The Greatest Documentary on Stoicism?
Julien Temple's "The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson"
This question comes up a lot and I don't think there's a good answer. There's not really a movie explicitly about ancient Stoicism, although there are a few passing references in Gladiator and John Malkovich has a movie coming out soon about Seneca. There are a few others worth mentioning but to be honest, I really think The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson is the best thing to watch if you're serious about looking for a load of Stoic-related ideas in a movie.
Wilko was the guitarist in the seminal blues rock band Dr. Feelgood, who inspired many early punk bands. He also, later in life, played an executioner in Game of Thrones. About eight years ago, Wilko was told he was dying of pancreatic cancer and had 10 months to live, and he says the certainty of his own impending death was liberating and filled him with a strange euphoria. He had been an English teacher and his love of Shakespeare and Milton, etc., helped him to process coming to terms with his own mortality.
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Julien Temple made this great documentary, The Ecstasy of Wilko Johnson, which basically allowed Wilko to quote Hamlet and Paradise Lost a lot, while reflecting on his own mortality. He never mentions Stoicism but there are many quotes such as "What cannot be cured must be endured", which he's drawing from English classics obviously inspired by Stoicism. (I think from Robert Burton's Anatomy of Melancholia.)
Wilko, to his surprise, later found out that his cancer was operable, so after some brutal surgery, he lived about another eight years, but sadly passed away not long ago, which inspired me to watch his documentary again. I think anyone who's really into Stoicism and classics would enjoy it. It's a very deep dive into one man's reflections on his own impending death and how this realization potentially liberated him in many ways.
The whole thing seems to be available on YouTube:
Also worth checking out, Going Back Home, the album he recorded with Roger Daltrey of The Who, when he believed he was dying., although I don't think the songs really cover themes about mortality, etc.
That was magical! Loved the images, music, movie clips, quotes - literally everything.
An awesome, inspiring, motivating film! “Try, dare to live your life to its fullest!”