This book discovers the unwritten history of the medieval in film. From the earliest silent films to recent blockbusters, medieval topics and plots set between AD 500 and 1500 have played an important but overlooked role in the development of cinema. This is the first book to define 'medieval films' as a group, and to trace their history from silent film via Nazi cinema to Hollywood and recent European co-productions. It provides incisive new interpretations of classics like Murnau's Faust and Eisenstein's Alexander Nevsky; and rediscovers some forgotten works of genius like Douglas Sirk's Sign of the Pagan and Asta Nielsen's Hamlet. Both art-house films like The Seventh Seal and The Passion of Joan of Arc and popular films like Beowulf or The Da Vinci Code are shown to cleverly use the Middle Ages to challenge modern ideas of historical progress, to find alternatives to a print-dominated culture and to question even what makes us human. Filming the Middle Ages pays special attention to medieval animated and detective films. Even more radically, the book demonstrates that the invention of cinema itself is considered a return to the Middle Ages by many film theorists and filmmakers. Essential reading for medievalists who care about the present, and film students and scholars who care about the past, this book is ideal reading for introductory courses on the Middle Ages, and on history and film.