Must See Period Dramas

by Becky Lou | created - 19 Sep 2012 | updated - 07 Oct 2012 | Public
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1. Pride and Prejudice (1995)

TV-PG | 327 min | Drama, Romance

9.0
Rate this
    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: 60,398

2. North & South (2004)

TV-PG | 235 min | Drama, Romance

8.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 8.8/10 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: 24,289

3. Downton Abbey (2010–2015)

TV-PG | 58 min | Drama, Romance

8.7
Rate this
    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: 127,940

4. 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: 30,384 | Gross: $22.20M

5. Little Dorrit (2008– )

30 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

8.3
Rate this
    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: 6,895

6. Anne of Green Gables (1985)

TV-G | 199 min | Drama, Family

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

An orphan girl, sent to an elderly brother and sister by mistake, charms her new home and community with her fiery spirit and imagination.

Stars: Megan Follows, Colleen Dewhurst, Richard Farnsworth, Patricia Hamilton

Votes: 16,393

7. 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: 85,237 | Gross: $43.18M

8. 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: 16,625

9. 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: 5,849

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: 11,575

11. Vanity Fair (1998)

Not Rated | 50 min | Drama, Romance

7.8
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

An adaptation of William Makepeace Thackeray's classic story of parvenue Becky Sharp's rise from obscure & humble origins to her subsequent ignominious fall from Society; set amongst the ... See full summary »

Stars: Natasha Little, Frances Grey, Philip Glenister, David Ross

Votes: 1,321

12. The Pillars of the Earth (2010)

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

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

Set against a backdrop of war, religious strife and power struggles which tears lives and families apart.

Stars: Ian McShane, Matthew Macfadyen, Eddie Redmayne, Hayley Atwell

Votes: 24,589

13. The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

PG-13 | 115 min | Biography, Drama, History

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

Two sisters contend for the affection of King Henry VIII.

Director: Justin Chadwick | Stars: Natalie Portman, Scarlett Johansson, Eric Bana, Jim Sturgess

Votes: 90,498 | Gross: $26.81M

14. A Room with a View (1985)

Not Rated | 117 min | Drama, Romance

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

When Lucy Honeychurch and chaperone Charlotte Bartlett find themselves in Florence with rooms without views, fellow guests Mr Emerson and son George step in to remedy the situation. Meeting... See full summary »

Director: James Ivory | Stars: Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter, Denholm Elliott, Julian Sands

Votes: 32,534 | Gross: $20.97M

15. Little Women (1949)

Approved | 122 min | Drama, Family, Romance

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

The March sisters -- Meg, Jo, Beth and Amy -- struggle to make ends meet in their New England household while their father is away fighting in the Civil War. Despite harsh times, they cling... See full summary »

Director: Mervyn LeRoy | Stars: June Allyson, Peter Lawford, Margaret O'Brien, Elizabeth Taylor

Votes: 5,145

16. The Young Victoria (2009)

PG | 105 min | Biography, Drama, History

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

A dramatization of the turbulent first years of Queen Victoria's rule, and her enduring romance with Prince Albert.

Director: Jean-Marc Vallée | Stars: Emily Blunt, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Miranda Richardson

Votes: 49,877 | Gross: $11.00M

17. 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: 211,891 | Gross: $38.41M

18. Sense & Sensibility (2008– )

59 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: 8,354

19. 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: 5,702

20. The Glass Virgin (1995– )

180 min | Drama, Romance

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

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: 560

21. The Tudors (2007–2010)

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

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

A dramatic series about the reign and marriages of King Henry VIII.

Stars: Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Henry Cavill, Anthony Brophy, James Frain

Votes: 56,803

22. Gosford Park (2001)

R | 131 min | Comedy, Drama, Mystery

7.3
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    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.3/10 X  
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: 69,187 | Gross: $41.31M

23. Dangerous Liaisons (1988)

R | 119 min | Drama, Romance

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

A scheming widow and her manipulative ex-lover make a bet regarding the corruption of a recently married woman.

Director: Stephen Frears | Stars: Glenn Close, John Malkovich, Michelle Pfeiffer, Swoosie Kurtz

Votes: 56,361 | Gross: $34.70M

24. Tess of the D'Urbervilles (2008– )

240 min | Drama, Romance

7.8
Rate this
    1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 7.8/10 X  

The story of Tess Durbeyfield, a low-born country girl whose family find they have noble connections.

Stars: Gemma Arterton, Eddie Redmayne, Ruth Jones, Hans Matheson

Votes: 4,922

25. Wuthering Heights (2009– )

TV-PG | 142 min | Drama, Romance

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

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: 6,868