So can I just confirm? The Lord of the Rings; a fantasy film. Based on a fantasy novel. Is not absolutely realistic?

  • Fire arrows are used in battles. To light fires of oil bushes and grass and enemy soldiers to burn. Sun Tz was use this strategy. Very effective. No way to now that there is oil set.

  • 2/10, Not enough ditches. -Roel Konijnendijk

  • Get a rock, throw it at people, they get hurt, it's great

  • 2:35 ... you re talking of trolls dont forget... im sure you have a lot of experience on that orcs and world of Warcraft

  • rocks are great, cost nothing, hurt people, great !

  • The spikes on the beach may be useful against shield(wall) formations. You cannot move in formation against something solid placed on the surface. But why do those defenders shoot arrows from some 20 meters? Even my younger brother would hit a human at a much longer distance with his bow...

  • My guy here did not come to play around. He brought the 🔥 to these films I enjoyed atleast.. Damn. Savage. 😆

  • These warfare experts don't look that ancient, to be honest 😕

  • He forgot to mention that even individual fights are bullshit. You can slam your sword as much as you can on a full body armored guy , he would just stand staring at you like : what the hell are you trying to do ? I will die of an old age before you did any significant damage ...

  • Conclusion : there isn't a single movie realistic , not even close. Thanks to this guy who spoke out loud what i always wanted said . Why the hell would you loose your energy sprinting 1km shouting like a demon, offering archers opporrunities to kill you and run straìght to a wall of spears and shields.

  • Most battles are considered lost when 10-15% of your men have fallen 🤯

  • 8 gate shield war...too complex...too much coordination needed...china olympics showed otherwise ! they can do it.

  • I didn't know The Lord of the Rings is Medieval. I thought it was fantasy till today.

  • Maybe just maybe one day Movies will be made for PEOPLE WITH BRAINS instead of the CRAP WE GET FED TODAY!?!?

  • To his very first quote, before the title screen and stuff: That’s dumb,,, you’re dumb... Water and oil are not interchangeable

  • I've rode through a forest, between cantering and trotting, they're doing the same. Gladiator

  • GoT final season gets 5/10? That is basically the most generous rating this season get from anyone.

  • This guy would be a blast to watch a movie with.

  • Roel: This is the most accurate we could ever expect a movie to be...nine out of ten.