Wonderful Period Drama

by tidus_fever | created - 05 Aug 2013 | updated - 05 Aug 2013 | Public

These are some of my favourite period dramas, whenever I am sick or down these are the ones that cheer me up :)

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1. 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: 25,097

My all time favourite, I never thought anything would overtake Pride and Prejudice but I was proven wrong.

2. Little Dorrit (2008)

30 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

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: 7,044

One of my favourites, absolutely flawless!

3. Sense & Sensibility (2008– )

TV-14 | 174 min | Drama, Romance

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: 8,601

Amazing acting and a wonderful adaptation. I loved everything about this, especially the extra emphasis on Willoughby.

4. Lark Rise to Candleford (2008–2011)

53 min | Drama, Romance

An adaptation of Flora Thompson's autobiographical novel "Lark Rise To Candleford", set in 19 century Oxfordshire, in which a young girl moves to the local market town to begin an apprenticeship as a postmistress.

Stars: Olivia Hallinan, Sarah Lancashire, Julia Sawalha, Fergus Drysdale

Votes: 5,302

Such a happy and wonderful series with a great collection of characters.

5. 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, Finn Morrell

Votes: 7,472

If you only watch it for Gillian Anderson it will be worth it.

6. Emma (2009– )

240 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

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: 12,372

The two leads are impeccable and Romola is such a fresh and vibrant Emma.

7. 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: 11,922

My favourite Austen book adapted into a gorgeous movie, Rupert is a wonderful Wentworth :)

8. The Abduction Club (2002)

96 min | Action, Adventure, Comedy

A group of Irish noblemen kidnap girls in order to marry into their fortune and avoid becoming priests or soldiers.

Director: Stefan Schwartz | Stars: Alice Evans, Daniel Lapaine, Sophia Myles, Matthew Rhys

Votes: 1,579

Fun and enjoyable, not as well known but well worth the watch.

9. 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: 1,956

One of my favourite mini series, a great array of characters with some brilliant development.

10. Cold Comfort Farm (1995 TV Movie)

PG | 105 min | Comedy, Romance

82 Metascore

In England in the early 1930s, twenty-year-old Flora Poste, recently orphaned, and left with only one hundred pounds a year, goes to stay with distant relatives on Cold Comfort Farm. ... See full summary »

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

Votes: 6,005 | Gross: $5.60M

Such a happy movie with a great array of actors and just leaves you happy. I wasn't sure at the beginning but stick with it, the rewards are worth it!

11. Jane Eyre (2006– )

TV-PG | 230 min | Drama, Romance

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: 16,884

By far the best Jane Eyre adaption ever, I challenge you not to be in love with Rochester by halfway through!

12. Middlemarch (1994)

375 min | Drama, History, Romance

This Masterpiece Theatre production, set at the cusp of the Industrial Revolution, chronicles the life, loves, foibles and politics of the fictional English town of Middlemarch. Adapted ... See full summary »

Stars: Juliet Aubrey, Douglas Hodge, Robert Hardy, Peter Jeffrey

Votes: 1,862

Not the most amazing ever but was still a good watch and I am a massive Rufus Sewell fan

13. 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: 62,239

One cannot make a period drama list and leave off Pride and Prejudice, it would just be sacrilege.

14. The Young Victoria (2009)

PG | 105 min | Biography, Drama, History

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: 51,194 | Gross: $11.00M

Just watch it, it's so beautiful

15. The Way We Live Now (2001– )

300 min | Drama, Romance

At the center of the story is Augustus Melmotte, a European-born city financier, whose origins are as mysterious as his business dealings. Trollope describes him as 'something in the city',... See full summary »

Stars: David Suchet, Matthew Macfadyen, Cillian Murphy, Paloma Baeza

Votes: 2,437

A great commentary on progress and some memorable characters that will stay with you

16. Cranford (2007– )

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: 7,399

Has one of my favourite period drama characters of all time- Mr Carter. Not to mention Judi Dench who is always phenomenal!

Return to Cranford has a wonderful romance in it as well :)

17. The Tenant of Wildfell Hall (1996– )

159 min | Drama

In the mid 19th Century, an enigmatic young woman moves to Yorkshire with a young son. Distancing herself from everyone in the village and their prying questions, she remains totally aloof ... See full summary »

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

Votes: 2,066

I have such a love of Toby Stephens so I was going to enjoy this no matter what!

18. Miss Potter (2006)

PG | 88 min | Biography, Drama

57 Metascore

The story of Beatrix Potter, the author of the beloved and best-selling children's book, "The Tale of Peter Rabbit", and her struggle for love, happiness and success.

Director: Chris Noonan | Stars: Renée Zellweger, Ewan McGregor, Emily Watson, Barbara Flynn

Votes: 25,593 | Gross: $2.98M

Not many people enjoyed this as much as I did but I absolutely love this movie.

19. 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: 24,045 | Gross: $12.29M

Amazing acting, great characters, Lee Pace- what more could you want. There is so much heart in this story, you will be sure to have a smile on your face at the end

20. Stage Beauty (2004)

R | 106 min | Drama

64 Metascore

A female theatre dresser creates a stir and sparks a revolution in seventeenth century London theatre by playing Desdemona in Othello. But what will become of the male actor she once worked for and eventually replaced?

Director: Richard Eyre | Stars: Billy Crudup, Claire Danes, Rupert Everett, Derek Hutchinson

Votes: 9,278 | Gross: $0.78M

I can never tell if I like this film or not but I have watched it multiple times so that says something I imagine :P

21. Much Ado About Nothing (1993)

PG-13 | 111 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

Young lovers Hero and Claudio, soon to wed, conspire to get verbal sparring partners and confirmed singles Benedick and Beatrice to wed as well.

Director: Kenneth Branagh | Stars: Kenneth Branagh, Emma Thompson, Keanu Reeves, Kate Beckinsale

Votes: 40,321 | Gross: $22.55M

Kenneth Branagh. Need I say more.

Ok maybe I should, PLEASE watch this, it is so well done and everyone just aces their roles.

22. A Midsummer Night's Dream (1999)

PG-13 | 116 min | Comedy, Fantasy, Romance

61 Metascore

Lovers' lives are complicated by city law, feuding faerie royalty, and... love.

Director: Michael Hoffman | Stars: Kevin Kline, Michelle Pfeiffer, Rupert Everett, Stanley Tucci

Votes: 22,502 | Gross: $16.07M

A fantastic host of actors/ actresses and just so much beauty in every single scene.

23. 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: 86,915 | Gross: $43.18M

While I prefer the mini series this is still a wonderful adaptation and great if you don't have the time for the other. There is some brilliant acting by Emma Thompson (no surprise there though)

24. Pride & Prejudice (2005)

PG | 129 min | Drama, Romance

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: 216,558 | Gross: $38.41M

The mini series will always have the greater acclaim but I do love this version. I love Keira Knightley and Matthew McFadyen and this version of Bingley is so adorable!

25. Under the Greenwood Tree (2005 TV Movie)

TV-PG | 93 min | Drama, Romance

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: 2,105

I wish this was more popular than it is, simple and lovely. Not to mention the washing of hands has never been more sexual!

26. Emma (1996)

PG | 120 min | Comedy, Drama, Romance

66 Metascore

While matchmaking for friends and neighbours, a young 19th Century Englishwoman nearly misses her own chance at love.

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

Votes: 30,964 | Gross: $22.20M

Again the mini series does it better but this is still a wonderful adaptation and Gwenyth does the role wonderfully!

27. Call the Midwife (2012– )

TV-PG | 60 min | Drama

Chronicles the lives of a group of midwives living in East London in the late 1950s to early 1960s.

Stars: Vanessa Redgrave, Jenny Agutter, Laura Main, Judy Parfitt

Votes: 15,103

Such a brilliant series! Another happy go lucky series

28. Daniel Deronda (2002– )

210 min | Drama, History, Romance

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: 3,716

Not one of my all time favourites but a good watch and Romola and Hugh are phenomenal

29. Casanova (2005– )

TV-MA | 174 min | Biography, Comedy, Drama

After a life spent seeking pleasure and decadence, Casanova seeks his one true love, Henriette.

Stars: Rose Byrne, David Tennant, Peter O'Toole, Rupert Penry-Jones

Votes: 4,221

Fabulous costumes and David Tennant is wonderful

30. Gone with the Wind (1939)

G | 238 min | Drama, History, Romance

97 Metascore

A manipulative woman and a roguish man conduct a turbulent romance during the American Civil War and Reconstruction periods.

Directors: Victor Fleming, George Cukor, Sam Wood | Stars: Clark Gable, Vivien Leigh, Thomas Mitchell, Barbara O'Neil

Votes: 248,063 | Gross: $198.68M

A classic for a very good reason!

31. Lost in Austen (2008– )

180 min | Drama, Fantasy, Romance

Amanda, an ardent Jane Austen fan, lives in present day London with her boyfriend Michael, until she finds she's swapped places with Austen's fictional creation Elizabeth Bennet.

Stars: Jemima Rooper, Elliot Cowan, Hugh Bonneville, Florence Hoath

Votes: 9,274

Love Pride and Prejudice? Then I absolutely recommend giving this a watch, a different and refreshing look at much loved characters

32. 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: 11,549

Such a great romance!

33. 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: 5,818

Loved the ending :) I'm still waiting for a really good adaptation but this was enjoyable

34. A Room with a View (1985)

Not Rated | 117 min | Drama, Romance

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: 33,626 | Gross: $20.97M

A must watch for anyone who loves romances and wonderful characters

35. The Life and Adventures of Nicholas Nickleby (2001 TV Movie)

200 min | Comedy, Drama

A young, compassionate man struggles to save his family and friends from the abusive exploitation of his cold-hearted, grasping uncle.

Director: Stephen Whittaker | Stars: John Dallimore, James D'Arcy, Sophia Myles, Diana Kent

Votes: 892

A really well done story with some very moving scenes.

36. Becoming Jane (2007)

PG | 120 min | Biography, Drama, Romance

55 Metascore

A biographical portrait of a pre-fame Jane Austen and her romance with a young Irishman.

Director: Julian Jarrold | Stars: Anne Hathaway, James McAvoy, Julie Walters, James Cromwell

Votes: 51,727 | Gross: $18.67M

So many feelings in this film but it is a SUBLIME film, McAvoy is such a delight to watch and if you are a fan of him I highly recommend him in Penelope!

37. The Illusionist (2006)

PG-13 | 110 min | Drama, Mystery, Romance

68 Metascore

In turn-of-the-century Vienna, a magician uses his abilities to secure the love of a woman far above his social standing.

Director: Neil Burger | Stars: Edward Norton, Jessica Biel, Paul Giamatti, Rufus Sewell

Votes: 324,744 | Gross: $39.87M

I really loved this film and Edward Norton is such a great actor

38. 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: 44,787 | Gross: $53.90M

Will always be the ultimate adaptation. It doesn't get any better than this!

39. The Phantom of the Opera (2004)

PG-13 | 143 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

40 Metascore

A young soprano becomes the obsession of a disfigured musical genius who lives beneath the Paris Opéra House. He kidnaps the soprano and forces the owners of the play to keep her as the lead role of the play.

Director: Joel Schumacher | Stars: Gerard Butler, Emmy Rossum, Patrick Wilson, Miranda Richardson

Votes: 104,958 | Gross: $51.27M

Beautiful in all ways!

40. Moulin Rouge! (2001)

PG-13 | 127 min | Drama, Musical, Romance

66 Metascore

A poet falls for a beautiful courtesan whom a jealous duke covets.

Director: Baz Luhrmann | Stars: Nicole Kidman, Ewan McGregor, John Leguizamo, Jim Broadbent

Votes: 242,790 | Gross: $57.39M

I can't put into words how wonderful this is, just stunning.

41. 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: 131,715

Took me a while to get into it but it is brilliantly done

42. 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: 70,299 | Gross: $41.31M

Murder and mystery, a great watch

43. 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: 5,949

Not one of my absolute favourites but it was still a very enjoyable watch

44. 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: 1,870

Not one of the happiest but was a engrossing watch

45. The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

PG-13 | 131 min | Action, Adventure, Drama

61 Metascore

A young man, falsely imprisoned by his jealous "friend", escapes and uses a hidden treasure to exact his revenge.

Director: Kevin Reynolds | Stars: Jim Caviezel, Guy Pearce, Richard Harris, James Frain

Votes: 114,405 | Gross: $54.23M

Brilliant performances with an engrossing storyline!

46. Amazing Grace (2006)

PG | 118 min | Biography, Drama, History

65 Metascore

The idealist William Wilberforce maneuvers his way through Parliament, endeavoring to end the British transatlantic slave trade.

Director: Michael Apted | Stars: Ioan Gruffudd, Albert Finney, Michael Gambon, Romola Garai

Votes: 22,280 | Gross: $21.21M

I just think this is a brilliant film all round

47. Great Expectations (2011– )

60 min | Drama

The orphan Pip becomes a gentleman when his life is transformed by a mystery benefactor.

Stars: Douglas Booth, Jack Roth, Ray Winstone, David Suchet

Votes: 6,366

Brilliant version- my favourite of all the adaptations