Period Pieces

by eunicewells | created - 1 month ago | updated - 12 hours ago | Public

Best and most enjoyable European/British period dramas, comedies and adventure films, from antiquity to the early 20th century.

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1. The Virgin Queen (2005– )

237 min | Biography, Drama, History

The Virgin Queen explores the full sweep of Elizabeth's life: from her days of fear as a potential victim of her sister's terror; through her great love affair with Robert Dudley; into her ... See full summary »

Stars: Anne-Marie Duff, Sienna Guillory, Ian Hart, Tom Hardy

Votes: 2,559

2. Gunpowder, Treason & Plot (2004 TV Movie)

TV-MA | 205 min | Drama, History

Mini series depicting the turbulent and bloody reigns of Scottish monarchs Mary, Queen of Scots and her son King James VI of Scotland who became King James I of England and foiled the Gunpowder Plot.

Director: Gillies MacKinnon | Stars: Vulpe Adrian, Carmen Ungureanu, Clémence Poésy, Tadeusz Pasternak

Votes: 1,510

3. The Buccaneers (1995– )

212 min | Adventure, Drama, Romance

Four American girls go to England to find husbands.

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

Votes: 1,948

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: 7,675

5. The Forsyte Saga (2002–2003)

276 min | Drama, Romance

Chronicles the lives of three generations of the upper-middle-class British family, the Forsytes, from the 1870s to 1920.

Stars: Damian Lewis, Rupert Graves, Gina McKee, Amanda Root

Votes: 4,698

6. Wives and Daughters (1999– )

TV-PG | 301 min | Drama

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: 6,147

7. Emma (2009)

240 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

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

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

Votes: 13,105

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: 90,106 | Gross: $43.18M

9. 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: 65,973

10. Lady Jane (1986)

PG-13 | 136 min | Biography, Drama, History

The death of King Henry VIII throws his kingdom into chaos because of succession disputes. His weak son Edward, is on his deathbed. Anxious to keep England true to the Reformation, a ... See full summary »

Director: Trevor Nunn | Stars: Helena Bonham Carter, Cary Elwes, John Wood, Michael Hordern

Votes: 5,621 | Gross: $0.28M

11. Exodus: Gods and Kings (2014)

PG-13 | 150 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

52 Metascore

The defiant leader Moses rises up against Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II, setting six hundred thousand slaves on a monumental journey of escape from Egypt and its terrifying cycle of deadly plagues.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Christian Bale, Joel Edgerton, Ben Kingsley, Sigourney Weaver

Votes: 148,772 | Gross: $65.01M

12. Agora (2009)

R | 127 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

55 Metascore

A historical drama set in Roman Egypt, concerning a slave who turns to the rising tide of Christianity in the hope of pursuing freedom while falling in love with his mistress, the philosophy and mathematics professor Hypatia of Alexandria.

Director: Alejandro Amenábar | Stars: Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac, Ashraf Barhom

Votes: 60,523 | Gross: $0.62M

13. Kingdom of Heaven (2005)

R | 144 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

63 Metascore

Balian of Ibelin travels to Jerusalem during the Crusades of the 12th century, and there he finds himself as the defender of the city and its people.

Director: Ridley Scott | Stars: Orlando Bloom, Eva Green, Liam Neeson, Martin Hancock

Votes: 246,594 | Gross: $47.40M

14. The Hollow Crown (2012– )

150 min | Drama, History

A mini-series of adaptations of Shakespeare's history plays: Richard II, Henry IV Parts 1 and 2, and Henry V.

Stars: Anton Lesser, Simon Russell Beale, Tom Georgeson, John Mackay

Votes: 4,767

15. Love & Friendship (2016)

PG | 90 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

87 Metascore

Lady Susan Vernon takes up temporary residence at her in-laws' estate and, while there, is determined to be a matchmaker for her daughter Frederica -- and herself too, naturally.

Director: Whit Stillman | Stars: Kate Beckinsale, Chloë Sevigny, Xavier Samuel, Emma Greenwell

Votes: 20,718 | Gross: $14.01M

16. 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: 72,329 | Gross: $41.31M

17. Alexander (2004)

R | 175 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

39 Metascore

Alexander, the King of Macedonia and one of the greatest army leaders in the history of warfare, conquers much of the known world.

Director: Oliver Stone | Stars: Colin Farrell, Anthony Hopkins, Rosario Dawson, Angelina Jolie

Votes: 152,594 | Gross: $34.30M

18. Ben-Hur (2016)

PG-13 | 123 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

38 Metascore

Judah Ben-Hur, a prince falsely accused of treason by his adopted brother, an officer in the Roman army, returns to his homeland after years at sea to seek revenge, but finds redemption.

Director: Timur Bekmambetov | Stars: Jack Huston, Toby Kebbell, Rodrigo Santoro, Nazanin Boniadi

Votes: 36,830 | Gross: $26.38M

19. Ben-Hur (1959)

G | 212 min | Adventure, Drama, History

90 Metascore

When a Jewish prince is betrayed and sent into slavery by a Roman friend, he regains his freedom and comes back for revenge.

Director: William Wyler | Stars: Charlton Heston, Jack Hawkins, Stephen Boyd, Haya Harareet

Votes: 197,430 | Gross: $74.70M

20. Pompeii (I) (2014)

PG-13 | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

39 Metascore

A slave-turned-gladiator finds himself in a race against time to save his true love, who has been betrothed to a corrupt Roman Senator. As Mount Vesuvius erupts, he must fight to save his beloved as Pompeii crumbles around him.

Director: Paul W.S. Anderson | Stars: Kit Harington, Emily Browning, Kiefer Sutherland, Adewale Akinnuoye-Agbaje

Votes: 98,557 | Gross: $23.22M

21. Ironclad (2011)

R | 121 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

42 Metascore

In 13th-century England, a Knights Templar and few of the Barons men, fight to defend Rochester Castle against the tyrannical King John.

Director: Jonathan English | Stars: Paul Giamatti, Jason Flemyng, Brian Cox, James Purefoy

Votes: 37,953

22. A Knight's Tale (2001)

PG-13 | 132 min | Action, Adventure, Romance

56 Metascore

After his master dies, a peasant squire, fueled by his desire for food and glory, creates a new identity for himself as a knight.

Director: Brian Helgeland | Stars: Heath Ledger, Mark Addy, Rufus Sewell, Shannyn Sossamon

Votes: 154,839 | Gross: $56.57M

23. Queen Margot (1994)

R | 159 min | Biography, Drama, History

Young Queen Margot finds herself trapped in an arranged marriage amidst a religious war between Catholics and Protestants. She hopes to escape with a new lover, but finds herself imprisoned by her powerful and ruthless family.

Director: Patrice Chéreau | Stars: Isabelle Adjani, Daniel Auteuil, Jean-Hugues Anglade, Vincent Perez

Votes: 15,083 | Gross: $2.02M

24. Britain's Bloody Crown (2016– )

Not Rated | Drama, History

Using a combination of documentary and drama, historian Dan Jones tells the story of the War of the Roses - the 30 year civil war between the House of York and House of Lancaster that saw the crown change hands seven times.

Stars: Dan Jones, Steffan Boje, James Oliver Wheatley, Darren Bransford

Votes: 141

25. King Arthur (2004)

PG-13 | 126 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

46 Metascore

A demystified take on the tale of King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table.

Director: Antoine Fuqua | Stars: Clive Owen, Stephen Dillane, Keira Knightley, Ioan Gruffudd

Votes: 150,247 | Gross: $51.88M

26. The Name of the Rose (1986)

R | 130 min | Crime, Drama, Mystery

An intellectually nonconformist friar investigates a series of mysterious deaths in an isolated abbey.

Director: Jean-Jacques Annaud | Stars: Sean Connery, Christian Slater, Helmut Qualtinger, Elya Baskin

Votes: 92,738 | Gross: $7.15M

27. Macbeth (2015)

R | 113 min | Drama, History, War

71 Metascore

Macbeth, the Thane of Glamis, receives a prophecy from a trio of witches that one day he will become King of Scotland. Consumed by ambition and spurred to action by his wife, Macbeth murders his king and takes the throne for himself.

Director: Justin Kurzel | Stars: Michael Fassbender, Marion Cotillard, Jack Madigan, Frank Madigan

Votes: 47,957 | Gross: $1.11M

28. Spartacus (1960)

PG-13 | 197 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

87 Metascore

The slave Spartacus leads a violent revolt against the decadent Roman Republic.

Director: Stanley Kubrick | Stars: Kirk Douglas, Laurence Olivier, Jean Simmons, Charles Laughton

Votes: 111,317 | Gross: $30.00M

29. Caesar (2002 TV Movie)

PG-13 | 240 min | Biography, Drama, History

Twenty-year-old Julius Caeser flees Rome for his life during the reign of Sulla, but through skill and ambition rises four decades later to become Rome's supreme dictator.

Director: Uli Edel | Stars: Jeremy Sisto, Richard Harris, Christopher Walken, Valeria Golino

Votes: 2,376

30. Da Vinci's Demons (2013–2015)

59 min | Adventure, Biography, Drama

Follows Leonardo Da Vinci during his early days in Florence, as a young artist, inventor and dreamer, trying to change the future.

Stars: Tom Riley, Gregg Chillin, Eros Vlahos, Laura Haddock

Votes: 68,997

31. Medici: Masters of Florence (2016– )

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

A political family drama set in Florence in the early fifteenth century. Cosimo de Medici finds himself at the helm of his banking dynasty when his father, Giovanni, dies suddenly.

Stars: Richard Madden, Stuart Martin, Annabel Scholey, Guido Caprino

Votes: 10,158

32. The Lion in Winter (2003 TV Movie)

167 min | Drama, History, Romance

King Henry II meets with Eleanor of Aquitaine at Christmastide 1183 to choose one of his sons as his successor.

Director: Andrey Konchalovskiy | Stars: Glenn Close, Andrew Howard, Antal Konrád, John Light

Votes: 1,955

33. Henry V (1989)

PG-13 | 137 min | Action, Biography, Drama

83 Metascore

In the midst of the Hundred Years War, the young King Henry V of England embarks on the conquest of France in 1415.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Derek Jacobi, Simon Shepherd, James Larkin

Votes: 26,128 | Gross: $10.16M

34. 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: 37,506 | Gross: $4.46M

35. Taboo (2017– )

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

Adventurer James Keziah Delaney returns to London during the War of 1812 to rebuild his late father's shipping empire. However, both the government and his biggest competitor want his inheritance at any cost - even murder.

Stars: Tom Hardy, David Hayman, Jonathan Pryce, Oona Chaplin

Votes: 95,088

36. Cinderella (1950)

G | 74 min | Animation, Family, Fantasy

85 Metascore

When Cinderella's cruel stepmother prevents her from attending the Royal Ball, she gets some unexpected help from the lovable mice Gus and Jaq, and from her Fairy Godmother.

Directors: Clyde Geronimi, Wilfred Jackson, Hamilton Luske | Stars: Ilene Woods, James MacDonald, Eleanor Audley, Verna Felton

Votes: 127,759 | Gross: $85.00M

37. 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: 16,866

38. Black Death (2010)

R | 102 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

71 Metascore

Set during the time of the first outbreak of bubonic plague in England, a young monk is given the task of learning the truth about reports of people being brought back to life in a small village.

Director: Christopher Smith | Stars: Eddie Redmayne, Sean Bean, Carice van Houten, Kimberley Nixon

Votes: 40,451 | Gross: $0.02M

39. The Princess Bride (1987)

PG | 98 min | Adventure, Family, Fantasy

77 Metascore

While home sick in bed, a young boy's grandfather reads him the story of a farmboy-turned-pirate who encounters numerous obstacles, enemies and allies in his quest to be reunited with his true love.

Director: Rob Reiner | Stars: Cary Elwes, Mandy Patinkin, Robin Wright, Chris Sarandon

Votes: 350,270 | Gross: $30.86M

40. Attila (2001)

Unrated | 177 min | Action, Adventure, Biography

A romanced story of Attila the Hun, from when he lost his parents in childhood until his death. Attila is disclosed as a great leader, strategist and lover and the movie shows his respect ... See full summary »

Stars: Pauline Lynch, Steven Berkoff, Andrew Pleavin, Tommy Flanagan

Votes: 9,479

41. The Last Legion (2007)

PG-13 | 101 min | Action, Adventure, War

37 Metascore

As the Roman empire crumbles, young Romulus Augustus flees the city and embarks on a perilous voyage to Britain to track down a legion of supporters.

Director: Doug Lefler | Stars: Colin Firth, Ben Kingsley, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, Peter Mullan

Votes: 32,279 | Gross: $5.93M

42. Versailles, le rêve d'un roi (2008 TV Movie)

180 min | Documentary, Biography, Drama

Docudrama about the life of Louis XIV nicknamed "the Sun King", the King of France who ran a glamorous court, expanded the borders of France, loved women and parties and built an incredible palace for himself - the Versailles.

Director: Thierry Binisti | Stars: Vinciane Millereau, Samuel Theis, Jérôme Pouly, Antoine Coesens

Votes: 263

43. Robin Hood (1991)

TV-14 | 104 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

The Swashbuckling legend of Robin Hood unfolds in the 12th century when the mighty Normans ruled England with an iron fist.

Director: John Irvin | Stars: Patrick Bergin, Uma Thurman, Jürgen Prochnow, Edward Fox

Votes: 4,164

44. Wolf Hall (2015)

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: 8,021

45. 1066: The Battle for Middle Earth (2009– )

150 min | Action, History, War

Despite earlier promises to pass his crown to one of his Flemish, Viking, or Norman relatives, English King Edward the Confessor dies in 1066, leaving his crown to Anglo-Saxon Harold Godwinson, causing a bloody succession war.

Stars: Ian Holm, Mike Bailey, Francis Magee, Tim Plester

Votes: 719

46. The Three Musketeers (1993)

PG | 105 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

The three best of the disbanded Musketeers - Athos, Porthos, and Aramis - join a young hotheaded would-be-Musketeer, D'Artagnan, to stop the Cardinal Richelieu's evil plot: to form an ... See full summary »

Director: Stephen Herek | Stars: Charlie Sheen, Kiefer Sutherland, Chris O'Donnell, Oliver Platt

Votes: 46,098 | Gross: $53.90M

47. Braveheart (1995)

R | 178 min | Biography, Drama, History

68 Metascore

When his secret bride is executed for assaulting an English soldier who tried to rape her, William Wallace begins a revolt against King Edward I of England.

Director: Mel Gibson | Stars: Mel Gibson, Sophie Marceau, Patrick McGoohan, Angus Macfadyen

Votes: 874,759 | Gross: $75.60M

48. A Little Chaos (2014)

R | 112 min | Drama, Romance

51 Metascore

Two talented landscape artists become romantically entangled while building a garden in King Louis XIV's palace at Versailles.

Director: Alan Rickman | Stars: Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman, Stanley Tucci, Matthias Schoenaerts

Votes: 17,522 | Gross: $0.55M

49. Emma (1996 TV Movie)

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