Best Period Romances/Miniseries

by ClaireHellar | created - 22 Mar 2011 | updated - 04 Sep 2011 | Public

I haven't found any of the Wuthering Heights or Tess of the d'Urbervilles adaptations to be particularly romantic, so they're not on here.

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1. Pride and Prejudice (1995)

TV-PG | 327 min | Drama, Romance

9.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 9/10 X  

Jane Austen's classic novel about the prejudice that occurred between the 19th century classes and the pride which would keep lovers apart.

Stars: Colin Firth, Jennifer Ehle, Susannah Harker, Julia Sawalha

Votes: 60,868

2. North & South (2004)

TV-PG | 235 min | Drama, Romance

8.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

North and South is a four part adaptation of Elizabeth Gaskell's love story of Margaret Hale, a middle class southerner who is forced to move to the northern town of Milton.

Stars: Daniela Denby-Ashe, Richard Armitage, Tim Pigott-Smith, Sinéad Cusack

Votes: 24,495

3. Jane Eyre (2006– )

TV-PG | 230 min | Drama, Romance

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

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: 16,695

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

PG | 107 min | Drama

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  

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: 9,208 | Gross: $5.46M

5. Pride & Prejudice (2005)

PG | 129 min | Drama, Romance

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  
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 their own pride and prejudice?

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

Votes: 213,184 | Gross: $38.41M

6. Wives and Daughters (1999– )

TV-PG | 301 min | Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

The daughter of a country doctor copes with an unwanted stepmother, an impetuous stepsister, burdensome secrets, the town gossips, and the tug on her own heartstrings for a man who thinks of her only as a friend.

Stars: Francesca Annis, Justine Waddell, Bill Paterson, Keeley Hawes

Votes: 5,871

7. Little Dorrit (2008– )

30 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

8.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.3/10 X  

The 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 in ... See full summary »

Stars: Claire Foy, Matthew Macfadyen, Tom Courtenay, Emma Pierson

Votes: 6,933

8. Emma (2009– )

240 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Emma Woodhouse seems to be perfectly content, a loving father whom she cares for, friends, and a home. But Emma has a terrible habit - matchmaking. She cannot resist finding suitors for her... See full summary »

Stars: Romola Garai, Michael Gambon, Jonny Lee Miller, Jodhi May

Votes: 12,106

9. Emma (1996)

PG | 120 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

6.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.7/10 X  
66 Metascore

In rural 1800s England things go bad for a young matchmaker after she finds a man for another woman.

Director: Douglas McGrath | Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, James Cosmo, Greta Scacchi, Alan Cumming

Votes: 30,557 | Gross: $22.20M

10. Persuasion (2007 TV Movie)

93 min | Drama, Romance

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

Royal Navy captain Wentworth was haughtily turned down eight years ago as suitor of pompous baronet Sir Walter Elliot's daughter Anne, despite true love. Now he visits their former seaside ... See full summary »

Director: Adrian Shergold | Stars: Sally Hawkins, Alice Krige, Anthony Head, Julia Davis

Votes: 11,671

Almost as wonderful as the 1995 adaptation

11. Sense & Sensibility (2008– )

174 min | Drama, Romance

8.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.1/10 X  

Widow Dashwood and her three unmarried daughters, Elinor, Marianne and Margaret, inherit only a tiny allowance. So they move out of their grand Sussex home to a more modest cottage in ... See full summary »

Stars: Dominic Cooper, Charity Wakefield, Hattie Morahan, Janet McTeer

Votes: 8,427

I found this version to be better-cast and more coherent than the 1995 adaptation

12. Daniel Deronda (2002– )

210 min | Drama, History, Romance

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Set in Victorian London, Gwendolen Harleth is drawn to Daniel Deronda, a selfless and intelligent gentleman of unknown parentage, but her own desperate need for financial security may destroy her chance at happiness.

Stars: Jodhi May, Edward Fox, Amanda Root, David Bamber

Votes: 3,668

I don't particularly LIKE this, to be honest, but that's mostly because it's not the sort of romance I enjoy. It's definitely one of the better-made miniseries out there, and Hugh Dancy is well-cast.

13. The Inheritance (1997 TV Movie)

95 min | Drama, Romance

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

A 19th-century woman, companion to a blue-blooded New England girl, falls for an aristocrat.

Director: Bobby Roth | Stars: Cari Shayne, Brigitta Dau, Paul Anthony Stewart, Brigid Brannagh

Votes: 1,163

Amazingly lovely. My mom and I have watched this multiple times. Based on a novella by Lousia May Alcott (the movie is far better than the novel, fyi)

14. Ever After: A Cinderella Story (1998)

PG-13 | 121 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.0
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66 Metascore

The "real" story of Cinderella. A refreshing new take on the classic fairy tale.

Director: Andy Tennant | Stars: Drew Barrymore, Anjelica Huston, Dougray Scott, Patrick Godfrey

Votes: 61,764 | Gross: $65.71M

Classic

15. Victoria & Albert (2001 TV Movie)

200 min | Biography, Drama, History

7.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.6/10 X  

The passionate love story that was Queen Victoria and Prince Albert's lengthy marriage. Beginning in 1837, the year of King William IV's death and 18-year-old Victoria's ascension to the ... See full summary »

Director: John Erman | Stars: Victoria Hamilton, Jonathan Firth, James Callis, Diana Rigg

Votes: 869

Ignore the horrible cover; this was such a lovely, romantic adaptation, with great chemistry between the leads

16. The Winslow Boy (1999)

G | 104 min | Drama, Romance

7.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.4/10 X  
79 Metascore

Early 20th century England: while toasting his daughter Catherine's engagement, Arthur Winslow learns the royal naval academy expelled his 14-year-old son, Ronnie, for stealing five ... See full summary »

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

Votes: 6,712 | Gross: $3.96M

17. Sense and Sensibility (1995)

PG | 136 min | Drama, Romance

7.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.7/10 X  
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: 85,702 | Gross: $43.18M

18. Emma (1996 TV Movie)

TV-G | 107 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

While matchmaking for friends and neighbors, a young 19th-century Englishwoman nearly misses her own chance at love.

Director: Diarmuid Lawrence | Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Bernard Hepton, Mark Strong, Samantha Bond

Votes: 4,526

19. Downton Abbey (2010–2015)

TV-PG | 58 min | Drama, Romance

8.7
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.7/10 X  

A chronicle of the lives of the British aristocratic Crawley family and their servants in the early 20th Century.

Stars: Hugh Bonneville, Phyllis Logan, Elizabeth McGovern, Brendan Coyle

Votes: 129,047

This is an expertly made series with beautiful cinematography and great acting. Be warned, however - it's not exactly Jane Austen with happy endings and innocent love. But there are many very compelling characters and two good romances.

20. The Buccaneers (1995– )

212 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

7.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.2/10 X  

Four American girls go to England to find husbands.

Stars: Carla Gugino, Alison Elliott, Mira Sorvino, Rya Kihlstedt

Votes: 1,846

21. Love Comes Softly (2003 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 84 min | Drama, Family, Romance

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

A young woman on her way to a new life in the 1800's suddenly finds herself a widow. Now she must live with a recently widowed young man and his daughter. Can any of them find love again?

Director: Michael Landon Jr. | Stars: Katherine Heigl, Dale Midkiff, Corbin Bernsen, Skye McCole Bartusiak

Votes: 5,059

22. Bleak House (2005)

TV-PG | 510 min | Drama

8.4
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.4/10 X  

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

Stars: Anna Maxwell Martin, Denis Lawson, Carey Mulligan, Finn Morrell

Votes: 7,344

23. Northanger Abbey (2007 TV Movie)

84 min | Drama, Romance

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

A young woman's penchant for sensational Gothic novels leads to misunderstandings in the matters of the heart.

Director: Jon Jones | Stars: Geraldine James, Michael Judd, Julia Dearden, Gerry O'Brien

Votes: 11,341

24. A Room with a View (2007 TV Movie)

93 min | Drama

6.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.1/10 X  

It's the Edwardian era. The Honeychurches - Marian Honeychurch and her two just of age children Lucy Honeychurch and Freddy Honeychurch - are a carefree and fun-loving family that live in ... See full summary »

Director: Nicholas Renton | Stars: Elaine Cassidy, Laurence Fox, Rafe Spall, Sophie Thompson

Votes: 1,056

25. Our Mutual Friend (1998– )

350 min | Drama

8.2
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.2/10 X  

Intertwining tales of love, greed, and secret identities in Charles Dickens's 1860s London.

Stars: Paul McGann, Keeley Hawes, Dominic Mafham, David Bradley

Votes: 1,936

Tough to wade through, but there's two absolutely lovely romances buried among all the side plots

26. Rose Hill (1997 TV Movie)

PG | 99 min | Family, Western

6.6
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.6/10 X  

Four orphan boys running from the law in New York stumble upon a baby in a carriage. They decide to head west and take the baby which they name Mary Rose with them. Eventually they set up a... See full summary »

Director: Christopher Cain | Stars: Jennifer Garner, Jeffrey D. Sams, Zak Orth, Justin Chambers

Votes: 423

27. Jane Eyre (1996)

PG | 112 min | Drama, Romance

6.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.8/10 X  

Jane Eyre is an orphan cast out as a young girl by her aunt, Mrs. Reed, and sent to be raised in a harsh charity school for girls. There she learns to become a teacher and eventually seeks ... See full summary »

Director: Franco Zeffirelli | Stars: William Hurt, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Anna Paquin, Nic Knight

Votes: 8,089 | Gross: $5.20M

28. Love's Enduring Promise (2004 TV Movie)

120 min | Drama, Family, Western

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  

Devout, wild west farmer, Clark Davis, works his tail off to provide for his wife, sons Aaron and Arnie, and daughter Missie. When his doted upon, equally devoted oldest son Aaron is ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Landon Jr. | Stars: January Jones, Logan Bartholomew, Dale Midkiff, Katherine Heigl

Votes: 2,725

29. Lorna Doone (2000 TV Movie)

180 min | Drama, Romance

7.1
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.1/10 X  

Against a backdrop of political and religious upheaval, a farmer falls in love with the "queen" of the notorious Doone clan --a family that he has sworn vengeance on.

Director: Mike Barker | Stars: Neil Finnighan, Jack Baverstock, Trevor Cooper, Aidan Gillen

Votes: 1,530

30. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1996– )

159 min | Drama

7.5
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.5/10 X  

Based on a little known 1848 novel by Anne Bronte, Tara Fitzgerald stars as an enigmatic young woman who moves to 19th Century Yorkshire with a young son. Distancing herself from everyone ... See full summary »

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

Votes: 2,037

Unexpectedly romantic, though it's quite dark

31. Under the Greenwood Tree (2005 TV Movie)

93 min | Drama, Romance

7.0
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7/10 X  

In this lighthearted romance from Victorian novelist Thomas Hardy, the beautiful new village school teacher is pursued by three suitors: a working-class man, a landowner, and the vicar.

Director: Nicholas Laughland | Stars: Keeley Hawes, James Murray, Terry Mortimer, Richard Leaf

Votes: 2,073

32. Mansfield Park (2007 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 120 min | Drama

6.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 6.3/10 X  

At age 10, Fanny Price is sent by her destitute mother to live with her aunt and uncle, Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram. As a child she was often made to feel that she was the poor relation but... See full summary »

Director: Iain B. MacDonald | Stars: Julia Joyce, Douglas Hodge, Maggie O'Neill, Tara Berwin

Votes: 5,732