15 Timeless Period Dramas That Never Get Old – Just Like Bridgerton
While we're waiting, and waiting, and then waiting some more for a piece of Season 3 promo, here's a list of some period dramas to fill that Bridgerton void.
1. Pride and Prejudice (2005)
Elizabeth Bennet, with her wit and spirit, is one of five sisters in 19th-century England where a woman's worth is measured by her marriage prospects. Enter Mr. Darcy, rich and proud, who initially earns Elizabeth's scorn. Their dance of denial and attraction amidst social expectations is the crux of the film. Balls, beautiful gowns, familial pressure, and the English countryside create a backdrop that brings Jane Austen's novel to life on the screen.
2. The King's Speech (2010)
King George VI, played brilliantly by Colin Firth, has a stammer, not ideal for a king, especially in a time when radio is king. A speech therapist, Lionel Logue, becomes his unlikely ally. Their sessions, at times painful and funny, form the core of the story. Remember that scene where King George swears his heart out to get over his stammer? That's gold! The story culminates in a radio address that the King must make on the brink of World War II – it's moving, real and victorious.
3. Atonement (2007)
Brace yourself for a tale of love, mistakes, and, well, atonement. Keira Knightley and James McAvoy shine as Cecilia and Robbie, lovers torn apart by a lie. Cecilia's younger sister Briony, a fledgling writer with an overactive imagination, accuses Robbie of a crime he didn't commit. War, prison, and years pass by. We're left clinging to the heartbreaking moments where love strives against all odds. Who can forget that scene at the fountain, the crackling tension, the unspoken words? Epic!
4. Little Women (2019)
The March sisters – Jo, Meg, Beth, and Amy – are a force of nature. Jo, with a pen always in hand, dreams of being a writer. Meg desires a family, while Amy, oh ambitious Amy, she's got her eyes on the finer things in life. Beth's gentleness is like a balm. We laugh and cry with them; we navigate love, loss, and the passage to womanhood. Greta Gerwig's adaptation is warm, visceral, and resonates across time. Every character is a world, every scene a painting.
5. Amadeus (1984)
When you think of Mozart, you might imagine elegance and refined symphonies. But Amadeus shows us a young, eccentric genius, as seen through the eyes of his rival, Antonio Salieri. Salieri, though accomplished, is eaten by jealousy for Mozart's divine talent. It's a deep dive into music, envy, and the tumultuous streets of Vienna. The crescendo of orchestras serves as a haunting backdrop to a tale that's as tragic as it is magnificent.
6. Downton Abbey (2019)
Remember the Crawley family and their army of servants? Ah, they're back, this time on the big screen. The King and Queen are visiting, and everyone's in a tizzy. There are grand dinners, sparkling tiaras, and of course, the Dowager Countess's one-liners. Below stairs, there's hustle and bustle, alliances and squabbles. It's a sumptuous return to the grandeur and intrigues of one of TV's most beloved estates.
7. The Young Victoria (2009)
Being a queen isn't all tiaras and banquets, and nobody knows it better than Queen Victoria. She ascends the throne young, navigates political machinations, and falls for Prince Albert. Their love story is at the heart of the movie – tender, genuine, and tested by the challenges of ruling an empire. Victoria, as portrayed by Emily Blunt, isn't just a queen. She's a woman finding her voice and heart amidst the golden halls of power.
8. The Favourite (2018)
In the early 18th century, England's Queen Anne is in poor health, and two cousins, Sarah and Abigail, vie for her favor. What unfolds is a dark comedy of manipulation, power, and intrigue. The film's charm isn't just in the stellar performances but the intricate dance of relationships. Who can forget the duck races and the pineapples, right? Every frame is a visual feast, every dialogue a whip of wit and candor.
9. The Duchess (2008)
Meet Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, played by the ever-graceful Keira Knightley. She's elegant, influential, and trapped in a loveless marriage with the Duke. When she befriends Lady Bess, emotions and loyalties swirl. It's a tapestry of opulence, power, and the silent echoes of a woman's struggle for love and expression in a world corseted by traditions.
10. Tulip Fever (2017)
In 17th century Amsterdam, Sophia, a young woman, is married off to a wealthy merchant. When her portrait is painted by the young and handsome Jan Van Loos, a torrid affair ensues. As the tulip market booms, fortunes are made and lost. Amidst the petals and paintings, love, ambition, and deception weave a story that's as colorful as the tulips adorning the city.
11. Marie Antoinette (2006)
The grandeur of Versailles, the decadence of royal life, and a young queen navigating it all – Marie Antoinette is a visual and emotional spectacle. We witness Marie's journey from a teenage Austrian princess to the vilified queen of France. The luxury, the isolation, and the insatiable appetite for pleasure set the scene for a revolution. Kirsten Dunst's portrayal adds layers of humanity to a character often reduced to a caricature in history books.
12. Elizabeth (1998)
Cate Blanchett steps into the formidable shoes of Queen Elizabeth I. The movie charts Elizabeth's early years, her tumultuous ascent to the throne, and the labyrinth of political intrigue. Protestant, Catholic, lover, queen – Elizabeth's multiplicity is the soul of this cinematic masterpiece. She was a woman who turned her vulnerabilities into her strength and navigated a world that was as treacherous as it was magnificent.
13. Belle (2013)
Dido Elizabeth Belle, a biracial woman, is raised by her aristocratic great-uncle in 18th century England. The grandeur is tinged with the complexity of Belle's status in a world divided by class and color. Her elegance is equalled by her resilience. When she meets John Davinier, a young vicar's son, it's not just a love story but a revelation that challenges the era's racial prejudices.
14. The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Anne and Mary Boleyn, sisters, are driven by their ambitious family to win the love of King Henry VIII. Amidst the splendor of the royal court, love, ambition, and family ties weave a complex tapestry. Who will be queen? At what cost? The intricate dance of relationships, loyalties, and betrayal keeps us glued as history unfolds through the eyes of the Boleyn sisters.
15. Anna Karenina (2012)
In Imperial Russia, the radiant Anna Karenina has it all. Yet, beneath the gilded surface, discontent simmers. Enter Count Vronsky, dashing and passionate. Their forbidden love affair shatters conventions, family ties, and their own expectations. The spectacle of balls and trains against the expansive Russian landscape mirrors the tumultuous journey of a woman who dared to defy society's norms for a shot at true love.