Favorite Period Movies - Part II

These postings on our favorite period movies are not my usual sort of blog posting, but I hope you’re enjoying them. Everyone loves finding a good movie recommendation. I know I do! I’ve seen many more period movies than I list here, but many I could not, in good conscience, recommend to people (nor even watch again myself). But I think I’m giving you a good list of decent movies.

If you are in the mood for Dickens, we would recommend:

Bleak House

It has all the usual elements that you come to expect from Dickens: an excess of words superbly written, snobby artistocrats, eccentrics, dirty London streets, and a virtuous heroine. Our whole family was captivated!

Photo credit here.

Click here for a promotional trailer.

Little Dorrit

As always with Dickens, excellent moral lessons to be learned. Well acted!

Photo credit here.

Click here for a trailer for Little Dorrit.

Downton Abbey

Like everyone else in America (and England too), our family is hooked(!) on Downton Abbey! A British television series, it follows the tale of the artisocratic Granthams and their household staff in the early 1900′s. The world is changing, and so are the traditional class systems in England. Beautifully costumed! Well acted! You’ll be hooked too!  (Disclaimer: there are a couple of scenes in the first season that you might find objectionable.  Might want to preview them first, if you're watching as a family.)

Photo credit here.

Click here for a trailer from the first season of Downton Abbey.

Enchanted April

This movie has long been a favorite of mine. It follows the story of several British women as they escape their lives in England and rent a villa in Italy for an extended vacation, and learn some valuable lessons along the way. The movie has a very quiet pace…as though you’re along on their relaxing vacation yourself. Excellent performances. And a plus for me, it also stars Michael Kitchen, who I will watch in nearly anything.

Photo credit here.

Click here for a trailer. (You will have to click on the yellow button that says "Watch Trailer.")

If Technohubby is in the mood for an action movie, and I am in the mood for a period movie, here are a few that please both of us:

Horatio Hornblower Series

This is a series of DVDs. You should just buy them. They are ever so entertaining…for the whole family!

Photo credit here.

Master & Commander

Another movie portraying the glory days of the British Navy, this one stars Russell Crowe. We actually have a friend who's in this movie!  True!  Well acted! Beautiful cello and violin duets! Superb!

Photo credit here.

The Patriot

Far too few films set in the late 1700′s in my opinion, so I do enjoy an occassional viewing of The Patriot. It thrills my colonial-loving heart! Some of the costuming is excellent (like the leading lady’s gowns and the men’s costumes), and some of it is ridiculous (like the leading lady walking about in her corset). Rated R for violence.

The Patriot - Benjamin Martin (Mel Gibson), his sister-in-law Charlotte Selton (Joely Richardson, right) and the rest of the Martin family take refuge from encroaching war on a stretch of beach that has become safe territory for freed and escaped slaves in the Columbia

Photo credit here.

Moving beyond period movies with war elements…

Lark Rise to Candleford

One of our newer discoveries, this British television series portrays two rival towns…the bustling town of Lark Rise and the rural town of Candleford. Each is filled with its own interesting collection of townspeople…the opinionated post mistress (who only has “one fault”), the impressionable young girl, various handsome young men who come courting, the fussy seasmstresses. When this was first recommended to us, we were told that the family liked it “because the problems the people have are real problems.” And that’s so very true. Everyone is struggling with the sins with which we all struggle. Highly recommend!

Photo credit here.

There are so many episodes to Lark Rise to Candleford, that it’s difficult to choose a trailer. But here is one from the first season. For those of you who are fans of Downton Abbey, you will recognize the valet, Bates, in this series as the young girl’s father.

The Importance of Being Earnest

A perfectly delightful comedy starring Colin Firth, Judi Dench, and Reese Witherspoon! Hilarious from beginning to end!

Photo credit here.

Click here for a trailer.


It has been said that what little you have to see in small towns is made up for by how much you hear! And that is certainly true in the town of Cranford, populated by spinsters and busybodies. An adaption from another of Elizabeth Glaskell’s novels (like Wives & Daughters and North & South). Once you’ve seen this movie, you will never let a cat get near lace. Just sayin’.

Photo credit here.

And last but not least, two different versions of Jane Eyre. Either movie is an adaptation of Charlotte Bronte’s classic novel about a governess who takes a job at the forboding mansion of Mr. Rochester, only to discover that love and secrets abide there.

Jane Eyre (2011 movie)

This one we love for its incredible costuming, cinematography, and musical score.

Photo credit here.

Jane Eyre – 2006 Masterpiece Theatre Mini-Series

But for the chemistry between Mr. Rochester and Jane, the 2006 BBC version can’t be beat! I favor this one by quite a bit.

Photo credit here.

Enjoy a movie or two this winter! Comments welcome! If you have some recommendations for me, I’d love to hear them!


  1. These are amazing lists, thank you so much for posting! My husband and I love about 75% of the movies you've posted in these two lists, which makes me sure we're going to love exploring the other 25% you've mentioned. We also love the new BBC four part version of Emma, two of the movie versions of Persuasion, Return to Cranford, the 2002 version of Nicholas Nickleby, The Winslow Boy with Jeremy Northam, and the All Creatures Great and Small series which is sort of a period piece in its own way. Another one, set a bit later, is the Foyle's War series set in WWII Britain, especially the first season or two. The male lead from Wives & Daughters stars as one the police sergeant. Can't wait to see which of these movies you've suggested are at our library!

  2. Thanks for the recommendations, Sarah! It was difficult to narrow down my postings to just our favorites. But, YES, we like the two different versions of "Persuasion" too. I'll have to look up the others you mentioned! Can't wait!
    And, yes, we are BIG "Foyle's War" fans too! Michael Kitchen (Chief Inspector Foyle) is the man I mentioned in "Enchanted April".

  3. Thanks Kate, now if it would only get cold and snowy in NH.

    I second "All Creatures Great and Small"!

    JEEVES and WOOSTER for 20th C period comedy. oh my, love them.

    "Remains of the Day" with Emma Thompson and Anthony Hopkins, 20th c.

    Argh, I would love to continue with Downton Abbey but the homosexual kissing scene in the first episode...chose to turn it off so as not to get totally immersed. Did the storyline continue on that?


  4. Yes, our family would so like some snow! We had planned on going to a sleigh rally this weekend, but it was cancelled...no snow. Very sad.

    I think we may have seen "All Creature..." many years ago.

    Jeeves & Wooster? Yes! Seen that. Our kids are bigger fans than I am. Not sure why, but I had a difficult time getting into J&W.

    Haen't seen "Remains of the Day" in years. I'll have to add it to our queue.

    Oops...forgot to mention that scene in a disclaimer. I'll have to ammend my posting. Thanks for reminding me. And NO, that story line completely disappears from the series, so you might want to give it another try.

  5. Good to know! Thanks!

    d meyers

  6. I have seen and LOVE all these movies you listed, but two. I think I will need to look into those!

  7. Wow! We must be kindred spirits, indeed! Which two, if you don't mind my asking?


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