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Six Period Dramas To Be Thankful For

Thanksgiving is here! There are several things that I love about this time of year. It’s a chance to be with family and friends, to bake, and to watch period dramas snuggled up in my warm house. That being said, there are certain period dramas that I just keep going back to again and again, movies that I find comforting. So today, I’m counting down the top six period dramas that I am thankful for and looking forward to watching while baking a ton of Christmas cookies this winter. Then be sure to share what period dramas you’re thankful for!

Honorable Mention: Pride and Prejudice (PG)

pride and prejudice - Period Dramas I'm Thankful For
Photo: Focus Features/Universal
RELATED: 5 Versions, 5 Characters, The Best of Pride and Prejudice in Film and Television

This list would be incomplete without including this classic. I’m thankful for the Colin Firth A&E version, the 2004 Matthew Macfadyen version, and all other versions. It’s a wonderful story, and each different version has something new and exciting to offer. I’m thankful for this movie because it helped open the door to other period dramas becoming more popular.

#6: Patricia Rozema’s Mansfield Park (PG-13)

Mansfield Park
Mansfield Park (1999). Photo: Miramax
RELATED: Which Adaptation is Better? Mansfield Park Edition

This movie is not an accurate portrayal of the novel it’s based on, but I still love it. Rozema took the novel and added some pieces of Jane Austen’s own life and letters to it. This gives Frances O’Connor’s Fanny Price a more active role, since she is half Fanny and half Jane herself, and makes her relationship with Jonny Lee Miller’s Edmund Bertram more compelling. For some, this change was annoying. It did not annoy me, however, and this film is a winner in my book. I’m thankful for Manfield Park because it’s fun and witty, and I find the characters compelling.

#5: Masterpiece’s Northanger Abbey (PG)

Northanger Abbey
Photo: ITV

RELATED: Northanger Abbey (2007): A Feast of Coy Smiles and Charming Smirks

Starring JJ Feild, Carey Mulligan, William Beck, and Felicity Jones, Northanger Abbey is based on one of my favorite books. Like Mansfield Park, this film is full of clever dialogue and has a delightful cast. I also really appreciate the way that the film dives into Catherine’s daydreams, playing them out in detail with the characters from the film. I’m thankful for Northanger Abbey because it’s the perfect blend of silly and serious, and a movie that I never get tired of watching.

#4: In the Heart of the Sea (PG-13)

In the heart of the sea
The Whale
Photo: Warner Brothers
RELATED: In the Heart of the Sea-An Intense Period Drama Based on the True Story that Inspired Moby Dick

As a tall ship sailor, there are some movies that just really appeal to me. One of those movies was In the Heart of the Sea. This period drama is based on the story of the whaling ship the Essex and the tragedy that hits the crew. Chris Hemsworth and Benjamin Walker are phenomenal as the first mate and captain who keep butting heads.

A gripping adventure story, it has great effects, and the cast trained on a tall ship before filming. This is important to me because it meant that the sailing shown in the film was accurate. It’s not one that I watch every weekend, but it is certainly a movie I am thankful for.

#3: 1995’s Persuasion (PG)

RELATED: Persuasion (1995) Review-Faithful Adaptation of Jane Austen’s Enduring Classic
Persuasion (1995) starring Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root. Photo: Sony Pictures Classics

Like I said, I’m a sailor, so a period drama with a compelling romance, wonderful characters, and the navy was an automatic winner for me. I love this movie. Not only is Persuasion one of my favorite books, but I also love the way that Ciaran Hinds and Amanda Root play Captain Wentworth and Anne Elliot. Hinds’ Wentworth is compelling and serious, while Root’s Anne is a shy and mousy young woman at the beginning who gradually comes into her own. I am thankful for this movie, because it is very sweet and romantic, and features an unconventional couple.

#2: 2015’s Jane Got a Gun (R)

Jane Got A Gun
Photo: The Weinstein Company
RELATED: Jane Got a Gun: A Dark But Compelling Western Drama

I love a good western, and this period drama is no exception. Starring Natalie Portman, Noah Emmerich, Ewan McGregor, and Joel Edgerton, this film had a lot of problems in production. It’s also a story that gets pretty dark at times. Despite that, it’s a gorgeous movie about one woman and her deep love for her children. I am thankful for this movie because it reminds me that there are different kinds of women and different ways for a woman to be strong. It also has a non-conventional couple, which I love.

#1: BBC’s North and South (TV-PG)

North and South
North and South Mini-Series Starring Richard Armitage and Daniela Denby Ashe
Photo: BBC
RELATED: North and South (2004) Review-A Look Back At One of the Best Period Dramas of All Time

For me, there could only be one winner. Based on the Elizabeth Gaskell novel, North and South stars Richard Armitage as John Thornton and Daniela Denby-Ashe as Margaret Hale. It addresses the conflict between the industrial North of England and the rural South through Margaret and John’s relationship. This miniseries is amazing. The chemistry between the leads, the costumes, the music… it’s one of my favorite movies, period. North and South is what got me into period dramas in the first place, so I am thankful for that too.

I love to watch a period drama while I’m baking or after shoveling a ton of snow. A good period drama has a good story, wonderful costumes, a good soundtrack, and is historically or book accurate. For me, these movies all fit exactly what I am looking for. All six of the films on this list are excellent movies and I would recommend checking them out!

What are some period dramas that you are thankful for? Let me know in the comments!

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By on November 22nd, 2018

About Bailey Cavender

Bailey grew up in North Idaho where she was encouraged from a young age to love reading, writing and learning; as a result, storytelling is a major part of her life. She believes that no story is ever the same to anyone and that everyone has a story to tell. With that in mind, she someday hopes to write a humorous and inspiring book (or ten, either way).

Her books, "A Journey Through Disney," "The Mermaid," and "Dear NSA: One Man's Adventures in Phone-Tapping and Blogging," can be found on Amazon.

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1 thought on “Six Period Dramas To Be Thankful For”

  1. Your picture for Mansfield Park is actually that taken from BBC’s “Persuasion”. My favorite is “Wives and Daughters” by the same author as “North and South”, which is also another favorite. I love the book/movie “The Dwelling Place” by Catherine Cookson, but, to my frustration, I cannot find it in a DVD made for USA anywhere! If you know of a place to purchase it, please let me know! It is such a wonderful story of redemption and forgiveness, and fortitude. Something this world needs much more of these days!


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