Best period dramas: films & series

by Jingleling | created - 03 Jun 2013 | updated - 1 week ago | Public
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1. Bleak House (2005)

TV-PG | 510 min | Drama

A suspenseful tale about the injustices of the 19th Century English legal system.

Stars: Anna Maxwell Martin, Denis Lawson, Carey Mulligan, Gillian Anderson

Votes: 8,126

2. Oliver Twist (2007–2008)

TV-PG | 176 min | Drama

The adventures of the orphaned Oliver Twist in Victorian London.

Stars: William Miller, Adam Arnold, Ryan Barr, Connor Catchpole

Votes: 2,375

3. Great Expectations (2011–2012)

60 min | Drama

The orphan Pip becomes a gentleman when his life is transformed by a mystery benefactor.

Stars: Douglas Booth, Jack Roth, Ray Winstone, David Suchet

Votes: 6,757

4. Mildred Pierce (2011)

TV-MA | 336 min | Drama

Divorced single mom Mildred Pierce decides to open a restaurant business, which tears at the already-strained relationship with her ambitious elder daughter, Veda.

Stars: Kate Winslet, Guy Pearce, Evan Rachel Wood, Brían F. O'Byrne

Votes: 17,781

5. Horatio Hornblower: The Duel (1998 TV Movie)

93 min | Adventure, Drama, War

Horatio Hornblower begins his naval career, but a deadly feud with a despicable mate is causing complications.

Director: Andrew Grieve | Stars: Ioan Gruffudd, Robert Lindsay, Dorian Healy, Michael Byrne

Votes: 4,875

6. Jane Eyre (2006)

TV-PG | 230 min | Drama, Romance

A young governess falls in love with her brooding and complex master. However, his dark past may destroy their relationship forever.

Stars: Ruth Wilson, Toby Stephens, Lorraine Ashbourne, Aidan McArdle

Votes: 18,243

7. Berkeley Square (1998– )

50 min | Drama

Three young women from very different backgrounds meet, become friends and share experiences when they all gain positions as nannies in the wealthy households of London's exclusive Berkeley Square.

Stars: Victoria Smurfit, Clare Wilkie, Tabitha Wady, Hermione Norris

Votes: 1,013

8. Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World (2003)

PG-13 | 138 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

81 Metascore

During the Napoleonic Wars, a brash British captain pushes his ship and crew to their limits in pursuit of a formidable French war vessel around South America.

Director: Peter Weir | Stars: Russell Crowe, Paul Bettany, Billy Boyd, James D'Arcy

Votes: 192,495 | Gross: $93.93M

9. Pride & Prejudice (2005)

PG | 129 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

Sparks fly when spirited Elizabeth Bennet meets single, rich, and proud Mr. Darcy. But Mr. Darcy reluctantly finds himself falling in love with a woman beneath his class. Can each overcome his or her own pride and prejudice?

Director: Joe Wright | Stars: Keira Knightley, Matthew Macfadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Donald Sutherland

Votes: 236,174 | Gross: $38.41M

10. Sense and Sensibility (1995)

PG | 136 min | Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

Rich Mr. Dashwood dies, leaving his second wife and her three daughters poor by the rules of inheritance. The two eldest daughters are the titular opposites.

Director: Ang Lee | Stars: Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, James Fleet, Tom Wilkinson

Votes: 94,700 | Gross: $43.18M

11. Anonymous (I) (2011)

PG-13 | 130 min | Drama, Thriller

50 Metascore

The theory that it was in fact Edward De Vere, Earl of Oxford, who penned Shakespeare's plays. Set against the backdrop of the succession of Queen Elizabeth I and the Essex rebellion against her.

Director: Roland Emmerich | Stars: Rhys Ifans, Vanessa Redgrave, David Thewlis, Sebastian Armesto

Votes: 38,324 | Gross: $4.46M

12. The Painted Veil (2006)

PG-13 | 125 min | Drama, Romance

69 Metascore

A British medical doctor fights a cholera epidemic in a small Chinese village, while being trapped at home in a loveless marriage to an unfaithful wife.

Director: John Curran | Stars: Naomi Watts, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Catherine An

Votes: 86,344 | Gross: $8.06M

13. Howards End (1992)

PG | 142 min | Drama, Romance

89 Metascore

A businessman thwarts his wife's bequest of an estate to another woman.

Director: James Ivory | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, Vanessa Redgrave, Helena Bonham Carter

Votes: 26,598 | Gross: $25.97M

14. The Remains of the Day (1993)

PG | 134 min | Drama, Romance

84 Metascore

A butler who sacrificed body and soul to service in the years leading up to World War II realizes too late how misguided his loyalty was to his lordly employer.

Director: James Ivory | Stars: Anthony Hopkins, Emma Thompson, John Haycraft, Christopher Reeve

Votes: 59,843 | Gross: $22.95M

15. Screen Two (1985–2002)
Episode: Persuasion (1995)

PG | 107 min | Drama

Eight years earlier, Anne Elliot, the daughter of a financially troubled aristocratic family, was persuaded to break off her engagement to Frederick Wentworth, a young seaman, who, though ... See full summary »

Director: Roger Michell | Stars: Amanda Root, Ciarán Hinds, Susan Fleetwood, Corin Redgrave

Votes: 9,579 | Gross: $5.46M

16. The Duchess of Duke Street (1976–1977)

TV-PG | 50 min | Drama

Louisa is an ordinary girl living in Victorian London. She is looking for a job and ends up talking her way into the kitchen of a Lords townhouse. The Lord has a rather snooty French chef, ... See full summary »

Stars: Gemma Jones, Victoria Plucknett, John Welsh, John Cater

Votes: 967

17. Wuthering Heights (2009)

TV-PG | 142 min | Drama, Romance

Foundling Heathcliff is raised by the wealthy Earnshaws in Yorkshire but in later life launches a vendetta against the family.

Stars: Tom Hardy, Charlotte Riley, Andrew Lincoln, Sarah Lancashire

Votes: 7,829

18. The Winslow Boy (1999)

G | 104 min | Drama, Romance

79 Metascore

Following the theft of a postal-order, a fourteen-year old cadet is expelled from Naval College. To save the honour of the boy and his family, the pre-eminent barrister of the day is engaged to take on the might the Admiralty.

Director: David Mamet | Stars: Rebecca Pidgeon, Jeremy Northam, Nigel Hawthorne, Matthew Pidgeon

Votes: 7,001 | Gross: $3.96M

19. Little Dorrit (2008)

420 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

This mini-series tells the story of Amy Dorrit, who spends her days earning money for the family and looking after her proud father, who is a long term inmate of Marshalsea debtors' prison ... See full summary »

Stars: Claire Foy, Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Courtenay, Judy Parfitt

Votes: 7,925

20. Parade's End (2012)

287 min | Action, Drama, Romance

Revolves around a love triangle between a conservative English aristocrat, his mean socialite wife and a young suffragette.

Stars: Benedict Cumberbatch, Rebecca Hall, Roger Allam, Adelaide Clemens

Votes: 8,992

21. Gosford Park (2001)

R | 131 min | Comedy, Drama, Mystery

90 Metascore

The lives of upstairs guests and downstairs servants at a party in 1932 in a country house in England as they investigate a murder involving one of them.

Director: Robert Altman | Stars: Maggie Smith, Ryan Phillippe, Michael Gambon, Kristin Scott Thomas

Votes: 75,406 | Gross: $41.31M

22. Ripper Street (2012–2016)

TV-MA | 59 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

The streets of Whitechapel are the haunt of Detective Inspector Edmund Reid and his team of officers, who aim to maintain law and order in a place once terrorized by Jack the Ripper.

Stars: Matthew Macfadyen, Adam Rothenberg, MyAnna Buring, Jerome Flynn

Votes: 18,119

23. Cranford (2007–2010)

TV-PG | 469 min | Drama

In the 1840s, Cranford is ruled by the ladies. They adore good gossip, and romance and change is in the air, as the unwelcome grasp of the Industrial Revolution rapidly approaches their beloved rural market-town.

Stars: Judi Dench, Julia McKenzie, Imelda Staunton, Lisa Dillon

Votes: 8,028

24. The Crimson Field (2014)

60 min | Drama, War

During the First World War, Kitty Trevelyan tries to put the past troubles behind her as she joins two other girls to volunteer at one of the busy war hospitals in northern France.

Stars: Hermione Norris, Oona Chaplin, Richard Rankin, Marianne Oldham

Votes: 2,555

25. Poldark (2015– )

TV-14 | 60 min | Drama, History, Romance

Ross Poldark returns home after American Revolutionary War and rebuilds his life with a new business venture, making new enemies and finding a new love where he least expects it.

Stars: Aidan Turner, Eleanor Tomlinson, Jack Farthing, Beatie Edney

Votes: 22,592

26. War & Peace (2016)

TV-14 | 379 min | Drama, History, Romance

As the Russian conflict with Napoleon reaches its peak, five aristocratic families face the possibility of their lives being changed forever.

Stars: Paul Dano, James Norton, Lily James, Adrian Edmondson

Votes: 18,381

27. Marco Polo (2014–2016)

TV-MA | 60 min | Adventure, Drama, History

In a world replete with greed, betrayal, sexual intrigue and rivalry, "Marco Polo" is based on the famed explorer's adventures in Kublai Khan's court in 13th century Mongolia.

Stars: Lorenzo Richelmy, Benedict Wong, Joan Chen, Remy Hii

Votes: 58,302

28. Wolf Hall (2015)

TV-14 | 360 min | Biography, Drama, History

After the downfall of Cardinal Wolsey, his secretary, Thomas Cromwell, finds himself amongst the treachery and intrigue of King Henry VIII's court and soon becomes a close advisor to the King, a role fraught with danger.

Stars: Mark Rylance, Damian Lewis, Claire Foy, Thomas Brodie-Sangster

Votes: 8,570

29. Anne (2017–2019)

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama

The adventures of a young orphan girl living in the late 19th century. Follow Anne as she learns to navigate her new life on Prince Edward Island, in this new take on L.M. Montgomery's classic novels.

Stars: Amybeth McNulty, Geraldine James, R.H. Thomson, Dalila Bela

Votes: 17,373

30. Howards End (2017–2018)

TV-14 | 240 min | Drama, Romance

The social and class divisions in early 20th century England through the intersection of three families - the wealthy Wilcoxes, the gentle and idealistic Schlegels and the lower-middle class Basts.

Stars: Matthew Macfadyen, Hayley Atwell, Philippa Coulthard, Alex Lawther

Votes: 3,136

31. Quacks (2017–2018)

30 min | Comedy

In Victorian London four pioneers, friends, and rivals fighting to make a mark on the world and save lives.

Stars: Rory Kinnear, Tom Basden, Mathew Baynton, Lydia Leonard

Votes: 946

32. Effie Gray (2014)

PG-13 | 104 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

54 Metascore

A look at the scandalous love triangle between Victorian art critic John Ruskin, his teenage bride Effie Gray, and Pre-Raphaelite painter John Everett Millais.

Director: Richard Laxton | Stars: Dakota Fanning, Greg Wise, Tom Sturridge, Emma Thompson

Votes: 3,813 | Gross: $0.34M

33. The Moth (1997 TV Movie)

152 min | Drama

Set in 1913 Northumbria, England, the story is about Robert Bradley, a strong-willed young worker at a Jarrow shipyard, who arrives home one day to find that his father has died. At the ... See full summary »

Director: Roy Battersby | Stars: Jack Davenport, David Howey, Janet Dale, Sally Grey

Votes: 573

34. Rag Nymph (1997– )

180 min | Drama

Separated from her prostitute mother as the woman flees on foot down the filthy mid-19th Century streets of Newcastle from the police, ten year old Millie is taken under the wing of rag ... See full summary »

Stars: Val McLane, Alec Newman, Christine Anderson, Tracey Wilkinson

Votes: 437

35. The Glass Virgin (1995– )

180 min | Drama, Romance

Set in 1870s England, the story tells of Annabella Lagrange and the terrible secret her wealthy parents have kept from her. When she finally learns the truth, she runs away and eventually ... See full summary »

Stars: Jan Graveson, Christine Kavanagh, Brendan Coyle, Emily Mortimer

Votes: 606

36. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1996)

159 min | Drama

In the mid 19th Century, an enigmatic young woman moves to Yorkshire with a young son. Distancing herself from everyone in the village and their prying questions, she remains totally aloof ... See full summary »

Stars: Toby Stephens, Tara Fitzgerald, Rupert Graves, Sarah Badel

Votes: 2,354

37. Mary Shelley (2017)

PG-13 | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

49 Metascore

Life and facts of Mary Wollstonecraft Godwin, who at 16 met 21 year old poet Percy Shelley, resulting in the writing of Frankenstein.

Director: Haifaa Al-Mansour | Stars: Elle Fanning, Bel Powley, Owen Richards, Joanne Froggatt

Votes: 10,160 | Gross: $0.10M

38. The Terror (2018– )

TV-14 | 60 min | Adventure, Drama, History

Supernatural, semihistorical, horror anthology series, where each season is inspired by a different infamous or mysterious real life historical tragedy.

Stars: Jared Harris, Derek Mio, Tobias Menzies, Kiki Sukezane

Votes: 31,847

39. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes (1984–1985)

TV-PG | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson solve the mysteries of copper beeches, a Greek interpreter, the Norwood builder, a resident patient, the red-headed league, and one final problem.

Stars: Jeremy Brett, David Burke, Rosalie Williams, Eric Porter

Votes: 18,394

40. The Return of Sherlock Holmes (1986–1988)

TV-PG | 60 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

Sherlock Holmes and Dr Watson solve the mysteries of the devil's foot, Silver Blaze, Wisteria Lodge and the Bruce-Partington Plans.

Stars: Jeremy Brett, Edward Hardwicke, Rosalie Williams, Colin Jeavons

Votes: 9,532

41. Colette (I) (2018)

R | 111 min | Biography, Drama, History

74 Metascore

Colette is pushed by her husband to write novels under his name. Upon their success, she fights to make her talents known, challenging gender norms.

Director: Wash Westmoreland | Stars: Keira Knightley, Fiona Shaw, Dominic West, Robert Pugh

Votes: 15,215 | Gross: $5.14M

42. Gentleman Jack (2019– )

TV-MA | 60 min | Drama

A dramatization of the life of LGBTQ+ trailblazer, voracious learner and cryptic diarist Anne Lister, who returns to Halifax, West Yorkshire in 1832, determined to transform the fate of her faded ancestral home Shibden Hall.

Stars: Suranne Jones, Sophie Rundle, Rosie Cavaliero, Albane Courtois

Votes: 6,524

43. Walk Invisible: The Brontë Sisters (2016 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 120 min | Biography, Drama, History

A chronicle of the Brontë sisters' battle to overcome obstacles and publish their novels, which would become some of the greatest in the English language.

Director: Sally Wainwright | Stars: Finn Atkins, Charlie Murphy, Chloe Pirrie, Adam Nagaitis

Votes: 2,014

44. Alias Grace (2017)

TV-MA | 60 min | Biography, Crime, Drama

In 19th-century Canada, a psychiatrist weighs whether a murderess should be pardoned due to insanity.

Stars: Sarah Gadon, Edward Holcroft, Rebecca Liddiard, Zachary Levi

Votes: 20,297

45. The Piano (1993)

R | 121 min | Drama, Music, Romance

89 Metascore

A mute woman is sent to 1850s New Zealand along with her young daughter and prized piano for an arranged marriage to a wealthy landowner, but is soon lusted after by a local worker on the plantation.

Director: Jane Campion | Stars: Holly Hunter, Harvey Keitel, Sam Neill, Anna Paquin

Votes: 74,379 | Gross: $40.16M



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