Some of the greatest movies of all time will fail this silly test. Lawrence of Arabia for sure will fail since there are no women characters in it. Does 2001 A Space Odyssey pass the test?
Originally the Bechdel Test was just supposed to be a thought experiment about gender equality and gender roles in film in general
, not a specific measure of any single film's sexism or lack thereof. Incredibly misogynistic films can sometimes "pass" the test while much more enlightened films can "fail" it for any number of factors (certain historical films like you mentioned, for instance, or Star Trek
where you're dealing with an established --mostly male-- main cast). There's even a disclaimer to this effect on the website.
Unfortunately, as time went on people kind of missed that point and started using it as a sort of sexism pass/fail test for every major individual film that came out, which it was never intended to be.