On the face of it, the Victorian era should be a dull area to explore for cinematic adventure. Yes, gunpowder and various early guns that could only fire one shot were in their infancy, but without rocket launchers, grenades and nuclear annihilation around to scare the living daylights out of the general public, the era lacks the sense of threat that is at the heart of many Hollywood blockbusters. Yet there is still a strange appeal to the era. There is a sexy and gothic aura that filters through the Victorian age which is juxtaposed with a gritty aesthetic that is rooted in reality. So here is a list of the six best Victorian movies that have ever been released.
"The Prestige." Christopher Nolan's magical tale of two magicians and their tempestuous relationship may not have the budget of "Inception" or the mass appeal of "The Dark Knight," but it is a worthy addition to his back catalog. Hugh Jackman's character, Robert Angier, and Christian Bale's character Alfred Borden are two competing illusionists who begin to experiment with electricity, and soon spiral out of control.
"From Hell." Much has been made of Jack The Ripper and his tendency to strangle the girls he met. And Johnny Depp's portrayal of Inspector Frederick Abberline, the detective responsible for finding the killer, is one of his best performances, while the film adds a whole new realm of possibility to the story of East London's most notorious killer.
"Her Majesty, Mrs. Brown." I know what you are thinking. A Victorian love story that stars both Judi Dench and Billy Connolly as the love interests doesn't exactly have the most appealing ring to it. Yet there is something palpably sweet about this romantic drama set in the Scottish highlands.
Scorsese's ode to the early formation of New York's five boroughs is a rough and dirty cinematic adventure. Leonardo DiCaprio and Cameron Diaz try their best to leave an impression on the picture, but it is Daniel Day Lewis as Bill "The Butcher" Cutting who steals every scene in the movie and leaves you longing for him in the ones he is not in.
"The League Of Extraordinary Gentleman." This film adaptation of the much loved comic book series is mostly remembered for the torrid production process that saw Sean Connery enter retirement soon after it's completion. Yet the film manages to evoke the work of Jules Verne, H.G. Wells and Bram Stoker to create a compelling version of Victorian life.
"Wilde." This 1997 British film is a worthy commemoration of Britain's sharpest wit, with Stephen Fry born to play the titular role. Of course the bigotry and hatred shown toward the lead character leaves a sour taste in the mouth of some. Even though they were clearly wrong to imprison the poor bastard.