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The 39 Steps (2008) – A Romantic Period Drama with Adventure and Intrigue

The 39 StepsThe 39 Steps (2008) Review

In The 39 Steps, it is right before the outbreak of WWI, and Richard Hanna (who has just returned from Africa) is bored out of his mind. Then, by chance, a secret agent runs into Richard’s apartment to escape men who are chasing him. He tasks Richard with getting a coded book to the right authorities because it is the only way to stop the coming war.

When the secret agent gets killed, Richard is blamed and is soon on the run from German spies and the police who believe him to be a murderer. While he’s on the run, Richard crosses paths with a suffragette named Victoria. Together, they attempt to decipher the code and save England, all while being chased by spies. But with spies all around, who is it they can trust?

The 39 Steps
Victoria and Richard
Photo: BBC

For a short TV movie, this spy movie is a lot of fun. Not only is it a quick watch, but an engaging one as well. It doesn’t hurt that the ever so handsome Rupert Penry-Jones (Persuasion) is the leading man either. The romance between the bantering Richard and Victoria (an opinionated suffragette) just made this short movie even more enjoyable for those looking for a period drama with adventure, romance, and intrigue.

RELATED | 50 Romantic Period Dramas to Watch on Hulu

Sure, The 39 Steps is not one of the best period dramas of all time (and certainly not in the same league as the Hitchcock version). And while The 39 Steps doesn’t do anything groundbreaking, somehow it’s still an enjoyable fluff movie to watch when you just want simple entertainment. I know I enjoyed it!


three and a half corset rating

“I think this is the beginning of a beautiful



four heart rating

“In vain have I struggled. It will not do. My

feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me

to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.”

You can catch The 39 Steps on Hulu or Amazon.

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By on November 3rd, 2015

About Autumn Topping

In second grade, Autumn wrote her first story, “The Spinach Monster,” and hasn't stopped writing since. Intrigued by the tales her grandmother told of vampires, witches, and ghosts as a girl, she's always been drawn to the fantastic. Later, Autumn studied English and Creative Writing (continuing her love for classic literature and everything old-fashioned) and graduated with an MA in Children’s Literature and an MS in Library & Information Science from Simmons College. Currently, she co-runs this lovely site and works as a YA Librarian.

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4 thoughts on “The 39 Steps (2008) – A Romantic Period Drama with Adventure and Intrigue”

  1. I remember really loving this little film. What surprised me most was how funny it was. I was expecting something serious – or more so. Nonetheless, I still loved it. 🙂

  2. I always remember starting to watch this movie and falling asleep! Not because it was boring at all, but because I was really tired that day. I remember kicking myself because like Rissi I was surprised at how funny it was and because I was so enjoying RPJ in it. I have to watch it properly sometime soon!


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