A particular kind of Period Piece set in ancient biblical or mythological times, running the gamut from Heroic Fantasy to Historical Fiction. Movies set in The Roman Republic or The Roman Empire, or even in Ancient Grome, are usually included. Alternatively, it may be used to describe Fantasy Counterpart Culture equivalents in a secondary world. The subgenre of low-budget Sword & Sandal Italian films of the 50s and 60s is the Peplum.
A classic Cyclic Trope, as Hollywood has regular periods of fascination with the era, and the trope was named by an early period of such films being popular, being a staple of The Golden Age of Hollywood.
Contrast Sword & Sorcery, on which the name is based (or vice versa). Strictly speaking, the two genres are distinguished by Sword & Sorcery having explicitly fantastic settings, while Sword And Sandal at least pretends to depict real-world historical settings. There is often some overlap though, especially when mythology gets involved.
Expect the landscape to resemble sand dunes and/or rural Spain throughout, making those sandals look more attractive.
The equivalent would be Wuxia for China, and Jidai Geki for Japan, in somes cases, though these Period Pieces may also include elements of The Middle Ages, or even later ages, that are absent in Sword & Sandal ones.
Compare Epic Movie.
- Clash of the Titans (1981)
- Clash of the Titans (2010)
- Colossus and the Headhunters
- Helen of Troy (1956)
- Hercules (1958) and sequels. The first one, starring Steve Reeves, is the first movie to be called a "sword and sandal" one.
- Hercules (1983), starring Lou Ferrigno. Followed by a sequel in 1985.
- Hercules (2014), starring Dwayne Johnson, based on Hercules: The Thracian Wars.
- Hercules Against the Moon Men, actually a Maciste film repackaged for US distribution.
- Hercules And The Captive Women (originally "Hercules And The Conquest Of Atlantis")
- Jason and the Argonauts
- The Legend of Hercules
- The Loves of Hercules
- My Son The Hero
- The Sorcerer of the Wildeeps, which seems heavily inspired by The Epic of Gilgamesh and involves fantastic versions of Ancient Africa and Ancient Rome.
- The novel War God by Tim Marquitz is a Deconstructive Parody of this genre. The antiheroes intend to rig a tournament about this by upping the violence and murder to make their Fake Ultimate Hero look good so they can clean up when he crashes and burns.
- Helen of Troy (2003)
- Hercules: The Legendary Journeys
- Jason and the Argonauts
- L'Odissea ("The Odyssey") - The Italian-German-Yugoslav co-production starring Bekim Fehmiu, Irene Papas and a young Barbara Bach.
- Troy: Fall of a City
- Xena: Warrior Princess
- Young Hercules
- Age of Mythology
- God of War
- Oedipus in my Inventory
- Rise of the Argonauts
- Titan Quest
- Warriors: Legends Of Troy
- The Bible (1966)
- The Big Fisherman - tangential
- Demetrius and the Gladiators - a sequel to The Robe
- Exodus: Gods and Kings
- The Fourth Wise Man
- The Greatest Story Ever Told
- King David
- King of Kings
- Monty Python's Life of Brian - An Affectionate Parody.
- Peter and Paul
- The Robe
- Samson and Delilah (1949)
- The Ten Commandments (1923)
- The Ten Commandments
- Joseph: King of Dreams
- The Prince of Egypt
- VeggieTales (but only in the episodes that reenact Biblical events, and huge liberties are taken)
- Gods of Egypt - albeit with nominal Science Fiction elements through Ancient Astronauts.
- The Scorpion King series, a Spin-Off from The Mummy Trilogy, whose films have prologues set in this era.
- The 300 Spartans
- Alexander the Great (1956)
- The Colossus Of Rhodes, the first film directed by Sergio Leone.
- Gates of Fire
- Over the Wine-Dark Sea
- Hashire! Melos (Run, Melos!) - A short story by author Osamu Dazaki, based on an ancient Greek legend recorded by Hyginus. It's become a staple of Japanese media and adapted to anime, dorama, etc.
- Androcles and the Lion
- Brennus, Enemy of Rome
- Cabiria (Italy 1914), one of the first major film epics, set during the Second Punic War. Featuring the Breakout Character Maciste, who went on to be the hero of 25 movies between 1915 and 1927, always played by Bartolomeo Pagano, and was revived for a further 28 movies in the 1960s, played by a number of actors.
- Caesar and Cleopatra
- Carry On Cleo — a parody of this trope, specifically Shakespeare's historical tragedies and the Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra film.
- The Eagle (2011)
- The Fall of the Roman Empire
- Julius Caesar
- King Arthur
- The Last Legion
- Spartacus — subverts just about all of the standard conventions of movies with a Roman setting. The crucifixion scene especially was very controversial.
- Belisarius Series — set roughly at the time when The Roman Empire evolved into the Byzantine empire.
- Codex Alera: Though technically it doesn't take place in the Roman Empire, the setting is essentially built around a displaced Roman legion, and thus closely hews to ancient Rome.
- The Eagle of the Ninth
- The Last Days of Pompeii
- Marcus Didius Falco — A series of novels centering on a Private Detective during the reign of Vespasian.
- Masters of Rome
- Quo Vadis
- Roma Sub Rosa — Another Private Detective series, this time set in the late republic.
- Androcles and the Lion, an early Deconstruction
- A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum — An Affectionate Parody of this genre.
- Age of Empires. It starts in the Stone Age, but one of the main goals in any scenario is to upgrade your civilization to this trope. The Expansion, The Rise Of Rome, also fits here.
- Centurion: Defender of Rome
- Circus Maximus — the first (and most likely only) racing game that exclusively utilizes chariots
- Empire Earth, similar to Age of Empires
- Rome: Total War and Total War: Rome II
- Ryse: Son of Rome
- Shadow of Rome — basically Metal Gear IN ANCIENT ROME!
- Spartan: Total Warrior — play as a Spartan fighting Romans.