Period Drama

by susan-bramley | created - 24 Sep 2011 | updated - 31 Aug 2013 | Public
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1. Pride and Prejudice (1995)

TV-PG | 327 min | Drama, Romance

While the arrival of wealthy gentlemen sends her marriage-minded mother into a frenzy, willful and opinionated Elizabeth Bennet matches wits with haughty Mr. Darcy.

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

Votes: 68,490

2. 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: 8,013

3. Little Dorrit (2008)

420 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

This mini-series tells the story of Amy Dorrit (Claire Foy), who spends her days earning money for the family and looking after her proud father (Sir Tom Courtenay), who is a long term ... See full summary »

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

Votes: 7,762

4. 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: 7,888

5. 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: 74,028 | Gross: $41.31M

6. The Madness of King George (1994)

PG-13 | 110 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

89 Metascore

When King George III goes mad, his Lieutenants try to adjust the rules to run the country without his participation.

Director: Nicholas Hytner | Stars: Nigel Hawthorne, Helen Mirren, Rupert Graves, Amanda Donohoe

Votes: 14,324 | Gross: $15.24M

7. Downton Abbey (2010–2015)

TV-PG | 58 min | Drama, Romance

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: 143,346

8. 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: 92,658 | Gross: $43.18M

9. The Duchess (2008)

PG-13 | 110 min | Biography, Drama, History

62 Metascore

A chronicle of the life of 18th-century aristocrat Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire, who was reviled for her extravagant political and personal life.

Director: Saul Dibb | Stars: Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Dominic Cooper, Charlotte Rampling

Votes: 72,900 | Gross: $13.82M

10. Anna Karenina (I) (2012)

R | 129 min | Drama, Romance

63 Metascore

In late-19th-century Russian high society, St. Petersburg aristocrat Anna Karenina enters into a life-changing affair with the dashing Count Alexei Vronsky.

Director: Joe Wright | Stars: Keira Knightley, Jude Law, Aaron Taylor-Johnson, Matthew Macfadyen

Votes: 85,040 | Gross: $12.82M

11. Poldark (1975– )

60 min | Drama, History, Romance

In 1783, Ross Poldark returns from the American wars to his native Cornwall to right wrongs and reunite with the love of his life.

Stars: Robin Ellis, Angharad Rees, Clive Francis, Jill Townsend

Votes: 867

12. Emma (1996 TV Movie)

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

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: 4,885

13. The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)

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

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: 97,408 | Gross: $26.81M

14. Northanger Abbey (2007 TV Movie)

PG | 84 min | Drama, Romance

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: 12,491

15. Orlando (1992)

PG-13 | 94 min | Biography, Drama, Fantasy

74 Metascore

Young nobleman Orlando is commanded by Queen Elizabeth I to stay forever young. Miraculously, he does just that. The film follows him as he moves through several centuries of British ... See full summary »

Director: Sally Potter | Stars: Tilda Swinton, Billy Zane, Quentin Crisp, Jimmy Somerville

Votes: 12,391 | Gross: $5.29M

16. Madame Bovary (1991)

PG-13 | 143 min | Drama, Romance

In nineteenth-century France, the romantic daughter of a country squire (Emma Rouault) marries a dull country doctor (Charles Bovary). To escape boredom, she throws herself into love ... See full summary »

Director: Claude Chabrol | Stars: Isabelle Huppert, Jean-François Balmer, Christophe Malavoy, Jean Yanne

Votes: 3,282 | Gross: $1.94M

17. Doctor Zhivago (2002)

TV-14 | 226 min | Drama, Romance

Young and beautiful Lara is loved by three men: a revolutionary, a mogul, and a doctor. Their lives become intertwined with the drama of Russian revolution. Doctor Zhivago is about to get ... See full summary »

Stars: Keira Knightley, Sam Neill, Hans Matheson, Alexandra Maria Lara

Votes: 4,643

18. Tess (1979)

PG | 170 min | Drama, Romance

82 Metascore

A strong-willed young peasant girl attracts the affection of two men.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Nastassja Kinski, Peter Firth, Leigh Lawson, John Collin

Votes: 13,611

19. The French Lieutenant's Woman (1981)

R | 124 min | Drama, Romance

64 Metascore

Wife and husband, both actors, play a couple in love from the Victorian era. Soon they begin to feel that fiction interweaves into reality.

Director: Karel Reisz | Stars: Meryl Streep, Jeremy Irons, Hilton McRae, Emily Morgan

Votes: 10,978 | Gross: $22.60M

20. Northanger Abbey (2007 TV Movie)

PG | 84 min | Drama, Romance

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: 12,491

21. North & South (2004)

TV-PG | 235 min | Drama, Romance

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: 27,268

22. Shakespeare in Love (1998)

R | 123 min | Comedy, Drama, History

87 Metascore

A young Shakespeare, out of ideas and short of cash, meets his ideal woman and is inspired to write one of his most famous plays.

Director: John Madden | Stars: Gwyneth Paltrow, Joseph Fiennes, Geoffrey Rush, Tom Wilkinson

Votes: 201,752 | Gross: $100.32M

23. Persuasion (2007 TV Movie)

93 min | Drama, Romance

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: 12,870

24. Macbeth (I) (2006)

Not Rated | 109 min | Crime, Drama, Fantasy

51 Metascore

A contemporary retelling of Shakespeare's "Macbeth" set in the ganglands of Melbourne.

Director: Geoffrey Wright | Stars: Chloe Armstrong, Kate Bell, Miranda Nation, Sam Worthington

Votes: 2,062 | Gross: $1.11M

25. Romeo + Juliet (1996)

PG-13 | 120 min | Drama, Romance

60 Metascore

Shakespeare's famous play is updated to the hip modern suburb of Verona still retaining its original dialogue.

Director: Baz Luhrmann | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Claire Danes, John Leguizamo, Harold Perrineau

Votes: 196,225 | Gross: $46.35M

26. Hamlet (1990)

PG | 135 min | Drama

53 Metascore

Hamlet, Prince of Denmark, finds out that his uncle Claudius killed his father to obtain the throne, and plans revenge.

Director: Franco Zeffirelli | Stars: Mel Gibson, Glenn Close, Alan Bates, Paul Scofield

Votes: 20,154 | Gross: $20.71M

27. Les Misérables (1998)

PG-13 | 134 min | Crime, Drama, History

Valjean, a former criminal, has atoned for his past and now finds himself in the midst of the French Revolution, avoiding a law-obsessed policeman hell-bent on capturing him.

Director: Bille August | Stars: Liam Neeson, Geoffrey Rush, Uma Thurman, Christopher Adamson

Votes: 36,073 | Gross: $14.10M

28. A Royal Affair (2012)

R | 137 min | Biography, Drama, History

73 Metascore

A young queen, who is married to an insane king, falls secretly in love with her physician - and together they start a revolution that changes a nation forever.

Director: Nikolaj Arcel | Stars: Alicia Vikander, Mads Mikkelsen, Mikkel Boe Følsgaard, Trine Dyrholm

Votes: 41,162 | Gross: $1.55M

29. Rebecca (1940)

Not Rated | 130 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

A self-conscious woman juggles adjusting to her new role as an aristocrat's wife and avoiding being intimidated by his first wife's spectral presence.

Director: Alfred Hitchcock | Stars: Laurence Olivier, Joan Fontaine, George Sanders, Judith Anderson

Votes: 111,436 | Gross: $4.36M

30. Tess of the D'Urbervilles (2008)

TV-PG | 240 min | Drama, Romance

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: 5,313

31. The Forsyte Saga (1967– )

50 min | Drama, Romance

The extended Forsyte family live a more than pleasant upper middle class life in Victorian and later Edwardian England. The two central characters are Soames Forsyte and his cousin Jolyon ... See full summary »

Stars: Eric Porter, Margaret Tyzack, Nyree Dawn Porter, Kenneth More

Votes: 844

32. The Great Gatsby (2013)

PG-13 | 143 min | Drama, Romance

55 Metascore

A writer and wall street trader, Nick, finds himself drawn to the past and lifestyle of his millionaire neighbor, Jay Gatsby.

Director: Baz Luhrmann | Stars: Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire

Votes: 435,716 | Gross: $144.84M

33. King Lear (1982 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 180 min | Drama

King Lear, old and tired, divides his kingdom among his daughters, giving great importance to their protestations of love for him. When Cordelia, youngest and most honest, refuses to idly ... See full summary »

Director: Jonathan Miller | Stars: John Shrapnel, Norman Rodway, Michael Kitchen, Michael Hordern

Votes: 216

34. Macbeth (1971)

R | 140 min | Biography, Drama, History

A ruthlessly ambitious Scottish lord seizes the throne with the help of his scheming wife and a trio of witches.

Director: Roman Polanski | Stars: Jon Finch, Francesca Annis, Martin Shaw, Terence Bayler

Votes: 11,552

35. Mansfield Park (2007 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 88 min | Drama

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: 6,212

36. Mansfield Park (1999)

PG-13 | 112 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

71 Metascore

At 10, Fanny Price, a poor relation, goes to live at Mansfield Park, the estate of her aunt's husband, Sir Thomas. Clever, studious, and a writer with an ironic imagination and fine moral ... See full summary »

Director: Patricia Rozema | Stars: Frances O'Connor, Jonny Lee Miller, Alessandro Nivola, Hannah Taylor Gordon

Votes: 20,056 | Gross: $4.76M



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