best period movies

11 Best Period Movies for Fans of Historical Dramas

If you love being transported back to days where ruffled shirts and bustle dresses were all the fashion, then look no further than our list of the best period movies.

Perfect for spending a cosy afternoon with on the couch, you’ll find yourself swept away by the history, drama and romance!

The Best Period Movies

1) Pride and Prejudice

Bringing Jane Austen’s classic novel to life, Pride and Prejudice (2005) stars Keira Knightley opposite Matthew Macfadyen. This romantic tale tells the story of Elizabeth Bennet, one of five sisters living in the Georgian era.

When Elizabeth crosses paths with rich and proud Mr. Darcy, an uplifting, humorous and heartfelt story of social class unfolds. This adaptation is definitely a must-watch for fans of the best period movies.

2) Emma

Starring Gwyneth Paltrow, Emma (1996) is based on the novel of the same title, also written by Jane Austen.

The adaptation tells the story of Emma Woodhouse, who loves to meddle in other people’s affairs. While attempting to matchmake other men and women, Emma almost misses her own love story.

3) Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre (2011) is another of the best period movies on our list. Starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender, the film is a stunning adaptation of Charlotte Brontë’s Gothic novel of the same name.

The plot follows Jane’s time working as a governess for a wealthy master of the house, Mr. Rochester. When the two fall in love, Mr. Rochester’s dark secret is brought to light.

4) Marie Antoniette

Directed by Sofia Coppola, Marie Antoinette (2006) is without a doubt one of the most unique of the best period movies on our list. The movie documents the years leading up to the French Revolution.

Coppola’s dreamlike visuals bring the life of Queen Marie Antoinette to life with eccentric costumes and a colourful aesthetic that saw the film win an Academy Award for Best Costume Design.

5) The Duchess

The Duchess (2008) is another of the best period movies that earned an Academy Award for Best Costume Design. So if you’re a fashion of period fashion, this is the perfect film for you.

Starring Keira Knightley and Dominic Cooper, the historical drama is based on 18th century English aristocrat Georgiana Cavendish, Duchess of Devonshire. The film draws its inspiration from the dramatic biography written by Amanda Foreman.

6) Little Women

Little Women (2019) is the most recent film on our list of the best period dramas. Directed by Greta Gerwig, the breathtaking adaptation of Louisa May Alcott’s classic novel has been nominated for an Academy Award.

With an all-star cast, including Saoirse Ronan and Timothee Chalamet, Gerwig retells the coming-of-age story of the March sisters in a way that showcases how timeless Alcott’s novel really is.

7) A Room with a View

A Room with a View (1985) is one of the best period movies we recommend watching. Set in England and Florence, the adaptation of E. M. Forster’s novel won an impressive 3 Academy Awards.

The film’s fantastic cast includes Maggie Smith, Helena Bonham Carter and Denholm Eliott. The story follows the romance between Lucy Honeychurch and free-spirited George Emerson, against the backdrop of repressive Edwardian society.


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8) Atonement

Atonement (2007) is a must-watch if you love the best period movies as much as we do. Starring Keira Knightley as Cecilia opposite James McAvoy as Robbie, Saoirse Ronan plays Cecilia’s younger sister at just 12 years old.

This captivating love story follows the lives of Cecilia and Robbie, an innocent man whose life is derailed by a false accusation of rape. When he is released from prison, Robbie is reminded of the love he was forced to leave behind, with the protagonists lives intertwining once again.

9) Sense and Sensibility

Sense and Sensibility (1995) is arguably one of the best period movies of all time, starring Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Alan Rickman and Hugh Grant. With such an impressive cast, it’s no surprise that this movie stands the test of time.

The adaptation of the film is based on Jane Austen’s novel of the same title, telling the story of the Dashwood sisters, who are forced to seek financial security through marriage.


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10) The Favourite

One of the best period movies of recent years, The Favourite stars a trio of talented ladies, Olivia Coleman, Emma Stone and Rachel Weisz. Most notably, Coleman won an Oscar for her performance as Queen Anne.

Set in the 18th century, the film is set against the backdrop of the War of the Spanish Succession and documents a captivating power dynamic between three women in the royal house of England.

11) Downton Abbey

Downton Abbey (2019) is the eagerly anticipated film, following on from the award-winning television series of the same name. The film largely received positive reviews from critics and was loved by fans of the series.

The historical period drama film begins in 1927, with the Crawleys and their staff preparing for a visit from the king and queen of England. However, the visit soon unleashes a scandal. What more could you wish for from a period drama?

We hope you’ve enjoyed our round up of some of the best period movies ever made. It’s time to make a cup of tea and immerse yourself in the drama of the best period movies!

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Jess is an experienced writer who loves to write about fashion, female empowerment and everything in between!

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