We hope you like corsets and bayonets, movie fans, because this fall, there's an overload of movies set in the 1800s. When exactly do they take place, you ask — before Waterloo? After the lightbulb? Let's take a walk through history.

By Lindsey Bahr
Updated December 07, 2012 at 05:00 AM EST
Advertisement

The Man With the Iron Fists

type
  • Movie

1800

1802
Beethoven first performs ”Moonlight” Sonata

1803
Louisiana Purchase

1812
War of 1812 begins

1813
Jane Austen publishes Pride and Prejudice

1815
Battle of Waterloo

1825
First public railway opens in England

1815-1832 Les Misérables
Key Struggle
Jean Valjean (Hugh Jackman) tries to shake his criminal past while class warfare erupts in France.
Wildest Costume
Madame Thénardier’s crazy-quilt getup, seen below. (Helena Bonham Carter never does anything halfway.)
Coolest Facial Hair
Valjean’s fulsome prison beard.
In theaters 12/25

1826
First photograph is printed

1836
Battle of the Alamo

1841
The word dinosaur is coined

1843
Charles Dickens publishes A Christmas Carol

1848
First women’s-rights convention in U.S.

1849
Invention of the safety pin and the gas mask

1851
Ex-slave Sojourner Truth gives abolitionist speech in Akron, Ohio

1859
Charles Darwin publishes On the Origin of Species

1859
Django Unchained
Key Struggle
A freed slave (Jamie Foxx) attempts to rescue his wife (Kerry Washington) from a plantation owner (Leonardo DiCaprio).
Wildest Costume
A cape-y coat (or is it coat-y cape?) worn by Christoph Waltz’s bounty hunter.
Coolest Facial Hair
Don Johnson’s Colonel Sanders-ish combo platter.
In theaters 12/25

1861
Civil War begins

1863
Gettysburg Address

1865
Lincoln
Key Struggle
Abolishing slavery. (What have you done lately?)
Wildest Costume
Mary Todd Lincoln’s (Sally Field) puffy wedding-cake gown.
Coolest Facial Hair
Tough call! Abe’s wiry, mustache-free beard?
Now in theaters

1867
Karl Marx writes Das Kapital

1867
U.S. purchases Alaska from Russia

1873
First pair of blue jeans made

1874
Anna Karenina

Key Struggle
A rich Russian wife (Keira Knightley) chooses her heart over her conscience. Backlash ensues.
Wildest Costume
Pretty much any of Anna’s lavishly fur-trimmed, jewel-encrusted numbers.
Coolest Facial Hair
Matthew Macfadyen’s whisk brush of a mustache. Well played, sir!
Now in theaters

1879
Thomas Edison invents the lightbulb

1887
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle publishes first Sherlock Holmes story

Early 1890s
The Man with the Iron Fists
Key Struggle
The Blacksmith (RZA) uses iron fists to defend a village from warring clans in feudal China.
Wildest Costume
Rick Yune’s porcupine armor.
Coolest Facial Hair
Daniel Wu’s windswept eyebrows (above).
Now in theaters

1899

The Man With the Iron Fists

type
  • Movie
mpaa
  • R
runtime
  • 96 minutes
director
  • RZA

Comments