Underrated period dramas

by Basilesque | created - 13 Aug 2012 | updated - 17 Aug 2013 | Public

Underrated or obscure period dramas that deserve wider appreciation.

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1. Twelfth Night or What You Will (1996)

PG | 134 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Shakespeare's comedy of gender confusion, in which a girl disguises herself as a man to be near the count she adores, only to be pursued by the woman he loves.

Director: Trevor Nunn | Stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Richard E. Grant, Imogen Stubbs, Steven Mackintosh

Votes: 5,236 | Gross: $0.55M

2. Cold Comfort Farm (1995 TV Movie)

PG | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

82 Metascore

A recently orphaned young woman goes to live with eccentric relatives in Sussex, where she sets about improving their gloomy lives.

Director: John Schlesinger | Stars: Eileen Atkins, Kate Beckinsale, Sheila Burrell, Stephen Fry

Votes: 6,157 | Gross: $5.60M

3. Falling for a Dancer (1998 TV Movie)

Unrated | 50 min | Drama, Romance

Romantic drama set in rural Ireland of the 1930s. The story begins when 19-year-old Elizabeth has a brief fling with an actor and falls pregnant. Community pressure forces her to marry a ... See full summary »

Director: Richard Standeven | Stars: Elisabeth Dermot Walsh, Dermot Crowley, Liam Cunningham, Rory Murray

Votes: 596

4. Onegin (1999)

R | 106 min | Drama, Romance

59 Metascore

In the opulent St. Petersburg of the Empire period, Eugene Onegin is a jaded but dashing aristocrat - a man often lacking in empathy, who suffers from restlessness, melancholy and, finally,... See full summary »

Director: Martha Fiennes | Stars: Ralph Fiennes, Liv Tyler, Toby Stephens, Lena Headey

Votes: 6,926 | Gross: $0.21M

5. Our Mutual Friend (1998– )

350 min | Drama

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

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

Votes: 2,041

6. Our Mutual Friend (1976– )

50 min | Drama

Based on the Dickens novel, tells the story of a young man who's inherited fortune hangs on his marriage to a woman he's never met. But many have their eyes on his fortune and scheme to ... See full summary »

Stars: Lesley Dunlop, John McEnery, Nicholas Jones, Leo McKern

Votes: 85

7. A Little Princess (1986– )

163 min | Drama

A young girl accustomed to living luxuriously is relegated to servitude at a boarding school when her rich father is suddenly broke and dies in far-off India.

Stars: Maureen Lipman, Amelia Shankley, Miriam Margolyes, Annette Badland

Votes: 526

8. Princess Caraboo (1994)

PG | 97 min | Comedy, Drama, History

Bristol, England, early 19th century. A beautiful young stranger who speaks a weird language is tried for the crime of begging. But when a man claims that he can translate her dialect, it ... See full summary »

Director: Michael Austin | Stars: Phoebe Cates, Jim Broadbent, Wendy Hughes, Kevin Kline

Votes: 2,278 | Gross: $3.02M

9. Anna Karenina (2000– )

360 min | Drama

Anna Karenina is the young wife of an older husband. She has an affair with the handsome Count Vronsky. By following her desires, Anna complicates her life.

Stars: Douglas Henshall, Helen McCrory, Stephen Dillane, Paloma Baeza

Votes: 480

10. Cold Comfort Farm (1968– )

150 min | Comedy

Young Flora Poste leaves the funeral of her parents and finds herself alone with insubstantial means ("barely enough to keep her in stockings and furs") in mid-1930's London. The young 20-... See full summary »

Stars: Alastair Sim, Fay Compton, Sarah Badel, Rosalie Crutchley

Votes: 122

11. Far from the Madding Crowd (1998 TV Movie)

54 min | Drama, Romance

A vain, pretty girl has recently taken over her uncle's farm. Her independent, naïve personality leaves her torn between the three men who wish to marry her.

Director: Nicholas Renton | Stars: Paloma Baeza, Jonathan Firth, Nigel Terry, Gwynn Beech

Votes: 785

12. 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: 19,430 | Gross: $4.76M

13. Oliver Twist (1999– )

386 min | Drama

An orphan named Oliver Twist meets a pickpocket on the streets of London. From there, he joins a household of boys who are trained to steal for their master.

Stars: Sam Smith, David Ross, Julie Walters, Annette Crosbie

Votes: 710

14. Pollyanna (2003 TV Movie)

G | 99 min | Drama, Family

Wealthy, impossible to please lady Polly, whom only gardener Tom's irresistibly charming, indomitably cheerful son Tim, the chauffeur-handyman, can handle, grudgingly lets her late sister's... See full summary »

Director: Sarah Harding | Stars: Amanda Burton, Kenneth Cranham, Georgina Terry, Aden Gillett

Votes: 804

15. Masterpiece Classic (1971– )
Episode: The Railway Children (2000)

108 min | Drama, Romance

Dramatization of E. Nesbit's classic novel about three children whose lives change Dramatically after they move to a Yorkshire cottage near a railway line.

Director: Catherine Morshead | Stars: Jack Blumenau, Clare Thomas, Jemima Rooper, Jenny Agutter

Votes: 797

16. Pride and Prejudice (1980– )

TV-PG | 265 min | Comedy, 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: Elizabeth Garvie, David Rintoul, Moray Watson, Priscilla Morgan

Votes: 1,930

17. Seven Little Australians (1973– )

294 min | Drama, Family

Captain Wolcott is a widower with seven children. He marries again and his new wife takes on all the trials of bringing up seven spirited children. They have many adventures, especially one... See full summary »

Stars: Barbara Llewellyn, Mark Clarke, Anna Hruby, Jennifer Cluff

Votes: 78

18. South Solitary (2010)

121 min | Drama, Romance

Set in 1928, Meredith is a 35 year-old unmarried woman who arrives at a remote lighthouse island with her uncle, the new head keeper.

Director: Shirley Barrett | Stars: Miranda Otto, Marton Csokas, Essie Davis, Rohan Nichol

Votes: 335

19. Swept from the Sea (1997)

PG-13 | 115 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

The film tells the story of Russian emigree, and the only survivor from ship crash Yanko Goorall, and servant Amy Foster in the end of nineteenth century. When Yanko enters a farm, sick and... See full summary »

Director: Beeban Kidron | Stars: Rachel Weisz, Vincent Perez, Ian McKellen, Kathy Bates

Votes: 2,808 | Gross: $0.28M

20. The New World (2005)

PG-13 | 135 min | Biography, Drama, History

69 Metascore

The story of the English exploration of Virginia, and of the changing world and loves of Pocahontas.

Director: Terrence Malick | Stars: Colin Farrell, Q'orianka Kilcher, Christopher Plummer, Christian Bale

Votes: 77,532 | Gross: $12.71M

21. Wuthering Heights (1998 TV Movie)

Not Rated | 113 min | Drama, Romance

Mistreated foundling Heathcliff and his stepsister Catherine fall in love, but when she marries a wealthy man, he becomes obsessed with getting revenge, even well into the next generation.

Director: David Skynner | Stars: Robert Cavanah, Peter Davison, Orla Brady, Tom Georgeson

Votes: 810

22. War Bride (2001)

Not Rated | 107 min | Drama, Romance

WW2: In London, Lily marries a Canadian soldier who goes off to war. She and her newborn daughter are invited to come and live with his family in Canada, where conditions are not as ... See full summary »

Director: Lyndon Chubbuck | Stars: Anna Friel, Brenda Fricker, Aden Young, Loren Dean

Votes: 1,189

23. Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)

PG-13 | 92 min | Comedy, Romance

63 Metascore

Guinevere Pettigrew, a middle-aged London governess, finds herself unfairly dismissed from her job. An attempt to gain new employment catapults her into the glamorous world and dizzying social whirl of an American actress and singer, Delysia Lafosse.

Director: Bharat Nalluri | Stars: Frances McDormand, Amy Adams, Ciarán Hinds, David Alexander

Votes: 24,639 | Gross: $12.29M

24. Love in a Cold Climate (2001– )

150 min | Drama

Spanning a critical historical time from 1929 to 1940, three young women search for love. The young women leave behind their careless and innocent youth as they pursue love and happiness through places far beyond their expectations.

Stars: Elisabeth Dermot Walsh, Javier Alcina, Rosamund Pike, Megan Dodds

Votes: 612

25. Jane Eyre (1983)

239 min | Romance

A young governess falls in love with her mysterious employer, but a terrible secret puts their happiness at risk.

Stars: Zelah Clarke, Timothy Dalton, Carol Gillies, James Marcus

Votes: 2,784

26. Enchanted April (1991)

PG | 95 min | Drama

78 Metascore

This slow-paced gem is about the civilizing influence of Italy on beleaguered Londoners both male and female and has its own civilizing influence on the viewer. It's almost like taking a ... See full summary »

Director: Mike Newell | Stars: Alfred Molina, Joan Plowright, Miranda Richardson, Polly Walker

Votes: 5,543 | Gross: $13.20M

27. Clarissa (1991– )

156 min | History

A virtuous young woman is oppressed by her ambitious family and a rake who's becomes obsessed with her.

Stars: Sean Bean, Saskia Wickham, Jonny Phillips, Lynsey Baxter

Votes: 524



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