10 Best Period Drama Movies

Sunday, January 30 by Layla Sinclair

For movies that take place in the past, look to these 10 best period drama movies to watch events unfold in another era. The films below take place from the 13th century all the way to the 1940’s during both war and peacetime. The elaborate costumes and settings will transport you back in time with each viewing.

  1. “Braveheart” Mel Gibson stars in this best period drama movie, made back when he was at the height of his career. The film takes place in the 1200’s during a Scottish rebellion against the English. Gibson plays William Wallace, who famously leads the Scots into battle, sword brandished and war paint smeared on.
  2. “The Red Violin” In this period drama movie, the settings alternate as viewers watch a special violin pass hands from 17th century Italy, to Austria, and all the way to China in the course of three hundred years. The movie is tied together by the impact that the violin has had an each possessor.
  3. “Elizabeth” Cate Blanchett plays the famous queen of England in this best period drama movie. The film covers her ascension to the royal throne, threats to her monarchy, and the pressure for her to marry.
  4. “The Last of the Mohicans” This period drama movie takes place during the French and Indian War. Daniel Day Lewis stars as an adopted Mohican, who must protect a pair of British women while the war rages on.
  5. “The English Patient” Ralph Fiennes, Kristin Scott Thomas, Colin Firth, and William Dafoe lead an excellent cast in this best period drama movie. The film takes place during World War II and tells one man’s story through flashbacks. Starting as a burned and near-death invalid, viewers then seem him before his accident as he embarks on a doomed relationship.
  6. “The Great Gatsby” In this best period drama movie based on the classic novel, Robert Redford plays Jay Gatsby, the famous millionaire who is undone by his relationship with the flighty Daisy, played by Mia Farrow. A remake will soon be released, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Carey Mulligan in the famous lead roles.
  7. “Gone with the Wind” The epic period piece movie was made back in 1939 and takes placed during the Civil War as the South faces defeat to the Union. The film follows a Southern belle and her hyper-masculine love interest. It may not be politically correct at times, but it remains a classic period drama.
  8. “There Will Be Blood” This critically acclaimed period drama movie takes place during the early 1900’s during California’s oil rush. Daniel Day-Lewis plays his part to perfection as an oil giant consumed, and ultimately overcome, by greed.
  9. “The Assassination of Jesse James” This recent film stars Brad Pitt as Jesse James during the last years of the gunslinger’s life in the late 1800’s. The period drama movie is poignant and haunting, as James’ looming murder remains foreshadowed throughout the film
  10. “Gangs of New York” In this period piece movie, Martin Scorsese directs Leonardo DiCaprio and Daniel Day-Lewis as rivals seeking each other’s blood. The movie, which is part drama and part action, takes place during the heat of the Civil War in New York City.
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