Luxurious costumes, acting and fantastically beautiful scenery will help you feel another era.
Joseph L. Mankiewicz's classic Hollywood film comes first in the list of the most prominent historical melodramas. It's remembered for the brilliant acting tandem of Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton.
Queen Cleopatra, the legendary Egyptian ruler, is willing to do anything to maintain the power and might of her kingdom. She seduces the illustrious Roman emperors, Caesar and Mark Antony, to unite Rome and Egypt into a one unconquerable empire.
Wuthering Heights (2011)
Many film directors were keen to adapt Emily Brontë's famous novel.
Andrea Arnold presents his version of the cult story about the forbidden love between a beggar and a girl from a wealthy family. The director paid close attention to minor details such as cracks on the character's lips or cricket chirps, and her meticulous work resulted in a highly sensual film. Intricate camera movements further add to the film's unique atmosphere: the camera shudders to suggest Heathcliff's unfocused gaze — and lurks in the darkness.
Anna and the King (1999)
Andy Tennant's sentimental melodrama is a story of true love that will touch any viewer's heart.
Anna Leonowens, an English schoolteacher, is sent to the faraway land of Siam to educate the heirs of King Mongkut. The King learns that a rebellion is being prepared against him. As the political conflict reaches its climax, Anna and the King join forces to save Siam from powerful enemies bent on destroying the state.
Wolfgang Petersen's iconic movie tells the story of the Trojan war sparked by the affair between Paris, a Trojan heir, and Helen, wife to the king of Sparta. The two warring worlds meet at the gates of Troy for a decisive battle, where thousands of warriors will lose their lives in the name of true love.
The adaptation of the Greek epic, which dates back almost three thousand years, is a breathtaking spectacle for 21st-century audiences.
The Duchess (2008)
Georgiana, the Duchess of Devonshire, was a real historical figure, very famous among the bohemians of 18th-century Britain.
The biopic, directed by Saul Dibb, looks ultra-modern and appeals to the viewers of today. Keira Knightley's character wears provocative headdresses and speaks on equal terms with men. The emancipated woman cannot get pregnant by her husband, learns that he is cheating on her with her friend, and has an affair with a prominent politician. In short, The Duchess depicts the twists and turns of a regular socialite's life — just a few hundred years back.
The Other Boleyn Girl (2008)
Justin Chadwick's costume drama features an excellent cast: Natalie Portman and Scarlett Johansson play two sisters, Anne and Mary Boleyn, vying for the attention of Henry VIII, played by Eric Bana.
As his wife fails to produce a male heir, the King turns his attention to the Boleyn estate. Initially, the head of the family plans to have his eldest daughter, Anne, to be the King's mistress. But the monarch discovers that the younger Boleyn is no match for her elder sister.
The Young Victoria (2009)
The film by Jean-Marc Vallée follows Queen Victoria's childhood and youth. A remarkable stateswoman and one of the longest-reigning monarchs, Victoria was remembered for her tumultuous romance with Prince Albert. In her early years, Victoria, portrayed on screen by Emily Blunt, suffered from loneliness and began corresponding with her cousin Duke Albert, played by Rupert Friend, whom she later married. Between the couple's correspondence and marriage, Victoria acts like a teenage rebel refusing to conform to the rules imposed on her by her mother and English high society.
By the way, the film was awarded Oscars for Best Costume Design, Best Production Design, and Best Makeup and Hairstyling.
Les Misérables (2012)
The musical adaptation of Victor Hugo's greatest work reflects the lives of Parisiens in 1832.
Starring Anne Hathaway, Hugh Jackman, and Russell Crowe, the film won a Golden Globe award and was nominated for eight Academy Awards. Of all the famous musicals of the 1980s, Les Misérables is not as funny and naïve as Cats but is still quite appealing and relatable for the audience. The film received as much acclaim as the Broadway musical.
Anna and Serge Golon's famous novel Angélique, the Marquise of the Angels has been adapted several times.
Ariel Zeitoun's feature film adaptation from 2013 is particularly popular. Nora Arnezeder played the beautiful and rebellious Angelique, and the filming took place in three European countries: France, the Czech Republic, and Belgium.