This biographical romance drama about Leo Tolstoy has an all-star cast including James McAvoy, Christopher Plummer, Helen Mirren, and Paul Giamatti.
Content Note: Rated R for a scene of sexuality with nudity.
This TV movie went under the radar but is considered a fairly close adaptation of Washington Irving’s famous story.
Emily Mortimer plays Leonie Gilmour, the famous educator, editor, journalist, and mother of Isamu Noguchi. This Japanese film follows the true story of her life and is mostly set in the early 20th century. I haven’t seen this one yet but it sounds fascinating.
Set during the Edwardian period on Cape Cod, this light-hearted romantic drama is perfect for fans of shows like Road to Avonlea. Two lighthouse keepers swear off all women, only to have romantic entanglements and secrets come to the surface. Richard Dreyfuss, Blythe Danner, Mamie Gummer, and Tom Wisdom star.
30. Little Men (1998)
While not completely faithful to the book, this is a heartwarming, entertaining adaptation starring Mariel Hemingway.
A TV series branching completely away from the Little Men books. In this heartfelt and wholesome Canadian series, Jo is recently widowed and runs Plumfield school on her own.
In this French comedy for the entire family, a young orphan girl in the 1950’s tries to save her beloved school. Frances McDormand stars.
Set in the 1930s, this is a lovely adaptation of the famous children’s novel about two boys getting lost in the wilderness.
This lush and beautiful film about Marie Antoinette stars Kirsten Dunst and has some of the most gorgeous period costumes.
If you’re in the mood for a romantic adventure movie, watch these popular versions of Zorro.
36. Meek’s Cutoff (2010)
If you’ve ever been interested in learning more about the pioneers who crossed the Oregon Trail, make sure to check out this historical drama starring Michelle Williams.
History crosses over with fantasy in this excellent retelling of Merlin and the Camelot story. The TV mini-series won numerous Emmy’s and has an all-star cast including Sam Neill, Helena Bonham Carter, Miranda Richardson, Lena Headey, and more.
A wonderful true story about an interracial couple overcoming all odds in the 1960s. While I haven’t seen this dramatization, the TV movie sounds promising.
39. Mrs. Dalloway (1997)
A fantastic adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s classic novel about the depressed socialite, Clarissa Dalloway.
These coming of age dramas set in the 1970s about Vada (a girl growing up with a mortician as a father) will make you laugh, cry, and feel nostalgic about your childhood.
A twelve-year-old girl reevaluates her relationship with her mentally disabled parents in this coming of age period drama. Juliette Lewis stars.
42. The Pardon (2013)
This 1940s period drama is for fans of true crime stories. The Pardon is based on the true story of the famous murder trial of Toni Jo Henry in 1942 Louisiana.
43. The Red Baron (2008)
The Red Baron is a German biopic about Manfred Von Richthofen, a WWI fighter pilot. If you’re looking for entertainment and don’t mind historical inaccuracies, then this one may be a good choice to watch. Lena Headey and Joseph Fiennes star.
Starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, this romantic period drama of unfulfilled love was nominated for eight Academy Awards. It’s definitely worth watching if you haven’t seen it yet. Plus, Thompson and Hopkins have amazing chemistry and give some of their best performances.
An entertaining mini-series worth watching about the famous 1692 Salem witch trials. Kirstie Allie stars.
A brilliant, Oscar-winning adaptation of Jane Austen’s famous novel about sisters. It’s the gold standard of Austen adaptations and a must-see for all. Emma Thompson, Kate Winslet, Hugh Grant, and Alan Rickman star. Out of all the free period dramas on this list, this is my favorite.
Set in Depression-era 1935, a former slave asks to be buried on the land he was born; the only problem is it’s against Virginia law. A touching film to watch.
This emotional romantic drama on IMDB TV tells the story of a Russian shipwreck survivor and a local servant he falls in love with. The film is based on a short story “Amy Foster” by Joseph Conrad and stars Vincent Perez and Rachel Weisz.
49. The War Bride (2001)
An English woman marries a Canadian soldier in this war drama. When he leaves to fight during World War II, she moves to Canada to stay with his family. Anna Friel stars.
This classic film based on the novel is a worthy adaptation and great for the entire family.
What are your thoughts on IMDB TV? Do you have other free period dramas from IMDB TV not on the list? Let me know in the comments.
(Featured image: Columbia Pictures, Existential Crisis, Merchant Ivory, Network Ten, Sony Pictures )