10 Best Period Drama Films

Wednesday, February 23 by Clara Havens

The 10 best period drama films are listed and described here. Period drama films, those with costumes, sets and props true to the era being portrayed, are always a treat to behold. These are the films that are usually big Hollywood productions with huge budgets. As such, period drama movies can be watched again and again, as the film viewer can get totally absorbed in the era being recreated. These movies are some of Hollywood's best.

  1. "Gone With The Wind".  Best Picture Academy Award, 1939. The Civil War period in American History is reproduced very authentically. Great all-around screenplay, direction and acting. Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh give unforgettable performances as Rhett Butler and Scarlett O'Hara.
  2. "Dr. Zhivago".  Big David Lean production. This 1965 movie was nominated for Best Picture and won the award for Best Costume Design. Omar Sharif and Julie Christie star in this film that takes the viewer to early 20th century Russia during the Russian Revolution.
  3. "Becket".  Travel back to the 12th century as Richard Burton stars as Thomas Becket and Peter O'Toole stars as King Henry II. Convincing film shows the tension between the two, as King Henry II appoints Becket as the Archbishop of Canterbury in order to have total control of him. Becket has other ideas.
  4. "A Man For All Seasons." Best Picture, 1966. Sir Thomas More is the ultimate "man of conscience" who defies Henry VIII to uphold his own values and beliefs. Henry VIII is seeking a divorce (forbidden by the Catholic Church) to marry Catherine of Aragon. Portrays an interesting time in history when England breaks away from the Catholic Church.
  5. "Alexander".  2004 movie based on the life of Alexander the Great. Stars Colin Farrell as the young Alexander and Angelina Jolie. Oliver Stone directed this film which takes place in 331 B.C. Key moments of Alexander's young life are depicted, culminating in the conquest of the Persian Empire.
  6. "Ben Hur". This 1959 classic movie was nominated for many Academy Awards. Winner of Best Costume Award. Effectively recreates Biblical times as Charlton Heston plays a wealthy Jewish merchant who becomes enslaved. The chariot race scene is one of Hollywood's best.
  7. "Spartacus". Star-studded cast, 1960 film directed by Stanley Kubrick. Kirk Douglas is a rebellious slave and Laurence Olivier plays a Roman general. Great gladiator scenes. Winner of the Best Costume Award.
  8. "The Lion in Winter".  1968 movie starring Katherine Hepburn and Peter O'Toole. Nominated for Best Costume Award. Portrays the year 1183 in England. King Henry's many mistresses and illegitimate children cause turmoil in his kingdom and inheritance issues.
  9. "Sense and Sensibility". Winner of the Academy Award for Best Costume 1995. Based on the 1811 novel by Jane Austen. Emma Thompson wrote the screenplay and acted in the film along with Hugh Grant and Kate Winslet. Soap opera-like twists and turns in the lives of English gentry. Spotlights the morals and mores of the time and the position of women.
  10. "The Agony and the Ecstasy".  Best Costume Award winner 1965. Charlton Heston plays Michelangelo. Painting the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel is no easy feat, especially when there is conflict with the Pope.
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