My own favorite is Civ II: Test of Time. But any Civ II variety is the best one to start with -- if only to understand the frustration of experienced players when they swap stories of how a primitive unit can completely vanquish an advanced unit.
In other words, how a spearman can defeat a tank, or a trireme can sink a battleship!
Let's face it: A Civilization
movie would be 10 times more awesomely over-the-top than 300