The 50 Best Free Period Dramas to Watch on IMDB TV

26. The Last Station (2009)

The Last Station poster

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.

27. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow (1999)

The Legend of Sleepy Hollow 1999 TV Movie Poster

This TV movie went under the radar but is considered a fairly close adaptation of Washington Irving’s famous story.

28. Leonie (2010)

Leonie movie poster

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.

29. The Lightkeepers (2009)

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)

Little Men poster; The 50 Best Free Period Dramas to Watch on IMDB TV

While not completely faithful to the book, this is a heartwarming, entertaining adaptation starring Mariel Hemingway.

31. Little Men (1998 TV Show)

Little Men TV Show; The 50 Best Free Period Dramas to Watch on IMDB TV

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.

32. Madeline (1998)

Madeline movie poster

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.

33. Magic Hour: Lost in the Barrens

Lost in the Barrens movie poster

Set in the 1930s, this is a lovely adaptation of the famous children’s novel about two boys getting lost in the wilderness.

34. Marie Antoinette (2006)

Marie Antoinette movie poster; The 50 Best Free Period Dramas to Watch on IMDB TV

This lush and beautiful film about Marie Antoinette stars Kirsten Dunst and has some of the most gorgeous period costumes.

35. The Mask of Zorro (1998)/The Legend of Zorro (2005)

The Mask of Zorro movie poster

If you’re in the mood for a romantic adventure movie, watch these popular versions of Zorro.

36. Meek’s Cutoff (2010)

Meek's Cutoff poster

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.

37. Merlin (1998)

Merlin movie poster

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.

38. Mr. and Mrs. Loving (1996)

Mr. and Mrs. Loving poster; The 50 Best Free Period Dramas to Watch on IMDB TV

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)

Mrs. Dalloway poster; The 50 Best Free Period Dramas to Watch on IMDB TV

A fantastic adaptation of Virginia Woolf’s classic novel about the depressed socialite, Clarissa Dalloway.

40. My Girl (1991)/My Girl 2 (1994)

My Girl movie poster

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.

41. My Louisiana Sky (2001)

My Louisiana Sky poster

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)

The Pardon movie poster; The 50 Best Free Period Dramas to Watch on IMDB TV

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 Movie Poster

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.

44. The Remains of the Day (1993)

The Remains of the Day poster; The 50 Best Free Period Dramas to Watch on IMDB TV

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.

45. Salem Witch Trials (2002)

Salem Witch Trials poster

An entertaining mini-series worth watching about the famous 1692 Salem witch trials. Kirstie Allie stars.

46. Sense and Sensibility (1995)

Sense and Sensibility promotional image; The 50 Best Free Period Dramas to Watch on IMDB TV
Photo: Sony Pictures

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.

47. Shadrach (1998)

Shadrach movie poster

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.

48. Swept From The Sea (1997)

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)

War Bride DVD cover

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.

50. Where the Red Fern Grows (1974)

Where the Red Fern Grows Poster

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 )

The 50 Best Free Period Dramas to Watch on IMDB TV


By on August 7th, 2019

About Amber Topping

Amber works as a writer and digital publisher full-time and fell in love with stories and imagination at an early age. She has a Humanities and Film Degree from BYU, co-created The Silver Petticoat Review, contributed as a writer to various magazines, and has an MS in Publishing from Pace University, where she received the Publishing Award of Excellence and wrote her thesis on transmedia, Jane Austen, and the romance genre. Her ultimate dreams are publishing books, writing and producing movies, traveling around the world, and forming a creative village of talented storytellers trying to change the world through art.

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