When I was working on my Netflix Period Drama List (for the U.S. Netflix to be clear), I ended up with such an extensive list of titles that I decided to divide it into three different articles (and even then, I couldn’t fit them all in). A couple of weeks ago I shared the Mini-Series edition; this week I want to share with you part one of some of the great (or at least fun) Period Pieces in Film that you can finish in just one sitting.
Because the number of Period Films available on Netflix is particularly long, I narrowed the choices by only including period films with at least a little romance thrown into the mix (because let’s face it: who doesn’t love a good old-fashioned love story?). There are of course several other fantastic period dramas that did not make the cut based on lack of romance (such as an Anne Frank adaptation, Fried Green Tomatoes, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, etc.) and are also worth checking out.
For this list, I also strove for titles with cleaner content and aim to keep out movies that are too graphic (another way to help me weed out the list). As such, several fabulous period films were left out like The English Patient, Amelie, Cold Mountain, The Wings of the Dove, The Last September (with David Tennant) and many more. If there is a Rated R film (this list only picked the milder ones), I will give a content warning in order for everyone to feel safe in their next Netflix selection!
Romantic Period Films to Watch on Netflix
(No Particular Order)
#1: Mansfield Park (1999)
This happens to be one of my personal favorite Period Films. While it doesn’t ‘exactly’ stay true to Jane Austen’s original novel, this is still quite the romantic spectacle. And the witty script and performances are totally on point. Jonny Lee Miller is also wonderful as Edmund.
#2: Jane Eyre (2011)
Who doesn’t love a good adaptation of Jane Eyre? Sure, it doesn’t have the time to be as true to Bronte’s classic as the 2006 mini-series with Toby Stephens and Ruth Wilson, but it’s still an excellent version of one of the best books of all time. I love Michael Fassbender as the moody, Byronic Mr. Rochester…
#3: Jane Eyre (1996)
A lesser known adaptation, this one is still worth seeking out and Netflix streaming makes that super easy! While William Hurt is not my favorite Rochester, the screenplay and direction is superbly done. Anna Paquin as the young Jane Eyre also stands out as the best young Jane in all of the adaptations.
#4: The Duchess (2008)
Starring Keira Knightley, Ralph Fiennes, Dominic Cooper, and Hayley Atwell, this is one Period Film you don’t want to miss based on the cast alone. The story follows 18th-century aristocrat Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire who is stuck in a terrible, cruel marriage and soon falls in love with a rising politician.
#5: Great Expectations (2012)
From Harry Potter director Mike Newell, this version of Dickens’ classic is filled with Potter actors and almost feels as if you are walking the streets of the 19th-century secret world of wizards and magic. This is certainly a good adaptation with a good cast in a story about a young man who gets caught up in greed and love. Extra points for ‘actually’ including Biddy from the book, an important character that almost always gets the boot. The best adaptation is still hands down the 1999 mini-series with Ioan Gruffudd.
#6: Mrs. Brown (1997)
Well written with a fabulous cast (particularly Judi Dench), Mrs. Brown is a must see period drama! It follows Queen Victoria after Albert has died, and how one man Mr. Brown brings her back to the world of the living.
#7: An Ideal Husband (1999)
Based off an Oscar Wilde play, An Ideal Husband is a hilarious film filled to the brim with romance, comedy, and great acting. If you love intelligent wit, this is definitely the choice for you!
RELATED | An Ideal Husband Review
#8: A Room with a View (1986)
If you haven’t seen this gorgeous version of A Room with a View, then it should definitely be on your list. Beautifully filmed, skillfully acted from A-List actors (including Maggie Smith as a spinster Aunt), exquisitely romantic, and easily one of the best period films of all time. Then there is that kiss in the fields…If you’ve seen it, you know what I am talking about (I included the picture to just be more convincing).
Content Note: While unrated, this is essentially PG with one nonsexual instance of full frontal male nudity (a group of men goes swimming). It’s handled in an extremely classy way.
#10: Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day (2008)
I can’t say enough good things about this film. Aside from the truly fabulous script with clever zingers, it is the romance that you will take with you after the credits close. The two love stories (one with Lee Pace and Amy Adams and the other with Frances McDormand and Ciaran Hinds) are swoon-inducing and just plain wonderful to see unfold. Make sure not to miss this one!